Let’s be honest: this current run of South Park has been okay. Nowhere near the level of quality that the show was at before the 200/201 fiasco of last year, but certainly above the sub-par stories we were getting in the last fall run right after the 200/201 fiasco.
But the slump might be over, because this past episode was one of the best pieces of story telling Matt & Trey have ever delivered to the show.
Butters is hired by a new Sushi restaurant that has just opened up in town and is tasked with bringing flyers and coupons to the towns people. This eventually leads him to City Wok which is the first time Lu Kim learns of the new establishment next door. In a fit of outrage, Lu Kim attacks the owner of City Sushi, an attack that Butters is blamed for. Through various meetings with a psychiatrist named Dr. Janus, he comes to the conclusion that Butters is suffering from multiple personality disorder. Long story short, it turns out that Janus is the one suffering from the mental disease, and it’s revealed that Lu Kim is nothing more than another personality of Janus.
The greatest thing about all of this is that reveal. The reason? It was classic South Park. All Butters wants is to be free from Janus’s sick game, and when the reveal comes, the audience is more worried about Butters than anything else. So it takes a moment to realize what just happened. And that moment allows the audience to compose themselves before yelling out “NO FUCKING WAY!”
What this reveal also tells us, in the same way the explanation of Kenny’s inability to die from last fall, is that Matt & Trey are starting wrap up loose ends on the show. Most likely because they have no intention of renewing their contracts at the end of this season. It makes sense. Matt & Trey are seeing massive success on Broadway now and don’t “need” (and from what can be inferred by interviews with them about the show) don’t want to do the show anymore. To them, South Park has become a job, not a fun place to work.
By revealing that truth that Lu Kim doesn’t exist not only explains his random appearance in the town so many years ago, but it’s also written in a way where what’s more troubling isn’t the reveal, but the fact that the townspeople are willing to accept Janus’s second, delicious personality. They allow him to continue living a mentally injurious lie in order to eat well. Like I said, classic South Park.
There’s still one episode left in the spring run of this season, and then another seven before the season is over. Perhaps the only thing we can hope for now is that Matt & Trey give the constant and loyal audience one last strong go at the show before ringing the 3pm bell for the final time on Stan, Kyle, Cartman, Kenny and the rest of the residents of South Park.
To listen to the latest episode of Merrill’s TV Podcast, The Idiot Boxers with Kevin Carr, head over to Fat Guys at the Movies.