The South Park Drinking Game
I met my best friend in the third grade; it was around the same time that South Park first premiered. What started as a show about four foul-mouthed third graders from a small town in Colorado has turned into a cultural revolution, and the basis for my friendship with Nik. South Park has taken up roughly 40% of our conversations for the past 15 years. We’ve met over breakfast many, many times discussing everything from Cartman’s farts to how ever since it blew the lid off of the Family Guy joke-formula it is impossible for me to enjoy watching that show.
I’ve spent a good deal of my life thinking and talking about South Park. Something happened in season 15 that made me think that one of my favorite shows was going off the air. Matt Stone and Trey Parker’s Broadway musical The Book of Mormon had become a smash hit, popular with both audiences and critics. This was the first season post Book of Mormon, and though the show wasn’t really suffering for quality, (season 15 gavs us The Humancentipad and T.M.I) There was one episode that really seemed like it was a sign off for Stone and Parker, a graceful way to exit a medium that they felt they had outgrown. The episode I am referring to is “You’re Getting Old” where Stan comes down with a serious case of being a cynical asshole. He looks around him and everything in his world seems totally shitty to him, to the point where he can’t enjoy his life. The metaphor becomes super obvious during a fight between Randy and Sharon where Randy says that the reason he gets into all these crazy situations is because he is stuck in rut and unhappy. Sharon says, “How much longer can we keep doing this? It’s like this shit just keeps happening over and over and then in a week it all resets until it happens again. Every week it’s kind of the same story but in a different way but it just keeps getting more and more ridiculous….I want to enjoy this but I can’t fake it anymore.” by the end of the episode they are breaking up, Sharon is moving to another place with the kids.
Okay, I thought, that’s it, they’re done. They have had some very legitimate Broadway success and coming down from that to their old job is not making them happy anymore. One of the things that makes South Park so special is its ability to hold a mirror up to society reveal a truth about it. Like when they make fun of Mormons and Scientologist, and suddenly everyone you know can describe why scientologist’s beliefs are so silly. It’s the perfect satire, and it takes a really high level of intelligence and skill to take something popular, pin-point exactly what is ridiculous about it, and then make it accessible funny. The writers of the show seemed to be expressing weariness for having this kind of responsibility; they seemed tired of talking about how stupid everything and everyone is. It took about four months for the next episode, “Ass burgers,” Wherein by the end of the episode, Stan has come to terms with his life and excepts the changes thrust upon him, only to have his mother inform him she was going back to Randy because, in the end, you have to “stick to what you know.” I’m stoked that Stone and Parker have decided to give us another season, with episodes like “Cash for Gold” and “Raising the Bar.” The show has managed to do something I have never seen a show do, let alone in their 16th season: stay as sharp and socially relevant as ever. So let’s get drunk!
Take a Sip When:
- Cartman gets called fat, fatty, fat boy, or fat-ass
- Randy is on the screen
- Cartman says “jew”
- You hear the transitional banjo
- Cartman says something racist
- Shit gets violent
- Kenny Says something unintelligible
- Mr. Garrison teaches them something wrong
- Butters says, “oh hamburgers”
- Mr. Mackey says, “Mmmkay”
- You see evidence of Kenny’s poverty
- Kyle’s mom is pissed off
- Shelly calls someone a turd
- Cartman’s mom says or does something slutty
- Butters gets grounded
- The City Wok is on screen, take two if the City Wok guys says “City Beef,” or “City Chicken”