HULK VS. THE CHURCH OF SOUTH PARK

June 15, 2011

 

SELF AGGRANDIZING UPDATE! LOTS OF FOLKS COMING INTO THIS PIECE AFTER CLICKING THE LINK FROM THE ESCAPIST. HI! THIS HULK. HULK LIKE MOVIES AND WRITE ABOUT THEM. FOLLOW HULK ON TWITTER IF SO WISH. ENJOY THIS ARTICLE. KTHANKSBYE.

IT HAD TO GET HERE EVENTUALLY.

IN LAST WEEK’S SEASON FINALE OF SOUTH PARK ENTITLED “YOU’RE GETTING OLD” THE MAIN CHARACTER(S), AND BY PROXY THE WRITERS THEMSELVES, CAME TO A POINT OF CRITICAL MASS: THEY OPENLY ACKNOWLEDGED THEY SICK OF THEIR SHOW’S MODUS OPERANDI AND IT TIME CHANGE. THIS NOT AN INTERPRETATION. IT EXPRESSED RATHER DIRECTLY. THE SHOW’S MAIN CHARACTER, STAN, CAME TO POINT OF INCREDIBLE ISOLATION WHERE HE JUST HATE EVERYTHING ABOUT THE WORLD AND HAVE VOICE HIS CRITICISM. THE, EVER LITERAL, COMICALLY SHOWCASE A WORLD WHERE INDEED, “EVERYTHING IS SHIT.”

OBVIOUSLY, THE EPISODE STAND AS OBVIOUS OUTWARD CRITIQUE OF THE “CYNICAL ASSHOLES” OF THE WORLD, I.E. THE JERKS WHO SEEMINGLY CAN NO ENJOY ANYTHING. BUT ULTIMATELY, IT ONE OF RARE MOMENTS THAT SOUTH PARK POINT THE CRITICISM INWARD. MATT + TREY SEEMED SAY THEY ABSOLUTELY SICK WITH WHAT THE SHOW HAS BECOME. WORSE, THEY PERHAPS REALIZED THEY HAD BECOME LIKE STAN. AS RESULT, SOMETHING HAD TO CHANGE. CHANGE IT DID. STAN’S OFF BY HIMSELF. RANDY AND SHARON DIVORCE (FOR REAL, NOT A ONE-OFF GESTURE MAKING FUN OF DIVORCE), AND KYLE AND CARTMAN MIGHT NOW BE… GULP.. FRIENDS?

IN THIS SENSE OF ADDRESSING INWARD, CHANGING THE SHOW FOR REAL, AND NOT JUST FOR CHANGE’S SAKE, HULK FOUND IT TO BE THE BEST EPISODE THE SHOW HAS EVER PRODUCED. NOT FUNNIEST, MIND YOU. BEST. THERE DIFFERENCE. BUT THIS ESTIMATION SHOULD NO BE SURPRISING EITHER. THERE SOMETHING ALWAYS MORE POWERFUL ABOUT INWARD RESONANCE THAN OUTWARD RESONANCE. IT A BASIC DIFFERENCE OF “I HAVE” INSTEAD OF “YOU SHOULD” AND IT THE VERY NATURE OF BEING INCLUSIVE.

IT LIKELY HELP THAT HULK THINK SOUTH PARK CONTINUE GET BETTER EVERY SEASON.(1) THE SHOW DEBUTED WITH A PUNK ROCK-NON-POLISHED SENSIBILITY,(2) THEN TURNED TO WEEK-TO-WEEK TOPICAL CONTRARIANISM, THEN EMBRACED ABJECT LIBERTARIAN CENTERISM, TO FINALLY BECOME SHOW THAT BALANCED THIS “SUBJECT OF THE WEEK” WITH FULLY-EXPLORED CHARACTERS AND RELATIONSHIPS THAT DEFINE SHOW. AND MORE IMPORTANTLY, THE FLESHING OUT OF THEIR WORLD FROM ONE-NOTE JOKES TO DYNAMIC PERSONALITIES (TOKEN, CLYDE, JIMMY, NOT KILLING KENNY AND INSTEAD SORTA TURNING HIM INTO POON HOUND, AND EVERYTHING BUTTERS… ESPECIALLY HIS PARENTS)  MADE THE SHOW CONSISTENTLY FUNNY, NOT SOLELY FUNNY DEPENDING ON POINTEDNESS OF MATT + TREY’S COMMENTARY. AS RESULT, THE SOUTH PARK HULK WATCH TODAY SOMETHING FAR MORE TEXTURED AND POLISHED THAN YEARS PAST.

STILL, DESPITE THIS POLISH, THE SHOW REACHED CRITICAL MASS DUE TO SINGULAR CONCEPTUAL REASON, ONE GIANT-HULK-SIZED FATAL-FLAW THAT ALWAYS PREVENT HULK FROM TRULY LOVING IT:

IT NEVER ACTUALLY STOOD FOR ANYTHING.

UNLESS THIS THEIR ACTUAL SET OF BELIEFS THAT THEY SNUCK IN

THE PROBLEM THAT THIS “NOT STANDING FOR ANYTHING” ALSO PART OF THE INITIAL ATTRACTION.  WE LIVE IN TIME WHERE ANYTHING EVEN APPROACH TRADITIONAL “WHOLESOMENESS” THEN REGARDED AS ABJECT PREACHINESS, SENTIMENTAL SAP, AND JUST SOMETHING TO BE REVILED. AFTER ALL, PRACTICALITY = THE ENEMY OF COOL. AND LOVE + OPTIMISM= THE ENEMY OF HUMOR. AS RESULT, MODERN COMEDY “EDGE” SO RELIANT ON DETACHMENT THAT  THINGS LIKE CHARACTER ARCS AND “BELIEVING IN THINGS” INADVERTENTLY REGARDED AS THINGS FOR EMOTIONAL SUCKERS. BUT SOUTH PARK PROMISED PLACE WHERE NEVER HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT SAP OR SQUARE-ISM. IT AFFRONT YOU WITH VALUES.

WHICH MAKE IT ODD THAT SOUTH PARK ACTUALLY AN INCREDIBLY PREACHY SHOW. GRANTED, IT RARELY COME OFF AS SUCH BECAUSE OF THE MATT + TREY ALWAYS TRY APPEAL TO COMMON SENSE INSTINCTS AND AVOID FEATHER-RUFFLING PRATFALLS WITH THEIR DISTINCTLY LIBERTARIAN POLITICS. STILL, THIS A SHOW WHERE MAJORITY EPISODES END WITH STAN (OR SOMETIMES KYLE) GIVING APPROPRIATION OF SITUATION WITH DIRECT MONOLOGUE TO AUDIENCE. AND THIS RARELY OFFEND CAUSE SAID MONOLOGUE ALWAYS EITHER APE, OR GENUINELY REFLECT,  GOOD OLE FASHIONED HUMANISM.

THE PROBLEM THAT THESE MESSAGES, WEEK AFTER WEEK, ALWAYS ABOUT WRONG WITH SOMETHING. REGARDLESS OF HOW “CORRECT” THEY ARE IT ALWAYS ABOUT WHAT WRONG WITH SOMEONE’S VIEW, BEHAVIOR, OR PERCEIVED EXCESSES. YES, IT MATT +TREY’S PREROGATIVE. THEY HUMORISTS/SATIRISTS AND THERE ALWAYS A TOPIC TO BE SKEWERED. MOST OF THESE TOPICS EVEN DESERVE IT. BUT IT NO CHANGE REALITY THAT EVERY WEEK THEY TAKING ON SOMETHING THEY FIND WRONG/ANNOYING/SILLY ABOUT SOCIETY.(3)

IT REALLY THE ONLY THING THE SHOW ABOUT.

THOUGH IT ALSO GIVE US BUTTERS

IF PERSONIFYING SOUTH PARK, EVEN WHEN IT BEING MEASURED, EVEN IF IT JUST TRYING BE RATIONAL, THEY STILL THE CYNICAL ASSHOLE THAT HATE EVERYTHING AND TELL YOU WHY IT WRONG. AND SO OFTEN THESE MESSAGES ABOUT STUPID BEHAVIOR NOT ACTUALLY DEFENDING ANYTHING. THEY JUST TEARING A CONCEPT DOWN, OFTEN OFFERING NO BIGGER SOLUTION BEYOND THE SENSIBILITY OF MODERATION.(4) THE SHOW ONLY SEEM HAVE AN ATTACK-MODE. AGAIN, THIS SERVICEABLE, A MEANS TO AN OFTEN SUCCESSFUL COMEDIC END. AND AGAIN, MANY TIMES THE MESSAGES RESONATE AND POINT OUT SOMETHING THAT REALLY NEEDED OBSERVANCE.

