South Park: The Magic Bush Review

South Park tackles the topic of drones, our private security, and pubic hair in their sharpest episode of the season. Here is our review.

“Your wiener, my balls, they’re all public domain.”

Like a lot of the best South Park episodes, this one starts off extremely innocently with Butters looking at pictures that he took of bird eggs with Cartman, who couldn’t care less about them. That is until he hears that Butters and his dad took these pictures with a drone of all things. It’s not long after this setup that Cartman is coercing Butters into allowing him to use the drone so they can secretly spy on people. Cartman also brings along Kenny because things are always better with Kenny. Cartman and Butters plots are also usually some of the best ones that the series has done, but this one doesn’t exactly push any of this pair dynamic, instead focusing more on the social message.

The boys take some simple, childlike shenanigan spying and it naturally gets out of hand. Craig’s dad catches them spying on his wife (Craig’s mom, and her bush, accordingly) while she’s getting changed. Craig’s dad is pretty outraged over this. When Butters’ dad hears that the drone was out, but he didn’t take it out, and of course Butters couldn’t have done it (“No, it’s impossible. He’s not allowed to fly it without my supervision.”), of course the conclusion that he comes to is that the drone is working on its own or haunted or something.

Cartman uploads the video that they took of Craig’s mom (and her yeti-like bush) in a pretty reasonable way of avoiding culpability, but in the process, Kyle ends up getting privy to what they’ve done…and in a sense, becomes a drone himself by doing so and spying. As a means of fighting this perception, Cartman turns the video into a music video to again prove his innocence, in some pretty twisted logic that worked for me.

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This all results in Roger Donovan, a no one, running a block meeting about getting rid of these drones and making sure they don’t spy on more people. With the neighborhood watch only being so sizeable and being to keep tabs on so much, their solution is to turn to drones overrunning the city as a means of keeping an eye on everyone to make sure that no one is spying on anyone with drones.

This is really the perfect South Park-ian extrapolation of a topic, and their spin on drones and privacy begins to gain some weight here, even if it is a topic the show has tackled before, but then again, so have we, as a people. Things like the iCloud leak and the wealth of celebrity nude photos that followed are brought up and tied to the topic too, and a fairly reasonable connection begins to be made, especially when a black drone is shot down and people look at the police’s racial bias.

Craig’s parents turn to our favorite red-haired cop to fight the drones. This ends up turning into an all-out drone riot overtaking South Park as police drones and civilian drones fight for privacy and freedom. The city is in ruins, as everyone sits peacefully at home, as their security hangs in the balance.

Stan and Kyle enter the episode with the exchange, “Yeah, it’s like there’s no real theme to hold onto any more.” Kyle responds with, “It’s like why even bother watching?” You wonder if they’re talking about the show itself and trying to shoehorn a relevant topic like drones into an episode. When this ends up being one of the smarter spins in some episodes now, it’s even funnier.

The visual of drones flying around, holding a vigil for the shot down drone, when they’re intercepted by police drones because “candles on top of drones is a fire hazard” this thing keeps exploding in on itself to wonderful heights. It’s definitely the most focused and biting episode of the season so far that’s actually saying something.

The episode ends on a decent enough note that because everyone is denying doing these things and therefore can’t possibly be doing it, then who is? How does the “Full Metal Bush” video have over 300,000,000 views? The drones must be doing these things themselves and Butters’ dad’s theory comes to life.

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If the rest of the season can have the sharpness of this episode and they ride out this high, they’ll end up with a very impressive season, especially for a show that’s eight-teen years in. There will certainly be no shortage of events to talk about, as the loom of the inevitable Ebola episode draws closer…

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4 out of 5