South Park: Season 20 Episode 4 review – Wieners Out
After a week away from our television screens, South Park makes a triumphant return with episode number four, an episode that sees the return of a bit-part (but memorable) character, the escalation of a gender war, and a number of answers to questions we have had since the first episode of the season. So, let’s delve into this week’s episode entitled: Wieners Out.
South Park continues to impress time and time again with its hilarious take on current world events and social trends, though Wieners Out actually features very little in the way of real world happenings, it does push the various storylines along very nicely as well as weaving each of them together to form one very fleshed out story. Honestly, I seriously have no idea how South Park has managed to remain so hilarious and relevant throughout these twenty years while rival shows became stale and repetitive, but barring something terrible happening, South Park may just outlive them all if it keeps up the tremendous work. Changing from standalone episodes (which I still do miss in some ways) to a linear season-long storyline seems to have injected a good dose of vitality into the series. But I digress; I am allowing my love of South Park to distract me from the reason we are here this week – South Park. Yeah.
So anyway, The hunt is on as Denmark continues its pursuit of SkankHunt42, or Gerald Broflovski as he is known to his family and friends, an online troll that is responsible for the suicide of Danish Olympian: Freja Ollegard. The Danish Prime Minister provides us with a rather gloomy tale of troll history while stating his intent to discover and destroy SkankHunt42. While this narration is going on, we are shown a myriad of online trolls doing what they do, which includes the return of an old fan favourite – Jenkins, who you will most definitely remember as the arsehole from Make Love, Not Warcraft, the central antagonist in the episode. Sure, it wasn’t a major return for the character or anything, but it was great to see him again.
In the previous episode, Gerald received an ominous note from an unknown source claiming to know exactly who he is. This week, not only do we find out who this mysterious note-leaver is, but also why exactly Gerald started on his somewhat surprisingly decent into trolling. First off, we discover that the person who left the note was not actually a threat to Gerald, but rather a colleague hoping to add Gerald to his ranks, something that Gerald is reluctant to do. The only thing we know about the man is that his real name is Dick; well, that and that he goes by the online moniker of Dildo Swaggins. Kyle’s dad is understandably upset by this revelation as he previously carried out ‘Protocol Zero’, resulting in the destruction of all of his electronic devices such as his computer, his phone, his tablets.
As mentioned, we also discover the reason for Gerald creating the SkankHunt42 persona, and it is something that harks back to season nineteen – Yelp reviewing. You may recall that Gerald was somewhat up his own arse when it came to reviewing restaurants for Yelp; Well, his utter disdain for some of the lower quality reviews and, in his words, “how stupid everyone’s comments sounded” were the leading factors for wanting to screw with people. Honestly, I did start the season out thinking it was a little weird for Gerald of all people to be the troll, but knowing this ‘origin story’, it actually makes perfect sense. He thought he was the best reviewer South Park had to offer, it’s only natural he would consider everybody else inferior, but it does not explain why he specifically targets women in his online attacks. Though he admits that he got carried away, is this realisation enough to convince him to leave this life behind? We’ll just have to wait and see, but I think at some point he’ll be dragged back. Just as he thinks he is out, they’ll pull him back in. Honestly, I don’t think he’ll last too long.
Gerald’s first night of going cold-turkey was… eventful to say the least. After swearing off electronic devices, Gerald quickly falls back into his old ways. See, told you he wouldn’t last long. Anyway, one thing leads to another, and the night ends with Gerald getting pissed on in bed by his wife Sheila. I feel like maybe I should explain the course of events that led to his unwanted golden shower, but I don’t think I’ll bother. I’ll simply keep the jump from Gerald giving up electronics to him getting pissed on.
Throughout the episode, Gerald does his best to avoid Dildo Swaggins at all cost, but towards the end, he relents and meets with him once more. Once again he feels the need to explain his actions by expressing how he thought it was funny seeing people getting pissed off, and let’s be honest, it can be funny, but he goes on to describe it as harmless locker-room humour. Hmm, I’m sure I’ve heard a similar comment somewhere recently. Was it on the news? I can’t remember. Something to do with a candidate of some sort? Ah, I don’t know, it escapes me. My terrible memory has trumped me again. Once again I digress. The reason Dildo Swaggins has sought out SkankHunt42 is because he is the catalyst for their destruction. Gerald’s attack on Freja Ollegard has resulted in the construction of trolltrace.com; a service that aims to put an end to the troll problem once and for all. No longer will people be able to remain anonymous online – if you troll somebody, prepare to be hunted down by the Danish. In reply to the BBC news reporter’s question regarding the use of this service to identify innocent internet users, the Danish PM turned CEO of trolltrace.com spouts the same bollocks that we have heard so many times when governments have attempted to push legislation and snooper laws onto the citizens of our nations: “this service is only for tracing the identity of trolls, thank you”. Thanks to his now justified fear of exposure, Gerald is finally convinced to go with Dildo and meets with a number of fellow trolls, which, yes, does include the aforementioned Jenkins.
