To be honest, I was a little disappointed when I picked up the new South Park DVD this week.
Season 17 had been a long time coming and when I learned that there were only ten episodes to look forward to I was worried the season was going to be a rip-off.
However, it seems that the South Park team has focused on quality over quantity this time around, as every episode in season 17 is riotously funny.
As usual, these episodes are packed full of surreal events and storylines. Kyle’s adopted brother Ike goes through “Canadian puberty”, Stan’s parents have an amorous reaction to true crime documentaries and the sociopathic Cartman tries to infiltrate the National Security Agency.
There’s also a brilliant episode devoted entirely to South Park’s goth kids. The little miserabilists’ way of life is threatened when they learn of a sinister plot to turn all the goths in town into emos. This scheme, the goths realise, can only be foiled if they team up with the vampire kids and summon the spirit of Edgar Allan Poe for assistance. However, to their frustration, Poe is even more whiny and sarcastic than the goth kids and is unenthusiastic about helping.
Sure, this is poking fun at a rather daft and inoffensive sub-culture, but Trey Parker and Matt Stone are truly equal opportunity offenders and take aim at as many targets as they can.
Like the 16 seasons before it South Park Season 17 refuses to take anything seriously, from inconsequential celebrity antics to foreign politics. The episode ‘Ginger Cow’ is probably the best example of this, as Cartman makes a cow look like it has red hair and freckles. This almost triggers a crisis in the Middle East, by appearing to fulfil an apocalyptic prophesy.
As South Park has grown the storylines have become bigger and the creators seem to be more and more influenced by epic films and TV shows. So, it’s hardly surprising that the highlight of season 17 is a massive three-part episode that makes fun of Game Of Thrones.
The writers mock George R R Martin in the most juvenile way possible, but it soon becomes clear, from the accuracy of the parody, that the South Park team might actually enjoy Game of Thrones. The boys form opposing factions based on whether they prefer Xbox One or PS4 and spend their playtime betraying each other and forming alliances. Meanwhile, Stan’s father, Randy, gets a job as a mall security guard for the infamous shopping event, Black Friday. Crowds of bargain-hungry shoppers descend on the mall like zombies as Randy and his men brace themselves for the attack.
It’s great stuff and it’s made even funnier by the accident prone lad Kenny, who insists on (cross) dressing up as princess Daenerys Targaryen for some adorable scenes.