South Park: The Cissy Review

South Park takes on a delicate topic and Randy once again shines as the pop star Lorde. Here's our review...

For the longest time, through middle school and well into high school, the bell would ring on a Thursday and we’d crowd the hallways in between classes and recite a new phrase or two coined by South Park the night before. We pretended to be hall monitors and told our classmates to “Go with Christ, brah” and asked the stoners if they were ready to ditch pot and pick up their cats for the “cheese,” if they wanted some real “Mary Jane piss-in-your-face fun time.”  

Whether or not you particularly enjoyed an episode, there was always something, one line or gag or phrase, which you could hold on to. Everyone had their opinions on the direction of the show, some watched only occasionally but if diehards talked an episode up enough, whoever missed the episode would catch the Thursday-night rerun and come back to school loaded with another South Park reference to contribute to an ongoing dialogue.

Tonight’s episode, “The Cissy,” if only for a second, makes me long for those days, because I know I’d be singing “I am Lorde, ya ya ya” the entire day. It would also spark a discussion on trans issues that would rival South Park Elementary’s hallways in ignorance and misunderstanding.

There’s sure to be brush back to this episode, as some may view it as South Park making light of serious issues of isolation, fear and discrimination in the transgender community. In a way that might but true, but we’re also watching a show that was not so delicate with the handling of Mr. Garrison’s transition from male to female and back to male.

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Nothing is ever off limits. We know that. Now six years removed from Ms. Garrison growing a new penis from scratch, South Park was a little more mindful of how far we’ve come with acknowledging and respecting the transgender community. For the most part, they stuck with the correct terms as outlined by GLAAD.

The beauty of South Park is its ability to spark a discussion out of its humor. Here, the message will surely get twisted. Some corners of the Internet will bash Matt Stone and Trey Parker, but I give them credit for addressing people’s uncomfortably with how transgender people chose to live their life. Using Cartman’s unawareness of what he was springing on the school and the school’s inability to deal with it (Mr. Garrison was the voice of reason) surely resonates with what’s going on in schools across America in 2014. 

[Related: The Complete Guide to South Park movie references and parodies]

As always it’s the innocent children in the situation (if you can call Cartman innocent) that bring us some funny moments – Cartman calling himself “Transginger,” changing his name to Erica and a few solid “Cis-Gender” jokes. The main plot blended well with the episode’s “B” plot, a continuation of the Randy as Lorde gag. Only this time, Randy actually is Lorde. He’s been selling his auto-tuned, tweedy dark teen pop to Los Angeles record execs and leading a double life as a cross-dressing teen pop star. It’s like a much more watchable Hanna Montana. Even if they haven’t hit a homerun yet, I love the continuity of the season, bringing aspects of the first two episodes along for the ride. This might not be my favorite Randy midlife crisis, but I’m fine with it being a thread that ties this season together.

Hallway Chatter: 

“You know what Hillary says, you can suck my clit and balls!” 

“He’s so ciss he wears a jock strap to bed at night” 

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“E! Entertainment News because that’s how low you’ve sunk”

In one of the great odes to the immediacy of the series, they took a garbage article by a Spin Magazine editor looking for click bait and wrote him into the episode. Brennan Carley, the actual Spin editor, became Brandon Carlile, a reporter looking to make sure no one ever makes fun of the talented and down-to-earth Lorde. Actually he was that in real life, too. Should be fun to read his next article tomorrow… 

I wish they settled the Butters burning-down-the-school issue instead of him popping up as though nothing happened. At the end of the episode we saw the gym still in charred! Also, Butters’ shameless defense of Cartman in everything he does never gets old. Really, Butters is that kid who will back up anyone just because he thinks it will make him look cool. 

Tonight might be the longest Sharon’s ever spoken in an episode. Did anyone else notice something a little off with her voice? 

Finally, “I am Lorde ya ya ya.” I pumped myself up for writing this review by listening to Lorde.

Prediction for Next Week:

Matt and Trey bring the celebrity nude picture scandal to South Park. Butters has his scissors ready to cut a hole out of Jennifer Lawrence’s mouth. This time, he won’t confess to the DMV about it. 

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3 out of 5