Homeland Security, Guinea Pirates, and Craig as the Savior of Mankind All Grace “Pandemic 2 – The Startling,” South Park’s Newest Episode (1211)

So, as discussed last week, this episode is a continuation of the previous week’s, despite the lack of “To Be Continued” at the end of the episode. Fortunately, we as a South Park watching community are really bright and figured it out.

Summary

Guinea pigs are attacking cities all over the U.S. and in South Park Randy Marsh is still filming with his new camera. Throughout the episode more and more guinea animals attack, like guinea bees, rats, bears, and more.

Meanwhile, the boys are sent to a remote location in the mountains of Peru, though they were supposedly going to bring down the government in Lima. Craig, sure that he’s in this situation because of Kenny, Cartman, Stan and Kyle, insists that he hates them, but they claim it’s not their fault: stuff just happens to them. I love Craig’s attitude – he added a great element to this whole episode. After the boys discover an ancient prophecy that predicts Craig as the savior of mankind from the guinea pigs, Craig just quits pursuing the adventure and starts walking the other way.

As everything turns increasingly chaotic, the Director of Homeland Security demands to be taken to Machu Pichu. There he mocks the prophecy about Craig and when the boys stumble upon him urinating on a statue, he reveals the truth: that he is a guinea pirate! Craig, despite trying to walk away, ends up stopping him by shooting lasers from his eyes.

…and the rest is history.

South Park Self-Reflection

I love episodes of South Park that internally refer to the show. Remember “Cartoon Wars” and how Cartman insisted that Family Guy was a cartoon that millions of people see while he was just a little boy and therefore what he said didn’t matter? Remember when people said they liked Family Guy because it didn’t get all preachy and up its own ass with messages? Yeah? I love that self-referential stuff and I love that this episode did that too (as did the previous one). Craig always talking about how what happens to the boys isn’t normal and that they do it themselves – great stuff.

Great Episode Lessons

1. We don’t always have control over what happens to us and are sometimes just players on the stage of life

2. Don’t loan people money

3. You shouldn’t eat peanuts when you’re scared

4. Nobody likes hanging out with someone who complains all the time

Summary

I, for one, liked this episode a lot. It had some good laughs, was amusing, ridiculous, and made fun of stupid things like Quarantine and more.

What did you think? Did you think it was better than the other episodes this season? Do you think next week’s Wednesday episode will be about Tuesday’s presidential election? They make these fast but how fast can they do it?

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Fancast Proves Great News for Avid Television Watchers – Read This, Then Check it Out for Yourself

If you’re like me there are more tevision shows out there than you have the ability to remember to watch. The other day I found myself crying, “What!?” when a friend turned me onto a new site called Fancast that pretty much solved this problem for me.

What There Was

We all know places online where we can watch television for free. A lot of these places are more trouble than they’re worth: the streaming takes forever or blips, the quality is crummy, they’re getting shut-down for some kind of copyright infringement. I stopped watching tv online in the hopes of something better one day coming along. It has.

What Came Along

Fancast is quickly becoming one of the largest spots on the internet for watching all of our favorite television shows hassle-free and in great quality. Now, as a blog about South Park, you’d think I’d have trouble giving props to a site whose South Park section is a bit shy of stellar. However, as most great South Park fans know, the official South Park Studios site provides every episode of South Park for free so that’s already no trouble to watch. But what about all the other great tv out there?

Shows I Want to Be Watching

I love a whole bunch of other shows, like Dexter, Heroes, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, the Tudors, Family Guy, the Simpsons, Burn Notice, Two and a Half Men and others. Frankly, I never thought there was so much tv that I wanted to watch, but there is. I hardly ever remember to watch it all and when my girlfriend wants to watch something else, I often have to yield my remote control (after all, I do get it 98.4% of the time).

How Fancast Has Awesomed Up My TV Watching

With Fancast I never really miss these shows anymore so whether the lady has taken the remote, the show is from a station I don’t get (Showtime or HBO) or I just forget it’s on, I can always go check out Fancast which keeps all of my personal favorites in a list and you know what else – it even sends me reminders when it gets new episodes of my favorite shows! Thus, even if I forget about the program, Fancast has me covered.

Fancast also makes it really easy to get into new shows that I’ve been dying to try out like Californication, because I can just start at the beginning and watch right through. Moreover, sometimes I can convince my wonderful woman to miss Gossip Girl and let me finish watching Monday Night Football because I can guarantee her the reliability of the new episode being on in good quality on Fancast the next day.

Summary – A Vote on Prop Fancast

I know I’m rambling but I love to share a good thing. Just say I’m spreading the gospel.

What are your favorite shows? Have you tried out Fancast? What did you think?

To watch full episodes of hundreds of shows, click HERE – don’t forget to come back and tell me what you thought!