All in all, that’s Gerald’s story done with for this week, let’s move onto the gender wars taking place at South Park Elementary. We all thought Butters’ love life was going great, but it turns out his world is about to come crashing down. During a Skype call, Charlotte announces her desire to stand with her sisters and dumps Butters. We’ve started to see Butters acting increasingly hostile to those who do him wrong in recent years. Hark back to when we first saw him – he was a pushover and never stood up for himself, but now… Of course, Charlotte hangs up the call and Butters has nowhere to direct his anger, so at school the next morning he interrupts Kyle during yet another one of Kyle’s attempts to show just how goody goody he is and tells him to “shut the fuck up”. I absolutely loved this moment. Kyle is a character that is so goddamn righteous, even though he can be just as morally corrupt as the rest of the characters (not that that stops him exerting his moral superiority over everyone). I may be a little too harsh in regards for my dislike of Kyle, but jeez, he needs to tone the superiority factor down a notch.
Butters has had enough of Kyle’s softly softly approach to appeasing the girls and deems it time for boykind to show they will not be subdued. During the girls’ volleyball game, Butters stages his very own protest during the national anthem, but he doesn’t kneel, he doesn’t remain seated. No. He pulls down his pants, lifts his shirt, and defiantly salutes by raising his left arm high into the air. Hilariously, this event creates so much turmoil for PC Principle, a character that I never really found all that funny at first, but has definitely grown on me over the course of last season and this one. He defies the girls and their annoyance at what happened by defending the boys actions, stating that if he couldn’t stop the girls protesting (during the season opener), he can’t stop the boys doing something similar. I cannot believe that while all this is going on, Eric Cartman is still not anywhere to be seen. He isn’t spurring Butters on, he isn’t passing secrets to the girls, he isn’t trying to knock Kyle down a few pegs. He is simply making trinkets for his new girlfriend Heidi. You can definitely tell Kyle is desperate whenever he turns to Cartman, his nemesis, for help.
Speaking of Eric, it’s weirdly sweet to see him and Heidi happy together. He announces himself happy, content; but after twenty years of getting to know Cartman, do any of us really believe this? I mean, all of the characters have received significant growth and development in some form or another over the course of the show, but c’mon, this is Cartman. Eric Cartman! He is up to something, he must be. He’ll be conducting a long con, surely; he is not simply going to move past the boys smashing his technology, and he must have some role in the current state of South Park Elementary. I remain defiant to the idea that he is truly innocent in all of this, but I am more than okay to be proven wrong in this case because it’s nice to see somebody happy.
Now, you didn’t think I’d write a review without mentioning a certain berry, did you? Of course not, don’t be silly. I love these little bastards. Unfortunately they don’t get much screentime dedicated to them at all, and don’t actually physically appear in the episode (instead being hidden away inside a shirt pocket). Admittedly, I feel a little let down in regards to the Memberberries this week. I was hoping we would be treated to some more answers to their origins, or hints as to the end-game around them. Instead their inclusion took the form of an addiction group meeting hosted by none other than Randy Marsh. The thing that bugs me about this segment is that it seemed like something that should be placed after we find out just what the Memberberries really are: Their creators are defeated, the production has ceased, and the people of South Park are struggling to continue without “membering” how great the past was. In response, Randy could have set up the support-group to deal with the struggling addicts, but as it is now, it just appears as though Randy has put aside his investigation into the berries to focus on this. Ah well, it wasn’t a bad moment at all, it was a funny scene, but as I say, just felt a little out of place.
For another week my time in the town of South Park is over. I hope you all enjoyed the episode as much as I did, and I look forward to seeing you back again next week. But for now, let me know in the comments below what you thought about the episode. Did you enjoy seeing Jenkins again? How about Butters telling Kyle to shut the fuck up? Oh, and one last thing before I go – here’s hoping we don’t have to go through anymore breaks between episodes. See you next week.
Image Credits: Comedy Central.