The last few South Park episodes didn’t change my opinion that this season has been disappointing, and I agree that the election episode was a one-joke thing, but I did enjoy it more than their 2004 election episode, “Douche and Turd.” That one was based on the premise that there is no difference between the candidates, a faux-hip premise that felt like a stale leftover from 1996. But watching Randy Marsh (one of the best characters on the show) decide that everything in the world is awesome and perfect because his favourite candidate won, that’s a satirical point that actually makes sense, and it makes particular sense with Randy, because he’s an idiot who over-reacts to everything. SP is almost always better when it goes for character, which is why the Randy sections of this episode were better than the Ocean’s 11 parody, and why the best parts of the recent two-parter were Craig’s deadpan meta-comments on what a bunch of assholes the main characters are. The biggest problem this season is that they’ve mostly let character play second fiddle to movie parodies — a problem that a lot of shows have when they’ve run a long time, but a bigger problem for South Park because their movie parodies are almost always exactly the same (basically, they just repeat the plot of the movie and rely on the different situation/setting to provide the comedy).
(And yes, it’s pretty clear that this episode would have been much the same if McCain had won. You’ll notice that the hard-core conservatives in South Park, like Kenny’s family and Uncle Jimbo, were not hanging out with the McCain supporters, so that this group could have been turned into Obama supporters if it went the other way. I mean, sure, Randy’s been a liberal in other episodes, but Randy’s insane, so he could have changed his mind.)
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