South Park: “Oh, Jeez” Season 20 Episode 7 Review

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On a technical level, “Oh, Jeez” is incredibly impressive. South Park‘s previous election episodes, airing just 24 hours after the results, had just a couple scenes, or even just one, that actually referred to the outcome. This episode was largely about Donald Trump’s surprise victory. Aspects of every storyline had to be rewritten, likely today, as early promos and the episode’s former title, “The Very First Gentleman,” seemed to be banking on a Hillary Clinton victory. Imagine that writers room this morning. As a group of people who clearly didn’t want Donald Trump to win, having to come in and mine comedy out of despair must have been difficult.

It’s no surprise that “Oh, Jeez” isn’t particularly good. It’s really just a chance for South Park to echo our surprise and fear while scrambling to rework its narrative for the season in the face of Trump’s victory. The development that Mr. Garrison has suddenly been taken over the by the member berries mentality, and that vomiting their remnants on another turns them into a nostalgia-fueled zombie, is clever enough, but overly simplistic and underdeveloped. But again, they had to come up with something today.

Making far less sense is Hillary Clinton tricking Gerald into thinking he’s a secret agent for the US government to imprison him in Denmark. It was a little awkward how this was introduced, as Hillary fighting to uncover how the election was rigged against her is the last storyline I want to watch right now. Maybe I’ll feel differently next week once Trump’s victory sets in a little more, but right now the Unites States needs a hot shower, and in this moment South Park didn’t even seem to have the water on, holding onto yesterday’s dirt hoping it’ll make itself clean somehow. Trust me, I get the sentiment, but if we don’t move on, we’re just going to drive ourselves insane and further divide the country (that said, if legitimate foul play ends up surfacing this week, all bets are off). Luckily, it seems like Gerald’s trip was one way, and that blocking Denmark’s hack is one last attempt by Democrats to preserve the country before January 20th. We get the very funny bit where Troll Trace’s CEO reads the hilariously silly names Gerald came up with online as deadpan as possible. But still, there was some awkward scrambling to make this all work. But again, the had to come up with something today.

So for all it’s messy storytelling and lack of genuine comedy thanks to pure shock, South Park clearly didn’t know what to make of the election either. Hopefully next week we can get a fuller, more thought-out response from the series. But for now, the show resembles all of us baffled by Tuesday’s results. There’s no shame in that, even when rushing out a piece of entertainment. Grade: B

Some Other Notes:

  • On the very short list of things that made me smile today are Cartman and Heidi’s “Beast” and “Beauty” shirts.
  • Can we all agree that Gerald’s storyline this season would be a thousand times better were it all happening to Randy? I miss Randy, who’s fallen from prominence since season 19.
  • The song between Bill Clinton and Bill Cosby fell completely flat.
  • In the slightest of silver linings, it looks like Mr. Garrison is going to be president for a few years on South Park now. Once Alec Baldwin stops doing his incredible Trump impression on SNL, Mr. Garrison will likely be our greatest avenue for tearing President Trump to shreds through fiction and parody.

By Matt Dougherty

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