They say watching too much TV will rot your brain. Perhaps my brain has already rotted and turned to mush, but I have to disagree with this quote. Yes, there is a lot of garbage on TV today that certainly does society no good (from Honey Boo Boo to Jersey Shore) but there is a program that’s been on TV a long time serving as a compactor for all the trash on TV–South Park.
I know what you’re thinking, South Park is trash. It’s toilet humor. Offensive to Jews, Blacks, Christians, Asians, Whites, Hispanics, Mormons, Scientologists, Gays, Straights, Aliens, Goths, Obese, Homeless…I could keep this sarcastic, italicized list going but I think you get the point and/or have heard it before, and hopefully find it as laughable as I do. Creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone poke fun at EVERYBODY, and do a stellar job at it. They accurately point out the flaws that exist inside all of us. They attack Conservatives and Liberals alike. They are, in fact, equal opportunity offenders. So, stop taking it so personally, softie.
It’s not my mission to talk about the criticisms of SP, though, I just had to say hi to the haters. My thesis is that Matt and Trey are geniuses. I don’t throw that word out there often, but that’s what they are. They are in a small fraternity of modern comedy “geniuses” (in my personal opinion, no true list exists) along with: Larry David, Louis CK, Jerry Seinfeld, Ricky Gervais (many will disagree with this but look at his track record and what he’s done) and I’m going to conclude my list there. To me, that list is today’s comedy geniuses. I would even take it a step further, by saying they are the best writers in TV today (yes, I know Trey writes and all that but I will be using “they” because as they point out in 6 Days to Air, they are a team and one cannot thrive successfully without the other). They tackle taboo subjects that no other show dare go near, and truly make you think and reflect–whether it’s Honey Boo Boo, Amendment Rights, Presidential Elections, Concussions in Football, etc they hit the nail on the head with what is wrong with our society and pop culture. Which leads me to say most of the shows critics, probably just don’t get the joke.
Vigilantism is illegal. You cannot, legally, go out and protect the streets from bad guys and take matters into your own hands. I saw with my own two eyes the masses take to Twitter to publicly proclaim what they would do to George Zimmerman if they saw him. As much as we all wanted justice to be served, we could do nothing. The Judicial System failed and we just have to live with it, right? Wrong. It is not illegal to put Zimmerman to death on the electric chair on your TV show. That is exactly what Matt and Trey did. In a way, justice was served last Wednesday when South Park put Zimmerman in his place.
Another recent episode that I found to be very inspirational and accurate was their take on the “Bully” movie, in their Season 16 Episode, “Butterballs“. I don’t want to give away many spoilers, I’d rather you watch it for yourself. It contains some of the best writing, both comically and in thought, that I’ve seen in a long, long time. This quick clip shows the genius writing and point of view they have: http://www.southparkstudios.com/clips/412207/night-grandma. Smart, funny, and really connects with the audience. In that same episode, Trey and Matt convey how they feel if a director/filmmaker truly feels that their product is a “must see” like “Bully” was, that it should be available for free–not something to make a profit out of. No coincidence, this is how they feel about their own work. All episodes can be viewed for free online at SouthParkStudios.com.
The next time you hear somebody talking about how South Park is nothing more than toilet humor, do what Cartman would do and “kick ’em square in the nuts”.
With Love and Laughter,