Wednesday night's episode of South Park, titled I Should Have Never Gone Ziplining, was the sixth episode of the show's 16th season, and the weakest so far thanks to a boring premise that never really went anywhere too interesting or provoking. The episode did have several funny moments, particularly the impossibly annoying tour group that Stan, Kyle, Kenny and Cartman go ziplining with, and a re-enacted scene shot in live action with college-aged actors playing the four protagonists on-board a boat. Watch the full episode here.
The entire episode is narrated in the style of a dozen different reality survival television shows that Matt Stone and Trey Parker must be watching a bit too much if they think thier satire was particularly enjoyable. Throw in an unpleasant experience on a zipline and the episode begins to make sense, though that doesn't make it any funnier.
The episode begins at the end of Spring break, and our four heroes are depressed that they've wasted the entire vacation playing Xbox. So they decide to go ziplining. Big mistake. It turns out the ziplining company only runs group tours full of boring tourists who keep saying long story short and then telling long, boring personal stories (this is actually the funniest joke in the entire episode, believe it or not).
The other recurring joke that elicits a few laughs is Cartman's constant guzzling of Mountain Dew, Double Dew (twice the sugar and caffeine) and eventually Diet Double Dew (with half the sugar and caffeine of Double Diet Dew). The soda breaks down all the junk food in Cartman's stomach, causing him to fart and then giving him explosive diarrhea. The result being that fecal particles to float up into Kyle's nasal cavity, the narrator explains.
After finally escaping the endless ziplining tour the boys steal a boat in an attempt to return home, but they quickly learn that the boat can only travel at five miles per hour. This is where the episode gets weird as the show switches from its iconic cut-out cartoon to live-action in the style of a poorly-made home video. It's funny to watch four grown men act like the show's fourth-grader main character, especially when Cartman is forced to let his explosive diarrhea loose off the side of the boat, or the four boys all contract herpes after sharing a can of Mountain Dew with Kenny, who eventually dies due to sheer boredom. But the joke gets old fast, and the episode, which was clearly going nowhere, ends when Mr Hankey (the Christmas Poo) arrives to save the day. The magical turd airlifts the boys off the boat in a helicopter made of poo, and then flies them in his poo plane before a ride in his poo train. That's pretty much how the episode ends.
Of course, not every episode of South Park can be a classic, and season 16 has been pretty impressive so far. If this is a one-time deal I think we can forgive Matt and Trey for their discretion, after all the two are under a lot of stress churning out each episode, from brainstorming to final cut, in just six days. Hopefully next week will see a return to South Park at its best.
P.S. If anyone knows what nar nar is please let me know in the comments section.