The threat of gluten products suffocates South Park as most high-profile illnesses do, glooming the small Colorado town with another black cloud of smugness. Only this time perception of people’s car choices and reception of an award by George Clooney weren’t casting the shadow, it was a physical threat the likes of which we’ve only hyperbolized.
Yes, if you do feast on enough gluten, your dick will fly off.
The panic, as is the title of the episode, “Gluten Free Ebola,” is a play on the Ebola outbreak in Africa, which has caused thousands of deaths on the continent and alarm here in the United States as more outbreaks continue to be reported. Surprisingly, South Park doesn’t use the media to induce panic in the town (possibly because they used the news to explain crowd funding just last week), rather it comes from the source, the United States Department of Agriculture.
The irony is the boys just want to throw a pizza party. In a continuation of the previous episode that threw me off guard, the boys return to school, heads hung in defeat after telling everyone to “go fuck themselves” when they set out to become startup millionaires just a week ago. Now everyone hates them, Butters allegedly burned down the gym as another big “FU” and is MIA, and saying sorry isn’t enough. They need to throw a pizza party and bring New Zealand pop star Lorde along as the entertainment to win back the skewl. It all works solely because we see the return of Scott Malkinson, the diabetes stricken lad whom the party is being thrown to “benefit.”
Like any plan the boys have, something external — usually the parents — inadvertently ruins it. For all the “hooey” and “poppycock,” gluten boils down to something that fires your dick off with the fervor of a small missile. What the townspeople don’t understand is that you need gluten in your diet because it keeps you from being an insufferable prick. Mr. Garrison was ahead of his time, calling out Mr. Macky for his douchery. The other guy locked inside the Papa John’s got too dough happy and fired off a dick rocket. Randy panicked like usual but was the edible uproar going to prevent him from the cheap wheaty goodness of an ice-cold Pabst? Fuck no it wasn’t.
Balance is restored to their diets when the USDA listens to Cartman and his Aunt Jemima fever dream. Butter is now on top of the pyramid and served on our steaks but oddly enough, the namesake for the delicious dairy product churned from fermented cream, Leopold “Butters” Stotch, is nowhere to be found. The meeting to reinstate Butters’ was rudely interrupted by Mr. Macky’s smugness and we caught a glimpse of the torched gymnasium, but there was no resolution to the arson accusations.
This is the perfect opportunity to get back to what South Park was doing so well when Butters first bursted onto the scene and became a fan favorite after the extended death of Kenny. For too long the show has been using bottle episodes outside of the occasional two or three parter. It feels like forever ago that the boys spent an entire season (and one of its best at that) trying to find a new best friend and my hope is that they’re returning to the days when plots or small arcs continued throughout an entire season.
I’ll give the episode three stars, two of them for Scott Malkinson so everyone is aware that he still has diabetes. The other is for the hope that I too have a dream of Aunt Jemima.
I love seeing Cartman and Kyle get along for two episodes in a row. Maybe it will lead to a big falling out or the boys will keep this ‘us against the world’ mentality all season.
My biggest laugh from the episode is credited to the Cartman/Aunt Jemima dream.
I expected to see a ridiculously deformed parody of Lorde but I guess Randy in drag will do.
Prediction for Next Week:
Justice will be served. Butters has to answer for his crimes against the school. But what if Butters has been wrongly accused? Sounds like a case for the Hardly Boys.