So. Things kicked up a notch. Or twelve. Twelve notches. Twelve whole notches.
Thursday’s newest South Park episode built even more on the serialized story the satirical show has been constructing over the past several months as it details the events of PC culture and its superimposition into the quaint and unaware Colorado town of South Park. Several plotlines run simultaneously throughout the episode, one of them following Jimmy–the handicapped editor of the South Park Elementary School Newspaper–and his exploits with a covert group called the “Newsmen,” who seek to annihilate the ever-evolving sentient ads–literally the advertisements that follow you around on every website you go on, which have now begun taking human form. Another follows Randy Marsh, who, with the help of Mr. Garrison, his running mate Caitlyn Jenner, and the former Principal Victoria–all who have returned to South Park in order to put an end to the encroaching Politically-Correct culture–is starting to awaken from his PC-induced fervor and see just what horrors–a Whole Foods and a gentrified cultural district–the social justice warriors have wrought upon his beloved town. And yet another story shadows the South Park boys Stan, Kyle, Cartman, Butters, and Kenny, as they attempt to dig deeper into what strange occurrences are happening in their town, again, only to be distracted by the ads.
This is a lot. A LOT. Especially to fit into a twenty-one minute time slot, and even though a little bit of South Park’s humor is sacrificed along the way, it makes for a satisfying and ultimately compelling episode. And the fact of the matter is that, for the most part, the storylines all blend fairly seamlessly, something that is made even more gratifying for long-time viewers who can now see story threads that have been weaved throughout this Season culminate in the penultimate step before its climax.
Unfortunately, this densely-packed suitcase of a story doesn’t come without its flaws. As I said before, South Park’s humor, generally present in every scene of an episode, is pared down in this particular show. Due to the fact that it focuses more on story, the episode tends to rely on a series of running gags to keep the humor factor intact, something that has worked in the past, and certainly is no less effective in this instance, but also starts to wear a little thin near the end.
For the most part, however, this episode of South Park is no different from its many and varied predecessors. It’s action-packed, outrageous, comical, sharpened by the whetstone of dry and cheeky wit, and, most of all, it makes you want to stick around to see what happens next.