One of the things I am noticing about the current season of South Park is the show is devoting many stories to focusing on just one of the main leads or supporting characters. This has happened many times before but the bulk of these episodes have yet to feature the gang encompassing most of the plot. This week was no different as “Taming Strange” focused for the most part on Kyle and Ike and the results are very satisfying. The story lacks a certain amount of consistency but compared to last week it’s far more entertaining and has more point to it.
Kyle and Ike stories only come once in a blue moon and they always tend to be both very touching and very funny at the same time. What makes this story better than usual is making Ike a foul mouthed pubescent having accidentally been given hormones by the Canadian health care system. Their moments together are great and just hearing Ike talk about tapping both Dora the Explorer and members of the Yo Gabba Gabba gang were pure gold. This is one of those stories that write its own moral about family and caring so you never have to look for the underlying theme but it would have helped if we were given more time to embrace this plot.
This season has brought a bit of a lag in the current events nature of the show and while this week focused on the trouble with the Obama care website it felt more like a push to stay current rather than it being a plot point of mocking value. It’s evident where it is going to go but there was a lot to like in watching Mr. Mackey go insane over the Inteli Link’s inability to function properly.
What prevents “Taming Strange” from being a pitch perfect episode of South Park is the overcrowded nature of the plot. On many occasions the show has thrown the kitchen sink at an episode and many times it works but here there are just too many plot strands running about. The Yo Gabba Gabba storyline involving the “maturing” of Foofa is an obvious send up to Miley Cyrus but considering how the show has handled people like Paris Hilton and the Jonas Brothers in the past this could have been orchestrated a lot better.
The reason that all the other sub plots work is because they connect back in some way to the main plot but that doesn’t mean all were necessary. The government health film on Canadian puberty had merit but it only stretched so far when it focused on the government worker’s marital issues. Too many hands in the cookie jar and not enough time to really make a cohesive story but thankfully the laughs make up for this but only a little.
There were still a lot of little moments here that just felt right at home in the show. I’m still debating if either the constant playing of “All Night Long” or Glenn Frey’s “The Heat is on” would damage me more to hear constantly but I think I’m leaning more towards the latter. It’s also nice to see South Park still have a panache for poop jokes with Tom Brady crapping his pants being a hysterical one-off moment and a great plug for the Broncos. This episode was far and away an improvement from last week’s but it still could have used some retooling.
“Taming Strange” was incredibly entertaining and very funny but it could have done without five different plot points that in the end made the episode a little too crowded to follow at times. It’s also another week where the main four don’t participate in a storyline together but hopefully this will change in the coming weeks as we trudge on through the remainder of the season.
All Images Credit: Comedy Central