Ok, before I piss off some hardcore fans of this quirky genius franchise, let me admit that I myself am a South Park fan. When I came across the iPad episode during my college days, I knew right then that I wouldn’t be able to stop myself from binging on all the seasons by downloading every last bit of the episode.
Every year, there are moments when I can quote South Park stuffs alongside my colleagues while talking about any relevant issues and go like, “Yeah! I think South Park has done an episode about that.”
But it’s not merely due to the reason that many social and trending issues are part of the show's plot why we love South Park.
It’s mostly for the reason that many elements. Be it Scientology, gentrification, or priest scandal, get a comedic treatment in the most fun and thought-provoking way possible by the show's creators.
But in recent years, the thrill has kind of fuzzed off. Trust me; I really tried to hold on to the feeling that maybe I was losing interest with age. I tried to lie to myself that maybe I couldn’t catch up with the jokes or issues in the recent episodes.
However, the show has lost its touch a bit, especially the daring signature element it always had.
Still Bold But Mostly Spectacle
I’m not implying that Matt and Trey have become mainstream and are trying to be catering to the mainstream market. In fact, they have gotten bolder than ever. For instance, the episode where Randy goes to China and harms Winnie The Poo was quite a balssy if you think about it/
As expected, China did end up banning them only to prove to the world once again that their censorship is a really visceral one.
But I’m not here to dive into the past episodes and nostalgically fawn over them, rambling about the better days and so on. Let’s cut to the chase and see why The new Pandemic episode didn’t really work out for my taste.
I’ll say it straight out that most of the plot in the episode was merely a spectacle. Apart from the hilarious “chin diaper” joke, most elements were something to forget after viewing.
The lamest joke was Randy being intimate with infected Pangolin and bringing the virus to America. And the cure to treatment is his excretion, whose side effect is having a mustache.
What’s The Point?
There was a time in South Park when songs like “Dumb Dumb Dumb” used to have a whole lot more depth to them than just comedy. And now, all of it is just a spectacle, and I’m sick of watching our Beloved Randy Marsh touching himself now all of a little laugh that serves no purpose at all.
On top of that, the episode was short, in fact, and given the fact that most of the production for the pandemic special happened from home, it’s justifiable.
But, the lame plot devoid of everlasting moments can’t be justified from animators' work-from-home schedule.
Another instance where the signature comedy failed is during the moment when police fire at Token. This is different from when Randy tries to take down a statue of Columbus in an earlier episode. It would have been better if they could have dealt with the police defunding and riot issue in their staple comedy way, i.e., by weighing the reality as just a spectator.
All that I loved about this episode is the song by Cartman at the start about the blissful state of being home in a lockdown. The song is a gem for me now, and I’ll pretend that rest of the episode didn’t even happen.
Nevertheless, I can’t wait for a new season and hope that this 40-minute special is a build-up for something greater next season.