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Thursday, April 28, 2011

South Park builds a "HUMANCENTiPAD"

     Trey Parker and Matt Stone, fresh from Broadway success, return to their animated comedy, South Park with a new episode called "HUMANCENTiPAD." In it, Kyle is kidnapped by Apple after agreeing to iTunes's new terms and conditions without reading them. Kyle has given his permission to be part of a surgical experiment; Kyle's father, Stan, and the others try to rescue him. Meanwhile, Cartman begins telling everyone that his mother f***ed him when she refuses to buy him an iPad. He even goes on Dr. Phil, sparking national outrage at his perceived pedophile parent.

     Many parts of the episode are quite hilarious. In fact, sections of "HUMANCENTiPAD" are among the funniest South Park moments ever, and that is saying something. Seeing Steve Jobs and Apple as a company bent on world domination, and feeling free to do whatever they want to their consumers is timely and amusing. Apple is ripe for parody, and sometimes it does seems like they are trying to take over the planet. Their iron control of any content for their devices supports that theory. As such, that conceit works very well here. As a stubborn PC user, I fully support this view.

     Kyle's father goes to the Apple store Geniuses for help, and they use their superpowers to counsel and come up with a solution to save the day. Considering the reverence many people hold for the Geniuses, as well as a reputation of high intelligence, this is great! In this way, the series only attacks the company and its creator, rather than the individual employees whose job it is to help the public. Not everyone that works for Apple is demonized, and Apple employees save the day. It's not exactly a nuance, but keep it in mind when judging Parker and Stone for this episode.

     Even Cartman telling everyone his mother f***ed him is more funny than wrong. The phrase is something totally in line with what the character says in daily life. It also points out how many casual cursers, including children, don't stop to think about the meaning of the words they are saying. While Cartman is simply using profanity to express his displeasure, the adults in the show take him at his literal meaning, and he never understands enough to correct them.

     Justice is served, however, when Cartman turns his complaints to God, who strikes him with lightning. It's a rare moment where Cartman actually gets what he deserves. He may only be a child, but he is a very bratty one.

     Unfortunately, besides the funny, South Park opted to cross lines of decency. Spoofing a recent, growing-popular film, Jobs's nefarious plot involves sewing Kyle and two others lips to anus in a human centipede. One mouth takes in nourishment, and he passes waste directly into the others. Just hearing the description sparks nausea, let alone seeing it depicted. And the show goes a step further by introducing food that makes the situation even more disgusting.

     Yes, South Park is known for crossing lines, but is this a step too far? This reviewer thinks so, and wishes Apple's scheme was not so offensive. Sound off in the comments below with your opinion. 

     South Park airs Wednesday nights at 10 p.m. ET on Comedy Central.

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Article first published as TV Review: South Park - "HUMANCENTiPAD" on Blogcritics.

1 comment:

  1. You couldn't have described my thoughts better. I loved Cartman in this episode and it was great seeing his mom finally standing up to him. I also loved Jobs and the whole Terms of Service agreement thing, but Human Centipede is just too gross for me. All of the decent jokes seemed wasted because I had to stop watching every time the centipede was on the screen.


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