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Is South Park done?
July 7, 2011 5:13 PM   Subscribe

Is South Park done? "Trey Parker and Matt Stone are still under contract through 2013—so no, probably not." but the last episode of the first half of the current season, "You're Getting Old" which is available for streaming tomorrow had "a definite note of weariness and finality"

South Park's creators are also mounting a Broadway show with Robert Lopez of Avenue Q and the workload may be getting to them: 'Parker dreams of taking a vacation “somewhere in the Caribbean,” while Stone just wants to “go look at a wall and check out.”' '“It’s a nightmare.”'

South Park's "philosophy has often largely been about how other people care too much about things, and that many of our big problems and scandals would go away if everyone could just relax and feel less passionate. Yet here, Stan's lack of passion - and the Marsh parents' - was clearly shown to be a bad thing for them."

This episode leans heavily on the word shit. Previous South Park shit x168. Previous South Park ratings ploy.
posted by morganw (157 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
Parker and Stone should make the next two seasons as bugfuck crazy as humanly possible in response to their contractual obligations. It's obvious that they want to move on, but since they apparently can't for another two years, we might as well get the South Park equivalent of Metal Machine Music.

Credit where credit is due, though, South Park had a hell of a run. I heard the last season was a bit weaker - it's a shame it can't be the final season. Better to end on a high note (or a brown note huehuehuehue).
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:18 PM on July 7, 2011 [5 favorites]


Really. Without dropping spoilers, "You're Getting Old" would have been a great series finale.
posted by LordSludge at 5:18 PM on July 7, 2011 [8 favorites]


I faithfully watched South Park until about a couple years ago, but in retrospect they jumped the shark around season three.

It stopped being a crappily-animated satire about foul-mouthed kids in South Park, Colorado and started being this ripped-from-the-headlines thing where all the donkeys grow Michael Moore heads and go on a rampage to corner the market on Nintendo 3DS's and then Cartman goes all 3d-animated and vengefully roasts Butters over a fire in the Oval Office while Stan and Kyle look on horrified. It got too ridiculous and they ran out of good ideas early.
posted by dunkadunc at 5:20 PM on July 7, 2011 [5 favorites]


Yeah, I haven't really watched South Park for the last 5 years. I don't really want to watch all those episodes either, but it's nice that you can stream them all from their website. I wish all cable shows did that, like the Daily Show and Colbert Report.

(Actually, are there any standout episodes from the last 5 seasons worth watching?)
posted by MrFTBN at 5:26 PM on July 7, 2011


The show has been pretty 50/50 for me the last 4 or 5 seasons. Stone and Parker are still at their best when they do episodes about kids being (crass) kids and not when they're going for the shock value of "oh my god - this storyline was in the news JUST LAST WEEK!!!". Unfortunately, the ripped-from-the-headlines episodes seem to've been dominating recently.
posted by item at 5:29 PM on July 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


(Actually, are there any standout episodes from the last 5 seasons worth watching?)

Imaginationland?
posted by MikeMc at 5:31 PM on July 7, 2011 [18 favorites]


>I wish all cable shows did that, like the Daily Show and Colbert Report.

You know that both TDS and Colbert offer up their full episodes, right?
posted by item at 5:33 PM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I dunno, everyone once in a while they'd still pop out a good one. I liked Woodland Critter Christmas, from season 8. I'm a bit flummoxed that they'd have spoilers in the descriptions of the episode in their own web players, though. If you watch that full-screen it quickly with the top-right icon and don't read the text underneath the video.
posted by BeerFilter at 5:33 PM on July 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh god, Imaginationland was the epitome of everything I hate about new South Park. All the college kids would sit around smoking weed and laughing uncontrollably, but... it just sucked. The only way you could tolerate watching it was stoned.
posted by dunkadunc at 5:33 PM on July 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


(Actually, are there any standout episodes from the last 5 seasons worth watching?)

"Crème Fraiche" (Season 14, episode 14)
posted by Chuckles at 5:34 PM on July 7, 2011 [14 favorites]


or maybe you were saying that you wish all shows did it like TDS and Colbert. Maybe my reading comprehension is off tonight.
posted by item at 5:34 PM on July 7, 2011


You know that both TDS and Colbert offer up their full episodes, right?
Yeah, that's why I mentioned them.
posted by MrFTBN at 5:34 PM on July 7, 2011


It's got some of that "ripped from the headlines" thing, but I liked You Have 0 Friends.
posted by epersonae at 5:34 PM on July 7, 2011 [10 favorites]


South Park has done its damage, striking down imperfect parts of our culture and society so they can be replaced with things far more stupid and mean-spirited (most of which they never got around to going after). It got old a long time ago. But "The Book of Mormon" has to be Parker and Stone's greatest subversive achievement, guaranteed to get Mitt Romney elected President.
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:36 PM on July 7, 2011 [7 favorites]


I definitely felt that had they ended with the last episode that aired, it would have been fitting. I took a moment after it aired, and said to an empty room, "That's fucked up. I wonder how many more episodes they can do after that." I honestly believe that they'll finish the arc that the last episode created, finish this season, and buy out their remaning seasons, hanging up their writing pens forever. It's been a hell of a run.
posted by deezil at 5:38 PM on July 7, 2011


Unfortunately, the ripped-from-the-headlines episodes seem to've been dominating recently.

Well, with Law and Order: Original Recipe done, someone had to take up that mantle.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 5:38 PM on July 7, 2011


Haha, yeah, South Park :scoff:
posted by QuarterlyProphet at 5:38 PM on July 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


But "The Book of Mormon" has to be Parker and Stone's greatest subversive achievement, guaranteed to get Mitt Romney elected President.

Can we just give them some Nobel prizes and call it a day?
posted by mikelieman at 5:38 PM on July 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


striking down imperfect parts of our culture and society so they can be replaced with things far more stupid and mean-spirited (most of which they never got around to going after)

God, you just fucking nailed why I started hating South Park after they got all preachy and message-y. I've never been able to articulate it, but that's it.
posted by penduluum at 5:39 PM on July 7, 2011 [16 favorites]


Parker and Stone should make the next two seasons as bugfuck crazy as humanly possible in response to their contractual obligations.

The last set of episodes I saw had Kenny's deaths taken semi-seriously, a gorgeously animated Cthulhu, and a Superman expy based on a made-up cereal. The first episode ever was about aliens and anal probes. How can it get more bugfuck crazy?
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 5:41 PM on July 7, 2011 [5 favorites]


. How can it get more bugfuck crazy?

South Park/Orgazmo crossover?
posted by mikelieman at 5:42 PM on July 7, 2011


I will be happy when the mean little nihilist libertarian Trojan horse is finally gone.
posted by The Whelk at 5:43 PM on July 7, 2011 [33 favorites]


The last set of episodes I saw had Kenny's deaths taken semi-seriously, a gorgeously animated Cthulhu, and a Superman expy based on a made-up cereal. The first episode ever was about aliens and anal probes. How can it get more bugfuck crazy?

And yet it still had a understandable, follow-able narrative structure. Which is far far more rational than some of the stuff that shows up on [adult swim].
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 5:46 PM on July 7, 2011 [6 favorites]


There was an interview several years ago where they said (paraphrasing) that when they decide to end the show, they would just make an episode about "baby fucking", so they would just get taken off the air, for good.
posted by stifford at 5:46 PM on July 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Parker and Stone were on TDS a couple of weeks ago, and talked about doing South Park. Jon Stewart asked them if they were too tired to care about it after making Book of Mormon and they both said, "no, we still love it, that's our thing". They specifically address the last episode and said they kind of threw it together, but it didn't mean anything.

If you care to (and are able to), see it here, they start talking about SP three minutes or so into the interview.
posted by Red Loop at 5:46 PM on July 7, 2011 [5 favorites]


South Park's creators are also mounting a Broadway show with Robert Lopez of Avenue Q and the workload may be getting to them

Um... the show has been locked and hasn't involved Parker, Stone, and Lopez's actual input beyond the publicity machine for many months now. That the show won a zillion awards probably helped contribute to their weariness as someone had to be at the shows to get the awards....

But overall, I'd guess that this contributes very little to the current state of the television show, and that maybe they're just tired of doing the show. The Book Of Mormon hasn't required their involvement for quite a bit.
posted by hippybear at 5:47 PM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]



And yet it still had a understandable, follow-able narrative structure.