IT JUST ULTIMATELY, HULK BELIEVE A SHOW HAVE BE MORE ABOUT SOMETHING THAN OUTWARD RESONANCE.

HULK NOT SAYING THEY HAVE HAVE SOME WHOLESOME BOY-SCOUT RAH-RAH MESSAGE. NOT AT ALL. BUT YOU HAVE THINK OF A SHOW LIKE A PERSON. THIS SOUND ODD, BUT VIEWERS, WHETHER AWARE OR NOT, TREAT SHOWS LIKE PEOPLE. THEY INVITE SHOWS INTO LIVING ROOM. SPEND TIME WITH THEM. IT ACTUAL RELATIONSHIP. AND UNLESS THERE SOMETHING TO THEM, AN INNATE KINDNESS OR GENEROSITY, AN INCLUSIVENESS, OR EVEN SELF-EFFACING HUMANISM, THEN THE RELATIONSHIP INHERENTLY LIMITED. THEN THE SHOW NOTHING MORE THAN THAT HILARIOUS GUY YOU CAN’T STAND ACTUALLY BEING AROUND.

IN FACT, THE ONLY WAY BE “INCLUDED” IN SOUTH PARK, TO COMMISERATE ABOUT SOMETHING YOU BOTH HATE. WHICH MEAN IT BREED COMMISERATING ONLY VIA SEPARATION FROM OTHERS. SIMPLY PUT, SOUTH PARK KINDA A HORRIBLE HUMAN BEING.

WHICH ODD CAUSE HULK PRETTY SURE THAT NOT WHO MATT + TREY ACTUALLY ARE. LIBERTARIAN POLITICS ASIDE, IN INTERVIEWS THE TWO OF THEM VERY FRIENDLY AND GROUNDED. HULK EVEN MET MATT STONE A FEW TIMES AND COULD NOT BE NICER. THIS ACTUALLY MARGINAL EVIDENCE. WHAT FAR MORE TELLING = THAT IN THESE SAME INTERVIEWS THEY ALWAYS INSIST THEY SORT OF FIND “TOPIC OF WEEK” TO BE BOTHER AND THERE FAVORITE PARTS OF EPISODES WHERE KIDS JUST BEING KIDS OR WHEN THEY CAN JUST GO NUTS WITH THEIR OWN FUNNY STORY (IMAGINATIONLAND, THE TRAPPER KEEPER, ETC.). THESE OCCASIONAL FLOURISHES TEND TOUCH ON THESE MORE HUMAN, INCLUSIVE, INTIMATE MOMENTS. THEY NOT SAPPY. JUST MOMENTS WHERE THE LAUGHTER COME FROM RELATING INSTEAD INSTEAD OF MOCKING. HULK FIND THESE MOMENTS VERY TELLING, SOMETHING BUBBLING UNDER SURFACE, BUT THEY JUST SEEM TOO AFRAID MAKE IT HAPPEN IN LARGER CONTEXT. SOUTH PARK HAD BECOME DEFINED BY THE PUNK ROCK OR CRITIQUING SENSIBILITY, SO HULK FIGURE THEY MOSTLY COME DANCE WITH THE GIRL THEY BROUGHT. BUT IT ALWAYS IN THEM. TO DO SOMETHING BETTER. TO DO SOMETHING WE BARELY SEEN BEFORE.

LAST WEEK’S EPISODE FINALLY STRUCK OUT IN NEW DIRECTION.

AND THAT DIRECTION TWEEN WAVE!

AND HULK THINK THAT BASED ON HOW LONG THEY BEEN DOING THE UNSENTIMENTAL GAME (15 SEASONS) THE EARNED THE SHIT OUT OF THE RIGHT TO.  HULK ACTUALLY FOUND KYLE AND CARTMAN GLANCING AT EACH OTHER PLAYING VIDEO GAMES TO BE MAYBE THE MOST CATHARTIC MOMENT IN SERIES. AND THERE NO SHOW THAT COULD THAT COULD HAVE PULLED OFF “LANDSLIDE” ENDING MONTAGE THIS DAY AND AGE WITHOUT ROLLING EYES, BUT SOUTH PARK CAN. BECAUSE THEY BOTH CLEARLY MOCKING IT AND YET, FOR ONE OF FIRST TIMES, MEANING IT FOR REAL.

AND NOW MAYBE SOUTH PARK CAN BECOME A TRULY GREAT SHOW INSTEAD OF JUST VERY FUNNY, SMART ONE. IF RANDY’S SEEMING REMOVAL, MEANS A SHIFTING FOCUS TO COMING OF AGE SHOW THEN HULK ON BOARD FOR FUTURE. NO MATTER WHAT IT WILL STILL BE SOUTH PARK FOR SURE, THAT UNDENIABLE. IT JUST DEPEND IF MATT AND TREY REALLY EMBRACE WHERE THEY AT.

EVEN SOUTH PARK HAS TO GROW THE FUCK UP.

STILL. THERE  A CHANCE THAT NEXT SEASON COME AND TREY AND MATT SET EVERYTHING SQUARE AGAIN AND IT OFF ON THE WEEKLY ADVENTURES OF “WHAT TREND IDIOTIC NOW?” HULK WOULD NO BLAME THEM ENTIRELY.

THAT CAUSE THEY LIKELY HAVE WORRY ABOUT HOW THE CHURCH OF SOUTH PARK WILL REACT.

“THE CHURCH OF SOUTH PARK” AS HULK CALL IT = ONE OF THE UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES OF THE SHOW’S APPEAL TO MIDDLE OF THE ROAD PRAGMATISM. IN ADDRESSING THE SHOW WAY THEY DID, IT BECAME RALLYING POINT FOR NOT JUST THE LIBERTARIAN MINDED, BUT THOSE FOLK WHO DID NOT REALIZE THEY COULD BE LIBERTARIAN MINDED (READ: MARGINALLY DISILLUSIONED WITH CURRENT STATE OF THINGS OR SIMPLY NOT INTERESTED). AS RESULT A STEADY AUDIENCE GREW THAT TAUGHT RELY ON SOUTH PARK TEACHING THEM NEW IDEALS… NEW IDEALS TERRIBLE OF PUTTING IT… IT JUST TEACH THEM NOT TO EMBRACE SOMETHING STUPID. GOING WITH THAT, IF THE SHOW ALREADY REFLECT SIMILAR IDEALS TO YOUR OWN, THEN THE SHOWS WEEK-TO-WEEK SKEWERING OFTEN TACKLE SUBJECT VIEWER NEVER THOUGHT ABOUT MUCH BEFORE. AND SINCE THEY TEND AGREE WITH SOUTH PARK’S TAKE MOST OF TIME, THEN THEY INCLINED TO AGREE WITH THIS TAKE ON THE OTHER THING.

IT CALLED "ASSOCIATIVE POLITICS" ... OR JUST BEING INFLUENTIAL. AND IT A PRODUCT OF JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING

BUT THE SHOW’S IDENTITY SO CENTERED AROUND SELF-RELIANCE THAT HULK GUESS THAT TREY + MATT COULD HARDLY IMAGINE HAVING SUCH INFLUENTIAL EFFECT, BUT IT UNQUESTIONABLY CAPTIAL-T-TRUE. HULK WATCH IT ALL THE TIME. THE SHOW, AS RALLYING POINT FOR SELF-RELIANCE, UNWITTINGLY CREATE JUST ANOTHER GROUP THAT THINK THEY SELF-RELIANT TYPES. AND THUS, THEY LOOK OUTWARDLY AND MOCK. AND IN THAT GROUP, SOUTH PARK HAVE THE BIGGEST SOAPBOX BY FAR. IT ONE OF THOSE PARADOXES ESPECIALLY FOR SHOW WITH PUNK ROCK SENSIBILITIES. BUT THAT WHAT HAPPENED (AND IT NO COINCIDENCE THAT IT HAPPEN WITH PUNK ROCK TOO).

AND THIS WHERE THE TRUE COMPLICATION COME IN. SINCE ALL THEY STOOD FOR = RIDICULING SOMETHING WEEK TO WEEK, THAT MAKE THE SHOW NOT JUST A PERSONIFIED CYNICAL ASSHOLE, BUT IT UNINTENTIONALLY PREACHED BECOMING A CYNICAL ASSHOLE TOO.

