The boys deal with the stress of a year of abnormality while President Garrison tries to return home.
The voices are all Trey Parker or Matt Stone unless otherwise indicated.
It’s been a rough year for the boys of South Park. While they did manage to help a group of scientists find the cause of Covid (it was a pangolin that Randy Marsh had sex with), the source was destroyed by the President of the United States, Mr. Garrison. Finally, though, vaccines have been approved and Garrison is coming back to South Park since he’s no longer the President. The problem is that the only ones who can get a hand on the vaccines are the elderly, putting everyone else even more on edge. Now that they’re back in school, Cartman and Kenny play a prank on their teacher, Mrs. Nelson (Elise Gabriel), much to the chagrin of Kyle and Stan. The prank causes Mrs. Nelson to quit unless she gets a vaccine, reasoning that she shouldn’t have to risk her life to teach a bunch of ungrateful children for a small salary. Unfortunately, this creates a teacher opening that is filled by Mr. Garrison, who everyone in South Park hates except the White family and their Q-anon cohorts. When most of South Park’s parents pull their kids out of school (due to not wanting them exposed to Garrison), the Q-anon members pretend to be tutors in order to indoctrinate the kids into the conspiracy.
Due to the prank, Kyle, Stan, and Cartman have a falling out, with them trying to figure out how best to share Kenny. When the boys find out the only way to get Mrs. Nelson back is to get vaccines for the school staff, they steal them, only to be confronted by the new Q-anon kids trying to stop them. At the same time, Garrison is told the things that Q-anon believes by Mr. White, only to find that the “elites” who run the universe are, in fact, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, who keep manipulating the show. Eventually, Garrison cuts a deal with the creators (and apparently Israel) to vaccinate all of South Park. Unfortunately, Mrs. Nelson dies of Covid right before getting the shot, making Garrison the boys’ teacher again. The four boys are still on the outs as the episode ends.
I normally wouldn’t review just this one special, particularly since it really feels like it’s just part of Season 24 of South Park, but there are a few things that South Park can sometimes get away with saying or doing that most shows can’t, or won’t. This episode was no exception. The episode made a big point of trying to represent how America needs to deal with Covid before we can get back to “normal,” which they do by showing how the show can get back to the pre-Trump status quo. Unlike reality, however, the show acknowledges that the creators have the power to just make South Park normal again, and they just plain do it. It was a refreshing moment of allowing the viewers to feel like they, too, are starting to move back towards normalcy. However, that wasn’t the main thing that I noticed in the show.
Instead, there were a few exchanges about the battles between the Q-anon followers and the normal townspeople that stuck out. When the Q-anon people and the townsfolk are fighting, the on-site reporter for the South Park news mocks the Q-anon believers, only for the newscaster to respond that, if these people truly believe in what they say, this is actually the reasonable thing to do. After all, if they do think that vaccines are microchipped so that Satanists can track you, then you should want to stop them from getting implemented. The on-site reporter can only yell back that the newscaster is an asshole. This is similar to the problem people legitimately have with this movement: If you actually believe in what they say, then taking extreme action is justified. However, that also means that you’re so far removed from reality that it’s almost impossible for people to speak to you rationally. This part stuck out for me as the creators acknowledging that many of these people are not, themselves, evil. They’ve just been led so far away from reality that they can think they’re doing the right thing and are just completely wrong. Trying to treat them as bad instead of as sick is probably not going to help. It isn’t a position that most shows are willing to take right now.
Overall, it’s a decent special and some of the jokes were really solid, but mostly it just allows the show to move past Covid and get back to entertaining.
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