The second half of my South Park responses from my Research Writing course looking at how comedy is used to discuss political and social issues.
On the surface level the episode titled “ManBearPig” is one of the more ridiculous ideas for the series, and yet at the same time its quite genius. Often I’m in awe at how exactly Trey Parker and Matt Stone come up with all this. Airing about a month before Al Gore’s novel and documentary An Inconvenient Truth were to come out South Park decided it was time for them to give their take on the subject of global warming just as the idea would reach a peak within the public and media. But rather than being overly preachy as the show can sometimes get, “ManBearPig” is relatively un-preachy with the message simply being Al Gore is over blowing things for attention rather than necessarily global warming doesn’t exist. The episode consists of former Vice President coming to the small Colorado town of South Park and trying to get the kids to believe in his delusional tale of a “half man, half bear, half pig” creature.
In my Research Writing course we’ve been focusing on comedies and how they use satire to discuss political and social topics. Typically our homework involves watching an episode of a comedy series and responding to it. The first half of the semester is based around South Park so here’s the first batch of my responses, which I’ll classify loosely as reviews.
South Park is a series that from the very start was given a bad rap. The initial response to the show from critics and the media was that it consisted of nothing more than fart jokes and crude, ugly animation. With the speed and ease of producing an episode of South Park, creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone wrote the episode “Death” in direct response to this criticism, thus making use of one of my favorite types of jokes: meta humor. By creating the show within a show Terrence and Phillip they are able to have the characters speak directly to the early critiques and defend themselves against it. The parents of South Park become enraged by the introduction of Terrence and Phillip, which actually consists of nothing but potty humor in addition to using even cruder animation as the top of the characters’ heads aren’t even connected to the bottom (a joke which would later be applied to all Canadians in the South Park universe). In this Terrence and Phillip become a representation of the type of show many-viewed South Park to be at first glance.