jason stives wants you to meet some friends of mine…
I realize now that my views on last week’s episode of South Park may have seemed a bit too knit picky and from what I can gather I was probably one of the few writers who didn’t give it rave reviews. I did quite enjoy that episode so I don’t want anyone to think I hated it (6.5 out of 10 in my book is a good not a bad). That being said it comes with your own personal taste when it comes to South Park and episodes I have liked in the past more than others have developed different opinions compared to other readers’ views. Take last night’s episode, “Insecurity,” in which Matt Stone and Trey Parker decided to step back from the obvious routine of tackling this week’s relevant topics and go for a more psychological tone.
South Park has always tackled the relevant topics in mainstream media but when it takes a left field into psychological notions that act as both disturbing and humorous they reach great heights. If you look at episodes past like “Grey Dawn” and “Scott Tennerman Must Die,” these episodes rode the line of being bizarre but still injecting their own brand of humor and normally end up being fantastic episodes. “Insecurity” may not measure up to the above mentioned titles but it provided some funny reoccurring jokes to mask some of the stupidity that ran with the plot and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
The episode starts seemingly going in one direction before taking a hard right into “What the hell?” territory. After watching a commercial for erectile dysfunction, Gerald and Shelia partake in their favorite game of hanky panky entitled “UPS man delivers a package.” The trouble is the couple leaves their bedroom door open allowing young Ike to walk in on his parents having sex. Even worse because the lights are off Ike thinks his mom is cheating on his Dad with a real UPS guy, information that finds its way into Kyle’s hands who obviously tells the gang. Unbeknownst to him, Randy is walking by Stan’s bedroom as this story is being told and Marsh proceeds to tell all the husbands in town about Sheila’s torrid love affair questioning whether the UPS guy hasn’t done the same to their wives. In between all this suspicion Cartman has his own home security upgraded in fear that the UPS guy might try to rape his mother.
The episode’s title basically speaks for all the worries of South Park’s men and all these suspicions are born both out of insecurity and “what ifs” with Cartman’s plot really riding the “what if” coat tail. Cartman’s constant badgering of the Wolf Home Security system operators is very entertaining and actually places the thought into your head about how faulty those systems may be when they call your house after the alarm goes off. Mind you Eric takes it to some ridiculous levels but when has that never been part of Cartman’s pedigree to be as outlandish in his motives. It was this part of the story that balances out the destructive nature of the A plot. It’s always funny to watch the men of South Park feel emasculated by the presence of some entity that’s either not really hurting them or is an actual threat. We’ve seen it done before but this week it was aided by the “Milkman” tales of a mysterious old man who explains the only way to get rid of the milkman is to kill him.
South Park has been in these tool sheds before, especially the idea of an outsider getting persecuted by the overall stupidity of the towns people, in this case, Thad the UPS guy who has been ear marked for a lynching by the husbands of the town (Except for Jimbo who despite not being married is recklessly involved). Let’s look past the fact that no one even bothered to fathom that Gerald and Sheila still have a healthy sex life, when Randy Marsh leads the pack on anything it is taken to extreme measures and this week was no different as they carefully monitor Thad on his routes, making sure he doesn’t stop to plow married women. This provided for a great moment when the husbands of South Park dawn Bane masks and brutally beat Thad up on his route. Nevermind that it makes no sense that they are wearing easily accessible Bane masks, some lines like “A man’s wife is his life, Mr. UPS Man!” just sound that much better in Bane’s distinctly inaudible voice.
What this boils down to is the idea of insecurity itself both as a notion and as a literal interpersonal security system to fight man’s own masculine issues. The fact that these guys need a security system for themselves instead of protecting their own homes personally is the moral judgment of this week and it reaches the inception point where everyone’s insecurities are going off and collapsing the Wolf Home security system from the inside. Trey Parker and Matt Stone have never been shy about jabbing you in the rib about an idea as last week showed but the personal ones can be very topical when you never stop to think about them. The idea that the UPS guy is delivering stuff from Amazon you seemingly forgot you ordered is pretty dead on. Lord knows we have all been there before but we never once thought the UPS guy was hitting on us.
Not everything worked as expected with some of the running gags running a bit too thin towards episodes’ end in particular the home security password jokes, some of Cartman’s more disturbing rape scenarios, and even the joke that Insecurity provides people with blankets and hot cocoa really didn’t stay on the mark. Of course, the episode just ends with the moral in place and sometimes like last week it feels a bit out the way but it also just feels right after an episode full of dark undertones with ridiculous consequences. South Park has always been blessed with the ability to polarize fans by trying something different each week and I have no doubt “Insecurity” will be a polarizing episode for some but to me it was one nice long chuckle with a story that as outlandish as it seemed fit exactly what you would expect of the show’s main players and its creators when they don’t rely on bashing every day pop culture.
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Pretty Good)
All Images Credit: Comedy Central