South Park: “Sons a Witches” Season 21 Episode 6 Review

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South Park needs to be more careful with how it handles its allegories. In “Sons a Witches,” all the middle-aged men in town are part of a group that goes out to the woods every Halloween to drink Jack and smoke crack. But then one of them turns into an actual witch, flying around on a broomstick, throwing pumpkin bombs at the town, and kidnapping children. The writers goofily have the remaining men sidestep the phrase “witch hunt,” which made news recently when Woody Allen said he hoped there wouldn’t be a witch hunt in the fallout of Harvey Weinstein. The resolution? Garri-Trump flies in and uses a satellite to vaporize the actual witch and then rejoins the men on their tradition. Hmm…

Now, the episode doesn’t really go far enough into its allegory to make the rest of South Park’s men out to be evil witches, just guys dressing up as them for a laugh. There’s a cleverer version of this script where some of the men admit to times they might have been an actual witch in the past, thus calling out the rampant problem sexual assault from powerful figures is (the line that had me laughing the hardest here was the police scolding Cartman and the missing Heidi for dressing as Hansel and Gretel if they didn’t want to be preyed on by the witch). Instead, everyone’s innocent but the singular witch and Trump is the hero.

This season’s “Holiday Special” from a few weeks back had a similar problem in that it tried to play too equally to both sides while failing to take a stance itself. Just the episode prior, they were kindly asking the president through song to just put his phone down and stop tweeting. In season 20, when the writers caught wind that the election wasn’t a shoe-in for Hillary Clinton, they essentially aired their version of a PSA to their viewers. Because, guess what, a healthy percentage of South Park‘s young audience could be Trump supporters. “Sons a Witches,” when you pick apart its allegory, of what there is to actually pick apart, kind of caters to them. Is South Park doing what FOX News did when they saw they didn’t have another choice? Abandoning their morals to cater to a certain amount of their viewers?

I’d love to be writing that this was just some dumb but funny South Park Halloween episode about a killer witch, but the writers don’t seem willing to put politics aside. It kind of ruins the admittedly hysterical Cartman subplot, which relies less on Heidi being annoying in cliche ways, but how her ill-tempered boyfriend deals with them. His face as the boys describe getting the exact pumpkins they wanted the next day at lunch is riotously funny. It works because Cartman not getting what he wants here is on the right side of comedy. Garri-Trump and his fellow witches getting what they want is not.

South Park might be changing its political stance, and that’s going to be a difficult thing to process for some of its fanbase. Does a show loosening its criticism of the other side after so many years make it a worse show? When that was its main draw in more recent lukewarm seasons, you bet. Now just isn’t the time for a show so previously pointed to be examining neutrality, or worse. It’s not only contradiction, its hypocrisy. Grade: C

By Matt Dougherty

One Response to South Park: “Sons a Witches” Season 21 Episode 6 Review

  1. SgtPepper says:

    The relations between Cartman and Heidi are slowly showing how a murderous rage seeps into men who don’t have the courage to say what’s bothering them when the time is right. The way Cartman looked at her in the mess hall was the look men like this give before either a) crossing into violence against the partner, b) deflecting it into violence against strangers, c) turning it to themselves and committing suicide, d) suppressing it by becoming drunks, or e) “going out for cigarettes”. Very powerful subplot.

    Concerning the “politics of the show”. When liberal white men get older, they tend to a) become more conservative, and b) become really impatient with virtue signalling.
    Thus the middle-aged liberal guy still supports all the right stuff politically, but tends to react with eye rolls and snorts to a lot of stuff he would tended to humor when a younger idealist.
    In pop culture terms, the middle-aged liberal male turns from a “sensitive liberal” into a “Jack Reacher liberal”.
    THIS is what’s happening to South Park and to Family Guy. And it’s not a tragedy. It’s just one of the ways nature cracks echo-chambers.

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