TV Review | South Park 12.12: “About Last Night…”

South Park has a much faster turnaround time than most series.  Less than 24 hours after Barack Obama and John McCain gave their post-election speeches, South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone worked the speeches into “About Last Night…”  What’s more amazing is that the death of Obama’s grandmother is worked into the show without that coming across as a cheap joke.

The main plot deals with the aftermath of the battle between Barack Obama and John McCain for the American presidency.  Turns out they are working the angle (always workin’ the angles) to gain access to the Presidential escape tunnel under the White House.  Said tunnel is right underneath the Smithsonian, where the Hope Diamond is located.  A long-form heist film parody ensues.  Boom, baby!

The main plot sucks.  Sarah Palin’s playing the idiot to throw people off?  Obama’s grandmother and wife being in on the heist?  “About Last Night…” doesn’t feel like South Park somehow.  One would figure that Ocean’s Eleven would be satirically eviscerated, but it isn’t.  Reverential treatment doesn’t fit South Park‘s modus operandi.  Even “Major Boobage” distilled Heavy Metal to the one thing people liked about that film.

As usual, the B-story saves “About Last Night…” from mediocrity.  Stan’s father Randy Marsh gets drunk, loses his pants, tells his boss off and makes fun of McCain supporters.  Some of these supporters, like Butters’ father Stephen Stotch, hide in a bunker as McCain’s loss means the end of society to them.  Kyle’s brother Ike Broflovski, another McCain supporter, jumps off a first-story window ledge…or is he just workin’ the angles?

“About Last Night…” isn’t nearly as bad as season eight’s “Douche and Turd.”  The problem with “Douche and Turd” is that it isn’t specific to the 2004 United States election, basically dumbing things down to “illusion of choice.”  The message in “About Last Night…” is clear by comparison – even in hotly contested elections, electing/not electing an official isn’t the end of the world.

“About Last Night…” is a slightly disappointing episode of South Park based on the subject matter.  It’s an average-to-above-average episode overall.  Compared to “Pandemic 2 – The Startling,” this episode looks like Wayne Gretzky in his prime.  Randy Marsh is just funnier when he’s drunk.

C. Archer
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