Episode 6: Death
Episode 7: Pinkeye
By: Carlos Uribe
South Park is a cartoon that follows the adventures of four children. It has aired since 1997 on Comedy Central.
The first episode I'm reviewing is called “Death”. The episode title should hint that this is an episode that is going to deal with the fun subject of death. In this specific case, it has to do with Stan's grandfather. His grandpa is old and wants to die, but he can't seem to succeed at killing himself. He wants his grandson to put an end to him and the whole episode has the characters discussing the morality of assisted suicide. When the children don't get much guidance from adults, who all seek to stay away from it, they eventually decide to help kill Stan's grandfather. This all fails when the grimm reaper shows up to kill Kenny and Stan's grandfather's grandfather comes and tells Stan's grandpa that having Stan kill him will negatively affect him and that it's ultimately best to wait for nature to take it's course. The episode doesn't attack assisted suicide because suicide is immoral but because of the effects it would have on the person doing the assisting. It's a plot that isn't really that funny, although the fake interview that ties into the plot of the other episode and the scene with the cop both are. It was all a bit predictable.
What's even more underhanded is the other plot. This plot concentrates less on death and more on television's content. When Kyle's mother notices that a program that the children of South Park watch, Terrence and Phillip, is crude and offensive, she decides to protest the network. This leads to her being so busy organizing a rally at the network that she isn't involved in her child's life. The theme of the episode is spelt out to any viewer watching: it's a parent's responsibility to raise a child and not television and censorship is bad. It is said that great television will only mention it's theme in passing, good television will state the theme once, and bad television will state it twice or more. This was an episode that stated it's point multiple times. It ultimately wasn't very funny and it was all very predictable. This was an episode that was spending too much time justifying the existence of South Park, addressing criticisms, and dealing with assisted suicide that it forgets that it needs to be funny. If it was less busy and concentrated on only one issue then this episode would have been much better and maybe even funnier.
The second episode I'm reviewing is “Pinkeye”. This was the first Halloween episode that South Park had and it was pretty funny. This might have also been the first episode that established that Kenny is poor. The episode's plot isn't focused very well. The main plot has to do with zombies, but it doesn't really take over until the second half of the episode. There is a slow build-up as the zombie infection is seen slowly spreading but it remains the background for most of the episode. This allows the two sub-plots to have a lot of focus. The sub-plots remain largely seperate. The first sub-plot is who wins the Halloween contest. This sub-plot reaches an end about halfway through the episode, but it's the plot that determines the costumes of the characters. The only thing funny about the sub-plot is Cartman's Hitler costume followed by his accidental KKK costume. While Stan's Raggedy Ann costume was used as the butt of many jokes, only a few actually landed.
The second sub-plot is where the characters go trick-or-treating. This sub-plot is cut short by the main plot but it does have some pretty good jokes. The best part about the episode is at the end, when Kyle calls a hotline for help in the zombie outbreak. He learns that they shouldn't decapitate zombies left and right, which is exactly what Stan and Cartman are doing. All they have to do is kill the original zombie, which is Kenny. Once Kenny is killed for the second time this episode, the town is able to return to normal. The main plot was a great way to make fun of the walking dead and while some jokes flat-lined, the episode largely worked.