LAME!!! LAME!!! LAME!!! This show sucks now!!!
[8.3/10] Pretty inspired premise and social commentary here. The episode builds on the solid work the show’s done with Cartman and Heidi over the last couple of seasons, showing how Cartman is alternately demeaning and groveling toward his girlfriend, and how decent she is to him despite that. South Park exploring the relationship, Cartman’s usual terrible two-faced approach to it, and most importantly Heidi’s perspective on it, is great.
But what puts the episode over the top is how Kyle says, “in a way, it feels like we’re all dating Cartman” and the scene cuts to Garrison-as-Trump sitting in the Oval Office. It’s a pretty devastating and accurate comparison, and framing the story of Cartman and Heidi as a parallel to Trump and conservative voters is a brilliant move.
It allows the show to have some well-observed personal bits about how people have trouble escaping manipulative and emotionally abusive people, how calling them out on that can just make them feel small and all the more likely to retrench, and how sad the whole thing is. But it also allows South Park to translate that into the political realm, and show how the same sort of thing applies to Trump voters and Congressional leadership. It lets the show have its cake and eat it too, telling us a story about the kids, about Cartman & Heidi, but also about our country.
What’s more, it’s one of the more visually and formally creative episodes the show’s done in a while. The montage set to a Rihanna song is a little easy, but works as a nice shorthand for what’s happening. And the sequence where Cartman realizes that Heidi is with Kyle, and has a rage-induced fever dream, was outstanding, with crazy, silly visuals that suit the show’s outsized imagination and the ridiculousness of Cartman’s perspective.
Man, that ending is dark though. South Park is a deeply cynical show, but also, usually one apt to put a “it’ll be okay” spin on things. Here though, the expected triumph is cut short by more prejudice, suggesting that however much of a good idea the show thinks it is, nobody will stop saying “I told you so” to people in bad relationships, whether it’s with an abusive spouse or an abusive President. The prospect that social psychology leaves no way out of this, no matter how bad things get, is a dispiriting one, for Heidi, for us, and for our country, but it’s a bold place for the show to go.
This season has been massively hit or miss, but the hits have been outstanding, and this certainly fits the bill.
Man, I can't take this relationship South Park anymore. They're 9 years old, for God's sake. There's plenty of political climate to get inspiration from, Matt & Trey.