Last night marked the mid-season premiere of “South Park,” with the episode entitled “Poor and Stupid.” It kicked off the new season with a reliable bang centered on the perceived culture of NASCAR – a topic that’s always fair game for an innocuous laugh. But because it’s “South Park,” they shit on the innocuous part and give us even more reason to simultaneously love/hate Eric Cartman.
Check out our review of the show…
Episode Title: “Poor and Stupid”
Feeling downtrodden about his chances to fulfill his dream of becoming a NASCAR driver because he isn’t stupid or poor enough, Cartman is convinced by Stan and Kyle that he is, in fact, poor and stupid enough to do so. Thinking that those are the only two criteria needed to be a NASCAR driver, Cartman gives away all his money, watches a “Two and a Half Men” marathon, and consumes dangerous amounts of Vagisil before finally giving the track a shot.
- Vagisil: The key to South Park’s longevity and relevancy is their ability to shock, disgust, and creep. Watching Cartman inhale copious amount of Vagisil and eventually suck on it like chewing tobacco was easily disgusting enough to fill the episode quota. Just watch, the makers of Vagisil will take the high road and act revolted about how their product is being portrayed, but they know that any press is good press, and they’ll probably never get a better endorsement than that.
- Butters: It really never gets old watching Butters be so gloriously nice, naive, and stupid at the same time. He would follow Cartman into Hell if Cartman asked him, and we would laugh the whole way down.
- NASCAR: Cartman & NASCAR go together like strippers and cocaine. One’s a fat, racist, sexist, sadistic asshole, and the other’s the Godking of redneck activities. But, as always, Parker & Stone gave NASCAR a fair shake in their portrayal. Cartman thinks he’ll fit right into the NASCAR culture by just being dense and ignorant, but when he’s in full shtick, he’s the only idiot. Danica Patrick, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., and Jimmie Johnson all come off as fairly intelligent and well-spoken.
- Kenny’s Revenge: It was hilarious watching Kenny first try to sneak in a sniper rifle into the track, and then jump on top of Cartman’s Vagisil car from the stands all in a fruitless effort to try to teach Cartman a lesson about the stereotype of true NASCAR fans being poor and stupid.
- Timing: The only shocking thing (other than Cartman’s mouth full of Vagisil) about this episode was that it took this long for Parker & Stone to pinpoint their ridicule at NASCAR. Talladega Nights was four years ago. You’re a little late on this one, wouldn’t you say, fellas?
- Creator of Vagisil and his wife: The marginal subplot involving the inventor of Vagisil and his wife looked promising, but was more creepy than anything. For some reason, the guy looked like an Amish horse-trader, and what was the point of his wife jumping the track and hijacking another car to win the big race? Okay, so maybe everything in the South Park universe doesn’t have to make sense as long as it’s funny, but that part wasn’t.
No matter how many gags fall flat, South Park will always sink or swim depending on how many feathers it can ruffle via shock value, and people it can get to gossip about it the next day. ‘Poor and Stupid’ is sure to get poeple talking, and it had more laughs than cringes.
“South Park” airs Wednesdays, on Comedy Central at 10 pm
What did you think of last night’s episode? Do you agree with our review?