OKAY, THIS SORT OF OVERSTATING THINGS. HULK NOT THINK EVERYONE WATCHING SOUTH PARK = CYNICAL ASSHOLES. THAT INSIPID (AND HULK WATCH SOUTH PARK TOO SO COME ON). NOR HULK IMPLYING THAT THERE SOMETHING STUPID ABOUT FOLKS TAKING LOT OF SOUTH PARK TAKES ON SUBJECTS TO HEART. MOST WHO DO OFTEN FAIRLY MEASURED PEOPLE.

IT JUST HULK BELIEVE WE DEFINED BY WHAT WE ACTUALLY EMBRACE IN THIS WORLD. LIKE THE THINGS WE LOVE. HULK LOVE MOVIES. YOU MAY LOVE SOMETHING ELSE: TEACHING, POTTERY, ART, MUSIC, BEER-BREWING, SPORTS, WHATEVER. THE KEY TO ENJOYING IT THAT YOU HAVE EMBRACE IT. EMBRACING THINGS WHAT PUT GOOD STUFF IN THE WORLD. AND SOUTH PARK ENDORSE A CULTURE THAT TERRIFIED TO EMBRACE ANYTHING. ONLY ONE THAT ENDORSE BEING CRITICAL OF PERCEIVED EXCESS.

ASIDE FROM LAUGHTER (WHICH BEYOND VALUABLE AND TOTALLY MERITORIOUS) THE ONLY THING SOUTH PARK VIEWERS CAN ACTUALLY EMBRACE = SOUTH PARK.

WHICH GOOD FOR BUSINESS... THANK GOD THEY NOT INTO SIMPSONS LEVEL MERCHANDISING... UGH.

AND THAT THE PART HULK NOT SURE MATT + TREY ENTIRELY REALIZED YET: THEIR ROLE IN  CREATING THE CYNICAL ASSHOLE EPIDEMIC THEY A) SKEWERING AND B) REALIZING PART OF THEIR SELF-PERPETUATING PROBLEM.

THIS ALL SPEAK TO LARGER ISSUE TOO. HULK HATE GET POLITICAL IN THESE THINGS, BUT HERE IT SORT OF QUALIFIED BECAUSE IT DIRECTLY RELATED TO SUBJECT. THE PROBLEMS WITH LIBERTARIANISM INTRINSIC TO WHAT OUTLINED ABOVE. MAINLY, THAT THE ABSENCE OF SYSTEM IS NOT A SYSTEM. WORSE, ABANDONING STRONG SYSTEMS LEAD TO VACUUMS WHICH ALWAYS CREATE WORSE SYSTEMS.

THE GENERIC HISTORY OF THE LIBERTARIAN INCLINATION GO LIKE THIS: A LONG, LONG TIME AGO PEOPLE REALIZED THAT BY FORMING GROUPS THEY HAD STRONGER CHANCES SURVIVE, THRIVE, AND BE CONTENT (BIOLOGICAL IMPERATIVES TO MATE WITH NON-FAMILY MEMBERS HELPED TOO). THESE GROUPS CREATE COMMUNITIES, ONES THAT REALIZED THEY NEEDED PALPABLE SYSTEMS OF ORDER SO THAT RISE ABOVE ANARCHY. EVENTUALLY THESE SYSTEMS BECAME “LAWS” AND “GOVERNMENT.” EVEN IN MOST RUDIMENTARY STATE, THESE SYSTEMS BY VERY NATURE, DEEPLY FLAWED. THUS BORE THE LIBERTARIAN NOTION, WHICH, LOGICALLY, SEEKS TO LIMIT THE POWER OF THIS FLAWED SYSTEM. THE PROBLEM THAT THEY SOMEONE FORGETTING THE INCREDIBLE NEED THAT DEVELOP THESE SYSTEMS IN FIRST PLACE. SINCE SUMERIAN TIMES THIS DYNAMIC EXISTED (READ: IT NOT A NEW PROBLEM). THE INHERENT COMPLICATION COME FROM FACT THAT STRICT ADHERENCE TO THE LIBERTARIAN VALUE PRODUCE A REALITY THAT FAR WORSE. EVERY TIME WE SEEK TO LIMIT THE AFFECT OF SYSTEMIC COMMUNITY SERVICES, WE ESSENTIALLY ADVOCATING A MOVE BACK TOWARD ANARCHIC SQUALOR. AND IF THERE’S ANYTHING THAT ANARCHIC SQUALOR BREEDS IT’S DESPERATION. AND IF THERE ANYTHING DESPERATION BREEDS IT’S OPPORTUNISM. AND OPPORTUNISM BREEDS OPPRESSION (HULK GOING ALL YODA ON YOU) .ONLY THIS OPPRESSION FREE FROM GOVERNMENT INSTEAD OF BEING OF THE GOVERNMENT (WHICH HAVE CHECKS, BALANCES, PRESS, AND GENERAL ACCOUNTABILITY). IT A BIT OF A PARADOX BUT IT MAKE SENSE. BY ADVOCATING POLITICAL LIBERTARIANISM, THEY NO REALIZE IT ACTUALLY AN EXTREME POSITION.

PUT IT THIS WAY: FOR SOUTH PARK, FOR A SHOW ABOUT “BALANCE” THEY DO NOT REALIZE THEY ACTUALLY ON THE EXTREME END WITH THE OPPOSING SIDE BEING TOTALITARIANISM.

THE ABSENCE OF A SYSTEM IS NOT A SYSTEM.

JUST LIKE SAYING THINGS THAT IF ONLY TEARING TRENDS DOWN MAKE YOU A CYNICAL ASSHOLE, CREATING A POLITICAL SYSTEM THAT ONLY TEAR SERVICES DOWN IN NAME OF “RIGHT TO INDEPENDENCE” = EQUALLY HORRIBLE.

AND BORN FROM THIS ABSOLUTE DESIRE TO ABSTAIN FROM EMBRACING TRENDS, HULK CANNOT COUNT THE AMOUNT OF TIMES THE SHOW HAVE CREATED POINTS THAT MEANT AS “MEDIATED,” BUT THEY ACTUALLY ADVOCATING SOMETHING HORRIBLE: PROVERBIAL ANARCHIC SQUALOR. IN EFFORT TO SKEWER THE HYSTERIA, FERVOR, OR EVEN PASSION OF SUBJECT, THEY ALWAYS SKEWER THE CONTENT OF MESSAGE REGARDLESS. AND SOMETIMES THEY SHITTING ON SOMETHING COMPLETELY AND TOTALLY VALID. AND IT NO LIKE THESE JUST SHOWS THAT HULK DISAGREE WITH. IT THE CASE WHERE THEIR MEASURED “CENTEREDNESS” ACTUALLY ADVOCATING AN EXTREME.

EXAMPLES:

-BLOOY MARY

A.K.A. THE STUNNINGLY MISGUIDED SHOW THAT CRITICIZED ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS FOR ITS DISEASE CONCEPT AND RELIGIOUS OVERTONES.  IT LAMPOONED THE IDEA OF SUBMITTING ONES PROBLEMS TO SOMETHING STRONGER THAN THEMSELVES. AFTER ALL, THE ONLY ALCOHOLICS NEED IS A LITTLE FUCKING DISCIPLINE. SERIOUSLY. THAT THEIR TAKE…. HULK SEE WHY THEY WENT AFTER THIS AS A.A. MESSAGE SEEM LIKE STARK ATTACK ON THE SANCTITY OF INDIVIDUAL SOVEREIGNTY (A FOCUL-POINT TO THE LIBERTARIAN IDEAL). WHAT IT COMPLETELY MISS THAT VAST MAJORITY OF ALCOHOLICS PEOPLE WHO SIMPLY NO HAVE THE CAPACITY FOR DISCIPLINE. THIS LACK STEM FROM HOST OF OTHER FACTORS AND SINCE ALCOHOL HAVE LITERAL DRUG EFFECTS, THEY SIMPLY ARE FIGHTING SOMETHING BIGGER THAN THEMSELVES. SO FOR THEM, DISPLINE HAS TO BE IN FORM OF ABSOLUTION. AND THAT PARADOX DOES NOT COMPUTE WITH SOUTH PARK’S SENSE OF MEDIATION. ALCOHOL MEDIATION WORK THEM AND IT WORK FOR HULK. BUT NOT FOR EVERYONE. A LITTLE ABSOLUTION SAVE A.A. MEMBER’S LIVES.

