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South Park

One of the good things about the show is that they can stay up to date with what is going on with the world. In tonight's episode they played off the Occupy Wall Street movement. But they mostly used it as a way in which to tell a story about Cartman. Though my problem with that is I don't know if they were being serious when they injected politics into the story.

My biggest problem is that I didn't really find much in this episode to be funny. I can handle and even enjoy some of the nihilism and conservative leanings if they make it funny. That's not to say this episode contains those aspects. The reason I don't think this episode worked is because I'm not sure if there was some sort of message I was supposed to get or if they were just using the OWS and the 99% thing to make it completely about Cartman and his need for stuffed animals.

If it was just about Cartman growing up then I think its not a bad episode. But even then they never let the characters grow and always let Cartman get away with things. So if they are trying to say he is growing up by killing his stuffed animals I just don't buy it. What's the point if they don't follow through? If there was some message, possibly about how OWS and the 99% should put more blame on Obama, I think it was muddled and off base.

The more I look back on older episodes, the more I see conservative or nihilist principles coming through. Their episodes about religion are almost always really funny and smart, often some of their best episodes of the entire series. But as with many issues, they tend to try to come off as down the middle as possible. For instance, they poke fun at Catholic priests for sexually abusing young boys. But they also have atheists crapping out of their mouth when talking about why they gave up being christians. They criticize mormons for believing ridiculous shit. But then they make them out to be such nice people that it doesn't matter to them what they believe. And in the episode I'm watching right now, they have some environmentalists brainwashing people into believing global warming and doing something about it. They even have one of the kids say there is no evidence for it and the environmentalist do the jedi mind trick to convince the kid there is.

The thing I sometimes find frustrating with the show is what I had a problem with tonight, which is trying to figure out what they are really saying. If they aren't straddling the fence they are being nihilistic. Nihilism is fine when they are saying something shouldn't be taken so seriously. But when you go back and forth between that and trying to take a stance on an issue it can be hard to know when to take what they are saying seriously and when we should just laugh at the jokes. I think this could be a downside of them doing the show the way they do, which is that they don't have enough time to let an idea roll around in their heads and get fleshed out. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. So far this season I think it hasn't really worked for the most part.