This review of South Park contains spoilers.
South Park Season 21 Episode 5
Where the hell is Towlie this week? Seriously, how can you have an episode about getting high without a towel?
OK, anyway, let us begin with a eulogy for Chuck E. Cheese, a mascot mouse with a love of cheese pizza and cheap plastic toys, who left us far too soon. Some may call him a junky, but we saw a troubled friend succumb to a nasty illness called addiction. What Chuck left behind is a town in disarray. South Park came off a high of last week’s “Franchise Prequel,” a tie-in to their well-reviewed video game release, and stayed high on pharmaceutical drugs this week in “Hummels & Heroin.” Unless I missed something, heroin wasn’t actually mentioned in the episode, which saw a number of birthday party performers–magicians, clowns, and furry mascots–overdose on drugs originally prescribed to seniors at South Park’s retirement home. It was no Mary Jane piss in your face fun time.
The episode was less of a trip and more of a mellow high. I’ve written time and time again that South Park feels disjointed when they squish three plots into 22 minutes or mix and match elements of current events, better known as the “manatee approach,” which was their own joke at the expense of Family Guy. Now here’s the part of the review where I sound like an asshole because South Park is back to doing exactly the kind of simple, focus-on-the-boys types of stories fans want, and unfortunately I’m going to whine about the result being a middling story about Stan and his Grandpa.
Listen, hummels are hilarious. My grandma has a glass display cabinet for her collection, so this episode hit home. But other than the line, “Whenever there’s a drug epidemic you can usually trace it back to people who’ve been thrown away by society and forgotten about,” Matt and Trey had little interest in seriously commenting on the opioid issues plaguing the country, and opt for silliness that has little payoff by the episode’s end.
I know you need to suspend your belief when watching television, and double so for this show, but hummels for drugs straight up doesn’t make a ton of sense and gets tiresome by the third act. Why is the drug game the only way to get hummels to the retirement home? Why does Grandpa Marsh covet hummels only to smack Ms. McGillicuddy around with a bag of them? Not to mention this aired during a week when women across the country have been empowered to share stories of sexual violence and harassment on social media, so the ending came off as distasteful, if not completely tone deaf.
The opioids will hopefully be ridden from South Park so next week can start off fresh. If you’re going to get high, try cheesing. And please, don’t forget to bring a towel.
One Liners of the Week:
“That’s my grandson, he’s worthless.”
If the retirement home rap wasn’t a guest track from Killer Mike of Run the Jewels, then they got a guy who sounded just like him.