South Park: “The Damned” Season 20 Episode 3 Review

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Is Season 20 going to end up being a cautionary tale about getting too wrapped up in nostalgia? The existence of member berries in the South Park universe points to a larger danger threatening the world. Luckily, with “The Damned,” the show has perfectly selected Randy Marsh as the person assigned with uncovering this plot. Randy has a way of hilariously bringing faux-drama to any situation. But how will member berries tie into the election? What does this all have to do with Gerald’s sick game? The third episode doesn’t make those connections quite yet, but it does move the plot along.

Most of the biggest laughs from “The Damned” came from Mr. Garrison begging the American people not to vote him into the White House, which naturally only prompted them to further support his candidacy. I was worried in the premiere that South Park might take some unbiased high road when they merely labeled the candidates “Giant Douche” and “Turd Sandwich,” making it seem like you lose either way. But after the debate Monday night, it seems like they’re finally ready to put out their endorsement, but with a bit of a catch. With Mr. Garrison all but dropping out of the race to save himself and the country, it’s just up to Hillary not to f*ck it up, which she does of course. However, while it’s still impressive how this show incorporates events from just 48 hours before into this week’s episode, it’s hard to see where they’re Hillary shooting herself that badly in the foot from. This is less about personal political views and more about an inaccuracy portraying what actually happened Monday night. And sure, Trump isn’t literally asking America not to vote for him, but South Park isn’t using Trump as a character, it’s having Mr. Garrison say some of the stuff Trump does while still being wholly Mr. Garrison. Hillary is just Hillary, which is why the parody gets a little lost when stretching the truth far beyond anything that remotely happened at the debate. Still, Mr. Garrison and the political satire on his side keeps this storyline one of the most exciting and consistently funny of the season.

Meanwhile, Gerald’s life as Skank Hunt is growing a bit tiresome. “The Damned” had enough other stuff going on that Gerald’s Internet micro-victories weren’t too over-bearing, but I was glad to see that someone has discovered his secret, thus moving the storyline along at a faster pace than the rest of the season.

So all in all, “The Damned” was more set-up for payoffs to come. But with this episode adding layers to what was already there, it feels like there’s a solid enough foundation to carry the rest of the season. With the election, Gerald’ secret unravelling, and Randy investigating member berries, South Park feels ready to take off with what it’s built. That’s if they have a plan to tie it all together. Grade: B

By Matt Dougherty

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