I think that's what sets South Park apart from the imitators. There's randomness and mean-spiritedness but there's more 'normal' characters. I can't really watch Family Guy because almost everyone is a total asshole, and it's treated as normal and kinda good. On South Park Cartman is an utterly horrible raging racist dickhead (which is funny) but the other characters call him out on it. Stan, Kyle, Kenny, even his mom sometimes - they all acknowledge that he's a sack of shit. Same with the randomness. The characters are used to it it, but it's not all-pervasive like Aqua Teen Hunger Force.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 5:50 PM on July 7, 2011 [8 favorites]


The Book Of Mormon hasn't required their involvement for quite a bit.

However, I expect that driving to the bank and endorsing all those checks can be exhausting some days...
posted by mikelieman at 5:50 PM on July 7, 2011


"(Actually, are there any standout episodes from the last 5 seasons worth watching?)"

Over Logging (S12E06) is Grapes of Wrath meets the Internet.

nthing the Creme Fraiche episode!

I don't see the series getting stale anytime soon. I enjoy the more recent seasons a lot more than the first ones.
posted by lemuring at 5:56 PM on July 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


striking down imperfect parts of our culture and society so they can be replaced with things far more stupid and mean-spirited (most of which they never got around to going after).

I once nearly punched a guy in the mouth for talking about wanting to beat up "fags". A friend stopped me and told me about a South Park episode in which they now refered to motor cyclists as "fags" because that word has changed definitions so many times let's stop calling queer people that and direct our hatred towards someone else.

So, you know, thanks for trying to disarm a word by giving assholes a moral reason to use it.
posted by munchingzombie at 5:57 PM on July 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


Yeah, I was going to make the same point as hippybear, they're not still writing Book of Mormon they're cashing their checks and picking up trophies.
posted by Jahaza at 5:59 PM on July 7, 2011


I once nearly punched a guy in the mouth for talking about wanting to beat up "fags". A friend stopped me and told me about a South Park episode in which they now refered to motor cyclists as "fags" because that word has changed definitions so many times let's stop calling queer people that and direct our hatred towards someone else.

So, you know, thanks for trying to disarm a word by giving assholes a moral reason to use it.


Idiots gonna idiot.
posted by lumensimus at 6:00 PM on July 7, 2011 [5 favorites]


Actually, are there any standout episodes from the last 5 seasons worth watching?

Major Boobage (1203) is amazing.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:03 PM on July 7, 2011 [8 favorites]


I have never seen a good South Park in my life.
posted by Cyclopsis Raptor at 6:12 PM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


All the college kids would sit around smoking weed and laughing uncontrollably, but...

Is this the equivalent of Leonard Maltin saying something like: "Bomb; but has inevitable cult following."
posted by ovvl at 6:23 PM on July 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


Vell you've come to zee right place, my friend.
posted by BeerFilter at 6:24 PM on July 7, 2011


I faithfully watched South Park until about a couple years ago, but in retrospect they jumped the shark around season three.

Seriously? In retrospect, SP didn't offer much substance beyond juvenile potty and shock humor to make it worth watching until after season 3.
posted by yifes at 6:26 PM on July 7, 2011 [9 favorites]


I haven't watched South Park regularly for years. It really should have taken the hint from The Simpsons when that show quit after ten years in the late 90's and didn't drag on and on until it was an embarrassing parody of it's old self.
posted by octothorpe at 6:38 PM on July 7, 2011 [10 favorites]


Yeah the Simpsons stopped after that season when they went to New York and made up for not having a finale with that movie a few years ago, right?

right
?

RIGHT?!
posted by The Whelk at 6:39 PM on July 7, 2011


I only dip my toe into the South Park universe occasionally after watching the first two seasons. It's like, I get it. But I keep revisiting it and sometimes am completely delighted with what I witness. The WoW episode was great, as was the Britney Spears episode. But overall I can't watch it all the time.

Still, when it's on, it's spot on, insightful, and brilliant.
posted by hippybear at 6:40 PM on July 7, 2011


This episode in particular was timely, as it aired the night before my son's 10th birthday.

He has acted nothing like Stan did. I'm not sure whether to be pleased with that or not.
posted by Lucinda at 6:44 PM on July 7, 2011


There was an interview several years ago where they said (paraphrasing) that when they decide to end the show, they would just make an episode about "baby fucking", so they would just get taken off the air, for good.

Oh yes, I remember that interview. "Are the straps on? Fuck the baby."

(I used to be one of those creepy, obsessive Matt & Trey fans. Quit watching the show five or six years ago, when I got tired of the Trojan horse libertarianism, as The Whelk so eloquently put it. Keep the episode recommendations coming, I'd like to check a couple out and see if I like it again.)
posted by palomar at 6:54 PM on July 7, 2011


I remember with alarming clarity the very first episode back in 97 - it was on one of our usual bar DJ nights in the LES and no one wanted to miss out on the 10pm open bar to watch some weird cartoon, so I took one for the team. I wandered into the bar (milk bar? the cock? nation? anseo? i have no fucking clue.) an hour later with a dazed thousand yard stare and proclaimed South Park to be the greatest fucking thing I had ever seen. "It's little kids shouting about dildos and anal probes," I flailed helplessly.

Everyone assumed I was high. Fuckers.

Then I moved to Europe and lost interest in things not involving 8 hour DJ sets and afterhours and chupitos and body glitter, alas. By the time I moved back almost 8 years later, South Park was pants. But man, that first season was glorious.
posted by elizardbits at 7:02 PM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wait, shouldn't the South Park kids be in college by now?
posted by sammyo at 7:10 PM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I also remember the first episode of South Park. I'd stayed up late making a posterboard and cellophane bacteria for a class, and for some reason my strict parents let me watch South Park. We were about the same age as the kids, and the next day at school we were all talking about it. It was like our Simpsons.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 7:11 PM on July 7, 2011


Can we just give them some Nobel prizes and call it a day?
posted by mikelieman


They deserve the peace prize more than Obama (but then, that's setting the bar pretty low).
posted by 445supermag at 7:11 PM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Mefi dislikes SP... kind of unexpected, honestly. I think they have been maintaining an incredibly high level of quality considering the show began as a total joke. Some of the great recent eps were already mentioned above, but another sophisticated social critique was Britney's New Look, though I also greatly enjoyed The Royal Wedding. Admittedly, puerile toilet humour is where they started, and it's hard to beat Human CentiPad for a messy combination of poop jokes and cultural commentary.

The show deserves to go out on a good note, unlike the zombie-Simpsons we are stuck with still.
posted by mek at 7:12 PM on July 7, 2011 [10 favorites]


I think that's what sets South Park apart from the imitators. There's randomness and mean-spiritedness but there's more 'normal' characters. I can't really watch Family Guy because almost everyone is a total asshole, and it's treated as normal and kinda good. On South Park Cartman is an utterly horrible raging racist dickhead (which is funny) but the other characters call him out on it. Stan, Kyle, Kenny, even his mom sometimes - they all acknowledge that he's a sack of shit.

Wow. That is, well, I'm not attacking you but that's just so weird for me in that with those two shows my views are almost exactly the opposite.

I appreciate Family Guy's dark humor in exaggerating how awful everyone is: the abuse of Meg, Quagmire's perversions, Brian's hack writing ability and general self-centered pompousness, and of course the usual "let's shove a moral in here" from Peter. Seth MacFarlane is clearly a fan of 50's nostalgia and seems to enjoy the idea of applying that era's sitcom concepts to 21st-century humor. Yeah, there's also all the cutaway random shit but still. I think that show acknowledges the idea more affectionately. The show is essentially a 50's sitcom if everyone was an asshole.

On the other hand, Cartman has remained my biggest problem with South Park for years. He's effectively the avatar for Parker and Stone: rich, white, spoiled libertarians who justify their cruelty with a precocious wink about how they're right because, well, I guess it's funny. The libertarian bent of the creators are almost guaranteed to be reflected through Cartman, who projects the constant message "hey, you know what sucks? Any form of progress that disadvantages me personally." Who cares if "everyone acknowledges he's an asshole?" He himself never learns he is, and in most cases embraces it, with Parker and Stone hoping you embrace it too.

All in all, this is why The Venture Bros. remains the best show on television for me: it's the antithesis of arguing who is redeemable. The show is about how everyone with amazing potential chooses to be an abject failure in life.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:19 PM on July 7, 2011 [23 favorites]


Also, this is in no way a new observation, but interesting how once again the bulk of comments reflecting on favorite episodes of South Park are the ones that don't revolve around a current-event-of-the-day.

