South Park: “Splatty Tomato” Season 21 Finale Review

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In a season mostly made up of misfires, “Splatty Tomato” finally comes the closest to what the writers said they wanted to try and get back to all season. The season 21 finale is focused, taking just one overarching element from current events and inserting it into a parody of one (well okay, two, but it works) highly popular piece of entertainment. It’s a tried and true South Park formula that more closely resembles what the show was doing ten years ago than it has been recently.

“Splatty Tomato” is an IT homage that makes a lot of jokes about how much Stranger Things rips off of IT while casting Mr. Garrison/Donald Trump as Pennywise/the Demogorgon. That premise in and of itself, with Garri-Trump haunting the kids’ (and Randy’s) dreams is a lot of fun, especially when you work in the White family, the father of which can’t help but speak for his family of Trump supporters as “the Whites.” This is South Park at its most simple, and thus perhaps its most effective.

However, this being the season finale, a couple of season 21’s dangling plot threads are awkwardly shoehorned into the episode. PC Principal’s new relationship with Vice Principal Strong Woman really didn’t hit any new comedic highs this week, with the extended sequence of the adults throwing up at finding two co-workers having sex just flat-out didn’t work.

Heidi’s inner monologue fared a bit better, even if it only because of how long it’s been coming. By the end of the episode, she’s found a way to get herself out of the relationship that’s ruining her, but at the cost of the town losing their captive president. The season ends on a cliffhanger of sorts that mirrors not only IT‘s, but the world at large’s. Just what is Donald Trump going to do tomorrow? The next day? Next month? It’s a cliffhanger with no end right now. And yet, after South Park‘s worst season in years, “Splatty Tomato” offers hope that the show can go back to the basics while remaining relevant to today. Let’s hope season 22 follows suit. Finale Grade: B+ / Season Grade: C+

By Matt Dougherty

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