By Ken Tucker
October 13, 2010 at 12:00 PM EDT
  • TV Show

Killing three birds with one stone, South Park took on Jersey Shore, The Real Housewives of New Jersey, and Osama bin Laden this week. When animated versions of Teresa from Housewives and Snooki from Shore invaded South Park, Colo., the citizenry became enraged. It’s one thing for Cartman and his buddies to be crude and vulgar; it’s another thing when the crudity and vulgarity (“muff cabbage!”) emanates from reality-show cretins.

The first half of this South Park was at once predictable and funny. As soon as I saw cartoon-Teresa, I was waiting for her to turn over a dinner table, and sure enough, she flipped out. Stan complained of these new neighbors, “All they do is hump and punch each other.” South Park reserved particular scorn for Snooki, making her a hilariously, hideously crouching, rutting figure. (Seeing her atop Cartman was scarier than most horror movies.)

Kyle and his mom returned to their previously undisclosed Jersey roots (Sheila was shown to have had a wild youth as “S-Woww”), and it looked as though the half-hour was going to be a good-not-great snipe-hunt with an easy, if deserving, target.

But then South Park made one of its great leaps in logic and world-historical criticism: Randy decided that the solution to the Jersey “problem” (orange-skinned Jerseyites overrunning the entire country) was to send a taped appeal to Osama bin Laden. The desiccated terrorist watched in mute fascination as Randy fawned over him (“You have witnessed the very worst of mankind”) and begged for al-Qaeda aid.

Soon, suicide bombers were crashing into South Park’s Jersey population, and it seemed bin Laden would be the hero of this piece, but… blam! A uniformed American sniper put a bullet in bin Laden’s head. “We got him!” Randy shouted triumphantly.

See? It was all a clever plan to lure bin Laden into the open and dispatch him. Well, him and bad reality TV. By conflating the two, South Park managed to trump all the bad taste it was satirizing with its own. On the show’s terms, that was its real triumph.

Did you watch?

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