-DOUCHE AND TURD

AN ON-THE-NOSE METAPHOR FOR THE 2004 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION. IT MAKE FUN ANYONE WHO THINK THERE ACTUALLY A DIFFERENCE IN TWO HORRIBLE CANDIDATES. NOW IGNORING POLITICAL INCLINATION ONE WAY OR OTHER, IF THE PRESUMED PROBLEM THAT THEY EQUALLY BAD AND ONE NOT SIMPLY AGREEING/DISAGREEING WITH CONSERVATISM, THEN HULK THINK IF FAIR SAY EVERYONE NOW REALIZE THAT ONE OF THEM WAY, WAY WORSE.(3A)

-TWO DAYS BEFORE THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW

IT LARGELY JUST MAKES FUN OF THE POST-KATRINA HYSTERIA. LEST HULK REMIND ALL THAT PEOPLE BEING HYSTERIC CAUSE AN AMERICAN CITY JUST DESTROYED. AND THAT MAY ACTUALLY BE SOMEWHAT PRUDENT RESPONSE. AND HONESTLY BLAMING THE GOVERNMENT FOR A LOT OF PROBLEMS IN THIS CASE ACTUALLY REALLY, REALLY VALID. BUT HULK’S BIGGEST PROBLEM WITH THE EP THAT THEIR GENERAL RESPONSE TO GLOBAL WARMING HOOPLAH INADVERTENTLY INDICATING THAT GLOBAL WARMING A COMPLETELY MADE-UP PROBLEM. SURE, THE GOAL FOR THIS EPISODE AIMED AT ENCOURAGING BEING MEASURED MEDIATION, BUT ALL THE TOPICS SKEWEREDNOT ACTUALLY CALLED FOR IT… WHATSOEVER AND HULK NOT GOING GET INTO IT HERE, BUT GLOBAL WARMING PRETTY FREAKING VALID (AT THE END FOOTNOTE #2).

-MANBEARPIG

AGAIN. TREY + MATT TREAT ANYTHING POLITICAL AS NOTHING MORE THAN RAH-RAH INCLINATION ONE WAY OR OTHER. HULK HAVE PROBLEM WITH THIS BECAUSE THEY NO SEEM TELL DIFFERENCE THE ASININE NATURE OF POLITICS AND AN ISSUE THAT JUST BECOME POLITICIZED. THERE SUBSTANTIAL DIFFERENCE. AND FAILURE TO RECOGNIZE THIS MAKE THEM NOTHING MORE THEN FLIPPANT. IN THIS EPISODE THEY LAMBAST A SCIENTIFICALLY VALID REALITY AS NOTHING MORE THAN ATTENTION WHORING ON PART OF FORMER CANDIDATE… AGAIN THEY JUST TRYING MAKE FUN OF HYSTERIA AND AL GORE’S BEHAVIOR, BUT THEY GO FURTHER THAN THAT AND SKEWER, YOU KNOW, SCIENTIFICALLY ACCURATE STUFF. IT REALLY DANGEROUS. ESPECIALLY SINCE THE CHURCH OF SOUTH PARK TEND LEGIT FOLLOW THE CREDENCE AND LIKELY AGREE. IF TREY + MATT THINK HULK JUST GOING OVERBOARD AND THEIR SHOW TOO ABSURD BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY, THEY NO REALIZE THAT MANBEARPIG HUGELY COMMON REFERENCE IN THE “DENIALOSPHERE.”

-201

THIS ONE INTERESTING BECAUSE IT ENDED UP SPURRING SOME PRETTY SERIOUS FREE SPEECH DISCUSSION AS FALLOUT. COMEDY CENTRAL HEAVILY CENSORED EPISODE DUE TO ITS FLIRTATIONS WITH SHOWING A DRAWN DEPICTION OF THE PROFIT MOHAMMAD (WHICH THE QURAN FORBID) . IT SPARKED OUTRAGE FROM BOTH SIDES (AND FAIR AMOUNT OF SHRUGGING) AND SPURRED ON  “EVERYBODY DRAW MOHAMMAD DAY.”

THIS SORT OF VERY TRICKY CONVERSATION AND HULK WANT BE SURE HULK EXPRESS CONCERNS ABOUT THIS ISSUE VERY CAREFULLY + CLEARLY.

1) YES. HULK TOO FIND IT THE IDEA THAT ONE CAN NO SIMPLY DRAW IMAGE OF THE PROPHET MOHAMMAD TO BE THE ABSOLUTE WRONG KIND OF THINKING. IT WHOLLY BACKWARD AND DOGMATIC. BUT:

2) COMEDY CENTRAL A BUSINESS WHO AIR THEIR SHOW SO IT 100% WITHIN THEIR RIGHT TO CENSOR OR NOT AIR ANYTHING THEY FEEL REFLECT POORLY ON THEM OR EVEN PUT THEM IN DANGER. ANYONE DERIDING THEIR BEHAVIOR AS COWARDLY OR HYPOCRITICAL EQUALLY FREE IN THEIR RIGHT TO SAY SO, BUT THEY STILL PRETTY UNREALISTIC IN THEIR EXPECTATIONS OF A BUSINESS ENTITY. EVEN ONE AS GENERALLY CHILL AND EMPOWERING AS COMEDY CENTRAL.

3) WHICH MAKE THE FALLOUT AND “EVERYBODY DRAW MOHAMMAD DAY” BASICALLY AN EXERCISE IN PURSUIT OF LIBERTARIAN FREEDOM: FREE SPEECH FOR THE SAKE OF FREE SPEECH… IN ALL HONESTY HULK NOT GET THIS AS MOTIVATION. IT HAPHAZARDLY RENDER THE ACTIONS INHERENTLY MEANINGLESS. THE WORDS HAVE MEAN SOMETHING.

4) TO PROVE SUBJECTIVE NATURE OF THIS AND HOW WORDS FAR, FAR MORE IMPORTANT, HULK GOING ENGAGE IN THOUGHT EXPERIEMENT. THERE PART OF AMERICAN NEO-JUDEO-CHRISTIAN MIND THAT VERY MUCH SEE THIS EPISODE AND “EVERYBODY DRAW MOHAMMAD DAY” AS EXCERSIZING FREE SPEECH (AND PARTLY IN THE NAME OF COMEDY AND AS CRITICISM OF DOGMA). BUT WHAT HAPPENS WHEN CHANGE LENS? WHAT HAPPEN IF, SAY, HULK STOOD UP AND IN NAME OF PRACTICING FREE SPEECH STARTED SHOUTING “KILL THE FUCKING NIGGER CUNTS!” … NOW. OBVIOUSLY THESE WORDS DISGUSTING. THERE PART OF HULK THAT CAN NO EVEN BELIEVE HULK JUST WROTE THEM, BUT HULK WENT TO THAT EXTREME TO PROVE POINT. YOU THINK TWICE ABOUT THIS. BUT IF IT THE SAME EXERCIZE IN “FREE SPEECH” WHY NO SAY IT? CAUSE IT NOT SOMETHING YOU BELIEVE? SINCE THOSE WORDS HAVE DIRECT WEIGHT IN THE NEO-AMERICAN CONSCIOUSNESS IT BECOME LESS ABOUT THE EXERCISE IN FREE SPEECH AND MORE ABOUT THE MEANING INFERRED AND WHAT BEING SAID? SO COMPLETELY LOST IN “EVERYBODY DRAW MOHAMMED DAY” THAT THERE HUGE SCORES OF GENERAL PEOPLE WHO OFFENDED BY IT AND NOT JUST THE TERRORISTS WHO ACTUALLY THREATENED OVER THE WHOLE SITUATION.  PEOPLE WHO NOT GOING THREATEN AND GO NUTS (WHICH THE REAL THING TREY + MATT CRITICIZING) BUT MANY WHO JUST FOUND IT CALLOUS AND UNCALLED FOR. IT JUST MEANT AS EXERCISE IN FREE SPEECH, BUT THE WORDS ALWAYS MATTER.

