The popular show South Park entered its 13th season tonight, premiering at 10pm EST on Comedy Central. I have become a SP fan over the last year or two, but that’s not to say I enjoy or endorse every aspect of the show. Tonight’s episode was no exception in its usual mix of the worthy and the utterly irredeemable.
(I had trouble embedding the preview clip tonight, but you can watch it here Notice: contains some crude sexual language).
In general, I revel in some of the libertarian-leaning show plots that skewer a range of liberal sacred cows. If the underlying theme of South Park is its unrelenting irreverence, politically correct social constructs often take the brunt of its designs. That’s the part I love.
What I’m not huge on is the incessant potty-humor, and otherwise crass or lewd behavior. More significantly, the show often puts up straw man presentations of Christianity and knocks them down mercilessly. I don’t mind poking fun at organized religion or certain pop trends in contemporary church culture, but SP sometimes extends this critique to core Christianity.
In “The Ring,” Kenny gets a girlfriend whom he takes to see the Jonas Brothers in the hopes of hooking up with her after the show. To his dismay, the boy band is promoting abstinence through the wearing of purity wings. We learn that the wholesome image is the cynically motivated product of Mickey Mouse and his Disney Channel, capitalizing on the naivete and excesses of female adolescent infatuation with boy bands.
The show dismisses abstinence outside of marriage, failing to present an accurate view of the motivation or benefits of the practice. In this, the show misses the mark of truth and is probably unfair to the Jonas Brothers (I haven’t followed the group closely enough to get a feel for how genuine their beliefs are).
Nonetheless, its satire of the inanities of the teen boy band phenomenon and the oversexulization of youth culture, is a riot. For the moment, I will continue to watch South Park – at times turned off, and times falling off my couch with laughter.