Badpuppy Gay Today

Monday, 29 December 1997

SOUTH PARK:

Comedy Central's Low-down-Hoe-down
Created by Matt Stone & Trey Parker, Roomies

By David Scott Evans


 

SOUTH PARK, Comedy Central, Wednesdays, 10 p.m. E.S.T.

Do we need some one, some thing to believe in? A hero perhaps? Heroes?

Take heart!

From the dank reaches of the frozen West here come cowboys.

Albeit cartoon cowboys.

South Park, a relative new-comer to cable's Comedy Central's line-up is, simply, the most clever show on TV. It's wry social commentary mixed with surrealistic, sophomoric humor has reached just about every demographic. Think: Man Ray does Peanuts.

The show stars four "lovable scamps", relatively ordinary foul-mouthed kids, who, in a half-hour every Wednesday at 10 p.m., become embroiled in some extraordinary circumstances. Aided by their soul-crooning friend Chef, South Park Elementary's cafeteria cook, Kyle, Eric ("I'm not fat, I'm big boned") Cartman, Kenny, and Stan seek to make sense of their invariably chilly-little-town's odd denizens.

Some of the townsfolk/ visitors include a genetic scientist you'd swear was Marlon Brando in a Hawaiian shirt, an ineffectual police force (that's a stretch), a closety, bigoted teacher who often communicates through Mr. Hat, a bearded, kempt, hand-puppet with an aggressive mien.

Jesus resides in South Park too. Yes folks, the Lord is alive and well and has a call in talk show called, aptly, Jesus and Pals. There are cattle who talk to space aliens. In one episode these same aliens inserted an anal probe up long suffering Cartman's rump which when activated makes the rotund child break into song.

When Stan's gay dog, who's bark was provided by none other than George Clooney, runs away from home because he putts from the "ruff", so to speak, he is taken in by in by the flouncily lovable Big Gay Al, who runs (what else?) Big Gay Al's Big Gay Animal Sanctuary. After Stan ventures into the wilderness to find his pooch he stumbles onto the sanctuary. There at the door to greet him is wispy-lispy Big Gay Al ready to give him a tour of the safe house/ theme park. Al shows Stan that all manner of animals are gay and that they're just terribly misunderstood.

Stan and Al then take a tour of the It's A Big Gay World After All boat ride where dioramas of gay people through the ages are depicted as benign and their oppressors, mainly the religious right, are the ride's "scary" parts. It's all a rather good-natured poke at all things gay in the nineties. Stan learns tolerance and acceptance and passes the message on to the rest of South Park's citizenry as he accepts an award at the Big South Park football game.

In another episode Kyle's mother, a perennial trouble-making goody two-shoes, walks in on the kids enjoying their favorite cartoon, the British-accented Terence and Phillip. T& P's primary gag is to fart on one another and laugh. The kids love it. Mother is appalled and immediately rallies the town's people the protest the erstwhile cartoon network which T&P is broadcast from. In a stunning show of selflessness that we can only hope the American Family Association and Operation Rescue will adopt, the citizens dutifully catapult themselves to splat themselves against the side of the building.

The Cartoon Network, in keeping with all things capitalist, refuses to back down. That is until the port-a-johns that have been placed next to the headquarters for the protesters begin to overflow with diarrhea, the result of a flu bug that seems to have hit every adult in South Park. Grudgingly, T&P are dispatched and replaced with reruns of the "fresh" comedy starring Suzanne Somers. She's the Sheriff.

The recently-aired Christmas episode has our quarrelsome citizenry bickering over how the elementary school X-mas play is to be presented. Kyle's mother, again, has started the harangue. Being a Jew, she doesn't appreciate the slated manger scenario. The town's fundamentalist faction object to Santa Claus, the Earth First types don't want Christmas trees slaughtered and so it goes.

It is then up to the town's beleaguered Mayor to come up wit a solution. Meanwhile Kyle is despondent over being Jewish in a predominately WASP town at Xmas. His only solace is found in his little friend, Mr. Hankey, the Christmas poo. Yes, a Christmas turd. The cutest lil Santa-hatted turd who ever jumped out of a toilet to kiss you on the cheek. Kyle is carted off to the loony bin.

Meanwhile, trying to accommodate everyone, the mayor has brought in abstract expressionist composer Phillip Glass to create an avant garde show involving a live shark and the kiddies dressed in leotards confusedly dancing to minimalist choreography. A brawl ensues as the town's folk can't appreciate the Mayor's "solution" to the Christmas play dilemma. Mr. Hankey then enters, saves the day, Kyle is redeemed and everyone learns the true meaning of Christmas.

The reactions to Mr. Hankey's entrance, who, up until this point, wasn't perceived of as anything but a, well, piece of shit, are precious. The show's frank portrayal of the divisiveness of the Holiday Season hits it's mark.

South Park could be the one show that pulls the whole country apart. It spares no one. With all the profanity, twisted, scatological references, and comical portrayals of everything from happy talking turds to euthanasia, gay issues and bellicose, hypocritical do-gooders out there, it's sure to be the religious right's and parent's groups target across the board.

Good.

I'd fairly say the creators, roomies Matt Stone and Trey Parker, welcome it. The family values brigade get a swift kick in the collective conscience. The kids who will, and do, watch the show, in spite of a its prohibitive TV rating, can learn from the jabs at established mores. What is tasteless can be terribly funny.

Happy holidays.

1997 BEI; All Rights Reserved.
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