In the most recent episode of South Park, “The Snuke,” Eric Cartman suspects a new Muslim student is planning a terrorist attack. The real star of the episode, however, is Hillary Clinton, who has a bomb in her vagina. An agent’s head is eaten up and spit out after he tries to take a peek inside, but this scores nothing but orgasmic pleasure for Hillary. It’s as tasteless and offensive as television can get. South Park has always been tasteless and offensive, but also very intelligent. Unfortunately, this doesn't seem to be the case anymore.
In another recent episode, “Cartman Sucks,” Eric is caught trying to take a picture of himself putting his penis in Butters’ mouth. His friends tell him that it will reverse the gayness of the picture where Eric put Butters’ penis in his mouth while Butters was asleep. Butters, who is blindfolded during the episode, is unaware of the “gayness” of the activity. When Butters’ father catches this episode, Butters is sent to a camp to cure his gayness.
Am I, as well as other South Park viewers, really that hard up for entertainment? Or do we just enjoy watching a train wreck? The point of almost every South Park episode is to highlight the hypocrisy of society. But hasn’t South Park made this point over and over and over before?
I suppose I can create a cartoon where George Bush uses his penis to squirt out holy water. Then, I’ll make an episode where Oprah’s vagina carries on a conversation with her asshole. Oh wait, that’s already been done before on South Park!
Can’t anybody get the same ratings by appealing to the lowest denominator of humor and vulgarity? Does the fact that there are still a huge number of South Park addicts who watch every episode multiple times say something about a quality cartoon? Perhaps it did a year ago, but not anymore.
There is no doubt that South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone are two incredibly gifted, creative people. South Park has created some of the most hilarious and culturally relevant characters, jokes, and one-liners ever on television. Lately, however, there seems to be a very thin line between creativity and desperation. The ratings are obviously still coming in, but is that all that matters anymore?