At this point in my relationship with South Park, I can equate those first few moments of a new season to when an old friend pops back into my life. I get out of those awkward hellos by immediately reminiscing about something in the past and soon I’m non-stop chuckling because it just feels good to be back in that comfort zone.
South Park was gone longer then we’ve been used to. In this case absence didn’t make the heart grow fonder, but it left the feeling that Matt Stone and Trey Parker would come out firing like they tend to do for each season opener. While tonight’s “Let Go, Let Gov” reminded us how good it feels to be immersed in the South Park universe, it’s clear the show’s creators have plenty on their minds and roughly 20 short minutes to get their point across.
The NSA was an obvious choice to go after but the episode got off to a rough start with too much social media overkill in the first act. Between commenting on Twitter controversies by having Alec Baldwin cut off his thumbs (hilarious) and creating a new social media platform called “shitter,” South Park hedged its airtime by not allowing Cartman’s Edward Snowden impression to fully develop. The formula has always been support the main act with a lesser secondary plot. It has got them through 16 seasons of pulling a few genius ideas together in the days before the show is scheduled to air. The disappointment in this episode comes not from the ideas presented but the ample amount of time that South Park had to piece together a thorough episode.
The secondary plot has those classic Butters moments — the DMV confessional, praying to Obama, singing James Brown and putting his little wiener in the cutout of Jennifer Lawrence’s mouth — but at the same time it ate away at precious minutes that could have been better spent setting up a stronger climax. Santa is a beloved figure in South Park, but coiling him up in the hands of the almighty NSA and instantly forgetting about him doesn’t do a figure that helped birth the show any justice.
The first episode of the half-season runs has traditionally been one where Matt Stone and Trey Parker aim to defiantly state they are back. An episode loaded with religious and governmental overtones is usually South Park’s bread and butter, but “Let Go, Let Gov” was a hurried attempt to catch up viewers on what our old friend has been up to.
It really is a new era in South Park. The 3D intro was a fresh look for an ever-evolving product. Maybe it was a bit of an ode to the delayed Stick of Truth video game?
The accurate Alec Baldwin voice helped make the “Shitter” a device I’d love to utilize in my daily life.
Just when you thought South Park was running out of religions to comment on, they finally give Jehovah’s Witnesses its due.
Eric Cartman is literally a whistle blower. That’s one of those moments that remind you no matter what madness Cartman is occupied with, he’s still a little kid at heart.
Prediction for Next Week:
At the beginning of the week we forecasted that the NSA and social media would find a prominent place early in the season. Now as we look ahead to next week, I’ll put my money on Miley Cyrus making her South Park debut.
If you remember, after Britney Spears was sacrificed in the “harvest,” a 15-year old Miley Cyrus was seen as the next potential victim of public shaming. If Randy’s assessment that the next harvest “will be even better” is any indication, expect Miley’s “South Park treatment” to garner a lot of attention.