Case in point: mine is the Little League episode.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:21 PM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]



On the other hand, Cartman has remained my biggest problem with South Park for years. He's effectively the avatar for Parker and Stone: rich, white, spoiled libertarians who justify their cruelty with a precocious wink about how they're right because, well, I guess it's funny. The libertarian bent of the creators are almost guaranteed to be reflected through Cartman, who projects the constant message "hey, you know what sucks? Any form of progress that disadvantages me personally." Who cares if "everyone acknowledges he's an asshole?" He himself never learns he is, and in most cases embraces it, with Parker and Stone hoping you embrace it too.


I never saw it that way. Stan and Kyle are usually the ones to give the moral of the show, and Cartman works as everything from the 'token asshole friend/token evil team mate' (Bender in Futurama, Pierce in Community) right up to 'antagonist'. In the most recent episodes I've seen (The Coon Saga) he copied Alex from Clockwork Orange and used Cthulhu for petty revenge. The thing is, everyone treated these as fucked up actions. In Family Guy it would be par for the course.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 7:27 PM on July 7, 2011 [8 favorites]


South Park's decent enough. It's not really good enough I would consider it one of the better things on cable, but it has its moments.

It gets really obnoxious, though, when people try to derive ideology from a show that trades nuance for milking gags dry. There's nothing wrong with comedy being unnuanced on the issues. After all, comedy plus nuance is often no longer comedy. But without nuance, I don't think ideology is really valid.

Come to think of it, it's a lot like how libertarians/anarchists often claim their ideology is better because it is based on simple assumptions with no shades of gray. (IE "We believe stealing is wrong, therefore it is wrong for the government to take our money under the threat of force for things we don't want!" even though it's pretty hard to have a sustainable government to uphold contracts and defend the rights of individuals without taxes)
posted by mccarty.tim at 7:29 PM on July 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


"trojan-horse libertarianism" must be very threatening to people with strongly held yet unfounded viewpoints (and adverseness to nihilism is clearly in the realm of neurosis)...

it is almost as if people are worried that South Park is designed to erase their sense of morality and make them vote republican... or something...

in fact the idea that South Park is a republican show seems to come up again and again for some reason, now that i think back - to me, quite a ridiculous claim, but admittedly i don't know Cthulhu's plan.
posted by flyinghamster at 7:39 PM on July 7, 2011


South Park always breaks my heart. For every WoW episode (or the medicinal fried chicken one, or the Britney Spears one, or or or) there's a ManBearPig and all that libertarian Trojan Horsening. When they're good they're SO good and when they're bad they make me punch things.
posted by Neofelis at 7:39 PM on July 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


When Parker & Stone started taking themselves seriously and thinking that they actually had something worthwhile to say on political issues -- that's when South Park went downhill. When they are just trying to be funny, they are fucking hilarious. For example, the episode where Stan & Randy Marsh accidentally discover warp speed while working on a box car race -- brilliant. When they try to make a point, lame. For example, the anti-smoking episode.
posted by Saxon Kane at 7:43 PM on July 7, 2011 [5 favorites]


just wanted to add 2 cents, but i already put 2 cents in, so make it 4:

i think south park has just gotten better and better. i hope it never ends and i don't care what they do it about, because the good always outweighs the bad and even if i can't appreciate an episode myself, i am confident that someone else finds it entirely hilarious and that is good enough for me!
posted by flyinghamster at 7:48 PM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I get a sense about Parker and Stone, that what keeps them going is that they are guys who fundamentally can not and will not phone it in. I don't think that South Park inspires them much at this point, but they still won't half-ass it to get through their contract. It's not in their nature. But I also believe that Broadway inspires them much more at this point, and the mountain of accolades can't hurt in that regard.

I don't know them or know their process, but it seems from what I've read and seen that Trey Parker is the guiding creative voice, and Matt Stone the guiding political voice. Whether that's true or not, the face they present has Parker as the Angel and Stone as the Devil on the shoulders of whatever they create.

But above all else, these are guys who demand creative authority and who care about what they put out there. I don't always agree with their politics - particularly when they make a point to slam anyone talking about climate change - but I like the way they hand;e a lot of it, like with Big Gay Al refusing to bring a court case against the Boy Scouts. It was both accurate and emotionally right - the courts won't force the BSA to accept gay scoutmasters, because they are a private organization, but Parker and Stone make the case throughout the episode that the BSA should do so anyway, because it's logical and the right thing to do.

Their work is based on an honor code, of sorts, to be as incisive as possible. And when you've got something built on so punk-rock of a code, it'd be very, very easy to tell when that code was abandoned. It hasn't been, as of yet. I doubt it ever will be.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:49 PM on July 7, 2011 [9 favorites]


I'd add The Tale of Scrotie McBoogerballs, Eat Pray Queef, Funnybot, Fishsticks, and Fatbeard to the list of episodes worth checking out.
posted by theclaw at 7:58 PM on July 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


It was like our Simpsons.

Right there, the poverty of South Park compared to early Simpsons is revealed in its entirety. That's like saying "Police Academy 7: Mission to Moscow is our Spy Who Came in From The Cold."
posted by smoke at 8:05 PM on July 7, 2011 [5 favorites]


I get a sense about Parker and Stone, that what keeps them going is that they are guys who fundamentally can not and will not phone it in.

Well somebody didn't see Baseketball...
posted by inigo2 at 8:17 PM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well somebody didn't see Baseketball...

Is that supposed to be some sort of personal failure? Because to me, it seems to be the opposite.
posted by mek at 8:29 PM on July 7, 2011 [5 favorites]


inigo2, I know that's a joke, but I've seen BASEketball too many times to count. They didn't write or direct it - it's a Zucker Abrams Zucker joint - but they also made it funny as hell. I won't hear any disparagement of that movie. Those dudes nailed it. And BASEketball is hilariously good.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:29 PM on July 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


The Stupid Spoiled Whore Video Playset episode is honestly the funniest thing they've ever done.

That whore-off with Mr. Slave and Paris Hilton is fucking genius.

Also, I will love Trey Parker and Matt Stone until death for Orgazmo. No question.

But yeah, lots of filler in SP; I got filler-episode exhaustion awhile back and stopped caring.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 8:34 PM on July 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


I watch every episode of South Park. I find the show to be very uneven - sometimes I laugh a lot, and other times I just sort of watch it like, "OK," and then it's over. I am still a fan of the show overall because of some episodes from the last five seasons, like these:

Episode 1008: Make Love, Not Warcraft

Episode 1107: Night of the Living Homeless

Episode 1214: The Ungroundable

Episode 1307: Fatbeard

Episode 1402: The Tale of Scrotie McBoogerballs

There have been others that have made me laugh a lot in recent years, but these are the ones I remember most clearly when I looked at the seasons at South Park Studios. If you don't like any of these episodes, then I guess you really just do not like South Park.
posted by wondermouse at 8:34 PM on July 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


I think this was the high point of the series.
posted by empath at 8:38 PM on July 7, 2011 [6 favorites]


I'll be sad to see it go, just like I was sad to see Bloom County end (incidentally, another cartoonist that had been censored for fear of offending Muslims).

I understand Breathed retired from doing political cartoons because he was feeling too cynical about the country to make his characters poke fun at it anymore. This last episode makes me wonder if Matt and Trey are feeling the same way.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 8:42 PM on July 7, 2011


I'll admit it. I fucking loved BASEketball. Probably still have most of it memorized.

What an unfortunate thing to have happen on dozen egg night.
posted by palomar at 8:49 PM on July 7, 2011 [5 favorites]


The Ring, their Jonas Bros. episode, is actually one of the better of the last few years (and ripped from the headlines, no less!)
posted by Ndwright at 8:52 PM on July 7, 2011


You're excited?! Feel these nipples!
posted by Navelgazer at 8:59 PM on July 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


I got dragged to BASEketball, and thought it had a few funny moments.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 8:59 PM on July 7, 2011


BASEketball is in that strange realm of films which get funnier every time you see them.For other modern examples, at least from my personal experience, I'd add Zoolander, Talledega Nights, and The Ladies' Man.

(if one is interested, these are related in that the jokes aren't nearly as funny as the nuanced portrayals involved in selling them.)
posted by Navelgazer at 9:03 PM on July 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


I hate South Park for their lazy bullshit politics ("everything would be fine if you stopped complaining" is basically the worst political point imaginable), but I really like Baseketball. Then again I have not seen it in ten years.

