CARTOON CRACKDOWN: South Park Returns!

Edmund Poliks

Welcome to Cartoon Crackdown: where I obsess over professional doodles and cartoons made by people with more money than me.

Photo courtesy of ign.com

Photo courtesy of ign.com

A lot has happened since South Park ended last season: twerking, Trayvon Martin, and fanboys having seizures over Bat-Fleck just to name a few. Because of their statuses in the public ire, it’s pretty much expected that South Park unloads its parodic volley of potshots. Well with Wednesday’s episode titled “Let Go, Let Gov,” South Park‘s seventeenth season premiere rises to the occasion with the lampooning of everything from the NSA to their favorite punching-bag: Alec Baldwin.

Starting things off right with a dazzling visual revamp of their tried and true intro, “Let Go, Let Gov”  features Cartman’s latest method of pissing off Kyle: broadcasting obnoxious speakerphone conversations in his personal space at all times. This escalates into a hilarious commentary on Internet privacy as Cartman infiltrates the NSA while possessing a “$h!tter” account: an Alec Baldwin-sponsored (and hilariously advertised) social networking device that broadcasts your thoughts live to everyone within earshot.

Photo courtesy of omgsouthpark.com

Photo courtesy of omgsouthpark.com

While this plot line is the meat of the episode, the funniest section for me was the subplot involving Butters: wherein Cartman’s paranoia deludes Butters into thinking that the Government is a religious entity and inspires him to transform the depressing local DMV into a site for Catholic-style confessions. While the Machiavellian idiocy of Cartman is always entertaining, the pure sweetness and sincerity of Butter’s own stupidity proved to be the glue that held this episode together for me. One scene in particular where Butters interprets Barack Obama’s statement in a DMV pamphlet like Jesus’s Gospels had me especially rolling.

As always though (or at least for me anyway), the most appealing thing about South Park is the demented satire beneath the absurdity and “Let Go, Let Gov” has all of that for the most part. Cartman’s declarations for Internet privacy all while he unwittingly compromises his own privacy is very poignant and it was pretty clever of Trey Parker and Matt Stone to utilize religious parody as a tool to cast the hell on earth that is the DMV as a universal experience for those involved (much like religion). That all being said though, the Cartman storyline ends on somewhat of an unresolved note and the final jokes within the Butter storyline felt pretty obvious to me.

Photo courtesy of worldnewsviews.com

Photo courtesy of worldnewsviews.com

But all in all, this is a really good episode for South Park‘s new season to open with. Sure it stumbles on occasion, but it’s a clever and profane ballet for the most part: coupling the dim-witted universe we’ve come to adore with the biting social commentary that sets this show above other comedy shows out there. I can’t wait to see the next episode, and especially so if they can get around to BatFleck sometime soon.

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