5) WHICH MEAN IT WORSE CAUSE THE NATURE OF “EVERYBODY DRAW MOHAMMAD” DAY SUBTLY DECEIVING. IT ALL TIE INTO HULK’S POINT OF SOUTH PARK BEING A SUPPOSED OUTLET FOR MEDIATION BUT REALLY BEING A PLACE THAT CATER TO INADVERTENTLY ASSUMING EXTREME POSITIONS. HULK ARGUE THIS THE MOST POSSIBLE DEGREE OF “DISAFFECTED” ONE CAN BE. EXTREME AND OFFENSIVE WHEN YOU DON’T EVEN CARE OR KNOW WHY YOU CARE.  IT PART OF THE DANGER OF THE PROVERBIAL CHURCH OF SOUTH PARK. AND IT STRONGLY TIE INTO THE PROBLEMS THE SHOW FOUND IN ITSELF WITH “EVERYTHING IS SHIT.” SEE IT ALL CONNECTED! HULK NOT TOTALLY RAMBLING!

6) AND LASTLY ONT THIS DRAW MOHAMMAD FREE SPEECH THING. HULK TOTALLY UNDERSTAND THE POINT AND INCLINATION. BUT IF HULK WAS DOING IT, HULK WOULD ONLY DO IT TO MAKE A LARGE POINT ABOUT HOW HULK FELT ABOUT THE TRADITIONS OF MUSLIM CULTURE. AND THAT NOT HOW HULK FEEL ABOUT MUSLIM CULTURE WHATSOEVER. SO THERE NO REASON EFFECTIVELY EVEN IF EXERCISING A “FREEDOM”… AND BESIDES, HULK GONNA PUT THIS ONE SIMPLY: WHEN IT COME TO POSSIBLY INCITING THE WRATH OF SMALL GROUP OF PEOPLE  WHO CRAZY-ANGRY THEN EMBRACE SOME COMMON SENSE OF DIFFERENT KIND: DO NOT TAUNT THE DYNAMITE MONKEY.

GOD HULK STILL LOVE THIS MEME

AND FOR RECORD, FOR EVERY ONE OF THESE EPISODES THAT MISSTEPS THERE SOME EPISODE OF SOUTH PARK THAT SO WONDERFULLY ON POINT THAT THEY INSPIRE GENUINE DELIGHT. (5)

WHICH BRING BACK TO THE OTHER NIGHT AND “YOURE GETTING OLD.”

THE SHOW TRULY STRUCK HULK AS SOMETHING MORE THAN IT EVER BEEN. SOMETHING SO FAR AWAY FROM ALL THE PROBLEMS HULK TALK ABOUT HERE. IT FELT LIKE  A DIRECT MESSAGE TO THEMSELVES AND PERHAPS THE CHURCH OF SOUTH PARK…

EVEN SOUTH PARK HAS TO GROW THE FUCK UP.

BECAUSE THIS HOW YOU END AN ESSAY

ENDNOTES:

(1) HULK SHOULD DIVULGE THAT EVEN THOUGH HULK BEEN WATCHING SHOW SINCE INCEPTION, HULK PROBABLY CATCH ABOUT 80% OF GIVEN SEASON. FOR REASONS STATED IN BIT, IT JUST NOT APPOINTMENT TELEVISION. SO HULK JUST SORT OF CATCH UP WHEN COME AROUND NEXT DAY OR WHENEVER.

(2) PUNK ROCK MEANING ORIGINAL PUNK ROCK MANTRA, NOT THE CORPORATIZED VERSION. WHEN IT THE ANTI-ANTI. PURE INVERSIONISM.

(3) THIS SHOWCASED THROUGH THE SHOW’S FUNNIEST CHARACTER RANDY, THE FLIPPANT STOCKHOLM SYNDROME INCLINED DOOFUS, WHO WHILE BEING PERFECT FOR THE “TOPIC OF THE WEEK” SKEWERING IS, ESSENTIALLY, CHEATING… AT LEAST UNTIL LAST WEEK’S EP.

(3A) LIKE SOUTH PARK, HULK KEENLY AWARE THAT ALL POLITICAL CANDIDATES HAVE SOME FORM OF HORRIBLENESS. THERE NO OTHER REASON GET INTO POLITICS OTHER THAN DO THAT. IT JUST THAT BUSH, AS NICE AND DOWN HOME GUY AS HE WAS AND EVEN IF AGREED WITH IS POLITICS, WAS A STUNNING FAILURE OF A PRESIDENT ON EVERY OBJECTIVE LEVEL. SO SOMETIMES THERE A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DOUCHE AND TURD.

(4) MANY ARGUE SHOW JUST LIVING INCARNATION OF DEVILS ADVOCATE. BUT DEVILS ADVOCATE AT ITS BEST IT CAN ONLY BE A TOOL TO CREATE REFLECTION. IT NOT A LIFESTYLE.

(5) TO PROVE HULK NOT JUST RAGGING ON SHOW, HULK GOING SHARE FAVORITE EPISODES THAT HULK THINK WORK BEAUTIFULLY:: 1. GOOD TIMES WITH WEAPONS 2. CHRISTIAN ROCK HARD 3. MAKE LOVE, NOT WARCRAFT 4. THE IMAGINATIONLAND TRILOGY (AGAIN, HULK LOVE WHEN THEY EMBRACE THE BATSHIT NONSEQUITERS) 5. CARTMAN SUCKS 6. AWESOM-O (IF ONLY FOR THE ADAM SANDLER PITCHES) 7. THE PURITY RING (SELL SEX TO LITTLE GIRLS) 8. 4TH GRADE (WHICH THE ONLY OTHER EPISODE IN SERIES TO ATTEMPT TO COVER RESONANCE OF CHANGE) AND WHOLE BUNCH OF OTHERS.

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39 Responses to “HULK VS. THE CHURCH OF SOUTH PARK”

  1. Jefflehem said

    Great as usual. However, my theories:

    South Park is undeniably extreme in all the ways you say, but this may be more purposeful than unknown or incidental. A show like Jersey Shore (which they have skewered) has legions of followers and copy-cats. The Presidential election (while becoming less and less popular and utilized all the time) involves MILLIONS who do not know or care about the perceivable lack of difference between candidates. Catastrophes like Katrina cause hysteria mostly AFTER thousands of celebrities tell us to become hysterical.

    South Park is trying to speak against so much. Its like a single man trying to speak at a town meeting and everyone who disagrees with him just ignores him. They only way to be heard is to shout.

    I’m not advocating any of the screamed messages or even the act of screaming, just pointing it out. They preach the extreme in hopes that 1) enough voices join the screaming to make it more audible, and 2) so that those who can hear it and possible become reflective will hopefully become more tempered in their original outlook.

    Let me put it in Black and White: If you want to make gray paint when you have white, they only thing you can do is add some black.

    As far as the Mohammed issue: Not something I cared about. However, the episode and its ensuing discussions did make me reflective. At first I was dispassionate, which was followed by outraged (how can someone seriously think that a drawing is worth killing over?). Next was compassionate (if they feel that strongly over it, why not just accept and move on?). And back to Greater Outrage (So people think that theirs ways are the only acceptable ones and anyone who thinks otherwise will be killed? Bullshit! That kind of bullying is unacceptable!) Which brought me right back to dispassionate. Its not something I care about to begin with. I’ve gone my whole life without ever needing a picture of Mohammed. Most of my life I didn’t even know who he was (I’m not ignorant, just younger). While this issue may be a point worth defending to the death for some, personally, I just don’t care that much. Let his image be sacred. Doesn’t much matter.

    Of course, most people who are willing to argue the point aren’t really fighting against bullies or rights or anything noble. Clearly its just an excuse for a hatred of Muslims.

    Thanks.

    • FILMCRITHULK said

      HMMMM… HULK NOT SURE HULK AGREE WITH THIS ASSESSMENT. YOU MENTION YOU YOUNGER AND HULK NOT WANT ASSUME ANYTHING, BUT HULK GONNA DEDUCE THIS MIGHT HAVE SOMETHING DO WITH FEW OF YOUR POINTS…

      FIRST OFF, SOUTH PARK NOT THE LAST BASTION OF REASON. THEY NOT ONLY ONE STANDING AGAINST WHAT HULK JUST GONNA GO AHEAD AND CALL “DUMB CULTURE.” NOT BY LONG SHOT. THERE HUNDREDS AND THOUSANDS OF OUTLETS THAT WELL-REASON, INSIGHTFUL, AND BRILLIANT. AND THERE MILLIONS OF PEOPLE WHO READ, WATCH, AND PARTICIPATE IN THEM. AND THEY DEAL WITH TOPICS SOUTH PARK TOUCH ON WITH ACTUAL NUANCE AND HUMANISTIC UNDERSTANDING.