"And the Jazz moved to Utah, where music is not allowed."
posted by zvs at 9:11 PM on July 7, 2011


I have never seen a South Park for more than 5 minutes I can't stand them. The funny thing is a friend would describe in detail (sometimes word for word) South Park episodes and I would laugh out loud... I would later try and watch the same episode and shut it off almost instantly. I decided that I needed it translated for me... through that friends eyes. It is one of the most interesting insights into my own psychology. I still hate the show.
posted by mrgroweler at 9:33 PM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've only just started getting into SOUTH PARK (since watching it in college, when it premiered) and I honestly don't understand the "libertarian" critique. I think that the politics of the show are awful, sure, but libertarian? From what I've seen it's entirely apolitical - over and over, the dominant political message seems to be that caring about politics (or social issues or anything, really) is just superlame and the cause of all the troubles in the world.
posted by moxiedoll at 9:49 PM on July 7, 2011


I never saw it that way. Stan and Kyle are usually the ones to give the moral of the show, and Cartman works as everything from the 'token asshole friend/token evil team mate' (Bender in Futurama, Pierce in Community) right up to 'antagonist'. In the most recent episodes I've seen (The Coon Saga) he copied Alex from Clockwork Orange and used Cthulhu for petty revenge. The thing is, everyone treated these as fucked up actions. In Family Guy it would be par for the course.

Seriously. Kid killed another kid's parents and fed them to him. He's a monster, and he's meant to be seen as one.

I actually hated early South Park (was never one for random poop jokes and petty surrealism; I was never a fan of Ren and Stimpy as a kid, either), but I like it quite a bit now. As was the case in early (but not current) Simpsons episodes, the kids sometimes are startlingly well-drawn as actual, you know, kids. Which was what was so brilliant about this most recent episode, how human it was. Not fucked up. Human. Anyway, I don't want to watch shows where everyone is terrible. It makes me uncomfortable; why waste my time with assholes?

Also, their parody of Family Guy was perfect.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:32 PM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


The fact that this part hasn't gotten much response is curious to me:

our big problems and scandals would go away if everyone could just relax and feel less passionate.

Seems like every "issue" episode they do is pretty heavy handed and over blown passion, and i'm why apathy would be something to aspire to? Case in point, i watched the episode recently where they had OJ, the Rameseys, and Gary Condit, and kept calling him a murderer, yet whoops! Turned out someone else actually did it. (nothing like jumping to conclusions based on emotions and media coverage).

That said, loved that recent episode, sort of a "oh look, shit jokes", but then actually got deeper. I was impressed. The Warcraft one is also a very high point for me, and the fact that people got online to argue about errors amused me highly too. (wow nerd here, but not that bad, heh)

Where SP fails (along with Family Guy, etc) is when they decide to make fun of or mock a group without a knowing care for them, for example the goth kids. The "I'm not a conformist, but actually one." is so old and unfunny at this point, but the one with the "goths aren't vampires" was better for many reasons. It's like jokes that all jocks are rapists, geeks are virgins, etc. Which is where Family Guy falls for me, everyone is a stereotype, and there is a clear agenda being pushed.

I'm getting long, but also... How can you not love Butters? :)
posted by usagizero at 10:33 PM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I like the goth kids, actually. They're just plain cute, for one, and you can't claim a show that had a giant Ultraman style Robert Smith in its first season is unfamiliar with the subculture. The Coon arc showed how some were deeply committed and some just went along with it, which jibes with my experience.

I don't want to give them too much credit. The pro-smoking one was DIRE, and they can get annoyingly preachy. The Britney Spears episode, though, was perfect.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 10:39 PM on July 7, 2011


Unless I missed it, it looks like nobody brought up the episode about alcoholism. To me, that epitomizes what went terribly, terribly long with South Park.

Essentially, the message of that episode was that everyone has free will, so alcoholism can't possibly seen as anything other than a personal, moral failure.

I've been very fortunate in my life to not have to deal with (serious) substance abuse problems either personally or familially, so I didn't have any real reason to be offended by that, but I very much was.

I learned then that their 'social critique' essentially boils down to 'nothing is offensive! don't be offended by anything!'

As a teen, that was appealing. But as an adult, it really isn't. Louis C.K. often talks about how nothing is inherently offensive, but the context matters. So he can make a rape joke if the actual point isn't 'rape jokes are funny', but rather if the message is 'this is a funny thing to say, but I'm saying it because rape is abhorrent'.

Parker & Stone never seemed to understand that distinction.
posted by graphnerd at 11:12 PM on July 7, 2011 [5 favorites]


Did it really get that much better? I quit watching it after the movie came out. I wasn’t a huge fan, but hated the movie so much I never watched it again.
posted by bongo_x at 11:43 PM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I get the feeling that Trey Parker always wanted to create, more than anything else in life, musicals.

You can see it in "Cannibal: The Musical", their very early (if not earliest?) movie.

Now that he's got one out there, I can see why he would end his hugely successful cartoon show.

It was an interesting path to his heart's desire, I must say.
posted by The ____ of Justice at 12:16 AM on July 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Cross cultural hint: If you meet an American overseas and he seems to be a bit obnoxious, don't start singing 'America: Fuck Yeah!' at him. It was mildly funny the first time, and less so the 100th.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 12:17 AM on July 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


Unless I missed it, it looks like nobody brought up the episode about alcoholism. To me, that epitomizes what went terribly, terribly long with South Park.

Essentially, the message of that episode was that everyone has free will, so alcoholism can't possibly seen as anything other than a personal, moral failure.


No, that was not the message of the episode at all. The message of the episode was a counterpoint to the stupid, mystical bullshit of AA that claims alcoholics have NO control.

Addictions are difficult to break, and people do need help, but ultimately it is up to them, and it is their decision and their responsibility.

http://rationallyspeaking.blogspot.com/2006/07/alcoholics-anonymous-doesnt-work.html
posted by unigolyn at 12:20 AM on July 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, the movie fucking sucked. For some reason, after writing that I kind of realized that Stone and Parker of the creative impulses of the laziest childrens story hacks who ever hacked a hacky story. They love treacly sentimentality and seem to think "edgy" is "Eating fetuses will be so hilarious and shock the squares gabble gabble munch munch." (Not to mention that believing in something passionatly not only makes you wrong, it makes you functionally retarded.)
posted by Snyder at 12:22 AM on July 8, 2011


writing=watching
posted by Snyder at 12:22 AM on July 8, 2011


Yeah, the movie fucking sucked. For some reason, after writing that I kind of realized that Stone and Parker of the creative impulses of the laziest childrens story hacks who ever hacked a hacky story.

I'm pretty sure Matt Stone would agree with you. I think he said in an interview he can't believe how nobody else is doing what they're doing (taking news articles and making episodes out of them). He was sure that there are about a bazillion people who could do it better.

For the record, I could never watch too much South Park because the grating voices would make my head ache for a while. I did like a couple of episodes, and there were a few moments where I'd be thinking, "that's fucking brilliant" followed by, "oh god, kill this joke already."

I have, however, loved, loved, loved two of their movies. Orgazmo didn't leave much of an impression, but Basketball and Cannibal, the Musical? CLASSICS!!! Team America I didn't think was so awesome, but I think America, Fuck Yeah, should replace our national anthem.

I'm not surprised Metafilter hates SP at all. It's a forum with the kind of liberal sensibilities that SP will often parody.
posted by The ____ of Justice at 12:38 AM on July 8, 2011 [4 favorites]


I've found that the older I get the less tolerance I have for gross out humor, so I can only watch about 1 in 3 South Park episodes. The ones I like have that sort of imaginative sensibility you had when you were a kid, when everything was possible. Only with more swearing.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 12:42 AM on July 8, 2011


I'm not surprised Metafilter hates SP at all. It's a forum with the kind of liberal sensibilities that SP will often parody.

Am I allowed to hate South Park because it's taken repeated kicks at trans people for no reason other than the creators apparently think we're funny? Not that the things we do or the things we believe are funny: the very fact that we exist, that's funny.

I loved Orgazmo. But fuck Parker and Stone. They use their platform to make fun of everyone, equally, which is totes awesome and edgy and stuff when the people they attack have a platform from which to fight back. We don't.

shorter version: attack people and institutions with greater political and social power than you? sure, have fun. attack the powerless? wankers.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 1:36 AM on July 8, 2011 [10 favorites]


Am I allowed to hate South Park because it's taken repeated kicks at trans people for no reason other than the creators apparently think we're funny? Not that the things we do or the things we believe are funny: the very fact that we exist, that's funny.

Sure, you're allowed to hate South Park for whatever reason.

