Just like that 10 weeks are gone and another season of South Park is in the books. Last night’s season finale (does this show even have those?) “The Hobbit,” capped off a rather inconsistent season highlighted by the last three weeks of glorious episodes. The remaining episode of Season 17 had a lot to live up to but that was never fair to compare it to what had come before. “The Hobbit,” while not the most consistently original or funniest episode, still had some great laughs and some lasting commentary that capped off this particular season in a unique way.
Much like the rest of this season including the Game of Thrones episodes this was South Park taking aim at an already established bit of debate. Society’s obsession with image and its willingness to accept something manufactured is nothing new and taking aim at the epitome of that, one Kim Kardashian, is not surprising or completely original. However, it still elicited some great laughs even if they became stale rather quickly. Watching Kanye West return to the show to defend his fiancé’s Hobbit-like reality was very funny although it did run dry at some points including the ending. The spoof of the “Bound 2” music video wasn’t as funny as Seth Rogen and James Franco’s take on it but it was still pretty funny especially when Yeezus stops the video midway to confirm that Kim is not a Hobbit. Also, Pope Francis’ knowledge of Tolkien folklore is quite impressive if I do say so.
The laughs were few but rather poignant when they counted but for the most part this was a story focused on something deeper and depending South Park is either really good or really bad at this. I say deeper in the sense beyond the message as we see Wendy struggle with her disdain for photo shop and its ability to display a fake vision of beauty. Personally, the jelly gag got old really quick although it provided a great moment involving a reporter standing in front of “Jelly School” which is just really a Dunkin Donuts. These little things were thrown in to liven the mood as the plot does become a bit too serious in tone. It’s not the first time this has happened and I commend Parker and Stone for taking this route once more but the plot strand runs a straight line that never takes a different turn. This is okay to an extent because Wendy’s persistence to hammer home her belief allows the viewer to infer what will come next even if the solemn ending was rather unexpected.
The easiest way I can compare the final moments of this episode is to that of “You’re Getting Old,” the story that ended on a rather melancholy point of Stan’s parents apparently getting divorced and Stan spiraling into an unhappy and early adulthood. The difference between that episode and this one is that was a mid season finale that had a pay off down several months later. The final moments here of Wendy accepting her place as part of a bigger picture where image is everything and fakeness is accepted was rather lasting and an interesting way to close out this season. These last four stories have focused greatly on how media and the acceptance of all things pop culture play into our lives both good and bad. Someone like Kim Kardashian is a measurement for many people in a celeb obsessed world and creates unrealistic notions in the eyes of many.
Watching most of the boys accept this image as a norm was surprising and a bit sad at best but it’s a plot strand much like everything else in this show that will disappear come next season. Need we forget that technically in the world of South Park Kim Kardashian had her head blown off by a deranged person who interpreted Butter’s writing the wrong way? Regardless, “The Hobbit” had an interesting itinerary and proved a fascinating way to end the current run. It wasn’t the most fluid and entertaining story but it delivered well coming off the last three weeks. At the end of the day South Park will always find a way to be cohesive with every episode in a single season and even if the whole of the season fluctuates in quality it still proves itself as being one of the most entertaining and clever animated shows on television. See y’all next year!