This South Park review contains spoilers.
South Park Season 22 Episode 5
Once again, South Park maintains its good record on Halloween. Having churned out a few classics early in the show’s run, and nailed some topical ones more recently, Matt Stone and Trey Parker clearly have a hell of a lot of fun coming up with seasonal episodes. They often show a love for the horror genre–The Shining parody in “A Nightmare on FaceTime” was a high point–and are willing to mix in some surprises–Korn’s guest appearance, Satan’s birthday attendees, and Randy doing crack last year–to get us in the holiday spirit.
It may be easy to mix in a bunch of visual gags and cheap deaths for a laugh, but South Park usually succeeds in its Halloween episodes because it can focus on kids doing a kids activity. Everything else around that is just ghoushly dressed filler. “The Scoots” is about the kids of South Park hatching a plan to use the town’s new motorized e-scooters to take in a massive haul of Halloween candy. When the kids scheme, it’s the adults who come up with some comically inept response, often making matters far worse.
South Park could have gotten bogged down in the mystery of the scooters or wandered down a path of addressing our smartphone fixation, but it really said all it needed to about e-scooters by using Mr. Mackey, who gets his car dinged a number of times, to illustrate the potential pitfalls of scootin’. Mackey’s storyline is not without real-world precedent. Angry citizens in California have set scooters on fire or tossed them in the ocean. At San Diego Comic-Con, I saw firsthand how efficient scooters can be and how they can a problem when large crowds of people–130,000 plus people attend SDCC, crowding the streets to where you can barely walk–are dodging brazen scoot-heads like myself. After one day, San Diego Police rounded up a huge portion of the e-scooters in a big truck in a scene that looked exactly like what Mackey did in this episode.
After Mackey does round up the scooters, and they mysteriously return, the episode turns into chaos, in a good way. The boys have taken so much candy that the scooters can’t support the weight. Butters looks like he had a heart attack in the middle of a candy pile. New York, two hours ahead, is completely destroyed and out of sweets. South Park is on the brink of ruin, but Mackey and Kenny save it by bringing down the cell phone tower. That sequence is the kind of adventure animation that the show has gotten away from, and it was nice to have it back in a way that wasn’t completely convoluted by the setup.
Like them or not, e-scooters aren’t going anywhere. They’re an affordable, convenient, and eco-friendly alternative mode of transportation in certain cities that aren’t overcrowded with vehicles (San Diego on a non-comic con week is ideal) and don’t have a ton of hills. Let’s hope Kenny, who’s been poor for two decades, finally comes into some money so he too can experience the rush of scootin’.
An adult Kenny doing a voiceover to bookend the episode was great.
I love the continuity from this season with Stan’s 100% hemp shirt and a billboard for Mr. Hankey’s cancelled Holiday Pageant.
“We have to get more candy than anyone else, even if we die!”
“We’ve lost Butters!”
The townspeople need $6,000 in candy to survive the night. That better include FULL candy bars.
When the police hold the town meeting, is that the first time we’ve ever seen all the counties around South Park?
What a weird collection of kids costumes… Craig is a Gingerbread Man?
“It was the last Halloween that still felt like Halloween. It was the last time it was… good.”
Finally, I hope everyone had fun at Tricks and Treats!
Chris Longo is the deputy editor and print editor of Den of Geek. You can tweet your scootin’ experience at him.