South Park Season 16 Review: The Road Back to the Better, More Consistent Show it Once Was

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The 16th season of Comedy Central’s long running adult cartoon was a step in the right direction. However, South Park is well past its prime.

This was not a season for muddled and desperate self reflection like season 15 was. Instead we got a much more traditional season that had both good and bad episodes, but mostly settled for consistently solid entertainment.

As with every season, 16 was divided in half with the first half airing in the spring and the second finishing up just this past week. The different creative mindsets in each half are definitely evident.

The first half of the season was inconsistent. It features both the best and the worst of the season. While the second half coasted at a consistent level of “good not great”. To be honest, I prefer the former.

The first seven episodes have the creative wheels turning, meaning there is at least potential for greatness.

And you know what? We got it. Butterballs is a classic episode. All the brilliance in those 20 minutes made episodes like Jewpacabra and Cartman Finds Love worth watching. It served as a reminder that when South Park is on its game, there is nothing else like it on television.

We also got a few other great episodes like the weird I Should Never Have Gone Ziplining and the recent A Nightmare on Facetime. It shows that there is still potential for greatness in this show, even if it will likely never return to the creative genius it was a decade ago.

But as I said, the second half of the season felt like a by-the-number grouping of South Park episodes that happened to include a Halloween special (always a standout in any season of the show). Trey Parker and Matt Stone know how to please their fans by now and it never really felt like they were trying anything new.

That being said, many of the recent entries felt like older episodes of the show. Well, at least a few seasons ago. So maybe the show is heading back in the right direction.

Either way, season 17 is on its way and will begin airing likely in March. Season 16 wasn’t the best but it was still worth checking out even if just for Butterballs. Grade: B

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