Personally, I find their racial caricatures of my own minority group so ridiculous I am personally not offended by their brand of humor, but of course ymmv.
posted by The ____ of Justice at 1:59 AM on July 8, 2011


Yeah, I have the same problem with South Park that I have with all the other Libertarians out there: I agree and agree and agree with them until they blurt out something butt-ugly stupid. Everyone was talking about man-children the other day, and I have to say that for me, these guys certainly fit in that category. They have specified that they hate liberals more than conservatives, and I think I know why: the kind of mindfulness, responsibility and compassion required to generate the everybody-wins atmosphere of the ideal liberal world would disgust any teenaged boy attempting to dissociate himself from the rules and ethics laid down by the family setting. These two (and imho most other adults who subscribe to Libertarianism) have allowed their cynicism with the system to crystallize them in a permanent state of pubescence.

That said, I think they are brilliant and write an almost entirely allegorical show that is 70% watchable, which is way better than the rest of American television, which is mostly 100% superficial and 10% watchable. I still prefer Seth MacFarlane, who clearly has no qualms with being brilliant, addressing (and laughing about) serious issues while not setting out to shock but rather to discuss, and yet still being an adult and recognizing social responsibility.
posted by Mooseli at 2:02 AM on July 8, 2011 [5 favorites]


"Am I allowed to hate South Park because it's taken repeated kicks at trans people for no reason other than the creators apparently think we're funny?"

Yes, but...

"Am I allowed to hate South Park because it's taken repeated kicks at (insert celeb / religion / president / dictator / nationality / ugly American stereotype ) for no reason other than the creators apparently think they're funny?"

The great thing about South Park is that they're equal opportunity offenders.
posted by markkraft at 2:03 AM on July 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you offend everyone equally, then you have in fact taken no stance at all.
posted by JHarris at 2:06 AM on July 8, 2011 [5 favorites]


The great thing about South Park is that they're equal opportunity offenders.

Yeah, but the problem with being an equal opportunity offender (the rallying cry of the straight white male comedian!) is that some people are more able to represent themselves than others. The jokes someone like Jim Davidson makes about, say, the NHS or the Labour party or the Catholic Church or whatever have little impact because those organisations have a platform to respond (should they feel the need) far larger than Davidson; jokes about racial and religious minorities, LGBT people, disabled people and so forth can be far more damaging because those groups may not have access to a platform equal to his.

Speech against minority groups is necessarily different to speech against groups with power. To claim "I'm an equal opportunity offender!" is to be a coward (or at best a deluded fool); to refuse to accept the responsibility that comes with your platform.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 2:11 AM on July 8, 2011 [10 favorites]


I my eyes they have taken indeed a stance against trans people, a very vocal one.
Their ridiculous "dolphin" argument is nor repeatedly used by transphobes to show hor ridiculous one has to be to identify as a trans person.
This was not a simple act of poking fun at a group, but a display of deep seated transphobia that I think is disgusting, and I wish this could be criticised without people saying I should get over it, they also made fun of the catholic church.
posted by ts;dr at 2:12 AM on July 8, 2011 [4 favorites]


And no, I wouldn't count South Park out yet.

Jon Stewart: "You finish The Book Of Mormon, you open it, and you run right back to do the South Park season. Is there any part of you in your minds after all of this that says "F*ck that! We're tired!"

Trey Parker: Not really, because we love "South Park". It's still our thing.

John Stewart: I love the "Cynicism" episode.

Matt Stone: Yeah, the last one.

Trey Parker: "That's what so funny because we did that last episode we really did it by the seat of our pants, and obviously it had a lot of themes and things that we were feeling in it, but we came back and people were like "Are you okay? Like, is the show coming back?" And we were like "Yeah! We had a really good time doing that! It was fun!" We don't know what's going to happen, but we'll figure it out in August."
posted by markkraft at 2:16 AM on July 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


Mooseli: " I still prefer Seth MacFarlane, who clearly has no qualms with being brilliant, addressing (and laughing about) serious issues while not setting out to shock but rather to discuss, and yet still being an adult and recognizing social responsibility."

I think Seth MacFarlane is obviously very clever and talented, but I don't know how you can say that stuff. I feel the opposite, usually. I find Family Guy and South Park both brilliantly funny at times, but they both consistently let me down with either easy cheap jokes or some reductive simplistic morality. I'm of the camp that anything is fair game for humor, but it's got to have context. Some offensive jokes are funny, but some funny (ish) jokes are just bad, and reinforce prejudices or over-simplification of complex subjects. For example, Family Guy always falls back on stereotype jokes, I think with the thought that "it's so over-the-top how could you take it seriously?" but never give a hint that there's more to the subject than the stereotype.
posted by Red Loop at 3:15 AM on July 8, 2011


I like South Park, but I love Futurama. Bite my shiny metal ass.
posted by Pendragon at 4:57 AM on July 8, 2011 [6 favorites]


I miss Futurama. It's such a shame the mooted movies never happened, even more of a shame a channel like Comedy Central didn't come in to save it. Ah well; we'll always have Devil's Hands, which was a beautiful end to a fantastic series that had both a heart and a brain.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 5:01 AM on July 8, 2011 [4 favorites]


I like South Park, but I love Futurama. Bite my shiny metal ass.

This. A thousand times this!!!
posted by Fizz at 5:08 AM on July 8, 2011


I'm a Liberal and I like South Park. It is wildly uneven, but I've loved episodes like the one where the kids try to send a whale to the moon.
posted by drezdn at 5:17 AM on July 8, 2011


My opinions on television shows are suspect though because while I loved The Wire I also like Are You Being Served?.
posted by drezdn at 5:19 AM on July 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


ArmyOfKittens, you forgot HAMBURGER.
posted by Pendragon at 5:19 AM on July 8, 2011


Yes, the current season does seem to indicate a movement toward completion. South Park has been awesome, but it's time to wrap it up. Hopefully they'll have some grand epic ending, like in Buffy.
posted by John Farrier at 5:28 AM on July 8, 2011


I still watch new South Park eps, though it's gotten increasingly hit or miss.

I think the best example of what makes me uneasy about the show when it tries to tackle certain issues is the "ManBearPig" episode. I'm sure there are ways of parodying Al Gore that I would find funny, but that wasn't one of them. Having Al Gore be frantically warning about a completely non-existent monster equates to saying that global warming is not real, and giving numbskulls more excuses to ignore the problem.

Mostly I try to pretend that episode just never happened. Meanwhile "Woodland Critter Christmas" and "Mr. Hankey" are now an entrenched Christmas ritual for me.

And I think the best thing they've ever done, or will do, is "South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut." I think it's the pinnacle of what South Park does best, and it's been all downhill from there.
posted by dnash at 5:37 AM on July 8, 2011 [4 favorites]


Lovecraft In Brooklyn: " I can't really watch Family Guy because almost everyone is a total asshole, and it's treated as normal and kinda good."

Same here. I feel like general culture in America is moving toward this way of being and I'd like to avoid being exposed to it any way I can.
posted by dunkadunc at 6:44 AM on July 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


> South Park's creators are also mounting a Broadway show with Robert Lopez of Avenue Q and the workload may be getting to them

Um... the show has been locked and hasn't involved Parker, Stone, and Lopez's actual input beyond the publicity machine for many months now. That the show won a zillion awards probably helped contribute to their weariness as someone had to be at the shows to get the awards....


At the time they wrote this finale, though, they were still working on Book of Mormon.

...And didn't the "You're Getting Old" episode already air, about a month ago or something? I had this weird feeling that this post somehow got delayed a month or fell through a time-continuum wormhole or something, and is talking about stuff that happened a couple months ago.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:47 AM on July 8, 2011


South Park, The Simpsons and Family Guy all disappoint more often than not. There's no shame in it, they were all great, for a long time and it's hard to quit when it's going so well.

IMO, it's time for all of them to stop.

Oh and the saying "Jumped the shark" has jumped the shark...for those 5 or 6 people out there still using it, please find a new phrase...thank you.
posted by johnn at 6:51 AM on July 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Eh, I'm kind of annoyed by southpark too, but it seems more a call to apathy and complacency then libertarianism. Global warming denialism, for example, has nothing to do with libertarian ideology, it's just about complacency. Real libertarians aren't complacent, they want to do crazy shit like return to the gold standard. And the show seems so damn preachy about it.
On the other hand, Cartman has remained my biggest problem with South Park for years. He's effectively the avatar for Parker and Stone: rich, white, spoiled libertarians who justify their cruelty with a precocious wink about how they're right because, well, I guess it's funny. The libertarian bent of the creators are almost guaranteed to be reflected through Cartman, who projects the constant message "hey, you know what sucks? Any form of progress that disadvantages me personally." Who cares if "everyone acknowledges he's an asshole?" He himself never learns he is, and in most cases embraces it, with Parker and Stone hoping you embrace it too.
That said, this is the craziest reading of southpark I've ever read. Cartman's character is always portrayed as being a huge asshole. I mean, the guy kidnaps and murders people. If Carman represented an ideology, then Southpark would have to be seen as an attack on that ideology. (I vaguely recall watching a "Cartman's most evil moments" or something marathon once. There was an episode where he convinced some kid that there had been an apocalypse and had him hiding out for a week so he could take his spot on a cart trip to some nice restaurant)
Essentially, the message of that episode was that everyone has free will, so alcoholism can't possibly seen as anything other than a personal, moral failure.
Actually, I saw that differently. It seemed like their message was "AA is bullshit." That doesn't mean alcoholism is a "moral failure", but rather that drinking is not intrinsically immoral.

