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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April Fools! Trey Parker and Matt Stone Yelled with “Terrance and Phillip in ‘Not Without My Anus,'” South Park Episode 201

Definitely the funniest thing about this episode is why it exists. As you may have noticed, it’s the first episode of the second season. Well, the cliffhanger “to-be-continued” season finale of the first season was “Cartman’s Mom is a Dirty Slut,” and was all about learning who Cartman’s father was.

Fans eagerly awaited the second season so that they could learn who Cartman’s father was and when it turned out that this episode was supposed to be aired on April 1st, Trey Parker and Matt Stone thought that a little April Fool’s joke was in order and so they made this totally ridiculous episode that was all about Terrance and Philip and a whole bunch of other nonsense.

The fans were pissed off (I wasn’t a viewer at the time). They were on board when it came to ragging on other people but when the joke-stick was pointed their way, they were not amused. I think that’s hilarious, though if I’d cared at the time I’d probably have been pissed off too.

One notable moment in this episode is Terrance and Philip and the person at the airport having no ability to differentiate between Middle Eastern countries like Iran and Iraq, insisting that they’re all the same. A comment on American (or Canadian?) ignorance about important regions of the world, hmm?

What did you think of this episode? Did you want to see the other one back in the day?

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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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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.

What did you think of the season finale? Leave comments below or rate it here:

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South Park Episode 1208, “The Chinese Problem,” Grapples with the Rape of Indiana Jones and Chinese Power

Oh, how Wednesdays are better when new episodes of South Park are on at 10 p.m. After a 6 month hiatus, South Park finally returned to us tonight with a brand new episode.

Berare da Chineez

Cartman, it seems, is terrified that with the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics (read my post about the Opening Ceremonies HERE), the Chinese were declaring their intent to conquer the world and take over America. Thus, he forms the American Liberation Front, which is “dedicated to freeing America from Chinese tyranny.”

After infiltrating a P.F. Changs to find out what the Chinese plan for taking over America is, a standoff with the police ensues and when it’s over Cartman realizes that as much as he wants America to retain its power in the world, that can’t be at the cost of American dignity – a lesson he learned by watching Butters unethically shoot people in their dicks.

The Rape of Indiana Jones

The perhaps even more nonsensical but equally as terrifying half of the plot concerned the rape of Indiana Jones by Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, who, the episode contends, destroyed Indiana Jones and effectively raped him senseless by making a fourth and totally worthless movie.

Stan, Kyle, the county attorney (who weirdly had four fingers on one hand and five on the other) and police officers all continue to relive the horror of that movie, seeing Lucas and Spielberg gang up on and rape Indiana Jones. One amusing reference was to the classic movie, Deliverance and a particularly disturbing scene therein.

The boys decide to take the two director-producers to trial and prosecute them for the rape they committed; when the cops bust into Spielberg’s house, they find him and Lucas raping a storm-trooper, a reference to the two butchering the classic Star Wars films with digital enhancements and three crappy additional movies. This issue was already tackled in episode 609, “Free Hat,” (click HERE to read about that episode).

In the end, everyone is incredibly relieved that the two evil men are brought to justice for their crimes.

My Thoughts

First of all, you can’t find a South Park episode I don’t like. Even if it’s not the most hilarious or most interesting plotline, I still think that they’re all good and worth seeing. This episode had some good laughs and some good points.

I always appreciate how far the show will take anything, whether to make you uncomfortable or think about what’s important to you, and they definitely took things crazily far with the raping of Indiana Jones – both the use of the word rape and the visual depictions of what happened to him. I don’t think it was necessary, appropriate or tasteful but when could South Park ever be described by any of those adjectives.

Particularly on the Deliverance side of things it was funny and made you cringe, and perhaps by using such a strong analogy, Parker and Stone were really trying to convey how terrible they considered the actions of Lucas and Spielberg to be when it came to their greed and personal interests rather than what was best for the character of Indiana Jones and the previous films’ artistic integrity.

Also, though the conclusion with the Cartman and China issue was a good one, I thought that it was arrived at a bit abruptly and after a shoddy attempt at interweaving that plot with the other plot. I wish that they’d spent more time making a real ending out of that part of the episode which actually is serious and important rather than being silly with Indiana Jones – though, of course, perhaps the Indiana issue was more important to Parker and Stone than the rise of the Chinese?

Summary

What did you think about this new episode? Which issue did you like more: Indiana Jones or China? Are you excited for the rest of the season?

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Chicken Sex Leads to Literacy in South Park Episode 203, “Chickenlover”

This episode is hysterical and a highlight among an excellent second season. No one forgets Cartman’s claim to “authori-TI” and the lessons about reading and what the boys pick up to read are great. Plus, who doesn’t love making fun of idiot cops. And then there’s the sex with chickens. I couldn’t ask for much more.

I would like to point out something cool I noticed long ago. When in the classroom, if you look at the alphabet above Mr. Garrison’s head and the chalkboard, it says, “DiOsMiOhAnMaTaDoHaKeNnYbAsTaRdOsF . . .” That’s right: “Dios mio,” or “My gods” and “Kenny Bastard.” Fun, right?

Also, a word about the Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged, knock at the end. Reading sucks, we learn, because of this book. Now, don’t get me wrong, I totally see the flaws in the philosophy behind the book, objectivism. It’s heartless, entirely lacking in social conscience and nearly impractical. However, the book was very interesting and engaging, especially considering its length. Normally, I agree pretty wholeheartedly with Stone’s and Parker’s opinions and evaluations, but this time, I’m going to have to disagree with them.

What did you think of the episode? What do you think of Ayn Rand? Atlas Shrugged? Objectivism?

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Zen Talk: Parker and Stone’s Alan Watts Animation Teaches of the Middle Ground and Banishing Black and White

Before seeing these videos, I wasn’t aware of Watts or his work, but I must admit that, despite accusations by other scholars of eastern religions, Buddhism and Zen that Watts fetishized and oversimplified Zen for the sake of sharing its philosophy, I really enjoy these mini lectures and the accompanying videos.

As I said Friday, I’m going to be talking about the video I posted then; to watch this video before reading the article, click HERE.

This video begins by telling us about the presumption that there are two types of people: prickly, practical ones, and gooey, sentimental ones. The world, Watts explains, is often perceived in a polarized fashion. We see one thing as black and the other as white, one thing as good and the other as bad, one thing as prickly and the other as gooey. It’s just a fact of our thinking that we pair and perceive in opposites. But, Watts tells us, the world is not so dichotomous. No person is entirely one thing, whether prickly or gooey.

Interestingly, psychology and personality studies reveal something similar. As friends and acquaintances characterize one another, researchers have found that people are often described in opposing ways. Moreover, when individuals try to characterize themselves as one thing, they find that they can also, at times, act in an opposing manner. People are not uni-characterizable, to use a term that doesn’t exist. They are complex, acting one way in certain situations and opposite ways in others.

Using his Zen predilections, Watts makes us realize that the world is not so easily divided into blacks and whites, but must be understood as gooey prickliness, and prickly goo. Now, it is often fetishized about Zen and Buddhism that there is no belief in good and evil or other similar dichotomies, but this is untrue. However, Watts doesn’t say that this is so and we can hardly accuse him of oversimplifying what he hasn’t. Rather, he is making a point about the nature of life and people in an attempt to break down our insistence on characterizing other people along such strict lines, and insisting that we are unable to relate to them.

What did you get out of Watts’ lecture and the accompanying video? Did you like it? Do you think it oversimplifies or does it make you think? What about?

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To read about “Cherokee Hair Tampons,” and the fetishization of eastern thought, click HERE.