South Park: Britney's New Look
Britney Spears tries to escape her fame by hiding out in Colorado. Sadly, the paparazzi follow her and through a confluence of events, she blows her own head off with a shotgun. Fortunately, this is South Park and such things aren't fatal here.
There were a tremendous number of horror movie references in this episode. I caught Children of the Corn, The Omen and Invasion of the Body Snatchers. I remember them doing similar ominous music during the first season episode "Damian" which was a more direct parody of "The Omen". I'm certain I missed a few references. If you caught any others, please mention them in the comments as I (along with all the other readers) would be interested in knowing them.
Of course the first observation that Trey Parker and Matt Stone make in their satire is how Britney Spears news seems to overwhelm important news such as the Presidential debates. I did love Hillary's line when they returned to the debates after going to Britney Watch: "And spearchuckers."
It seemed out of character when Cartman ran out of the room after Britney put the shotgun in her mouth and pulled the trigger. I would have thought he would have tried to snap some pictures so he could collect $100,000 or more from the media ("That's enough to buy slaves").
South Park has always had its shock moments and Britney's suicide was definitely one of them. And then she was STILL ALIVE (albeit as a body without most of its head). It's a testament to the creators that they can make that funny.
The episode exemplified the tendency of the media (and, by extension, the American public) to tear down celebrities in an attempt to make ourselves feel better, such as labeling Britney's suicide attempt as a "crazy no-top-of-the-head look". And then, to make matters worse, they point out deficiencies in her body, her mind, her voice and her camel toe ("a slap in the face to camels everywhere").
I did catch a pastiche of "Frosty the Snowman" for the narration during Stan and Britney's train ride to the North Pole. I found this unusual in an episode that had so many horror references and it seemed to detract slightly.
The core of this episode is how we treat celebrities. I love how they compare it to the human sacrifices of ages past. Those sacrifices were also done to make individuals feel better about their lives (by appeasing whatever deities they worshipped). We raise up and tear down media icons nowadays for much the same reasons.
Going back to my opening statement in this review, South Park has always stood above other programs by its willingness to pursue meaningful satire rather than immediate laugh-out-loud humor (although this episode had both). This was exemplified at the end of the episode where Britney's death led to a good harvest (they killed Britney for a good corn crop?) and the mention at the end that Miley Cyrus will be the next teen icon and therefore the next sacrifice. If Matt and Trey are right, we'll be reading about Miley's self-destruction in about ten years.
It wasn't their best episode, but it was far from their worst. On a scale of "poor" to "excellent," I'd rate it as a "very good".