I don't watch the show very often. I used to watch it more when I was in highschool. The ManBearPig episode was definitely a turning point.
posted by delmoi at 7:06 AM on July 8, 2011 [4 favorites]


The fact that MeFi seems to hate South Park as much as it love Lady Gaga is very telling.
posted by ReeMonster at 7:10 AM on July 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


Um, it seems there are lots of people here who are saying they love SP, so I don't know what "MeFi hates South Park" means.
posted by Saxon Kane at 7:23 AM on July 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


People who disagree with me are "mefi"!

I hate them so much
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 7:27 AM on July 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


A surefire way to strip the humour out of just about anything is to have a bunch of jaded Internet commenters dissect and analyze it.

"It'd be funnier if...."

Keep that in mind when you're writing the 15th season of your syndicated show.
posted by Dark Messiah at 7:31 AM on July 8, 2011 [4 favorites]


Who will weep for well-off white guys whose shows are disliked by some people on the internet?

seriously, "don't beanplate"? on MEFI?
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 7:35 AM on July 8, 2011


I want to see a cage match between Stewie and Cartman.

Are people really looking to cartoons for ethical and political guidance? Can't we just enjoy them as entertainment just because they are funny?

n2-ing Futurama.
posted by double block and bleed at 7:38 AM on July 8, 2011


(Actually, are there any standout episodes from the last 5 seasons worth watching?)

Pandemic and Pandemic 2: The Startling from season 12 had me laughing so hard I could hardly breathe.
posted by tdismukes at 8:00 AM on July 8, 2011


Cartman works as everything from the 'token asshole friend/token evil team mate' (Bender in Futurama

Bender can be a jerk, but he often feels bad about it and tries to make up for it, and he seems to truly think of Fry as his friend and doesn't want to hurt him (permanently). Cartman, on the other hand, is the personification of petty evil, cares about nothing and no one but himself, and has absolutely no redeeming qualities. Who cares if he is "called out" on his behavior? He always gets away with it. He always gets away with it.
posted by adamdschneider at 8:01 AM on July 8, 2011


shorter version: attack people and institutions with greater political and social power than you? sure, have fun. attack the powerless? wankers.

Thank you. This crystallizes the problem I often have with South Park, that and false equivalencies. (Douche vs Turd being the classic example.)

Oh, and re: Cartman, I loved Tsst, in which Cesar Milan "cures" Cartman, and am always a bit mopey at the end when he goes back to normal. (And on the other hand, I also liked Die Hippie, Die.)
posted by epersonae at 8:05 AM on July 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Are people really looking to cartoons for ethical and political guidance? Can't we just enjoy them as entertainment just because they are funny?

As I recall a US Surpreme Court Justice pointed to the tv show 24 to justify his support of torture. 24 is hardly much less of a cartoon than South Park in terms of being an accurate portrayal of reality, it just doesn't try to be funny in the same way and is shot on film instead of being animated.

South Park episodes often are structured as a type of argument for or against certain behaviors, or as case studies if you will. A lot of humor is that way, but South Park really goes out of its way to create caricatures of things rather than try to engage with the real thing. This simplification won't get everyone who watches to change their beliefs. Still, I'd be surprised if it didn't affect a lot of people in the 15 seasons it's been running. People who don't have enough critical thinking skills to not be swayed by the 'arguments' used on the show.
posted by Green With You at 8:07 AM on July 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


The great thing about South Park is that they're equal opportunity offenders.

I never saw this as a "great" thing, but just as them being lazy, lazy, lazy.
posted by adamdschneider at 8:16 AM on July 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


The fact that MeFi seems to hate South Park as much as it love Lady Gaga is very telling.

There are all kinds of Metafilter members. We don't all hate South Park or love Lady Gaga. Some of us appreciate the Insane Clown Posse. Others like My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.

About the only thing we all absolutely agree on is that Mr. Rogers and Jim Henson were wonderful human beings we're worse off without.
posted by JHarris at 9:17 AM on July 8, 2011 [7 favorites]


Mr. Rogers? THE Mr. Rogers?!?!?!?
Are you serious?
posted by Seamus at 9:27 AM on July 8, 2011


damn hamburgers.
posted by Seamus at 9:27 AM on July 8, 2011


Oh god, Imaginationland was the epitome of everything I hate about new South Park. All the college kids would sit around smoking weed and laughing uncontrollably, but... it just sucked. The only way you could tolerate watching it was stoned. posted by dunkadunc at 5:33 PM on

I am usually stoned, and I couldn't stand that stupid episode...

I enjoy probably half or so of the episodes. I enjoy the satire of news and events. Particularly when the characters break down the issue and simplify it.

As much as I would miss South Park being over, some times its best to take old yellar out behind the barn before things get worse.
posted by handbanana at 9:30 AM on July 8, 2011


original Futurama > re-launched Futurama > early South Park > early Simpsons > late Simpsons > late South Park > Family Guy >> American Dad >>>> The Cleveland Show
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:13 AM on July 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh and the saying "Jumped the shark" has jumped the shark...for those 5 or 6 people out there still using it, please find a new phrase...thank you.

Nuke the fridge?
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 10:18 AM on July 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


MeFi* is always wanting something new, new new. Anything more than about eight years old (excluding things 20+ years old which have become either "retro" or "classic") is boring and tiresome and crap.

This is not always unjustified; for the shows being discussed here, I have in my ranking a few comments above classified the old episodes of a show as better than the new ones of the same show in all cases where I made a distinction. (And I probably could have done it for Family Guy too, but I don't care enough about it to differentiate.)

But other times it's inexplicable. MeFi used to love Alton Brown, but has turned against him as of the most recent Good Eats thread, regarding the end of the show. And I haven't noticed any particular change in quality between early and late episodes there.

The fact that MeFi seems to hate South Park as much as it love Lady Gaga is very telling.

Gaga's first album is only three years old. Give her another five years or so, and MeFi will have turned against her by then too.

*By "MeFi" I mean "my entirely subjective and unscientific impressions of the feelings of the large majority of MeFites, based on what I see in comments."

Oh and the saying "Jumped the shark" has jumped the shark...for those 5 or 6 people out there still using it, please find a new phrase...thank you.

Q.E.D.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:48 AM on July 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


it seems more a call to apathy and complacency then libertarianism. Global warming denialism, for example, has nothing to do with libertarian ideology, it's just about complacency.

Exactly. Whatever the issue or viewpoint at hand is, the show points at it and says "laaaaame!" It's smug and clever and lazy and empty. And by not taking any principled stand on anything (other than the virtues of mockery) it never risks being wrong, only offensive, which, these days, seems to be considered equivalent to "taking a stand" anyway.

Quite frankly, I think that it's a pretty vile show, and that it cheapens pop-culture public discourse by elevating pouncing mockery over giving anyone the benefit of the doubt, ever. Maybe that's necessary in a climate where there's so much mudslinging and sophistry from all sides anyway, but I'd like to hope not.
posted by DLWM at 11:22 AM on July 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


ChurchHatesTucker: "Nuke the fridge?"

Man, that term ate Scott Tenorman last year.
posted by dunkadunc at 11:58 AM on July 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Did I say it ate Scott Tenorman? I mean it fed him his parents.
posted by dunkadunc at 12:02 PM on July 8, 2011


Others like My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.

It was okay until season 15 when Pinkie Pie got all preachy about economic libertarianism and they started having a celebrity guest pony every episode.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:44 PM on July 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


And their "Spike gets iSkin" episode was so late to the party it coincided with the launch of iBone, which of course made iSkin obsolete. They looked like fools.

still can't believe they killed off Applejack!
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 1:59 PM on July 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


I stopped watching after the Krastos the Glue Maker arc. It was just too grim.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 2:46 PM on July 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


If the Cutie Mark Crusaders don't finally get their Cutie Marks in season 18, I'm done with this show. How long can they drag that out?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:51 PM on July 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


original Futurama > re-launched Futurama > early South Park > early Simpsons > late Simpsons > late South Park > Family Guy >> American Dad >>>> The Cleveland Show

I'd go

original Futurama > > early South Park > early Simpsons > re-launched Futurama> late Simpsons > late South Park > early Family Guy >> American Dad >> late Family Guy
posted by drezdn at 2:55 PM on July 8, 2011


furiousxgeorge: "If the Cutie Mark Crusaders don't finally get their Cutie Marks in season 18, I'm done with this show. How long can they drag that out?"

