By Ken Tucker
March 25, 2010 at 12:09 PM EDT

The nice thing about a headline like this is that I don’t have to warn you about language you might find offensive, right? Last night, South Park promoted reading, demonstrated the perils of literary success and hoaxes, and killed the Kardashian sisters and (off-camera, as it were) Sarah Jessica Parker.

After being forced by their teacher to read The Catcher in the Rye — we were told J.D. Salinger’s novel had been widely banned as “inappropriate” — Cartman, Stan, Kyle, and Kenny became enraged that the classic wasn’t inappropriate enough. (They were also enraged that they’d been “tricked” into reading an entire book, a nice touch regarding school-system requirements.)

One never knows how inspiration will strike, but in this case, the boys were moved to show the world what a really offensive book would be, and thus their collaboration: The Tale of Scrotie McBoogerBalls, a bit of obscene juvenilia that, like more sanitary juvenilia (the Twilight and Harry Potter books, for example) ends up being read by millions of adults as well.

But unlike those real-life publishing successes, Scrotie is so vile, anyone who reads it vomits in disgusts. (There was a very funny sequence showing The Today Show‘s Matt Lauer hurling into a wastebasket for what seemed like many minutes.)

As always, South Park’s targets were varied and scattershot. After hearing that Catcher in the Rye had somehow given Mark David Chapman the idea to murder John Lennon, an overly-suggestible Butters started chanting “Kill John Lennon!” until his father informed him that Lennon — in South Park terminology, “the king of hippies” — had already been killed.

Indeed, Butters was credited as the sole author of Scrotie — a plan that backfired on the rest of the gang: They assumed they’d get in trouble for writing such crude trash, and instead were angrily jealous to see a credulous public raise their book to exalted status. Along the way, adults applied literary and political theories to praise Scrotie, to which the boys yelled, “There is no deeper meaning in this book!” and “There is no point!”

Later, after writing a second book himself (The Poop That Took A Pee), Butters switched his obsession to the Kardashian sisters (some psycho-sexual transference, since he’d earlier declaimed they were “hot”) and Sarah Jessica Parker (a long-running target for South Park cruelty).

Maybe I liked this episode even more than last week’s season premiere because it made fun of the racket I’m engaged in — criticism and reviews, things that Trey Parker and Matt Stone find, pretty much, ridiculous. I’d compare the Scrotie episode to the work of Rabelais, Henry Miller, and Dennis Cooper, but then I’d be part of the boys’ satire, wouldn’t I?

Did you find this episode funny? If so, why? If not, why not?

Follow @kentucker

  • TV Show
  • In Season
Complete Coverage