Leave it to the lads from South Park to put all these months of emotion-laden anti- vs. pro-war debate into context.
Last night’s 100th ep (it’ll be rerun in perpetuity, so don’t worry if you missed it) tackled the topic in the show’s inimitable fashion. In it, the town’s adult population gets swept up in war demonstration fever, splitting right down the middle between those who oppose the war and those who favor it. (None of the grown-ups on this series ever do anything in half-measures – much to the consternation of the show’s young boy foursome.) In the midst of the escalating ideological conflict, 3rd grade teacher Mr. Garrison assigns his class a report topic: What Would the Founding Fathers Think of This War?
To avoid any serious research, one of our heroes, immoral central Eric Cartman, tries to induce a flashback to the First Continental Congress. He succeeds and finds himself in a setting out of the movie 1776. (Hey, we all knew SPark writers Trey & Matt were musical buffs!) There, Eric discovers our ancestors are also engaged in war debate, only this time the anti-war faction is comprised of those conservatives who don’t want to sever our ties with Britain.
It takes wise ol’ Ben Franklin to put it all in soothing perspective. We need both sides, he opines – the pro-war side to keep the rest of the world from pushing us around; the anti-war side to keep ‘em from hating us all. This way, Franklin notes, we can have our cake and eat it, too!
A profoundly cynical view of American democracy, but like much of this show, it has its element of truth. (For all the intensity of the debate, after all, our leaders’ve pretty much done what they intended to do all along.) Eric takes his lesson back to the good citizens of South Park – where war polarization has merged with pro-rock and pro-country divisiveness – and a bloody violent riot is in progress (not unusual for these hearty mountain towners). His words bring the community once more together, just in time for a big 100th Episode Gala Celebration where all the show’s characters and guest celeb victims (even Sally Struthers) stand and hold hands.
Watching from the sidelines, two of our young heroes have only one thing to say in conclusion: “I hate this town!” Powered by Sidelines