I dunno, the CMC Office Space one was good, with Apple Bloom kicking the shit out of that printer.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 2:59 PM on July 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


Family Guy, American Dad and The Cleveland Show don't even deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence as the early Simpsons.
posted by dunkadunc at 2:59 PM on July 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'd say original Futurama (season 2 until the end) just pips peak-era Simpsons (I guess season 4 until 10-12? I didn't really go for the more down-home stuff of the first few seasons, and I like the wackier stuff more than many people on here I think) because it had more heart. Fry was stupid, but he was also really sweet and kind (when those impulses weren't overruled by dumbness); new Fry just seems like a malicious idiot. It's the same as the comedy sexism in Futurama: in classic it felt barbed; in new Futurama it's clumsy and obvious.

Family Guy was okay for a while, and occasionally it dips its head above the water and attempts an episode with something to say (the transsexual episode, while not without it's very large flaws and rightfully deserving its backlash, was still less cringeworthy and gross than South Park and even the Simpsons have managed). Mostly it's just lazy, though.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 3:07 PM on July 8, 2011


One of the things that made Futurama work was that they saw what was going wrong with Homer and made Jerk-Ass Homer a separate character, Bender. And he is glorious, but you also have Fry as the sweet, well meaning Homer as the emotional heart of the show. It's a bad idea to lose that dynamic.

I don't think that is what's wrong with new Futurama though, and honestly I don't know what the problem really is but I definitely feel the new ones aren't that good. I don't do that reflexively, I still think Family Guy is the same as it ever was.

The transexual episodes of South Park are a definite low point. They are worse than Family Guy because it really seemed like Family Guy was intentionally just trying to be shocking and offensive. It was more of a troll than an attack, which is still massively jerky to do with a vulnerable group but I think in the end Seth is okay with transgender people and Trey and Matt honestly just have an extremely ignorant opinion of them.

American Dad is great, by the way, and people worship early Simpsons way too much. There are some great episodes but it's not so great that other shows can't compare.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:35 PM on July 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


Oh and the saying "Jumped the shark" has jumped the shark...for those 5 or 6 people out there still using it, please find a new phrase...thank you.

Yeah. Useful descriptive phrases have a sell-by-date don't they? I'm glad that the entire language rolls over every five years and never develops any detail, patina or poetry. Hipster doofus.
posted by howfar at 3:39 PM on July 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


On further reflection, I realize I need to revise the scale I posted earlier. I left out a critical element. It should be:

original Futurama > re-launched Futurama > early South Park > early Simpsons > late Simpsons > late South Park > Family Guy >> American Dad >>>> a poke in the eye with a sharp stick >> The Cleveland Show

FTFM.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 3:40 PM on July 8, 2011


furiousxgeorge: "I don't think that is what's wrong with new Futurama though, and honestly I don't know what the problem really is but I definitely feel the new ones aren't that good."

I've seen all the movies and I've given all the new episodes a try except the most recent one (I really wanted to like it -- it's new Futurama! -- but it's so damn boring that I've given up). It almost feels that after the original cancellation all the writers who really understood the characters went off to do other shows and only the ones who did the math jokes came back for the movies and the new series. The characters in new Futurama are just mouthpieces for (bad) jokes now, the finer points of their personalities eroded to nothing.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 3:40 PM on July 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've given all the new episodes a try except the most recent one

You really should watch it—last night's episode was one of my favorites of the new episodes, behind only "Lethal Inspection" and maybe "Lrrreconcilable Ndndifferences."
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 3:56 PM on July 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


At the time they wrote this finale, though, they were still working on Book of Mormon.

...And didn't the "You're Getting Old" episode already air, about a month ago or something? I had this weird feeling that this post somehow got delayed a month or fell through a time-continuum wormhole or something, and is talking about stuff that happened a couple months ago.


Where do you get that idea?

Parker and Stone have talked pretty constantly about how they don't do pre-production for their show while it's in production, and instead they start writing the new episode the morning after the most recent one airs, and they grind and churn and push and fight and get an episode written and animated and in the can in 7 days. In fact, there was at least one award show (not the Tonys, the other one which covers ALL NYC theater, not just Broadway) which they missed because they were working on South Park episodes.

I even remember an interview they gave where they talked about how they had to schedule The Book Of Mormon's preview period in between South Park seasons because once South Park is in production, they work on that show pretty much constantly, so they were fighting to get BOM locked down before they had to dive into the South Park season.

You can read this article which outlines the timeline a bit. BOM had its opening night (which is when the show is locked, if it hasn't happened before then) on March 24. The SP season started production around April 1. This SP episode aired on June 8. That was a long time after anything but their publicity tour and awards season appearances for BOM was wrapped and done.
posted by hippybear at 4:27 PM on July 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


ArmyOfKittens: " It almost feels that after the original cancellation all the writers who really understood the characters went off to do other shows and only the ones who did the math jokes came back for the movies and the new series."

Sadly, that's not entirely the case. The first three of the most recent episodes were written by the folks who wrote three of my favorite episodes: "The Sting", "The Deep South", and "Future Stock".

It baffles me that they could have forgotten how to write a good episode and it makes me severely question whether the ones I like are really that good.
posted by mindless progress at 5:00 PM on July 8, 2011


I haven't seen an episode of South Park since the Britney Spears/Children of the Corn papparazzi episode, and I kind of liked this one. I wonder if they'll make any of the changes stick, or if they're honestly using the mom and dad as mouth pieces, or if they were just making a joke based on that trope.

Then again, Landslide has a way of making everything seem better than it is.

As for Futurama, I watched the first half of the new season, and don't feel any pressing need to check out the new episodes. It seems like the show has become a 'hey, it's us! Remember? Futurama? Look! It's Bender farting fire! You liked that, right! Here, we'll do it again!' clusterfuck. It's like the writers have confused why we liked the show (the dog episode, the Devil's Hands, the bee sting) with why five year olds like cartoons. Kind of sad.
posted by Ghidorah at 5:09 PM on July 8, 2011


MeFi used to love Alton Brown, but has turned against him as of the most recent Good Eats thread, regarding the end of the show. And I haven't noticed any particular change in quality between early and late episodes there.

Speaking only as this Mefite: Good Eats hasn't changed, but Alton has. For most of Good Eats run he seemed largely independent of Food Network. But in the past few years he's made a transition to Food Network Personality. The "hi kids" Iron Chef America gig; every single holiday-themed kitchen-n-table show; Food Network Star; the god-awful 10th anniversary "live variety" Good Eats show. It's cheapened him in my eyes; it's made him less of an authority and more of an entertainer.

(I suspect he sold his soul to the Network to get Feasting On Asphalt made.)


But um, yeah, South Park. I've found it a real slog the past few series; I imagine Parker and Stone have too. Big on shock and current events, precious low on laughs.

"You're Getting Old" came out of left-field and really felt like the first time South Park has been honest for a while. It would make a great closer by itself, or set up a great final blaze of glory half-series. It was actually disappointing to see Parker and Stone on The Daily Show declaring that no, no, business as usual, we're going to keep cranking it out forever.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 5:28 PM on July 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Just call me an internet hobo, 'cause I'm ridin' the derails:

My opinion on new Futurama has fluctuated. Now I think they're batting slightly under 50%. They seem too ready to take some hot-button topic and do a quick, Futurama-style take on it, and have that be the episode. Hence: the iPhone episode, the mutant rights episode (despite the inclusion of Devo), the transsexual (or more accurately, no-sexual) episode, the nanoparticle episode. Those tend to be funny in a way but not deep. Characters will often act in a shallow way in those, like in Neutopia where everyone was a cliche-spouting cardboard cutout.

But there have been some great episodes too. Bender becomes a robot ghost, Lrrr breaking up, the only-going-forward-in-time episode, and the no-backsies body-swapping episode.

None of the great episodes focused on a topic that was in the news in any way. All of the so-so episodes attempted to exploit something that was in the news recently. If they left the current events commentary to Daily Show and Colbert I'd probably be much more satisfied.
posted by JHarris at 5:39 PM on July 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


Big Futurama fan here as well.