The Second Part of the Amazing South Park episodes, “Cartoon Wars,” (1004) Teaches About the Power of Terrorism

As you may have read in yesterday’s article about episode 1003 (click HERE), I love these amazing episodes that challenge our ability to understand what the real power of terrorism is.

What this episode teaches us is that terrorism is a mental as much as a physical threat. When threatened with terrorism for broadcasting an episode of Family Guy that depicted an image of Mohammed, FOX networks must decide whether or not to air the image. Deciding not to is a matter of changing our lives and values (free speech, etc.) because we’re scared.

Terrorism hasn’t happened in the sense that no bombs have gone off and no one has died. Terrorism has happened – effectively, I might add – because of the fear that makes us live a different way. When we stop living as we choose because we’re scared that is when terrorism has worked.

This episode, setting aside this interesting point, is amazing for other reasons, including the layers of meaning attached to the inclusion of Family Guy and other animated social commentaries for adults and the fact that Comedy Central actually pusses out and refuses to show the image of Mohammed that in the episode the FOX network president opted to show. Wow.

What did you think of this episode? What do you think of this portrayal of terrorism?

Read the essay that I wrote about these episodes, In Defense of South Park.

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South Park’s Most Self-Reflective Episode, “Cartoon Wars (1),” Episode 1003, Speak of Muslims, Terrorism and Free Speech

Personally, I think that the two part episode, “Cartoon Wars,” is out-of-this-world amazing. The layers of meaning in these two episodes go beyond almost anything most of us experience on a regular basis as we engage with the satirical media around us.

When Family Guy plans to show an image of Mohammed, the Muslim prophet, on its program, the Muslim world is outraged and the Americans are terrified of offending Muslims, primarily for fear of retribution. In large part the episode is about free speech and defending our American values, but it’s also about so much more than that. I recommend that everyone watch this episode and its sequel which will be on tomorrow night, Thursday.

A great free speech quote from the episode comes from Mr. Stotch, Butters’ dad:

“What we need to do is just the opposite. Freedom of speech is at stake here, don’t you all see? If anything, we should all make cartoons of Muhammad, and show the terrorists and the extremists that we are all united in the belief that every person has a right to say what they want! Look, people, it’s been real easy for us to stand up for free speech lately. For the past few decades we haven’t had to risk anything to defend it. But those times are going to come! And one of those times is right now. And if we aren’t willing to risk what we have, then we just believe in free speech, but we don’t defend it.”

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I’ve actually written an essay called, “In Defense of South Park,” in which I discuss the importance of these episodes in the context of their genre and satire.

What do you think of this episode? What about free speech and the need to defend it?

Guillermo del Toro’s Hellboy 2: Ron Pearlman is Bigger, Badder and More Entertaining than Ever

I, for one, was totally entertained, and as any of my movie review readers know, that’s pretty much my only requirement when it comes to action-packed summer blockbusters. And Toro’s Hellboy 2 is definitely among them.

Ron Pearlman, whose voice you’ve probably heard in any number of animated super-hero cartoons, is classic Hellboy: rude, arrogant, and ready to f- some s- up. The movie crosses a number of subplots (relationship with Selma Blair’s character, Liz Sherman, introduction of a new paranormal good-guy, Hellboy’s public persona) with the main plot of conquering the evil prince of the Underworld who wishes to raise a long-forgotten army and battle humanity for the rights to live on earth.

I first became aware of Hellboy 2 as a preview when my father and I were going to see the new Indiana Jones movie earlier this summer. Having never seen the first Hellboy movie, my dad said we could rent and watch it together, which we did a bit later. Though he won’t get to see the second one for a few weeks, I certainly owe him a thanks for turning me onto this less than polite comic book made big-screen bad-ass.

The action was consistently good throughout, but it is little compared to the amazing monsters and creatures that appear on screen throughout the film. The plot didn’t have any gaping holes, and thank goodness that the touching lovey-dovey scenes that seemed to pock the first film were kept to a minimum in this one (though there are still a few and even Abe Sapien has a love interest).

There was even a little religious stuff, though less than the first movie. Liz sports a large cross necklace the entire time and Hellboy also has a cross on a chain on his wrist in a few scenes (funny on the biggest Jew in Hollywood – big physically, that is).

All in all Ron Pearlman is great. Selma is a little melodramatic but I suppose that’s the character. I always love Jeffrey Tambor (George on Arrested Development), and a most hilarious addition was seeing Seth MacFarlane’s name in the credits (the creator of Family Guy and American Dad). Yes, that’s right – he provided the voice of Johann Krauss, the same voice he uses for the fish on American Dad.

Good summer fun and a great flick – 8 Chocolate Salty Balls for Hellboy 2. Seven are for the movie and 1 is for the timing.

Have you seen it? What did you think? Better than the first? Buy it now: Hellboy II: The Golden Army.

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