The second half of season 14 has been less than impressive so far, and unfortunately, the streak continues with the first entry in a trilogy continuing the storyline of Cartman’s superhero alter-ego, the Coon. While the first episode on the Coon and Mysterion was funny because it poked fun at The Dark Knight and Watchmen, movies that had created a buzz during that same time, at this point, it feels recycled and unfunny. I was excited about South Park tackling the BP oil spill, but I feel that their concentration on the comic book aspect of the story was a mistake considering the things they could have done with such a controversial issue.
The inclusion of a superhero called “Captain Hindsight” and the BP owner’s ridiculous apologies are amusing, but this is an example of yet another episode this season that started off with a great concept and simply fell short of expectations.
The episode starts off by introducing the boys as superheroes in a group dedicated to fighting crime known as “Coon and Friends.” Then a real superhero, Captain Hindsight, shows up, providing “wisdom” by showing up after every disaster and revealing what should have been done to prevent the problem. This is a great metaphor for the BP disaster, but the execution doesn’t produce as many laughs as it should.
The struggle between Cartman and the rest of the group doesn’t really go anywhere until the Coon viciously attacks the Mosquito, which is done as a tribute to “A Clockwork Orange,” but the joke was probably lost on the majority of the show’s audience.
As with any South Park episode, there were moments that had me dying laughing, including the BP owner’s apologies, the change of the company’s name from BP to DP (Double Penetration), and a Louisiana accent that is absolutely hysterical. Professor Chaos in the holding cell, the return of Timmy, Butters dressing up like Courtney Love, and the allusion to previous episodes with the deceased Tom Cruise and killer whale Willzyx on the moon were all humorous inclusions as well. There is definitely promise that the next episode will improve with the dark god Cthulhu being unleashed and Cartman’s funny and ominous ending, but overall, I was unimpressed.
South Park will never run out of material for satire, but lately it seems like the episodes have been underdeveloped. The first entry in the trilogy is probably the weakest one (the Mintberry Crunch jokes won’t reach their full potential until the very last part of the trilogy), and they do get progressively better, but I kept waiting for some cathartic scene to bring everything together and make it funny. That scene never happened.
Once again, great concepts and ideas are at work, but the execution was a bit off for South Park standards. Attacking BP is a no-brainer, but at the end of the episode, I really didn’t feel like the writers went as hard as they should have, even if watching this or any episode of South Park is still entertaining. I’m hoping Stone and Parker remember sometime soon that good satire directly attacks the source, rather than just alluding to it every now and then.