Cartman Leads a Somalian Pirate Crew in the South Park Season 13 Midway Finale (1307), “Fatbeard”

Cartman bursts into the cafeteria with exciting news: piracy is back! He tells the other boys that freedom from their lives of oppression awaits on the high seas around Somalia, where they’ll find lagoons and waterfalls and booty.

Kyle insists that this is a very good idea, hoping that Cartman will go to Mogadishu, but says that, as a Jew, he can’t be a pirate. Cartman is glad that Kyle is finally coming to terms with his disability.

Butters, Clyde, Ike and Craig all join Cartman as pirates and after purchasing tickets to Somalia on Cartman’s mom’s credit card, they go to Mogadishu. The pirates they find, however, decide to take them captive and hold them for ransom – but of course the boys think they’re all just being pirates together since the Somali pirates don’t speak English.

Kyle is excited that Cartman has left South Park until his parents inform him that Ike has gone with Cartman and company. In Ike’s note, he reveals that he’s grown weary of the monotony of middle class life and if one more person mentions Susan Boyle then he’s going to vomit his brains through his nose. Kyle has to go to Somalia and get Ike.

Back in Somalia, the boys are traded to a French ship for a ransom but then they take over the French yacht themselves and kick off the French crew. Now deserving a little respect, Cartman, back at the pirates’ layer, tries to make everyone into what he considers legitimate pirates. With increased organization and better pirating going on the UN grows concerned, especially once it learns that a white boy (Kyle) has been taken captive and is being held for ransom.

Ultimately, the episode’s lesson comes when one of the pirates takes a moment to talk to Butters and Ike. He says that he can’t understand how anyone would want to be a pirate. That being a pirate is scary and terrible and something that you only do out of necessity. Butters and Ike realize that despite coming from a life of rules and order they have things pretty good in America and they shouldn’t be bitching about their standard middle class lives.

I take that to mean that making something interesting of yourself and making the most of your life is one thing but to bitch about the dreariness of life here is to take for granted how good we have it – especially when compared to the god-forsaken dumping ground that is Somalia.

Have you ever been to Somalia? Have you ever been confronted by pirates? Did you ever want to be a pirate? What happened to your dreams?

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George Clooney’s Smug and South Park’s Hybrid Smug Create the Ultimate Smug Storm in “Smug Alert,” South Park Episode 1002

This episode is awesome and hilarious. On the one hand, I love the way it makes fun of San Francisco. I’ve been living in San Francisco for about 7 months and it really is a great city but holy shit am I tired of hearing about how great it is from every San Franciscan. These people think they are so progressive living in San Francisco. Even the carpet commercials say, “You’re a progressive Californian and you deserve a progressive carpet.” Oh my god! Suck my nuts! Though I like San Francisco, I love the way this episode captures the attitude out here. People here really do love the smell of their own farts (who doesn’t?).

Speaking of loving the smell of his own farts, let’s talk about Gerald Broflovski, who becomes ever more impressed with himself when he purchases a Hybrid and thinks that he’s saving the world. So smug is he that he eventually decides to move his family to San Francisco to cohabitate with all the other self-satisfied hybrid drivers.

In a desperate attempt to get his friend back to South Park (obviously Kyle went away with his family – and starts dropping acid in order to escape his parents who love the smells of their own farts so much) Stan writes a song that is meant to inspire people in South Park to buy hybrids. Well, it works, and ultimately the smug gathering over South Park at people’s new sense of self-satisfaction and the smug gathering over San Francisco combine into an unbelievable Smug System. When the smug from George Clooney’s Oscar acceptance speech (in which he speaks about how ahead of the times actors and Hollywood are) heads in the direction of the already brewing smug catastrophe, it’s more pressure than the western half of the U.S. can take.

See what the fallout of the smug is in “Smug Alert,” an awesome South Park episode.

What did you think? What was your favorite part?

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Kyle’s Cousin Comes to Town and Mr. Garrison Solves the Airline Problems in South Park Episode 511, “The Entity”

This episode is all about Jewish stereotypes, and rather than portray them in a totally uninteresting way, South Park does a fascinating job of bringing them to the forefront. Kyle’s Cousin, Kyle (who I will call KC) comes from Connecticut to live with Kyle and his family, and he is a walking, talking, breathing Jewish stereotype. He is nerdy looking, obsessed with money and bargains and constantly complains.

Unable to stand the idea that KC is destroying all the hard work he’d done making a good name for Jews in South Park, Kyle does his best to get rid of his cousin. Kyle is terrified of becoming a stereotype himself.

“A self-hating Jew,” Stan exclaims. “You are becoming a stereotype.”

In the meantime, Mr. Garrison, finally fed up with the bullshit of the airlines and hell at the airport, invents a device called the Entity, which travels so fast that it eliminates the need for air travel. Incidentally, the seat goes up your butt and the controller is a shaft held in the mouth. Unfortunately for his brilliant invention the U.S. government refuses to let the airlines go under and shuts Mr. Garrison down.

This episode is a brilliant critique of the government’s protectionism and continually failed policies to help the American people while potentially doing them an enormous disservice and pissing them off. Reminds me of something particularly relevant that’s going on right now…

The end of the episode includes a brilliant message delivered through KC, but you’ll have to watch it to find out what it is.

What did you think of this episode and its current topicality? What was your favorite part?

