South Park: “Douche and a Danish” Season 20 Episode 5 Review

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Maybe there’s a plan after all? Slowly but surely, season 20’s scattered storylines are getting pulled together. “Douche and a Danish” not only started to divulge the main point of the season, but also had some of the biggest laughs of the season so far. What’s the connection between this insane election, member berries, and The Force Awakens? How might Cartman help save the nation of Denmark from an army of trolls? These are questions South Park has started to answer with clever connections and a story cohesion we haven’t seen so far in season 20.

Even more amazing is how current events are feeding South Park‘s mission statement this year. One of the big comedic centerpieces of “Douche and a Danish” is Mr. Garrison’s stand-up comedy version of a Trump ally, where he acts like a racist, misogynistic comedian who talks about fingering women’s assholes in hopes that his poll numbers will plummet. South Park doesn’t even have to utter the phrase “grabbed her by the pussy.” In fact, it would come across as too easy. This stand-up comedy bit takes the joke of our reality further, while keeping in line with Mr. Garrison’s arc of not wanting to be president.

As his supporters start to abandon him and get the pitchforks out, there’s a brilliant intersection of storylines where Heidi is giving her pitch for her fundraiser (more on that later) and Mr. Garrison nervously stumbles into the room and just starts teaching, as if none of his presidential campaign ever happened. Chris Christie hilariously calls him out in the doorway of the classroom before Mr. Garrison can escape and run for his next escape. He then stumbles on Randy’s member berries support group. In such pure South Park fashion, Randy explains to Mr. Garrison that member berries grow when a civilization is advancing faster than its people want it to, creating the type of climate where Donald Trump can be as successful as he’s been and J.J. Abrams can give A New Hope a fresh coat of paint, call it new, and everyone loves it (for the record, I love Force Awakens, but I see the point). Only in the world of South Park can a connection like this come off as clever. But dammit, I was downright giddy when Randy pointed to J.J. Abrams as the season’s main villain. I hesitate to say this, as this season has been a pretty big disappointment until now, but no matter where this goes, it has to be good.

Meanwhile, the Danish troll hunters managed to unite two of the season’s other big storylines. Gerald and the other trolls’ attack on Denmark had a fun Star Wars parody to unify the episode a bit, but otherwise continues to be the weak leg season 20 refuses to rest. But now the fate of Denmark is loosely tied to the war between the boys and girls at South Park Elementary. Cartman and Heidi insert themselves into the middle of the conflict in the hopes of getting to the root of the problem. Cartman’s status quo is also starting to become more believable. While I still doubt this politically aware and considerate version will last, I can fully buy that if Cartman was in a relationship, he would absolutely be the type to whisper and have private conversations with his significant other in front of everyone. It plays into the character’s most selfish aspects, which finally put me onboard with this new leaf he’s turned.

But Heidi’s suggestion to fundraise for Denmark to stop the trolling problem, which drove the genders apart in the first place, doesn’t work. Luckily, the head of TrollTrace gets a call from Cartman and Heidi at the very end of the episode that they have an idea as to how to track down the troll. Not only does this moment help reign in season 20’s spastic storytelling, but it keeps our eyes on what’s next. Finally, South Park has shown us potential for season 20 to live up to the show’s insane legacy. Grade: B+

Some Other Notes:

  • Theory on Cartman’s overall plan: he’s offended that there’s a more successful troll out there and he wants to crush him or her by any means necessary, including playing nice for an extended period.
  • I’m not sure how much the stand-up comedy bit was supposed to mirror what happened at an Amy Schumer show over the weekend (the comedian started a verbal takedown of Trump in Tampa, FL, leading many audience members to walk out), but if it was intentional, that’s some solid synergy of very different events.
  • Will Mr. Garrison ever just be able to go back to being a regular teacher at South Park Elementary? I hope so.

By Matt Dougherty

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