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July 23, 2014

'South Park' Season 15, Episode 7 (Mid-Season Finale) Recap

by Jason Hughes, posted Jun 9th 2011 10:15AM
'South Park' - 'You're Getting Old'['South Park' - 'You're Getting Old']

Stan Marsh turned 10 years old, and the town of South Park may never be the same. I'm not sure what just happened, but 'South Park' got for-real this week, and then it stayed that way.

Don't get me wrong, it was disgusting and vulgar as well -- this is 'South Park' after all -- but it seemed to be grappling with some pretty big ideas. Not the least of which could be whether or not Matt Stone and Trey Parker are closing in on the end of their 15 season saga.

Of course, they could turn things around in an instant when the show comes back to finish out its season, but it doesn't feel like they will. It feels like something is happening, and if they follow it through the way they started it, it may well be genius.

The theme of the episode was about growing up, and how as you grow, the things you loved as a kid stop being so great. Or in the way Stone and Parker have chosen to explain it, it all becomes s***.

And to help illustrate this, they literally have everything Stan experiences start turning to s***. It's a way to explain why your parents don't like the same music as you, but according to Stan's doctors it's just the evolution of our tastes as we get older. As for Stan, though, his case is more severe, and incurable.

According to his doctor, he not only thinks the things he liked as a kid are s***, but everything else is s***, too. Usually, your tastes change and you start to like more mature things as you age. But Stan is "a cynical a******," according to his doctor. And there's no cure.

Shockingly, Stone and Parker didn't work their way out of this dramatic character change for Stan by the end of the episode, nor did they end with a 'TO BE CONTINUED.' Instead, Stan's entire life was uprooted, and he continues to see everything and everyone as s***.

Oh and this is as gross as you might imagine, though I think I might be a bit of a cynical a****** as well because I'm right there with Stan in being unable to discern the difference between a s*** in a microwave and a poster for Kevin James' new movie 'The Zookeeper.'

Stan and Kyle have been the center of the show and are representative of their creators. Stan Marsh was modeled after Trey Parker, who has become the sole writer and director of most of the recent seasons of 'South Park,' including this one.

Is Stan's changing tastes away from the things that used to delight him synonymous with his creator's changing tastes in regards to the show?

This darkness in the Marsh household extended to the parents, who wound up divorced (presumably) by the end of the episode. The dialogue between Randy and Sharon when they realized they no longer loved one another as they once had could as well have been a dialogue between Trey Parker (Sharon) and this show that's taken on a life of its own (Randy).

"How much longer can we keep doing this?" Sharon asked Randy. "It's like, the same s*** just happens over and over and then in a week it just all resets until it happens again. Every week it's kind of the same story in a different way, but it just keeps getting more and more ridiculous."

That's an obvious statement about the show, but is it reflective of a creative frustration? Does Parker think he's hit a brick wall and doesn't have anything new to say on the show anymore?

Randy replied that, "I just feel like I might not have a whole lot of time left and I want to enjoy it."

Sharon agreed, but "I can't fake it anymore." So what does that mean for the future of 'South Park'?

There's still half a season to go, and you just completely flipped over the apple cart. Kyle and Stan basically grew apart completely and now Kyle seems happy with Cartman. Now, as I said earlier, if this is just the opening salvo of a grand finale for 'South Park,' it has the potential for brilliance.

This could be Stan's ending, as dark and miserably as it looks to be. Perhaps we'll get endings for the other characters and by the time the season ends, we'll have resolution for the first time ever (perhaps) in a long-running animated series.

It kind of reminds me of how 'Bloom County' ended in the funny pages, with each of the characters getting their chance to say goodbye to the readers, and then those readers getting a peek at how their lives turn out after the strip ends.

It would be pretty awesome to see Parker and Stone properly end the stories of all of these characters, though not necessarily jumping ahead and showing them as adults. Stan winding up a cynic who kind of sees everything as s*** makes sense for that character. What future awaits the others? Only Cartman I could see as someone who doesn't change at all.

At the end of 'Bloom County,' one of the characters was spun off into a new comic strip. I vote Randy Marsh if the boys want to go this route. Single now, he could well represent the middle age that Parker and Stone find themselves in. And I'll bet they could write one hell of a middle-age crisis series.

FUNNY BITS (THERE WERE SOME!)

-- Cartman needs to get a present every time someone else does.

-- The rednecks breaking in to save Randy's "britches" just as Sharon is talking about how ridiculous the weekly shenanigans have gotten.

-- Randy is determined to like Tween Wave music, and even sits with the kids when the other parents are banning it. I love Randy Marsh!

-- There was literally so much s*** in this episode, I wasn't even disturbed by it anymore at the end ... okay, the duck spitting it all over Stan was still pretty gross.

'South Park' airs Wednesdays, 10PM ET on Comedy Central.

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John Galtx

Those guys have 52 weeks to produce 10 hours of programming that nets them millions of dollars in earnings. There seems to be a greater than 50% chance that any one episode will be awful, like this past week when I could not make it to the first break, and they want to drop hints that they are burned out! Well by all means it is time to get on with their life's work, whatever that could be. I am sure there are plenty of openings around the country for such talented souls.

June 10 2011 at 2:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dicko87

I have just finished watching S15E07 "You're Too Old" - and I too agree with this Jason, the episode certainly had a different "taste" to it, and with the way it ended, a definite "after-taste" too.

We all know Trey and Matt utilize South Park as a platform for social commentary on real world issues and events that occur, often adding a comic flavor into the mix to allow the harsh reality they expose to flow down the throats of viewers easier.

Behind all of the toilet humor and vulgar comedy, there is usually a heavily loaded message for society to learn from. In a way Trey and Matt are cynical like Stan, as they tend to lean towards a very pessimistic outlook on the world in its current form and what it could potentially become, this is generally illustrated through Stan or Kyle as you mentioned of whom are modeled on the shows creators.

Season 15 has not been a good season for South Park fans, the episodes have lacked that element of moral and social worth and parody that we have all learned to love. Out of the 7 episodes so far in the season, discounting of course episode 7 itself, most have been barely watchable, with mild elements of humor scattered throughout. But nothing as hard hitting as previous seasons. I must say as an avid South Park fan, the recent episodes have left me feeling unfulfilled.

Perhaps Stan's persona in this episode represents the viewers... Cynical and getting too old, seeing "things they used to love as s*** ". I know for sure I used to love South Park, I mean heck I still do, just not recently that is for sure.

Something is for sure occurring and there will be a revelation from this. However I think it may be a farewell as you have stated Jason. After all the dialogue between Randy and Sharon pretty much set the tone for the end of the episode, and continued on from there to perhaps enlighten viewers as to what is happening behind the scenes.

None of the usual music at the end of the episode either.

All things point to a finale....

Although I do hope not....

June 10 2011 at 2:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jimmy

Comedy Central's current deal with South Park ends after this season, with no renewal announcement at this point. After the 200-201 mess with Mohammed, I would not be surprised if THIS MAY BE THE FINAL SEASON OF SOUTH PARK.

June 09 2011 at 1:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Jimmy's comment
Joe

Sounds like you have a case if incurable cynicism there. Sorry to hear. THERE IS NO CURE

June 26 2011 at 8:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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