South Park has been a dominant hurricane this season with no plans of slowing down at all. While many fans felt like the previous couple of seasons were lackluster at best, Trey Parker and Matt Stone have clearly heard the cries of disappointment and responded with a consistent string of excellent episodes thus far in South Park Season 18. While, like every South Park season, the previous have had their fair share of successes, this new season has yet to release what I would consider a bad episode, and each week I’m continually laughing for nearly 30 minutes straight.
South Park Season 18 has found its success through clever stories week in and week out that perfectly blend modern cultural topics with ridiculous adventures carried out by the boys in their ridiculous town. Many have pointed out the newly incorporated continuity across certain episodes this year; showing Stan, Kyle, Cartman and Kenny doing something ridiculous and following it up with everyone else in town or school reacting to it. In the season’s first episode, “Go Fund Yourself,” the four fo them (plus Butters) leave school to run their own start-up company with no hesitation to brag about it or belittle everyone else for not being as successful. However, when the start-ups fall apart and they return back to school, everyone calls them out for their arrogance resulting in the gang having to throw a party to get back in the good graces of their friends.
Possibly the biggest win of South Park Season 18 comes from the direction that Stone and Parker have taken Randy. In former years of South Park, we have seen Butters been used as the minor character who has his own shenanigans going on while being involved with the main characters, but now he has been incorporated as a main member of the group, leaving all of the side-plot fun to be had with Randy. This season we have watched Randy also be part of the show’s newfound continuity, starting in the “Gluten Free Ebola” episode, where he briefly poses as pop singer Lorde and performs at Stan and friends’ party after lying about knowing someone related to the singer, claiming she would come sing for them. After Spin.com posted an article completely misinterpreting the joke, Trey Parker and Matt Stone had a field day by focusing half of an episode on Randy’s double life as Lorde while also addressing gender acceptance.
Since then, Randy has fallen into the perfect supporting role and has stolen the show in many episodes of South Park Season 18. In last week’s episode, Randy might have had his best storyline yet when he completely misinterprets Stan and his friends playing a new version of Magic, The Gathering for an old bizarre form of magic he used to perform back in college; he believes this temporary fad is coming back into style. The show writers have found random things to do with Randy that feel so appropriate for his character.
Maybe the success comes from new writers such as Bill Hader feeling more comfortable with the weekly process? Maybe it’s just been a year that offers more cultural topics to make fun of? Either way, it’s working, and hopefully South Park can continue its dominant 18th season with more fun and hilarious episodes that play perfectly on pop culture. There hasn’t been an episode I have disliked so far in South Park Season 18, and hopefully it stays that way, because the show seems to have rediscovered its comfort zone, finding the perfect balance between goofy comedy, ridiculous scenarios, and just the right amount of raunchiness.
Photos via Comedy Central