By George Rose
November 10, 2009
The show follows no long-term plot line. In each episode, four elementary school students known as Kyle, Stan, Carman and Kenny get into some absurd adventure in their small Colorado town that teaches many deep lessons and provides many belly-aching laughs. This season alone kicked off with an episode called "Dead Celebrities," featuring the most famous one of all, Michael Jackson. Then South Park continued their hot streak with an episode featuring Butters, one of the many hilarious supporting characters, becoming a pimp within his school. Episodes three mocked "professional" wrestling (WWF vs. wrestling as an Olympic sport) and episode four poked fun at the Japanese fetish of killing dolphins and the American fetish of aquatic reality TV programming (apparently Japan holds a grudge against dolphins because they dropped the bomb on Hiroshima).
The latest episode, however, was probably the most ground breaking; never before have I heard the word "f*ggot" used so many times in one episode, only to have the meaning of the word changed in the dictionary. South Park has the ability to touch on subjects both deep and controversial, unlike its cartoon counterparts, yet always uses logic and laughs to make the subjects accessible and moving. By surrounding the topic in comedy, they are able to teach their audience that words like "f*ggot" are meant to show disdain towards a general group of people, and is not limited to or necessarily directed at homosexuals.
In the episode, the kids use the word directed at loud, noisy, obnoxious bikers. The kids are shocked when their school superiors accuse them of being homophobic, because to them they are making fun of bikers, not gays. As a gay man that has been caught saying things like "man, that's so gay," I am glad they had the courage to stand up and say "yo, not everything is a knock at gay people." It strains the relationship between me and my family when my parents yell at my siblings for saying, "that's so gay." Is it the best way for them to get their point across? No. Does it mean they are intolerant of homosexuals and me as a person? Not at all, and I understand the difference. South Park not only focuses on that thin line, but helps solidify the blur between what's modern slang and what's blatant prejudice. Like the kids say in the show, "Gay people can be f*ggots too, but not all f*ggots are gay." It's about the state of mind, not the lifestyle. By watching South Park tackle the issue, it becomes apparent the issue is already less of one than it was years ago. Sure, gays can't legally get married in every state, but at least we can watch TV knowing there are some show creators on our side, fighting the battle that has become so blurry with the language barriers of America's many different generations.
Be sure to catch the show Wednesday nights on Comedy Central. If you aren't around to watch it, there's always reruns throughout the week. And if controversial cartoon comedy isn't your thing, well, there's always four other movie recommendations this week to keep you occupied until 2012's release.