I’m somewhat in amazed awe of South Park these days, specifically after the show launched its 20th season this fall. To me, this show has always been the epitome of an 8th grade school kid: rude, crude, gross and a sharp tongue to come along with the attitude. I watched it occasionally (if somebody bothered to post an episode illegally on the Internet while I was still stuck in the jungle) and I always shook my head at the antics of Eric Cartman, Kyle and the rest of the gang. I kinda enjoyed the “They killed Kenny!” jokes, mainly because these tickled my black sense of humor.
However, I sort of ignored the show altogether.
Now, something interesting happened during the start of the 20th season… I was casually switching channels, browsing TV if there was something worthwhile of my attention, when a white winter scene, created in South Park’s typical construction cardboard-ish style, popped on the screen. There was something… unusual… in it. It conveyed a lot of gloom and loneliness. There’s a little girl walking on a metal bridge, holding her cell phone and a cold winter haze hangs in the air. Lazy snowflakes are falling and then the girl stops in the middle of the bridge and walks toward the edge. Dramatic music swells and now the camera focuses her from a very high angle to allow us to see the cold river that runs below de bridge. The camera goes back to her face, and she looks into her phone once more as a single teardrop is peeking from her eye. She has been evidently cyberbullied. Then the camera pans upwardly, toward the sky, while the dramatic music rises and then the sound of a faraway splash is heard off-camera.
Sudden silence, which is then broken by the chirps of two startled birds.
She has quit…Twitter.
There was a lot of graceful artistry involved in those simple thirty seconds or so that comprise this scene. For someone like me, who has always liked movies and animation, it spoke a lot. Of course, the South Park crew rapidly returned to foul language and crude jokes in hopes to remain shocking, but this brief moment will always remain with me.
But the show isn’t over with what it has to say. The school counselor leads a group session with all the kids to discuss the little girl’s action… and he performs it through social media.
Through a fantastic musical montage we find out that Gerald, who has always been such a soft-spoken individual, is the one who’s trolling the entire town.
Of course, everybody is blaming Cartman, but for once, he’s completely innocent of these accusations. This is a masterful stroke, as it creates an unexpected role reversal. This unlikely tale intertwines with at least four extra plotlines (which includes Cartman having a girlfriend 😮 ) , it lends an amazing feeling of complexity to the whole thing.
I understand the show has its detractors, which is understandable since it has done its best effort to cement its reputation as an vehicle to justify potty humor and F-bombs for almost two decades. But it seems that the show is finally maturing and the writers have really something to say (the absurdity of the 2016 presidential campaign surely does help), a trend they started on the 19th season with the hilarious funny smarter-ads episodes.
I certainly hope this trend continues… 😉 Seems we’re in for a really sweet ride during this season…
Ah… and one more thing…. Respect my authoritah