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October 6, 2015

South Park: Britney's New Look

by Brad Trechak, posted Mar 19th 2008 11:49PM
South Park(S12E02) The thing that makes South Park stand out above all other television shows is the creators' ability to take an old idea and put a new spin on it with depth and good reasoning. This episode is a perfect example of that.

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".

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There is something most people caught from this episode but no one is telling it, so I am going to state what should be obvious:

1. How can Britney survive without a Brain? What is being implied here is that Spears does not have any brains, so "loosing the top of her head wouldn't kill her".

2. The "state of mind" Kyle refers to: The auto inflicted damage to her brain in the episode, is in reference to the auto inflicted damage she has done with DRUGS to her real life brain.

3. The new video she makes in the episode: The message was: "Right now Britney is a brainless pop star that let herself be exploited without limits and does not even know what is going on around her anymore. (In the episode: She doesn't have eyes or ears... or a BRAIN!)

Everybody seems to be focusing on the references to other movies. And some even venture to say that Spears would be crazy if she didn't like the show and tried to sue. Truth be told, the episode does a lot to ridicule Spears, in fact I think this is the worst ridicule done in South park: is a gross explicit way to say that someone is brainless (to be stupid, moron, imbecile or whatever you prefer, you have to at least have a brain).

April 01 2008 at 11:14 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I loved this episode and the last one... as was commented earlier it's more subtle dark humor rather than the "typical outrageous jokes."

It does seem a little hypocritical that they'd go from Paris Hilton's whoreathon episode to the Britney one, but come on... Kyle said it himself at the end, "I know watching celebrities go down can be fun, my friends and I were just as guilty as all of you... but maybe it's time to let this one go."

Anyway I like the fact that they're not afraid to be a little sensitive (i.e. human) once in awhile.

March 22 2008 at 3:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I thought it was far too heavy handed. We get it, Britney's taken advantage of. They probably should stop. Pain is funny until its personal. Wheee...

March 22 2008 at 1:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

its ok for Kenny to explode or die in every episode but when its britney then people freak about it and all of a sudden care lol its an adult cartoon people!!!

March 21 2008 at 11:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This episode sux!
So unfunny and full of crap..
I like those episodes with cartman,without him southpark is nothing.

March 21 2008 at 7:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Jojo said, "wouldnt she have died???!!! kids watch this and This eposde was not funny."

Whose kids watch this? Nobody's kids should be watching this show, this show contains content about everything from bleeding out your ass to child molestation to gerbilling. Anyone who lets their kids watch this show should have their children taken away.

March 21 2008 at 10:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think they took Cartman out of the episode because he's been too much of the focus of the show lately and also because this episode was supposed to be sympathetic, something Cartman is incapable of. How could they make a creepy and relevant episode without Cartman turning it into a big joke? Any one remember the Stem Cell episode?

March 21 2008 at 3:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think that they where trying to show the effect that having everyone seemingly focused directly on them for there entire life would do to people. There weren't saying that all celebs are blameless, but ones like Britney who are basically thrusted into the business, either by parents or immature choices to do age become stuck in the publics eye.

On another note does anyone know the song that they sung in the episode?

March 20 2008 at 10:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mystic Sorceror

I've personally liked watching this seasons episodes, admittedly I'm still watching Top Chef Chicago and Make Me a Supermodel instead of the actual episode on comedy central, but SPZ is pretty reliable there.

As for this weeks episode, it was kind of creepily demented. I liked most of the small jokes, Butters in the squirrel outfit [totally adorable XD] and the Miley Cyrus comment. I also felt sympathy for Britney apart from the episode seemed to contradict itself a little, leave Britney alone vs. run a whole episode about Britney. I think that maybe her getting shot in the head with a hole through it would be better than it just being cut off which, in my opinion, was pretty disgusting.

The movie also creeped me out a little with the corn references etc.

And yes, Cartman did seem OoC a little, I was expecting him to run in, snap a photo and then dash out again. Still the episode dealt with some serious issues but it was semi-good, just a little...sickening

March 20 2008 at 8:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jesse Custer

Two great episodes to start the new season. I love that the biggest issue people are having with this episode is that South Park made her seem normal. How dare they make a human being appear like a human being.

And I also love my fellow posters' false sense of superiority that allows them to call someone they've never met stupid based on magazines and entertainment news shows that go out of their way to catch her at off moments. She's obviously not blameless, but clearly she wouldn't be going insane if nobody gave a shit.

Anyway, I love it when South Park blames the audience for the world's problems instead of some mythical entity we can all band together to fight. Perhaps the episode hits a little too close to home for some people by calling into question one of their cardinal beliefs.

As I step off my soapbox, I'll say that I am very much enjoying where this season and this series are going.

March 20 2008 at 5:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Jesse Custer's comment

From someone who's experienced it, the way the paparazzi is portrayed in this episode is dead-on.

My fiancee and I were having dinner a few years back and Brit & K-Fed happened to be sitting in the same quiet restaurant a couple of tables away (shortly before they got married).

About 45 minutes into the dinner, the armada got wind of her there and started snapping away. Literally 100 photographers with lights flashing constantly. Over and over until they had to leave out a back door. It was the most pathetic thing I've every personally witnessed.

I thought Matt and Trey did an excellent job skewering our culture (not Britney) and the obsession people have with celebrity trainwrecks (was it a coincidence Brit and Stan were on a train?)

March 21 2008 at 12:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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