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Mr. Hankey Saves Kyle and Christmas in the First South Park Christmas Episode, 110, “Mr. Hankey the Christmas Poo”

It’s the first South Park Christmas episode ever. And you know what that means! It’s time to meet Mr. Hankey, the Christmas Poo, the latest and greatest Holiday Season icon who’s there for everyone, no matter what s/he celebrates. As long as you have a high fiber diet then Mr. Hankey will be coming to your town.

Of course, as South Park’s Christmas falls apart do to an overemphasis on the separation between church and state and a misguided attempt not to offend anyone with any kind of decoration or festivity, the Broflovskis are not amused at Kyle’s suggestion to the mayor that Mr. Hankey become the new Christmas icon.

In fact, Kyle finds himself in increasing levels of trouble (and then the nut house) when Mr. Hankey comes around and makes a mess in the bathroom and later launches himself at Cartman after he sings about what a bitch Kyle’s mom is. Dubbed a fecopheliac, Kyle is locked away by his friends. Backstage at the disastrous elementary school play, however, Chef asks about Kyle’s whereabouts and upon learning what happened, tells the children that Mr. Hankey is real.

That’s when Mr. Hankey can finally be seen by everyone else and he saves the day on Christmas by telling the town:

“You people focus so hard on the things wrong with Christmas that you’ve forgotten what’s so right about it. Don’t you see? This is the one time of year we’re s’posed to forget all the bad stuff, to stop worrying and being sad about the state of the world, and for just one day say, ‘Aw, the heck with it! Let’s sing and dance and bake cookies.’”

Then the whole town goes out to the nut house and rescues Kyle; they all sing Mr. Hankey the Christmas Poo’s special song. And miraculously enough, Kenny doesn’t die!

What do you think of this episode? What was your favorite part?

Enjoy some great South Park Christmas quotes.

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Zen Talk: The Path to Salvation Must Begin and End with the Self

“No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.”

This, to be honest, reminds me of Christianity. Of course, the Buddha knew nothing of Christianity and Buddhism is not a prophetic religion, so obviously he wasn’t talking about Jesus or Christianity, but nonetheless, the mention of being saved makes me think of Christianity. Mentally, the concept of salvation is monopolized in my head by Christianity.

But as we can see, this quote is not saying what Christianity says. This quote says that only we can save ourselves – NOT someone else (which is to say, Jesus). Now, I’m not saying that Jesus doesn’t save or passing any kind of theological judgment. I’m merely discussing the significance of this concept, which I believe can be applied to anyone, whether Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, Jew, Hindu, Shintoist or other.

Why? Because it puts the emphasis on the self for guiding one towards Enlightenment. Liberation from suffering and these worldly concerns only comes with our own willpower, determination and effort. I’ll avoid the theological discussion that I’m tempted to have about the concept of a savior, and just conclude by saying that I really like what this verse is saying because I do believe that each of us is responsible for his or her own fate.

What do you think of this quote?

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San Francisco, George Clooney and South Park’s Hybrids Collide in a Smug Storm in South Park Episode 1002, “Smug Alert”

Goodness gracious is this an awesome episode. Mr. Broflovski gets a hybrid and becomes so high and mighty that he moves his family to San Francisco where everyone loves the smells of his and her own farts. To get his best friend back to South Park, Stan writes a song that inspires everyone to become more environmentally conscious and buy hybrids. Then they all become equally as smug.

Smug clouds start gathering over South Park and San Francisco and when those smug clouds combine with the smugness from George Clooney’s Oscar acceptance speech (all about how advanced the people in Hollywood are), it’s a smug storm of epic proportions.

When Kyle leaves, Cartman makes Butters his Jew to rip on, but Butters doesn’t fight back like Kyle. He just laughs, and so Cartman has to go to San Francisco to rescue Kyle and his family from all the terrible hippies and bring him back. Cartman needs Kyle but doesn’t tell him that he saved his family from the Smug Storm. The way Cartman goes into the city all hazmat style is great, as is the children’s use of acid to escape their parents enjoyment of their own farts is hilarious.

I love this episode. First, I recently moved to San Francisco for a year and it is indeed an incredibly smug city. It’s a great place and I love it here but boy do we love the smell of our own farts. Second, hybrids, as much of a nice step as they may be, are not a permanent solution and people who drive them should not be so proud of themselves. And notably, Parker and Stone will mock anyone, friend or foe. George Clooney loves South Park, so much so that he wanted to be on it in the first season (he was only granted the role of Sparkey, Stan’s gay dog in episode 104). However, despite this, they tore into him for his obnoxious speech.

What did you think of this episode? What was your favorite part.

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Around the World Pic: A Statue of Jesus with a Jewish Prayer on a Prague Bridge

When I first went to Prague I thought this statue was incredibly fascinating. It is a statue of Jesus on the cross but around him are the words, in Hebrew, “Holy, holy, holy, the Lord of Hosts.” These words are part of an important prayer uttered by Jews every day the world over. They, under no circumstances, refer to Jesus, and so finding this statue on the Charles Bridge in Prague was a bizarre discovery for me.

As it happens, these golden Hebrew letters were part of a humiliating punishment assigned to a Jew at the end of the 17th century who’d been accused of blasphemy. He was forced to pay for them, and it made it seem that when the Jews said this prayer, they were referring to Jesus.

Needless to say, my love of European history and studying Jewish-Christian relations, made stumbling across this statue a wonderful treat.

Plus, a friend of mine stripped down to his boxers right here and planned to jump over the edge before something (Jesus?) compelled him to stop, because the river was likely more shallow than he imagined.

Have you ever been to Prague? Have you seen this statue? What’d you think?

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To read about Jesus’ connection to King David in the book of Matthew because of Hebrew lettering, click HERE.