The ceaseless flow of bad taste that South Park emits like lava from a volcano erupted again on Wednesday night. And what I mean by that is, I laughed until I choked at the season premiere’s highly irreverent salute to “celebrities that died over the summer.”
Poor little Ike whimpered, “I see dead celebrities,” and so did we: South Park-ed versions of Billy Mays, David Carradine, Farrah Fawcett, Ed McMahon, Walter Cronkite, DJ AM, and Michael Jackson, among others, were said to be trapped in purgatory, waiting impatiently to enter heaven.
It was Mays and Jackson who obsessed Trey Parker and Matt Stone the most. Billy Mays’ spirit was intent on pitching a new product, “Chipoltaway,” which helped folks who’d eaten too much spicy fast-food remove stains from a certain item of clothing. (That’s a combination of not wanting to be a spoiler and not being able to bring myself to type out the excellent gross joke.) “Make Billy Mays go away!” yelped Ike, over and over. (Warning: language.)
As for Jackson, well, his spirit took possession of a comatose Ike. The Jackson impersonation was first-rate (“Let’s climb a tree, hee-hee!”), and the solution to freeing Ike’s body from Jackson’s spirit resulted in a ruthless parody of child beauty pageants. Once again, South Park managed to hit a shotgun-spray of pop-culture targets with deadly, devilish accuracy: not the deaths of these people, but rather the endlessly-haunting media coverage of them; excessive piety; and crass exploitation.
Did you watch South Park? Am I a bad person for finding it so funny?
(P.S. Oh, and the new show that premiered after South Park, Secret Girlfriend, was so bad, I’ll have to write about it at another time. It deserves its own beat-down.)