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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

South Park: The Ring

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According to Wikipedia, tonight’s episode was the 182nd South Park, and Trey Parker and Matt Stone are under contract to deliver a whopping 42 more. I predict that each of those episodes—assuming we continue to cover them in TV Club—will be met with approximately 50% “worst episode ever” and 50% “classic!” That seems to be the way around here; even my fellow writer Sean O’Neal and I seem to be in complete disagreement about what constitutes a good episode and what seems like a painful cartoon treadmill.

I have to admit, seeing the premise for tonight’s episode—Kenny takes his girlfriend to see The Jonas Brothers—I didn’t have high hopes. Few targets are more like fish in barrels than those loveable singing moppets. But who knows? I’m usually the one that likes the really obvious jokes. (Just thinking about “fingerbang” is making me smile.)

Oh, but something that might actually lead to extra enjoyment tonight: My satellite provider just started offering Comedy Central in HD, so South Park should look extra awesome. (It did wonders for The Simpsons this season when it went HD, regardless of what you think of the actual show.)

First, the commercial: Holy shit, I’m so excited for Resident Evil 5. I don’t even play videogames much anymore, but I’m fixin’ to buy a Playstation 3 just for RE:5. Obviously it’s tough to tell from the commercial if the gameplay will be any good, but it looks great, and if they didn’t fuck with perfection too much, it should be awesome.

Okay, so on to the show: Pretty damn funny, amirite? A solid 30 minutes, with just one storyline, lots of laughs, and it looked fucking awesome in HD.

Kenny having a girlfriend was a stroke of genius, to start with, and I absolutely knew from the moment the other boys heard the rumor that she was a chain-restaurant parking-lot skank that Kenny would be super psyched—and he didn’t let me down. When Cartman gave him the news that his new lady, fifth grader Tammy Warner, had given another boy a blowjob, Kenny’s “woo-hoo” was amazing. (Jimmy saying “If you guys found out my girlfriend was a raging whore, I’d want you to tell me” was pretty great, too.)

When Tammy spills the beans about her parking lot encounter directly to Kenny, he dances. Again—amazing.

But it can’t be that easy, of course, and I was a little worried that the introduction of the Jonas Brothers would lead to some of that aforementioned barrel-fishing. But, as we learned a little later in the episode, the real villain was the man behind the boys. Or rather the mouse behind the boys. But Kenny’s got a good plan: Get Tammy to the Jonas concert and she’ll get, in her words, tingly, and she won’t be able to resist him.

It works: The concert was pretty priceless, especially the shots of all the girls in the audience freaking out. Just when you think the South Park gents can’t come up with a filthy thought they haven’t already beaten into the ground, they give the world 8-year-old girls saying “My giney tickles!” But when those horny kids get invited backstage, it’s not for the requisite rock-star BJs—it’s to give them purity rings and share a love of Christ. Poor, poor Kenny—his fit at the bus stop was totally understandable. I felt his pain.

And then comes the sermonizing, which was heavy-handed (par for the course on SP these days), but with enough jokes to make it palatable. Mickey Mouse, posit the writers, is selling sex to young girls, then dressing it up as something wholesome. (Tough to argue that point, but it gives little credit to the fact that little girls also love the Jonas’ Bros’ crappy music.) The way it was presented, though, with Mickey himself giving a speech to the Jonases (and kicking the shit out of one) was amazing.

When Kyle, Stan, and Cartman can’t take Kenny’s boring behavior anymore—he’s watching Gray’s Anatomy!—they try and help, but Mickey is there to stop them, and deliver a speech that gets broadcast to the Jonas crowd. Again, very much on the nose and oversimple, but funny enough to justify it. “When little girls’ gineys tingle, I make money! And that’s because little girls are fucking stupid! Even the Christians are too fucking stupid to figure out I’m selling sex to their daughters. Because Christians are retarded! They believe in a talking dead guy!” (Bill Maher, watching at home, is probably cheering.)

And man, I was hoping against hope that Kenny would get that BJ after all of this, and praise be Jesus, he sure did. Yeah, he died for it, but I think that’s a bargain he would’ve gladly accepted.

Grade: A-

Stray observations:

— One of the few times you know exactly what Kenny says: “You want Tammy to give you a BJ?” “Of course, dude!”

— All the little girls mouths’ popping open was pretty great.

— The Jonas video/Kenny-is-bored montage was excellent, especially the snowman with the giant wang.

— “You like taking the Jonas Brothers’ hot foam in your faces?”