“South Park” has always been a show that remains current with world events. The show’s creators, Matt Stone and Trey Parker, are known for developing a show days before the air date (whereas other animated shows like “The Simpsons” and “Family Guy” take months). This episode is no different with infusing the latest pop culture happenings. It quickly mocks the new show “Terra Nova” for basically being a “Lost” and “Jurassic Park” rip-off and then briefly pokes fun at Ashton Kutcher’s new role on “Two and a Half Men.”
But “South Park” has also been known for basing its episodes around older things. For instance, one episode was based on Cloverfield after the film had already been released for a few years. Some may think Stone and Parker waste their time on things like this, since they are able to produce shows at a rapid speed in order to account for the latest topics being talked about. At this point though, the creative team can get away with pretty much anything.
In the case of “Ass Burgers,” the return of season 15 after the usual six-month hiatus, Stone and Parker crack fun at the Matrix in pretty obvious ways but it is fun nonetheless. But there is a plan behind it. Sure, the creators probably love the Matrix and wanted to incorporate it but they always seem to find creative and fun ways of doing such things. In this instance, the show picks up where the last episode left off before the break. Stan is still cynical and views everything as “s***,” literally. A group of people try convincing him that what he is seeing is the actual world and that what everyone else sees is a fictional reality, but a better one (like the Matrix). These people even sport the leather coats and sunglasses.
For six months it was wondered whether the show would keep the continuity set up before the hiatus, with Stan’s parents getting divorced. They did, but in usual South Park fashion, nothing is ever really permanent. They do still utilize plenty of scatological material, which benefits from the hiatus. If there had been two episodes in a row with this many poop jokes, it wouldn’t have worked. It’s still funny though and at the end of the day, that is what we want to see from South Park. It is one of the smarter and more creative animated shows and has been known to try and incorporate messages behind the often-raunchy metaphors. But when all is said and done, we just have to ask ourselves if it was funny or not and this episode was.
Besides the continued Stan storyline, there is also a separate story involving Cartman. Also in usual South Park fashion, these two random storylines find some way of connecting with one another. Cartman tries faking Asperger’s syndrome, but he takes it a bit too literally and shoves cheeseburgers down his pants. It is the kinds of thing viewers have come to expect from Cartman and it is why they love him. Things get interesting, though, when people think the burgers are delicious, not realizing they have been shoved down Cartman’s pants. Cartman and Kyle open a burger place that captures the attention of rival fast food businesses such as Burger King and KFC.
How the two storylines end up connecting, and the end of Stan’s story may seem forced but the pay off is still pretty funny. Stone and Parker tend to make these quick resolutions work for the most part. Whether people believe this was a successful episode will be made apparent, because there has been a lot of talk that the show has lost its appeal. The episode before the hiatus really raised these concerns by insinuating the possibility that the show is getting old, but that was only one way to take the episode. While the show has not necessarily run out of steam, it may be best if Stone and Parker end on a high note this season or the next rather then milking it for all it is worth. While “Ass Burgers” wasn’t a fantastic episode, it was very entertaining and proof that South Park has not quite lost its funny bone.