      HULK SORT OF WORRIED WITH COUPLE THINGS YOU POINT OUT.:

      1) THIS BELIEF THAT SHOUTING A CRITICAL FACTOR IN STANDING AGAINST MASSES AND GETTING PEOPLE LISTEN. THE OLD EXPRESSION ABOUT CATCHING MORE FLIES WITH HONEY A CLICHE BUT IT ALSO INESCAPABLY TRUE. SHOUTING AT PEOPLE WHY THEY WRONG NOT THE WAY GO ABOUT LIFE. IT ONLY ANTAGONIZING. NOT INCLUSIVE. THIS SORT OF TAP INTO FEW THINGS HULK MENTION IN ESSAY ABOUT THE ISOLATING NATURE OF THE SOUTH PARK PHILOSOPHY. YOU USE EXAMPLE: “Its like a single man trying to speak at a town meeting and everyone who disagrees with him just ignores him. They only way to be heard is to shout. ” THIS VERY TELLING TO HULK. THE TRUTH THAT THIS NOTHING MORE THAN A PERCEPTION. THE PERSON WHO ALWAYS HAVE GREATEST IMPACT THE PERSON WHO TELL THE QUIET, SELF-REFLECTIVE STORY THAT RING TRUE. ALWAYS. AND THE SECOND HULK TOOK MORE MEASURED APPROACH TO CRITICISM, THE SECOND HULK ACTUALLY MAKE PROGRESS. (INCIDENTALLY IT ALSO MAKE HULK A MUCH, MUCH HAPPIER PERSON)

      2) HULK NOT REALLY SURE TREY + MATT EVEN THE “SHOUTING” TYPE. THEIR REACTION TO THINGS MORE A SHRUGGING “THAT’S KINDA FUCKING STUPID” AND THEN THEY FIND SOME HUMOR IN IT. AND OFTEN IT VERY, VERY FUNNY. BUT THIS CHARACTERIZATION YOU HAVE FOR SHOW TAP INTO HULK’S CHURCH OF SOUTH PARK POINT. IT A PROJECTION BEING PUTTING UPON THEM AND NO THEIR ACTUAL ATTITUDE.

      3) HULK PRETTY SURE THE JERSEY SHORE NOT VALID TOPIC OF CONCERN. IT MAKE GREAT EPISODE OF SOUTH PARK SKEWERING, BUT IT NOT SOMETHING SOCIETY NEED WORRY ABOUT. FIRST OFF, PART OF INITIAL DRAW OF SHOW THAT IT SO OBVIOUSLY INSIPID. AND AS FOR WORRYING ABOUT IMITATORS… IT JUST SOMETHING THAT POPULAR AND DUMB PEOPLE GOING COPY FOR WHOLE HOST OF REASONS THAT HAVE ABSOLUTELY NOTHING DO W/ ACTUAL VALIDITY OF JERSEY SHORE. IT LARGER CULTURAL SYSTEMIC PROBLEM. TRUST HULK, JERSEY SHORE NOT WORTH WORRYING ABOUT.

      4) HULK REALLY KIND OF WORRIED ABOUT WHAT YOU SAID ABOUT KATRINA. WHAT CAUSE HYSTERIA HAVE PRETTY MUCH NOTHING DO WITH CELEBRITIES, BUT INSTEAD, THE ACTUAL EVENT. FOR KATRINA, WHAT EVERY ONE RESPONDED TO A) THE FOOTAGE OF SEEING A CLASSIC AMERICAN CITY COMPLETELY UNDERWATER AND B) THE MEDIA COVERAGE’S ON-THE-GROUND OUTRAGE OVER THE FAILURES TO HANDLE THE FALLOUT. FIRST CAME THE HYSTERIA. THE CELEBRITIES CAME LATER. FOLLOWED BY SOME WEIRD PUBLIC DISCOURSE OVER THEIR PARTICIPATION. AND WHILE “FASHIONABLE CAUSES” PROBABLY DECENT FODDER FOR MAKING FUN OF, HULK NOT IGNORANT TO THE REALITY THAT EVERY FORM OF CHARITY INGRAINED IN THE NATURE OF SELFISHNESS.

      5) HULK NOT EXACTLY SURE WHAT THE PAINTING ANALOGY SAYING.

      6) ONE OF POINTS HULK FEEL LOST IN THE MOHAMMAD THING THAT THE PEOPLE CAUSING DEATH THREATS = MILITANT EXTREMISTS WHO REALLY LOOKING FOR ANYTHING. THE MAJORITY OF MUSLIMS JUST FOUND IT SORT OF DISTASTEFUL AND WENT ON WITH LIVES. AND THEIR REACTIONS THE ONES THAT MATTER.

      BUT THOSE JUST FEW THOUGHTS. HULK SINCERELY THANK FOR READING AND COMMENTING. FEEL FREE TO ANYTIME.

  2. Phil said

    I hadn’t even thought about South Park in a couple of years before I started hearing people shoveling praise on that latest episode, and lo and behold, I found myself parked in front of the computer to take a gander. I didn’t think I could have that kind of emotional reaction to an episode of South Park (ie – anything besides, “Yeah, fuck those guys,” where ‘those guys’ are either Matt & Trey or the object of Matt & Trey’s hatred), and it’s certainly turned whatever comes next into appointment TV for me.

    You nailed it on the head, here, Hulk. I started tuning out around the time of The Night of the Living Homeless because I got sick of the show’s relentless need to stand against things, rather than for them. As brilliant as the show can be, it frequently borders on nihilism, and when I want my entertainment to have a socio-political bent to it, I’d really rather see solutions be proposed, rather than see assholes shit all over everything (hence, The West Wing, Star Trek, or The Wire, every time). If you have a substantial audience, and an axe to grind, I really feel you’re obligated to grind that axe in a productive way, because otherwise, it’s just masturbation, and that’s still not something I really want to watch. Hopefully this is a sign of some real growth from Matt & Trey, as you say.

    And in the spirit of sharing favorite episodes, Hulk, let me just say: Scott Tenorman Must Die. Also, NAMBLA, and Margaritaville (seriously, fuck those guys)..

    • FILMCRITHULK said

      HULK LAUGH. SCOTT TENORMAN INDEED HAVE ONE OF GREATEST ENDINGS OF ANYTHING EVER.

      AND YEAH. THERE JUST SATURATION POINT WHEN THE ATTITUDE BECOME HOLLOW. WHERE WHAT THEY CRITICIZING BE ANYTHING. WHICH PART OF WHY HULK’S FAVE EPISODES WHEN THEY JUST SORT OF DOING THEIR OWN CHARACTER-CONTAINED STORY… THESE USUALLY INVOLVE BUTTERS.

  3. Meghan said

    Brilliant discourse on satire, Hulk! A very enjoyable read for a fellow SP fan.

  4. KyleGamgee said

    Wow that was long, but I read the whole thing. I catch a South Park here and there. I love the show. Not only is it funny, but I really do feel like I learn something. In fact, I recommend the show to others over other funny cartoon just for that reason.

    And now you call it a church and it is a big smack on the forehead. I feel like I’ve been proselytizing. That’s not a good feeling.

    So thank you. I will have the increased perspective of -while South Park teaches or shows some amazing(ly stupid) things- it is only one input. To be the best me, I need influence from multiple sources to come up with my own complete ideas for my own life.

    Favorite recent episode – Pandemic. My favorite part toward the end where the boys keep getting enticed by things to investigate or explore and Craig won’t have any of it anymore.

    • FILMCRITHULK said

      HULK APPRECIATE.

      THING IS SOUTH PARK OFTEN INSIGHTFUL AND ON POINT SO IT NOT WRONG TO LIKE IN ANY SENSE. BUT THE PROBLEM THAT FORMAT OF SHOW OFTEN ENCOURAGE THEM (OR EVEN REQUIRE THEM) EVISCERATE TOPICS THAT PERHAPS NOT AS DESERVING. AND THE RELENTLESS NEED TO LAUGH AND FIND “MIDDLE GROUND” ON TOPIC INADVERTENTLY DEHUMANIZING THE EMOTIONAL REACTION AND EVEN THE POTENTIAL ACCURACY ONE WAY OR OTHER. THEY CREATE SITUATIONS OF CYNICAL DISAFFECTNESS… HULK GUESS THAT THE 3 SENTENCE VERSION OF WHAT SAID ABOVE.

