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Friday, June 17, 2011

South Park -- You're Getting Old

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A lot has been made over the intentions of this mini-finale for Season 15's midpoint. As South Park creator's, Matt Stone and Trey Parker, have been busy with their Tony-award winning play The Book of Mormon and various other things, a lot of people assumed they wouldn't care much for their first child anymore. A cursory look at the episode's plot...okay sorry for such formal language in an episode where a duck defecates from it's mouth...I'll try to stop it...
The stuff that happens in the episode is:
Stan Marsh finally turns ten (alas, he was eight only 15 years ago). He has a big party, where Cartman has to get a present for every present he does, so as Cartman's mother says, "He won't throw a hissyfit."
Stan gets a CD by one of his favorite "tween wave" bands, which Stan's mom quickly confiscates because she says it sucks and she doesn't want Stan listening to it. Like any kid these days, Stan somehow gets the CD on his IPod and listens to it anyway, but instead of Justin Beiberesque music bursting from his earpods, Stan just hears the noise of someone taking a dump in his ear...literally. We all know that's not how Justin Beiber is supposed to sound.
Meanwhile, downstairs Stan's parents get into a huge fight because his father, Randy, thinks his mother, Sharon, is being too harsh on Stan, and that "teen wave" music is really cool and she doesn't get it. When Randy listens to it, he just hears someone taking a dump, too, but he pretends otherwise. He decides to start his own "tween wave" band where he essentially farts into a microphone for an hour at a local dive bar. This leads to a delightfully bizarre subplot where two old men decide to save Randy's pants (which only leads to their arrest by episode's end).
As Stan's dad makes an idiot of himself, Stan goes to the doctor to find out what is wrong with him. Stan is shown a series of childish images (including an advertisent for the upcoming film,"The Zookeeper"), but he only sees turds. The doctor first concludes that Stan is just growing up, but when he attempts to play some Bob Dylan for Stan, Stan only hears a man strumming a guitar and pooing into a microphone. The doctor sighs, and diagnoses Stan: because of some mental-wire crossing, Stan is now, as is a decent population of the world, a "cynical asshole." He now no longer has the ability to enjoy anything.
He soons finds his friends want nothing to do with him (Kyle would even rather hang out with Cartman!) because of his rampant negativity, and he ends up sitting dejected at Starks Pond, otracised from the world as a bee lands on a flowering stalk of poop.
On top of everything, Sharon, sick of Randy's immaturity and ability to fall for any fad or hype, gets in a surprisingly heartfelt argument with him and the two decide to divorce. This is followed by a tender, sad montage to Stevie Nick's "Landslide" as the Marsh family breaks up, Randy leaves town, Stan's friends bond without him, and Sharon and the children move into a new home, fading to black as Stan lies in his bed alone in an empty room.
The episode is over.
A lot of people are taking this to mean that Parker and Stone are sick of South Park, the whole thing leaves them numb and cynical now, and they are ready to move on...
Sorry dudes, you guys are all wrong:
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Trey Parker & Matt Stone
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Matt and Trey still love the show, had as much fun as ever working on this past half-season, and are excited to figure out where to take South Park this fall.
So instead of trying to find some huge, over-reaching meta-explanation of "You're Getting Old," I think we can all just take it as a funny, poignant, poo-filled reflection on how sometimes everything seems to suck, especially when you are transitioning to a new stage in life. I really hope that South Park experiments with this Marsh family storyline in the fall, but if they just reset like nothing happened, as they often do, hey, it will still be South Park, and it will still be on TV, and what show has ever produced something this good in its 15th SEASON!?
Bring on more!!!

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