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'South Park' last night: Trying to make 'The F Word' okay, and beating up Emmanuel Lewis

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South Park tried to teach us a lesson last night, and lesson-teaching is something a TV show should usually try to avoid, because it usually makes for lousy storytelling.

That proved to be the case for South Park. Stan and his pals were irritated by a motorcycle gang that kept roaring around town, and drowning out everyone’s conversation. The South Park gang started yelling at the gang, calling them a crude, three-letter word for homosexual that begins with “f.” (If you think I’m being squeamish for not printing the word, too bad — I’m not going to further spread the use of it.)

The underlying idea was, as one character noted, “f–” isn’t a slur on gay people among “kids today”: “Just because a person is gay doesn’t mean he’s a [f–].” The motorcycle gang, however, took great offense at the insult and roared off to the library, where we were treated to a long, tedious taxonomy of the offending word, stretching back to the 16th century. (Warning: This clip uses the word.)

I wasn’t buying this whole line of reasoning — that word now just means, as was stated last night, anyone who’s “an inconsiderate douchebag.”

Putting in a guest-star turn (well, in cartoon form, anyway) was Emmanuel Lewis, who got banged up quite a bit, but appeared, bloody and unbowed, as the “Head Editor” of the dictionary helping to draft a town proclamation about the new, common usage of the offending word.

The show proclaimed at the end it was “making history,” and given how only moderately funny the half-hour was, I tended to think Trey Parker and Matt Stone were being moderately serious.

The criticisms of motorcycle noise, public rudeness, and hurt feelings among various people got all tangled in the usual South Park fun. (The biggest laugh I had was when Cartman secretly pooped on the gang’s bikes and one member innocently sniffed the air and remarked, “Smells like that new Famous Bowl at KFC.”)

Personally, I thought it would have been funnier and timelier if South Park had used the motorcycle gang to satirize Sons of Anarchy (which is where I thought the episode was going, until I noticed the episode title). But alas, it just wanted to go to some easy gay-baiting.

Did you watch? What did you think?

(Follow me on Twitter.)

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