Tuesday, August 14, 2012

South Park

South Park
Episode 10: Mr. Hankey, the Christmas Poo
Episode 11: Tom's Rhinoplasty
By: Carlos Uribe

South Park is a cartoon that follows the adventures of four children. It has aired since 1997 on Comedy Central.

Spoilers Ahoy!

Getting offended over aspects of Christmas can be quite frustrating to those who enjoy the holiday. Christmas is supposed to be the holiday where everyone comes together. The problem is that there's many reasons why Christmas brings together families. Christmas came into existence because of it's religious nature. Whether it was the original pagan origin or whether it's because that's when we celebrate Jesus Christ's birthday, despite it being in the wrong part of the year, Christmas has been a religious holiday until recently. Now it brings families together simply out of tradition and because commercialism has ensured that the tradition remains alive. Big business has ensured that the concept of Santa Clause is used to drive up sales and in general provide a last chance to make big money for that year. Whatever the case, Christmas is considered one of the best days of the year. Kids get presents, adults get drunk, and it's one where we forget our woes for a day. It's also a day that has come under attack recently and “Mr. Hankey, the Christmas Poo” is a perfect satire on Christmas and it's critics.

When a part of the population of South Park gets offended that religious symbols are being displayed by the government and the nativity is the Christmas school play, the town decides that any offensive aspect of Christmas will be removed. This means getting rid of Christmas trees to appease the environmentalists, Santa Clause and other commercialism symbols to please the religious folk, and all the references to Jesus. This leads to a ridiculous school play since there is absolutely nothing left that could relate to the holiday of Jesus. The episode decides to attack those who get offended by Christmas with something that would be considered offensive in real-life: a magical, talking poo. This poo sets everything right and attacks the idea that everyone should get so offended by elements of the holiday. While this is going on, Kyle has to deal with being a Jew and therefore not celebrating the holiday of Christmas himself. This is a very classic episode of South Park and it remains a great satire of Christmas and the reactions people have against it.

An episode that is often referenced by people is “Scott Tenorman Must Die”. It's an episode that revealed just how evil Cartman is. It's a surprisingly dark and funny episode. If anything, “Tom's Rhinoplasty” is a prequel. It may not have focused on Cartman but rather on Wendy and her relationship with Stan. She really likes him and the two have had it good. That is until Mr. Garrison decides to have a nose job and there's a substitute teacher, Ms. Ellen. While Ms. Ellen turns out to be a lesbian, Wendy doesn't know this. Ms. Ellen instantly becomes a threat to Wendy when all the boys get instant crushes on her. Wendy knows that Stan is included since he throws up whenever asked a question by Ms. Ellen. This leads to Wendy being difficult and even going as far as to threaten Ms. Ellen. When Ms. Ellen is made the permanent teacher and Mr. Garrison announces his intention to quit teaching, this drives Wendy over the edge. There's a part of the episode where we're led to believe that Wendy is going to move on. What we don't know at this point is just how manipulative she really isand how much she loves Stan.

The episode quickly turns bad for Ms. Ellen. She gets captured by the Iraqis, who decide to launch her into the center of the sun on charges of “treason”. This is exactly what Wendy had wanted to do to Ms. Ellen. Mr. Garrison, who had gotten severely attractive since his nose job, is attacked by an army of females and is forced to go back to his old nose and his old life. The end of the episode reveals that not only does Wendy have deep connections with the Iraqis (which I don't think was ever addressed after we invaded Iraq or ever again) and that she was the one who drove Mr. Garrison into getting surgery done. It's a funny episode but that has quite a bit of a dark ending. That it was all founded on a strong emotional foundation made it work all the better.

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