      LIKE WITH THE POLITICAL STUFF THEY SO WILLING HARP ON THE HIVE-MINDED, TEAM ORIENTATED NATURE OF IT THEY FORGET THAT SOMETIMES THERE ACTUAL MERIT TO TOPIC IN PUBLIC DISCOURSE. BELIEVING THAT THERE NOTHING OF MERIT HORRIBLE WAY TO LIVE. AND HULK HATE THE CORRUPTING NATURE OF POLITICS PROBABLY AS MUCH THEY DO, BUT HULK UNDERSTAND THERE STILL MERIT TO THE STUFF POLITICS ABOUT.

  5. Rachel said

    I still love you, Film Critic Hulk.

    I mostly stopped watching television a few years ago out of necessity, and then when I started back up again I found that I had outgrown it. That upset me, especially because as I’ve caught random episodes here and there I’ve definitely noticed the upward trend in both production value and in character nuance. It seemed unfair to me that the show had gotten objectively better in a lot of ways, but the writing was still aimed more at making 20-year-old hardcore anarcho-capitalist me laugh.

    You pinned down the problem perfectly with your breakdown of 201. Free speech for the sake of free speech may as well be the watchword for every “let’s make fun of X!” episode, and it’s also been used to silence a lot of people who try to point out problematic things with the show, even if — hell, ESPECIALLY if — they were coming from a place of love. And, like, it sounds so cringe-inducingly self-righteous, but I think that “if you allow everything, you stand for nothing” applies here. Trey and Matt are capable of so much more than just equal-opportunity mockery (and their show has NINE TONY AWARDS WHAT THE HELL to show for it) and I hope they bring that to South Park in the future.

    • Rachel said

      *THING: not that they didn’t deserve a landslide at the Tony Awards (I would not know, as I have not seen The Book of Mormon, much less all of the other nominees), but that kind of recognition, even for a very well-reviewed show, is still a pretty good indicator that something special is going on.

      It’s just that “Tony Award winners Trey Parker and Matt Stone” kind of pings the same part of my brain as “Oscar winners Three Six Mafia.”

    • Rachel said

      ADDENDUM: Better quote.

      “Real culture lives by sympathies and admirations, not by dislikes and disdain — under all misleading wrappings it pounces unerringly upon the human core.” — William James, The Social Value of the College-Bred

      • FILMCRITHULK said

        PERFECT. GREAT QUOTE.

        ONE INTERESTING THING ABOUT TV THAT IN THE POST-SOPRANOS WORLD, HULK STARTING FEEL LIKE THE CREATIVE STATE OF TV BETTER THAN MOVIES NOW: THE WIRE, MAD MEN, BREAKING BAD, THE SHIELD, LOST, SIX FEET UNDER, COMMUNITY, JUSTIFIED, EASTBOUND, DEADWOOD, ARCHER. THESE ALL FANTASTIC AND DEEPLY INTERESTING SERIES THAT ENGAGE IN SUBJECTS THAT FAR MORE COMPLICATED THAN ANYTHING SEE IN MOVIES. WHICH INCREASINGLY HAVE BE “SAFE.” MEANWHILE TV BECOME SO NICHE THAT SMALLER AUDIENCE CAN ACTUALLY SUPPORT THEM. IN NEW MODEL THEY ECONOMICALLY VIABLE. IT INTERESTING.

        RANDOM NOTE: THE TONYS HURL AWARDS AT WHATEVER THE BIGGEST THING IS REGARDLESS OF UPSTANDING QUALITY. THAT BEING SAID, HULK HEARD IT PRETTY GOOD

  6. Alaska Boy said

    Incredible, Hulk! (Pun intended) :)

    Once again you’ve taken something I’ve sensed at a very visceral level and expressed it eloquently.

    Years ago, I liked South Park. Around season 3 or so, however, I just got sick of the fact that EVEN THOUGH IT WAS VERY WELL WRITTEN (and often quite funny), it didn’t amount to anything. As you have pointed out, it has a much deeper flaw than that. It actually amounts to a negative for those who, like the members of “the church of SP”, adapt its approach as their world view. Nothing matters, everything is ridiculous and stupid, there is no truth or meaning to even the highest human aspirations, and anyone who believes in anything but this deserves to be mocked and marginalized. You can’t build a functional society (or even personal happiness) out of the belief that everything people feel strongly about is just fodder for satire and ridicule.

    I have the same problem with Family Guy (and its ilk). Here’s hoping that Parker and Stone really do do a little bit of growing up. They are massively talented.

    • FILMCRITHULK said

      HULK LAUGH.

      AND ON YOUR POINT. THERE LOTS OF REASONS FOR “THE DEATH OF THE SIMPSONS” BUT IT NO ACCIDENT THAT THE SHOW STOPPED TRULY CLICKING AS SOON AS HOMER WENT FROM OAFISH, YET-INCLUSIVE BUFFOON TO OUTRIGHT ASSHOLE.

      • Alaska Boy said

        Very true, Hulk. The Simpsons used to have real heart. Now, American TV animation just needs to be smashed. And they’ve hired Seth MacFarlane to reboot The Flintstones. *shudder*

  7. [...] (4) IT NO ACCIDENT SCOTT ACHINGLY PROUD OF HIS INDEPENDENCE AND OUTSIDE BUSINESSES AND NOT BEING RELIANT ON OTHER PEOPLE. NOT SURPRISINGLY IT ONLY BREED UNHAPPINESS. AND WHAT A COINCIDENCE, HULK JUST HAD LOTS THOUGHTS ON ISOLATING OUTWARD NATURES. [...]

  8. I have to say that South Park has matured as a show from how they began the series. Even if they don’t take a stand, at least they are saying something – versus when they started, and it was an insular-type story with no reference to topical issues. But I get your point about it not really taking a position sometimes.

  9. [...] THINK HULK LIKE THOSE PEOPLE WHO FIND SAP IN ANY FORM TO JUST BE SO OBVIOUSLY STUPID (POSSIBLY LIKE THE CHURCH OF SOUTH PARK). WELL YOU WRONG. HULK LOVE EMOTIONAL STORIES. HULK LOVE OPTIMISTISM AND HOPE. HULK LOVING DR. WHO [...]

  10. 4321 said

    I’m really glad to hear that I’m not alone in not obsessively listening to South Park’s views. Whenever I’ve suggested that I don’t think that South Park was right in it’s opinion of something, I always get the response that anyone who disagrees with the show is a radical, when it seems to be the opposite.

    I have a friend who is just one of those mentioned, somebody who bases all of their politics around South Park. It often comes up disruptively in the middle of conversations; bashing Bill Maher and Al Gore for no reason other than South park said they were dirty liberals, and questioning and refuting things that are very well known to be correct because apparently something with a true message becomes false when translated to the public annoyingly (global warming).

    It’s very irritating, but it’s at least nice to read an article that has some actual criticism for those people.

  11. Fronzel said

    This Hulk schtick makes the damn thing tiresome to read.

  12. Zvate said

    First Time I’ve come across the Hulk blog and I also found the writing style a bit hard to get used to, although, I can see how the tone adds a nice humorous undertone (while also saving on grammar proofreading;)

    I think I almost enjoyed reading the comment section more then the article itself but I found both to be well written and argued and it’s certainly interested me enough to take a look at the rest of the posts.

    I’m also one of those who left South Park many seasons back only to notice more and more people around me start quoting it as gospel . And while I see the value in speaking up for something may have more value than simply speaking against I just can’t can’t work my head around the fact that had they not made this episode, and change in tone, you would have been unable to write your article. Because they provided you something to argue for you are now able to argue against what they had been; but your argument would still have been valid last month, even if they had not given a reference point by which they could improve. Pointing out the stupidity of many of the worlds closely held beliefs has led to much of south parks current success. If they are now growing beyond that, all the better, and I would certainly applaud a more optimistic point of view but it does not devalue their time as scathing critics. Sometimes people just want to watch the monkey throw its poo and those people getting their world views from south park could have done worse and will hopefully manage to do better regardless of what the next season brings.

    Anyway I’m glad I found a new blog to enjoy…

  13. Fungus said

    I enjoyed this thing.
    About the lack of middle ground on anarchy-totalitarianism: on the DVD commentary on Bebe’s Boobs Destroy Society M&T discuss how society is what keeps us above the level of simian at-ah worship.
    Even back in the early episodes the kids were “raging lil’ assholes” because T&M were down on the idea that kids, and therefore all folk, were inherently wholesome but left to the mercy of a toxic society.
    Not much of an endorsement of society in the Bebe episode itself though, more of self-control, and of course none of this is out of line with a “people and things suck” attitude.