I also liked "Devil's Hands" - the best part hands-down was the Robot Devil - I only recently found out, it was played by Dan Castellaneta. With all the great work he has done with the Simpsons, I started to take his talent for granted. But then when I found out the Robot Devil was him as well, I had a newfound respect for him as a voice actor.

I never liked the actual music though in this episode. I have to admit that Family Guy does much better here.
posted by bitteroldman at 6:52 PM on July 8, 2011


ArmyOfKittens: Looking back, I'd have to imagine that any trans person would find "Mr. Garrison's Fancy New Vagina" to be incredibly hateful. What's strange to me is that I didn't see it that way at the time. I'm cis but I tend to be pretty sensitive to those issues, and I guess I read it more as a story mocking Garrison, who is just a generally fucked up and awful person most of the time, rather than mocking the transgendered. Especially because the "punchline" at the end of the episode is that his own "lesson" that he learned about the "true definition" of gender becomes a facially-illogical hate-screed.

That said, there was no reason to include the graphic footage of gender reassignment surgery, which was most likely included for simple shock value but probably contributed to a great deal of further alienation for a vulnerable group. Maybe I just can't imagine those guys really being trans-phobic, but with that episode I can certainly see where that viewpoint would come from, and I can't really mount a defense beyond what I've said already.

Anyway, I love the show most of the time, and I really don't see where the accusations are coming from that the show encourages apathy and considers passion to be lame. They take stands constantly. Sometimes those are shitty stands, to be sure. "ManBearPig" and "Two Days After The Day Before Yesterday" are particularly egregious on that front, and "Bloody Mary," in its takedown of AA, still showed what I thought was a uncurious outsider's view of alcoholism.

But then look at episodes featuring Wendy prominently, for example. She is basically exclusively viewed in a positive light, and for good reason. And her defining character trait is that she is passionate about liberal issues against all odds and the general stupidity of the authority figures around her.

Take one of the best episodes of the recent seasons, "The Breast Cancer Show Ever," in which Cartman mocks Wendy for her attempts to raise Breast Cancer awareness, which then becomes a Three-o'-Clock High homage as Wendy resolves that she is going to have to just fight him in order to get him to stop. The third act is one of the best they've ever done, after Wendy's parents have put the kibosh on any fight and Wendy, defeated, is called into the principal's office, where Principal Victoria gives her a great speech about being a survivor herself, which couches itself in a clear metaphor for how Wendy needs to go against her parents wishes and beat the everloving shit out of Cartman, which she proceeds to do.

It may not seem like much written out like that, but when Wendy, bloody, exhausted, and near-tears, cries out "Finished!" after she beats Cartman to a pulp, well, it's a rallying cry to not let the bastards get you down. And one that few shows I can think of could have pulled off.

That's why I keep returning to this show.

Oh, and I finally got to see "You're Getting Old" last night. That was brilliantly depressing and real. It also navigated a very tricky course, showing us Stan's cynicism not as him being a dick, but as him realistically not being able to enjoy anything anymore, and upset about it, and also showing why none of his friends would want to hang out with him anymore. The one shot in the closing montage showing that maybe Kyle and Cartman are actually becoming friends now was intriguing as well.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:50 PM on July 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


Okay, having just rewatched "Mr. Garrison's Fancy New Vagina," I realize two things:

1. I was mixing up the ending with the ending of some other episode where Garrison goes off wrong-headedly about how you're only a woman if you can breed (and this viewpoint is seen as comically incorrect.)
2. The episode does, still, at the end draw a line between gender reassignment surgery and the reductio ad absurdum "analogies" that Kyle and Gerald go through. Garrison still prefers to stay in his new body even if it doesn't confer all of the experience of being a woman, and Sheila Brovlovsky is clearly the voice of reason throughout, approving of the sex change while seeing the other surgeries as crazy. Again, I don't think they were being hateful to the transgendered, but rather using Garrison as he's always been used - as the horrible and myopic person who doesn't understand things any reasonable person would.

So not a particularly great portrayal of trans people, but not exactly an attack on them either, at least from my viewing. I'm sure others could certainly see it differently.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:32 AM on July 9, 2011


Navelgazer: "That said, there was no reason to include the graphic footage of gender reassignment surgery, which was most likely included for simple shock value but probably contributed to a great deal of further alienation for a vulnerable group. Maybe I just can't imagine those guys really being trans-phobic, but with that episode I can certainly see where that viewpoint would come from, and I can't really mount a defense beyond what I've said already."

I don't think they're actively transphobic -- they haven't made a crusade out it and I think they're probably individually quite well disposed towards trans people -- I just think they approached the subject with the same lulzy attitude they do everything else. Unfortunately, the timing -- transgender rights in the USA are just starting to peek over the parapet, and while some states are having spasms and putting "bathroom laws" and the like before the legislature, other states have quietly made progress (at least partly because the population didn't notice) -- and the lack of any serious mouthpiece to shout back at South Park -- most trans advocates are trans themselves, and Chaz Bono is probably our biggest voice in the States -- was screwed up. In their eyes they did a couple of episodes on, and for a while dedicated their most pathetic character to (oh look, one side of the pathetic/deceptive transsexual dichotomy! hello there!), skewering another sacred cow; in practice we're sacred to no-one and all they did was throw a bomb into a delicate political process.

So yeah, I don't think they're big-time tranny haters, just clueless, irresponsible dicks.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 12:44 AM on July 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh my god I forgot all about Mr Garrison's Fancy New Vagina and the dolphin thing oh my gaaawd. That one just made me ill. And that's why I sort of hate myself for loving some South Park, like the pro wrestling episode (possibly their best ever) and the one with the head lice. Oh, and Scott Tenorman. I mean, I made you eat your parents! But how can I love the Scott Tenorman episode when they're also doing things like Eek, a Penis!? Arrgh.

South Park is sort of like a favorite uncle who will, every now and then without any apparent reason, start spouting hateful misogynist or racist jokes. It's disorienting and icky. I wish Parker and Stone would use their considerable talents for good rather than evil.

I think ArmyOfKittens nails my discomfort with so much of South Park--tossing a bomb into a delicate political process isn't brave or iconoclastic. It's tiresome. And reprehensible.
posted by Neofelis at 2:50 PM on July 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


>...And didn't the "You're Getting Old" episode already air, about a month ago or something?


Where do you get that idea?


...From....seeing it a month ago?

Look, even according to Wikipedia the "original air date" is listed as "June 8." Which is also when "Book of Mormon" was opening.

So -- since all this happened on June 8, why was this only just hitting the Blue now, was my question.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:26 PM on July 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


EmpressCalipygos: no... you're misunderstanding me.

You claim that "At the time they wrote this finale, though, they were still working on Book of Mormon." That's simply untrue.
posted by hippybear at 6:20 AM on July 10, 2011


I mean, did you even read the rest of my comment? Because I lay out the timeline pretty explicitly and even give you a source article which talks about the production cycle for SP and tells when all these dates actually happened.

The Book Of Mormon opened several weeks before this show went into production. There was no overlap between working on that musical and the writing and creation of this SP episode. None at all.
posted by hippybear at 6:26 AM on July 10, 2011


I wasn't clear myself, either; my apologies.

I was referring more to the fact that both the BOOK OF MORMON and YOU'RE GETTING OLD were THEMSELVES "flavor of the month" news a month ago. I just mis-spoke when I said that they were working on both simultaneously.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:57 AM on July 10, 2011


The anti-anti-smoking episode was on recently. Pretty awful. The cigarette companies are good because they warn everyone, see, with that warning on the label so no one can blame them if you get sick! And they also offer so many great jobs for people, especially overseas. And hey, smoking a cig is relaxing, and who cares if you get cancer when you're 85, no one wants to be 90 anyway (that's a lyric from the song the happy workers sing). And Rob Reiner is evil because he's FAT and eats FATTY FOODS and -- my favorite part -- uses fake studies and lies to get people to think that the tobacco industry is evil. Yes, that's right, the tobacco industry that funded all sorts of BS research groups to muddy the waters about the dangers of smoking, no, they never lied, but people who exaggerate the dangers of second-hand smoke? EVIL!!

Side note: The Free Republic folks loved this episode.
posted by Saxon Kane at 6:26 AM on July 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Interview w/ Reason Mag
posted by Saxon Kane at 6:30 AM on July 11, 2011


Last night's Futurama ("The Silence of the Clamps") was also quite good, I thought. I'm hesitant to say the old Futurama is back just because they strung together two very good episodes, but I'm more hopeful than I have been at any time since the relaunch.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:30 AM on July 15, 2011


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