Thursday, April 12, 2012

South Park Review- "Butterballs"

Finally! A pleasant surprise. Is it because the episode was good on its own, or is it because my standards have dropped so low after the previous episodes of the season? Read on to find out.

So this week, South Park finally took on a current event with the topic of bullying. This is the sort of material South Park works best with, so I was excited to hear that, but the first trailer left me underwhelmed.

When Butters walks into the cafeteria for the first scene, I couldn't help but laugh. Much like Randy, Butters is a side character that has morphed over many seasons into one of the most interesting, and definitely one of the most hilarious characters on the show. Seeing his trepidation as he sat down with his black eye instantly struck me, something that would not have worked with any other character.

Also, the best use of the names like Anonymous Andy or Negative Nancy (whatever those are called) ever was used in this episode, when in response to Craig suggesting Butters get a bigger bully to beat up the person bullying him, Butters responds, "Nah, I don't want to be a cliche conflict resolution Kevin."

Stan again acts as the moral compass of the show, as he stands up for Butters, and all kids who get bullied at South Park Elementary (the red head who always stood up for him was a nice touch). The boys tell Butters to try talking to his family about the problem, like his Grandma who happened to be visiting at the time. We then meet Butters' grandmother, with her snow white hair, and moose print sweater, she is the picture of innocence and all things good about Grandmothers. That is, until it's just her and Butters left in the room.

Within a second of Mr. and Mrs. Scotch leaving the room, she strikes Butters in the face and continues to demean him, calling him a "little faggot." Seeing her say, "Do something about it bitch. You're Grandma's bitch!" was hysterical. Then she goes right back to enjoying her tea. This was a priceless scene.

Mr. Mackay then meets Bucky Bailey, who is trying to solve the problem of bullying, but his methods are more than a little ironic. Bailey bullies Mackay into hosting his anti bullying campaign, and while this scene wasn't funny in the commercial, watching Mackay sob his way through the assembly announcement was hilarious.

"The assembly is mandatory, MMK?"

Then Grandma comes looking for Butters at school,  but when he runs to the bathroom to try to avoid her, he finds her waiting there for him. Grandma is pissed that Butters narked on her, and struts up to the door, locking him in. She then tries shoving a nark puck (the urinal cake) into Butters mouth. Watching this sweet lady in an innocent purple sweater tell Butters to "put it in your fucking mouth"  had me dying. The joke was so good, it never got old at any point during the episode, which has been rare lately.

"Put it in your f*cking mouth!"

The next scene takes place in the Gym, as Bucky Bailey gives his anti-bullying presentation. He brings out little Lorraine, asking if she has been bullied. When her answers on the things people say to her aren't extreme enough, he asks her if anyone ever says, "Nice pants. Why do you wear them up to your tits." This poor girl is even more awkward than Kyle's cousin Kyle, which is incredibly impressive. I felt really sorry for this poor cartoon girl.

Bucky wants the school to produce an anti-bullying video, and after some more bullying, Stan agrees to direct the video. Then, we see the video. Now this video was awesome in its own right, but the IGN reviewer found the video that inspired this scene, and the south park video is even better after seeing it.

Seriously, try watching those two videos and not cracking up laughing, it's impossible. Cartman's vajayjay lines were a wonderful addition. The best part was the stat line at the beginning, the way Stan says, "Did you know in America, HAHA, over 200,000 students every day are afraid to come to school because of bullying?" It literally mirror the Cypress Ranch video. This scene was lovingly crafted, and the lyrics were hysterical, "let's all get together and make bullying kill itself, bullying is an ugly thing, let's shove it's face in the dirt, and make bullying kill itself." The constant irony worked really worked so well throughout the whole episode.

At the end of the video, when Butters ruined the super long single shot commercial, I literally laughed out loud.

Then, the KONY spoofs start up. Finally, a current event worth making fun of. I'm still waiting for Trayvon, but the addition of KONY material (even if not explicitly mentioned) reminded me of the South Park of old. Poor Stan, if only he understood that all his efforts would only end in him jacking it in San Diego.

The abuse continued at the dinner table, as Grandma continually stabbed Butters in the leg with her dinner fork.Then, she puts a booger in his mashed potatoes. These scenes never get old for some reason, I think because the Grandma character was created so well.

The only way Butters can deal with the stress is to release his dark side, and Professor Chaos enters the fray. "Oh look, it's Captain Pussy!" The villain Grandmother was disgusting and disturbing, especially her gummy bears torture.

The repeated bathroom scenes were hilarious, as everyone continually bullies everyone else, the best of which was the movie representative bullying Bucky Bailey to the point of tears.

The Dr. Oz spoof also worked well. Poor Butters had nothing to say, and Oz bullied him into talking about it. Then, Butters finally has enough, and beats the crap out of Dr. Oz on live television, taking away the credibility of Stan's film. Then, in a brilliant move, Jesus bullies the movie producer in the bathroom. If only Family Guy could learn how to utilize repeated humor as well as this episode.

Butters' monologue was genuinely heartwarming, which is the area South Park has excelled in the last few seasons. It's surprising to me how well they can portray genuine emotion through the voices of filthy elementary schoolers.

Then, when everything falls apart, Stan is left with no choice but to head to San Diego to jack it in San Diego. The musical piece was razor sharp, despite the random out of place 50's singers. I love how they found a way to just take a dump on an entire city at the end of this fantastic episode.

Watching this episode a second time, I realized that this was actually a great episode that can stand with episodes from past seasons. The repeated humor was utilized exceptionally well, the topic was current, and Butters' grandmother was one of the best characters the show has introduced in a long time. This is the first episode of the season that I would actually watch some day on NetFlix. I hope you all liked the episode as much as I did, and I also hope that the season can continue in the same positive direction it has been headed the last few weeks.

Overall Score:   9/10


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