Matt Stone and Trey Parker summarize the vents of Summer 2020
Review By Collin Frazier
A few weeks before classes began, I was at work talking with my coworkers about how hectic the world is now. We eventually started to talk about South Park and whether the producers will have an episode devoted to COVID-19. I told them it was only a matter of time. I was wrong… kind of. Rather than sticking to the usual 30-minute slate, Matt Stone and Trey Parker gave us “The South Park Pandemic Special”, a one-hour special dedicated to how much this summer sucked, COVID-19 and all.
With this being a special, this was Stone and Parker’s most ambitious creation yet. While they have done trilogies before, they have had enough time to space everything out to not feel rushed. I was nervous about how they were going to summarize everything that happened this summer in one hour. I am proud to say I was wrong to be nervous.
The first thing that stuck out to me was how they managed to present every feeling on COVID-19 for both students in schools and people of society. Stephen Stotch was the mask shamer, telling everyone that had their masks on wrong that they were wearing a “chin diaper”, which I will use a lot more now, Eric Cartman was the kid that absolutely loved being at home during shut down, which was my younger and older brother- I will get to how I was when it started later.
Lastly, the special had a bunch of random characters that reflected people who still don’t listen to the facts. Many of them saying “I will not have my rights infringed!” or “Science can be wrong!”. I absolutely loved this because it summed up my Facebook feed from the summer (before I eventually unfollowed every self-proclaimed specialist on health and/or constitutional rights). I could not help but laugh at how applicable these characters are to people today.
Another thing that I loved was Randy Marsh in this episode. I do not want to give too much away, but it is insane that Stone and Parker managed to tie an episode from last season into a pivotal plot piece for the special. Again, if I spoke any further about Randy, I would be getting into spoilers. If you have already watched the special, you know what I’m talking about.
The third thing I loved about this special is how it had commentary on police brutality. Because of “certain events”, many South Park police officers are out of a job and need to find work. Some end up teaching at South Park Elementary School. An altercation between Kyle Broflovski and Cartman takes place, and the police go in guns blazing, shooting a certain student. If you’re a fan of the show, you probably already know who got shot (hint: it wasn’t Kyle nor Cartman).
I really appreciated this because it had something to say. Police should not automatically go to their guns when things get out of control, and even if they do, they should not try to shoot the people. I am not trying to make this too political, mainly because Cancel Culture already tried and failed, but I am glad Stone and Parker took a stance on this issue.
The final reason I loved this special was because of Stan Marsh and Leopold “Butters” Stotch. They were both like me during quarantine: mentally unstable.
Listen, I hated the first few weeks of quarantine. I had no idea what was going to happen with COVID-19, my family, my friends, my job, etc. I was going nuts and I wanted (and still want) life to come back to normalcy. Butters and Stan resonated with me a lot, especially Stan. All Butters wanted was to go to Build-A-Bear, but it really seemed like Stan wanted to go more than Butters. Both Stan and I were going a bit crazy from the isolation and we would be willing to do whatever to do something. This made me appreciate the special on a personal level. I realize that life will never be like it was before shutdown, but at least I have accepted it now.
If there was ever a time for South Park to come back, it had to have been in the past few weeks, and Stone and Parker knocked it out of the park (no pun intended). I don’t think it is an exaggeration to say this is South Park’s best episode in the last 5 years. It was that good. It was a nice reflection on the awfulness that was lockdown, to the annoyance of COVID-19 truthers, to a statement on police behaviors. My final rating of The South Park Pandemic Special is 96/100.