All I have to say about an episode of South Park bashing on Jersey Shore is FINALLY. As an Italian, I can’t stand these disgraces to Italians; as an American, I can’t stand this disgrace to television. Too long have Snooki and The Situation been able to run around virtually untouched, and I was thrilled when I first learned that Matt Stone and Trey Parker would be bringing their stupidity to the spotlight.
“It’s a Jersey Thing” is not as brutal of an onslaught as I was expecting or perhaps, hoping for, but maybe that’s just my extreme hate for the show that went unappeased, because this episode really is extremely well-done. Featuring a better depiction of Snooki than I could ever dream up and a vintage South Park ending, this episode is one of the best of Season 14.
The plot is not too difficult to follow here, following the typical South Park format of a problem being introduced that steadily escalates until it reaches the point of a full-on battle of some sort with the whole town of South Park at stake. People from Jersey are slowly taking over the country and South Park soon becomes the last stand for the West Coast of the United States.
The depiction of women from Jersey as self-centered, makeup-enveloped, egotistical skanks is amusing, especially when Kyle’s mom Sheila reveals her ties to Jersey. Kyle’s struggle with his Jersey roots is also funny, and Cartman has a few great one-liners as well. I was a little disappointed that they never brought up fist-pumping, the epitome of Jersey Shore idiocy, but seeing Snooki depicted the exact way I feel about her and seeing The Situation get the crap kicked out of him by Randy made up for a little bit of that disappointment.
Then the controversy kicks in. South Park would not be the show it is if it played by the rules, and this episode is no exception. Yes, the inclusion of Osama Bin Laden, Al Qaeda and the short quip referring to the Islamic community center being built near Ground Zero are going to turn some heads, but the extreme nature of the humor here is so extreme that it almost can’t be taken seriously and can be chalked up to raw satire.
Of course I can sympathize with people being offended at the image of Al Qaeda flying airplanes into the ground, even if it is with the intent of eradicating an army of people from Jersey. But the humor is meant to make a satirical statement about how this terrorist organization carries out its terrorism, not to offend Americans. Insensitive maybe? Definitely. Irreverent enough to be funny? Depends, but I think so. Here’s why.
Yes, the subject matter is intense, but using an extreme subject like Al Qaeda allows the writers to make a hyperbolic statement about how truly disturbing the fad that is Jersey Shore is to American society: it is idiotic enough that the citizens of South Park would turn to their “greatest enemy” in order to protect the world from people from Jersey. Look at that concept and try and tell me that is not even slightly funny, despite its irreverence.
And even if you disagree, another perfect, quick ending will appease many as Bin Laden is promptly shot in the head at a ceremony honoring his service to South Park, to which Randy cries, “We got him!” This ending is not only hilarious, but it saves the creators from looking unpatriotic. Pure gold.