‘The South Park Pandemic Special’

Only 20 percent more messed up than actual reality

The last seven months have felt like we’re living in a crazy world that only Trey Parker and Matt Stone, creators of South Park, could have created. Last night, Parker and Stone emerged from quarantine to present the South Park “Pandemic Special.” Their reality was only about 20 percent more fucked up than actual reality.

The Pandemic Special begins with some recognizable scenarios. South Park, Colorado, like every place else, is dealing with COVID-19. Some people are in the hospital. Most people are wearing medical-grade face-masks, though others have it confused and are wearing them around their chins and calling them “chin diapers.” Randy Marsh is still running his marijuana business, “Tegrity Farms,” and is making a bundle off a special strain he calls the “Pandemic Special”.

Meanwhile, Eric Cartman is loving his new life. He farts his way through Zoom school, refuses to shower, eats Cheesy Poofs at every meal, sings an ode to the magic of “social distancing” and wields a six-foot distancing ruler to keep everyone, including his mom, away.

When South Park decides to force its students back to in-person school, the Pandemic Special takes a dark turn. In the Pandemic Special’s best satirical conceit in an hour stuffed with them, South Park has defunded and disbanded its police force. But teachers don’t feel safe going back to school. So they’ve hired the police as substitutes. And things get worse from there.

Meanwhile, Randy Marsh slowly realizes that he’s the reason the pandemic spread to America, because of a drug-fueled business trip he took to China with Mickey Mouse, where they both ended up fucking a bat and a pangolin. It’s South Park, roll with the program. And  in South Park as in real life, Donald Trump is President, or at least Mr. Garrison is President disguised as Trump. He doesn’t have any interest in making things better, as COVID-19 is killing lots of Mexicans, therefore fulfilling his main promise to the American people.

By the end, the town is rioting in the streets, smashing the windows of whatever windows aren’t already boarded up. The cops have killed Kenny. And one of the South Park kids is crying inside a Build-A-Bear franchise, saying he just wants his normal life back. There’s no satirical intent there. He speaks for all of us, and it’s sad because it just won’t happen.

In South Park or in the only-slightly-better-than-South Park reality in which we live, hell has descended. At the end, Randy Marsh overlooks a town on fire and in chaos, where disease still reigns supreme and our children live in quarantine behind plexiglass. His Pandemic Special weed strain is a disaster, even if South Park’s “Pandemic Special” is exactly what we need right now. Let’s hope that by the time the show returns for a full season, we can all take off our chin diapers.

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Neal Pollack

Book and Film Globe Editor in Chief Neal Pollack is the author of 11 semi-bestselling books of fiction and nonfiction, including the memoirs Alternadad and Stretch, the novels Repeat and Downward-Facing Death, and the cult classic The Neal Pollack Anthology of American Literature. He's written articles and humor for every English-language publication except The New Yorker. Neal lives in Austin, Texas, and is a three-time Jeopardy! champion.

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