“Cartman’s Silly Hate Crime 2000” Lands Him in Juvy and the Boys in a Losing Sled Race (South Park Episode 401)

When Cartman hits token with a rock, the FBI misconstrues the whole event as a hate crime, what with Token being black and all. Cartman is sent to juvenile hall as a punishment for his crime, where he must navigate the difficult inner world of prison life to stay alive.

Stan, Kyle and Kenny desperately need Cartman out of juvy because they have a big sled race against the girls, and without Cartman’s weight sending them hurdling down the slope, they don’t have a great chance of winning (read: we need fat people in a variety of circumstances). Hilariously, some random girl on the girls’ team keeps taunting the boys about losing, calling them a variety of names related to being gay (fudge-packer, anal-spelunker, etc.).

Token’s father, one of the wealthiest and most educated men in town, is incensed that Cartman’s violence against his son has been misconstrued as a hate-crime when he knows that it’s nothing more than childish bickering. He tries to get the other children, who will do anything to get Cartman out of jail and back on their sledding team, to give a presentation to the mayor and others, in an attempt to convince them of the fact that Cartman’s act was not racially inspired. All in all, it’s a very eloquent explanation for the foolishness of dubbing most of what we do as hate crimes.

What do you think about the attribution of the label hate crime to crimes that may not be racially motivated? What did you think about this episode? What was your favorite part?

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Silly Motivational Posters about Deception, Tanks and Teamwork

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Jimmy and Timmy Join the Crips When Christopher Reeve Starts Sucking Stem Cells in “Krazy Kripples,” South Park Episode 702

When Christopher Reeve, the crippled actor who played Superman in the original movies, comes to town, he steals Jimmy’s spotlight, and puts out this boy who’s been crippled from birth – and proud of it. Christopher Reeve, Jimmy notes, became crippled later in life. Christopher Reeve has decided to speak out about the importance of stem-cells, and in order to prove their value, he demonstrates how sucking on a dead fetus restores some of his strength.

Why is this a hilarious comment on the stem-cell debate? Because opposers of stem-cell research like to promote the notion that something akin to cracking open the spines of dead baby fetuses and drinking their fluid is what’s being proposed when scientists want to experiment with stem-cell research. South Park, as usual, has taken this ignorant vision to the extreme.

Jimmy is appaled that a non-born that way cripple would try to uncripple himself and at the same time hog Jimmy’s spotlight. He decides to form a club of crippled people from birth to isolate Christopher Reeve, but actually discovers that such a club already exists: they’re called the Crips, and they can be found in Denver. And from their on the hilarity never stops as Jimmy takes Timmy and the two friends go to join this gang.

By the end, it’s Jimmy and Timmy who learn that hating others because they’re a different kind of cripple isn’t right, and so they rectify the fued between the Crips and the Bloods by explaining this lesson. How touching.

What did you think about this episode? What was your favorite part?

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Movie Review: The Secret Lives of Bees with Queen Latifa and Dakota Fanning is Sad and Spectacular

I’m a cryer when it comes to movies, and boy was this one a tear-jerker. It’s told as a story about a 14 year-old girl in South Carolina in 1964, just as Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act and made it so that black people would be allowed to vote – but for real this time.

Lily (Dakota Fanning) and her housekeeper Rosaleen run away from Lily’s mean and abusive father after Rosaleen is beaten for standing up for her right to vote. Lily is in search of information about her mother’s past, who died when Lily was four at Lily’s own hand. That’s the premise and the setting and I’ll leave it at that because truly I won’t be able to do this beautiful movie justice.

I will say a word about Dakota Fanning. She was once one of the best child actresses around, but for some reason fell off the face of the screen for a good stretch there. I don’t know why, but I always wondered if and when she’d be back and if she’d be as good as she was before. Well, it’s safe to say that she is that good and most assuredly has a long and fruitful career ahead of her. I don’t know if she truly understood the roles she was playing as a child or if she was just really good at playing, but I think she really understood the depth of the character and the situation that she was in with this film.

It was truly excellent.

9 Chocolate Salty Balls.

Movie Review: Lakeview Terrace with Samuel L. Jackson is Not As Bad As I’d Have Thought

I expected a pretty horrendous movie when my girlfriend’s little brother came back from Blockbuster with this, the latest of 8 million Samuel L. Jackson movies. Don’t get me wrong. I love Mr. Jackson. He screams and yells and he’s a badass motha fucka, but generally I find that he’s best not as the central focus of a film but as an enhancement and a complement to its general quality. Know what I mean? And I didn’t even think the plot revolved around him so heavily – but it does.

Jackson is an L.A. cop and a single dad to a teenage girl and a younger boy. And he’s a strict single parent. His wife died. He’s sad and misses her – and there’s a twist to her death! In next door moves an interracial couple, and Mr. Jackson doesn’t like one bit that a white guy is with a black girl. And basically he doesn’t treat them so nice. I was surprised at the degree to which the movie fleshed out a generally unexplored racial tension: older black men disapproving of relationships between white men and black women. Who knew!?

The situation devolves into a tit for tat battle of escalating proportions. The thing that gets frustrating is that you’re like, okay! We get it! It’s escalating – bring it to the next level. But it keeps escalating. Again, the movie’s not that bad. The things that happen between the couple next door and Mr. L. Jackson are interesting and sometimes a little twisted. The film even makes you uncomfortable in spots and adds a decent element of suspense. It’s just like, okay, fine, get on with it.

