South Park: “The Cissy” Season 18 Episode 3 Review

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So Randy Marsh wasn’t just pretending to be Lorde last week. He’s actually Lorde. Also, Cartman is a girl and many will call this episode transphobic. They’re wrong.

One thing South Park has yet to lose is the ability to just drop your jaw in disbelief at what you’re watching. Their satire of pop culture is always unpredictable, regardless of whether it works or not. The Cissy rewrote pop culture by changing Lorde’s secret identity to Randy Marsh. The concept was honestly just hilarious, and “Ya ya ya! I am Lorde!” is one of the most quotable South Park lines in recent memory.

You’ve got to appreciate the newfound continuity that’s come with Season 18. It seemed like an easy joke last week to have no one question Randy being Lorde. I bet no one expected it to come back with him actually being the singer. But when a reporter comes to South Park looking for answers just as Cartman is breaking gender boundaries, for his own cause of course, Randy’s secret ends up in jeopardy.

But let’s go back to Cartman’s goals for the episode. Sick of being unable to get a stall in the boy’s bathroom, he puts a pink bow on his hat and walks into the girl’s room. Now he’s Erica, a boy identifying as a girl. Wendy freaks out of course, being in cahoots with the audience that Cartman isn’t really a transgender. She becomes Wendall and tries to use Cartman’s new special bathroom just for people who aren’t cisgender. Clearly the extra bathroom isn’t the solution either.

Meanwhile, Stan goes home confused and asks his father for advice. Randy then reveals that he’s Lorde. The parody of the music-making process as hysterical. Obviously there would be a lot of auto-tune involved to make Randy sound even remotely like Lorde. Stan’s faint got the biggest laugh out of me for the night.

When he returns to school, confused, he gets in trouble for using the wrong bathroom. Finally, the principal announces that students can use whatever bathroom they feel most comfortable identifying with. The thing is, this ending didn’t play out like a joke, and it shouldn’t. In a perfect world, it would be the case that those that identify as transgender would be able to use their true bathroom. Hell, having different bathrooms in general does little to help the firmly in place gender boundaries. Maybe in another century co-ed bathrooms will be the norm.

Randy’s story wrapped with Sharon giving him a pep talk. I like that she knew he was Lorde (there’s a sentence…). Now Randy is free to express himself in whatever way he wishes.

The Cissy was a more progressive episode than most will give it credit for tomorrow. But it was also laugh-out-loud funny while doing so. What more can you ask for? Ya ya ya! I am Lorde! Grade: A-

By Matt Dougherty

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