    Still, maybe we should thank that assertion they’ve made since episode 1 for permitting all the sincere, heartfelt stuff about childhood since then. I guess it sucks when, in Go God Go for example, the dispassionate ripping on atheist excesses gets centre stage but the Wii release (which Trey describes as 90% of his life that week compared to 10% for the god debate he was dragged into) is a side joke.

    As to the direction of the show now: I’d still be satisfied if no change lasted longer than one season. I had a lot of fun with Tweak and Butters and the gradual return of Garrison in the post-Kenny season. That kind of content will probably smooth over any worries about the tone or whatever for me, cause I’m a sucker.

    • FILMCRITHULK said

      HMMMM. THAT MAKE HULK CURIOUS. TREY AND MATT OFTEN SAY THEIR FAVORITE EPISODES ARE THE ONES WHERE THEY ARE JUST BEHAVING LITTLE KIDS AND WORRYING ABOUT LITTLE KID STUFF (AND USUALLY THE ADULT WORLD PROJECTS ON THEM/CORRUPTS WHAT THEY DOING)… HMMMM…. HULK WILL THINK ON THIS POINT. GOOD STUFF.

  14. Mse said

    Hulk,

    I agree pretty much completely. I like your list of examples. I know this is completely self-serving and it is not meant to be a criticism of your essay whatsoever; it’s just that I was expecting to see an episode on your list of examples that offends a huge group of people that are often forgotten. When we are brought up by the media, it’s either as sideshow freaks, victims, or to be hated on. I’m transgender and, while I like South Park, I’m still grappling with the episode where Mr. Garrison gets a “sex change.”

    Thoughts?

    • FILMCRITHULK said

      YEAH, THIS PART OF THE PROBLEM WITH THEIR SHOOT-FROM-THE-HIP MENTALITY CROSSED WITH THEIR “EVERYTHING IS STUPID” DISPOSITION. HULK CITES THE ALCOHOLISM EPISODE AS AN EXAMPLE OF THEIR COMMON-SENSE APPROACH GONE AWRY. IF YOU KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT ALCOHOLISM THEN IT’S PRETTY MUCH OFFENSIVE. LIKEWISE IF YOU KNOW THE FIRST THING ABOUT TRANSGENDERISM, THEN THEIR EPISODE IS EQUALLY ASININE. THE ONLY REASON HULK DIDN’T MENTION IT IS BECAUSE HULK DIDN’T ACTUALLY SEE IT TIL A RECENT RERUN AFTER THE ARTICLE WAS DONE. AGAIN, THEY JUST HAD SOME SORT OF BROAD CRITICISM OF THE LOGIC OF TRANSGENDERISM WITHOUT REALLY GETTING THE PERTINENCE OF THE NUANCE. TRANSGENDERISM IS ACTUALLY VERY SPECIFIC, VERY REAL, AND VERY IMPORTANT. IT’S JUST A BIT MORE NUANCED.

      … THERE’S NOT A LOT OF ROOM FOR NUANCE IN SOUTH PARK.

      HULK THANK SO MUCH FOR YOUR COMMENT.

  15. Curious said

    Hulk,
    Have you watched the mid-season premiere for the second half of season 15 (and/or any of the episodes after that)? I won’t elaborate on the plot if you haven’t seen it yet, but I would certainly like to hear your reaction to it.

  16. Garibubumiss said

    Good read but I disagree with almost everything you say. I don’t think all the jokes in South Park necessarily reflect Matt and Trey’s views. They seem like smart enough guys to make jokes that seem opposed to what they actually believe. I think you’re taking their comedy as too specifically satirically. I’d say it’s a strictly nihilist show.

    • FILMCRITHULK said

      AS A COUNTER HULK HAVE THE FOLLOWING – 1) HULK ACTUALLY A FAN WHEN THEY GO ABSURDIST, SO HULK LOVE WHEN IT COMES OFF JUST AS JOKEY 2) THE PROBLEM IS IF THEY’RE JUST MAKING JOKES AND NOT SAYING WHAT THEY ACTUALLY BELIEVE, WHY DOES ALMOST EVERY EPISODE ENDS WITH A PREACHY CENTRIST MONOLOGUE? AND 3) THEY’VE BEEN PRETTY OPEN ABOUT THE LIBERTARIAN POLITICAL ANGLE TO THEIR WORK.

  17. Ann Emmess said

    Great essay. I stopped watching South Park years ago — the humor still worked, I just got overwhelmed by the relentless libertarianism/nihilism.

    I haven’t seen The Book Of Mormon and won’t until it’s easy to get to. I look forward to watching a perfectly adequate cast in a few years. It’s the sort of show performers can’t really screw up. But I spent last week piecing it together after the Tonys.

    What really strikes me about it is you are absolutely right about the direction Trey and Matt clearly want to go. The Book of Mormon travels in the hilarity-squick SP zone. But it really summarizes the key T/M ideas, past and present, in a very endearing way. Quite a few characters grow in ways they couldn’t on South Park. Like: maybe you won’t get your perfect life — so you make compromises to support others. It’s so huge because it’s got as much, on balance, about why people need faith (that’s backed up by SOME concrete system, even a flawed one) as it is about what’s wrong with religion and oppression.

    Putting the pieces together last week, I was *tremendously* struck by how much Trey and Matt have grown up, and how much they come across as genuinely lovely guys in both word and, now, deed.

  18. I live in New Zealand, we have terrible internet, and my house (which is within 5 kilometers of the city center) doesn’t get TV reception.
    I love myself some southpark, but I’ve always had a different take on it than the one your article is discussing. I dont get to watch south park that often and when I do the episodes are often half a dozen years old. So from my point of view these episodes are personifying an extreme aspect of American culture that is often liberal in nature often to the point of self parody.
    I’ve always had faith that other people would see these episodes how I do, as baseless opinions that should be taken with a grain of slat. It never even occurred to me that other people would seriously consider that global warming wasn’t ‘a thing’ because of the man-bear-pig episode, It only ever occurred to me as a ‘wouldn’t-it-be-funny-if-this-whole-thing-was-a-big-attention-whoring-spectacle?’ rather than a serious dig at the legitimacy of scientific ‘evidence’
    perhaps its just because I didn’t get to sit down and watch more than a handful of episodes until I was into my 20’s and able to emotionally deal with the messages they preached, or that as a person growing up in another culture with vastly different ideals to the typical American I was and am able to view southpark with a sort of ironic detachment. Sort of like watching some good ol’ Stephen Colbert…

  19. Matt said

    I got into South Park because it was one of the first shows to really delve into the seemingly impenetrable stupidity of the far-right mindset.

    Now it just seems toothless, because there is still much material to be mined from the stupidity of modern “conservatives,” but no one wants to go there.

  20. Scott J. said

    So what are your thoughts after now seeing the following episodes in which it seemed they essentially went back to their regular routine?

  21. Flanigan said

    I know this is as old as anything, but I stumbled on this recently, because all I seem to see is the Church of South Park in internet culture. I totally agree with you, and have many a point to take back to my criticisers.

    I want to know what you think about episodes that lampoon actual tragic events, or things people simply can’t help. For instance, I thought the ginger episode was brilliant, even though I’m ginger, and I laughed at the transgender episode. But now there’s actually ginger websites popping up on the net that quote south park. And I don’t need to say how much violence trans people face every day.

    It just seems a little irrestponsible to me that South Park lampoons people like this, when they must know that they have an impact.

  22. Jim said

    I was in high school when South Park first became popular and I remember everyone latching onto it. In retrospect that’s because it presents the perfect philosophy for the insecure — everyone else is stupid for, like, having opinions, man, but you’re unassailable because you don’t have a stance.

    It’s great if your primary concern is “not being wrong” but a bit rubbish if you’re interested in improving things at all.

  23. Juan Salamanca said

    I see what you’re saying, though as a libertarian you over-simplify what libertarian is. Libertarianism (or at least, the brand of libertarianism that I follow), describes the principles of non-aggression and only concerns itself with that idea. Most accept the axiom that some state must exist, but sees that the state is an actor with a monopoly on aggressive violence, hence why the state is allowed to confiscate property through the use of force like taxes and eminent domain, but considered “theft” if done by non-state actors. It asks to what extent this sort of violence is justified. Libertarianism does not reject systems; it rejects the notion that systems can only be established by the force of law and by coercion.

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