If you’re looking for cheap action and mild engagement then knock yourself out but otherwise, I say veer in the direction of some more classically entertaining Samuel L. Jackson – like say, Pulp Fiction.

4 Chocolate Salty Balls. Get your copy of Lakeview Terrace.

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Michael Jackson Comes to South Park in Episode 807, “Mr. Jefferson”

When Michael Jackson and his son come to South Park disguised as Mr. Jefferson and company, the local children are amazed at all the wonderful toys in his house and his generosity in regards to sharing them. Stan and Kyle, however, grow concerned at Mr. Jefferson’s neglect of his son, Blanket, in order to play with other children.

In the meantime, local cops realize that a rich black man has moved to town and, like all cops when they see that rich black men live near them, they try to frame him for a series of heinous crimes. Unfortunately, they see Mr. Jefferson (i.e. MJ) come home and are startled that he is white! What to do?

One cool thing in this episode is that we see Kenny without his jacket on but don’t know for sure that it’s him until he is killed by Mr. Jefferson during some rough play time. Though Kenny is no longer getting killed regularly on South Park by the eighth season, Parker and Stone are always willing to kill him when it adds something different like this. A weird Mr. Jefferson and the boys in bed scene also appears as well as a variety of scenes in which MJ’s face is falling off.

In the end Kyle and Stan tell us that it doesn’t matter what Michael Jackson may or may not have done (in regards to the framing) but what is important is that he grow up and stop acting like a child because he has one that needs taking care of. It is time, we learn, for Michael Jackson to act like an adult.

What did you think of this episode?

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Vampires and Goths Battle in South Park Episode 1214, “The Ungroundable”

It was the season finale of South Park. And now it’s over. The whole twelfth season is over. Some of you may recall that this was supposed to be the end of South Park. Fortunately, because there is apparently a God, Trey Parker and Matt Stone signed on for another 3 seasons, meaning that you and I will be enjoying new South Park through the end of 2011 – unless global warming pans out and we have to evacuate earth.

How Vampire Came and Left South Park

Vampires have come to South Park. Any regular watcher wouldn’t be surprised if real Vampires were introduced into the show considering the things we’ve seen before (zombies, Mecha-Streisand, Skuzzlebutt, Gnomes, etc.), but no, these Vampires are douchey, preppy, wanna-be dark kids who like to pretend that they are vampires. These straight-A Banana Republic wearing twerps really piss off the real goth kids, though, especially when the latter are mistaken for Vampires.

Butters, tired of being ignored by his friends and grounded by his parents, decides that instead of simply watching the vampires, he is going to join them. They dress him up like them by taking him to Hot Topic. Unfortunately, Butters doesn’t quite realize that he’s not a vampire and takes the whole thing very seriously, telling his parents he’s ungroundable, hissing at people, and trying to suck Cartman’s blood.

In the meantime, the goth kids, in an attempt to end this vampire nonsense, have kidnapped the head vampire, a popular kid whose conformist friends have all followed him to this world of dark clothes, histrionic speech and tomato juice guzzling. When that doesn’t work, Butters, no longer wishing to remain a vampire, suggests that the goth kids destroy the vampires’ lair – the place where kids are becoming vampires. He takes them to Hot Topic, which used to be a Banana Republic, and the goth kids literally proceed to burn the place down. No compunction. No wondering about what the others meant when one said, “You know what we have to do.” They knew what needed doing and they just burnt that place down.

Why This Episode Rocked

I thought this was a great episode for a lot of reasons. First, I’m reading a book called You Suck by Christopher Moore which is all about “real” vampires. More topically, there is a character in the book JUST like the Vampires in South Park – not real. Just some dramatic girl who’s upset with life and wants to become a vampire, blah blah blah. Moore mocks the same thing that this episode is mocking.

We’ve learned in other episodes – like Raisins, for instance – why the goth kids are ridiculous: they wallow in sadness and refuse to enjoy life. This episode, though it doesn’t paint the opposite picture, brings us to the worse end of that spectrum: idiotic kids who think that it’s cool to be dark and whose emotions aren’t even in it. These are vampires. More importantly, this is an actual and growing problem among America’s youth, and though I’d never heard of Hot Topic before this episode, I’m now inclined to believe that it’s involved in the making (or at least perpetuating) these stupid fads. Somebody chime in here if you know something about this.

In any case, at the end of the episode, once they’ve destroyed Hot Topic and ended the vampire craze, the goth kids ask for an assembly to clarify who they are and the differences between them and vampires. I wasn’t fast enough to get it down but it beautifully summarizes the episode’s message and here’s the gist of it: If you hate life, truly hate the sun and take what little solace life offers by drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes, then you are goth. Vampires think that dressing in black is cool and wouldn’t do anything that’s bad for their health. More importantly, if you do stupid things like wear fake vampire teeth, pretend to drink fake blood, and talk like a moron, then you are retarded, the goth kids explain. The main goth kid then looks right into the camera (theoretically at the other children) and says, Fuck all of you, as he flips them off.

Summary

The goth kids in this episode were awesome, always standing by the attitude of not giving a shit just like they said. They smoked, drank coffee, stole their parents’ cars, kidnapped another kid and immediately burned down a store in the mall. No one bitched, thought about it or pussied out. They just did it because that’s their don’t give a shit attitude. Are all goth people like this? Of course not! But South Park is showing respect to those people who claim to be something and then back up their attitude and convictions rather than being douchey, retarded hypocrites like kids who pretend to be vampires.

Great frickin’ episode and a cool ending to an awesome season – right on point and theme with another episode about cultural issues.

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