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South Park: The End of Obesity Review: The Series Continues to Be the Best Satire on TV

South Park: The End of Obesity
Photo Credit: Comedy Central

Written by Jesse Singer

South Park: The End of Obesity, the latest 50-minute-long special from the long-running animated series, focuses on our beloved gang of elementary school kids, Stan, Kyle, Kenny, Cartman and Butters (too!) involved in with weight loss drugs.

When Cartman’s mom can’t afford weight loss medicine for her son, his friends whip up a plan to help him. The side story of the episode begins laughable but becomes darker quickly. Randy Marsh (Stan’s dad) gets involved with a group of moms (including Butters’ mom) who invite him to a weight loss drug party. Randy and the moms become hooked on the drugs and will do anything to get their hands on more.

Spoilers Ahead

Here’s a spoiler now: Kenny is mauled by Tony The Tiger in this episode. As it pertains to the themes of the episode, yours truly highly recommends watching it whether you are a South Park fan or not.

The End of Obesity contains numerous memorable, funny scenes. For starters, the opening has to be one of my favorite parts of the special. We see a frustrated Cartman sitting on an exam table wearing a hospital gown (his rear-end exposed from the back). The doctor tells Cartman that he is extremely overweight, but he may have a solution for him. Cartman then daydreams, which he does multiple times throughout the episode, and in the dreams he appears thinner (no more double-chin, and he’s the same size as the other kids now). His jacket is unbuttoned and has a wife beater underneath; his beanie is also pushed back so we can see his hair peeking out.

Before the episode aired, the trailer showed “skinny” Cartman which may have led some fans, including yours truly, to believing that Cartman actually slimmed down in the show. However, Cartman never loses the weight, and the “skinny” image of him is just in his head. At first, it’s kind of irritating. This writer was looking forward to Cartman being a “skinny” jerk to all of his friends and classmates. “Skinny” Cartman had potential to be even funnier than Cartman when he’s his normal self. The creators, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, only give viewers a little taste of “skinny” Cartman. It took until the end of the special to realize what Parker and Stone were going for. Cartman never truly cared about being healthy and slimmer, he only wanted to make fun of everyone (his friends, classmates and the citizens of Pakistan), without everyone making fun of him for being fat.

In the opening scene, Cartman learns about the weight loss drug Ozempic, but it is too expensive. The doctor instead prescribes Cartman to listen to Lizzo five times a day and watch her music videos before going to bed. While the joke may have landed because of how ridiculous the delivery was, this was quite a low aim at the singer. Could the creators of the series be taking a shot at the body-positive singer due to her sexual harassment lawsuit? Maybe. Could the joke have been left out so as not to offend the singer who has been criticized about her weight, as well as her fans, and people struggling with weight issues? Probably.

On the other hand, this is satire, meant to poke fun at things and people. The creators go even further by making up a once-weekly drug named after the singer. Rather than making patients lose weight, it is meant to make you care less about how much you weigh. The fake commercial imitated Ozempic and the parody jingle was pretty catchy. Although, there is a gross aspect I would’ve removed, which is the side effect of taking Lizzo that makes you defecate from your ears.

The show doesn’t just make fun of Lizzo or people who are overweight — it tackles important topics like how terrible the American Healthcare system is. During a quest to file a claim for weight loss medication, Cartman, Kyle and Butters travel back and forth from the insurance company building and hospitals, filling out, scanning and emailing pesky forms. Butters even sings a catchy song to go along with it (which is actually better than anything Lizzo has released). Apart from being super nonsensical, this scene truly shows just how hard it is for Americans to get access to medicine and proper healthcare.

Two other important topics this special covers is drug abuse and peer pressure. Randy and the kids’ moms become addicted to weight loss drugs. Randy is first introduced to the drugs when he is sexually attracted to one of the moms’ lean stomach. He goes to the moms’ drug party thinking he is going to get laid by one of them, but instead injects himself with a weight loss drug after the moms cheer him on to do so. Something that is really funny about this is how the moms and Randy go so far as to rob a drugstore and steal the newly created weight loss drugs from the kids’ South Park Compounding Pharmacy. This sheds light on the lengths some drug abusers will go to satiate their cravings.

Another notable and surprising part of the special was the inclusion of diabolical cereal brand mascots. Sonny the Cuckoo Bird (Cocoa Puffs), Captain Crunch (Cap’n Crunch), The Trix Rabbit (Trix) and Tony the Tiger (Frosted Flakes) were som of the mascots aimed at destroying weight loss drugs. Comparable to the moms that will do anything for weight loss drugs, the mascots will do anything for children to keep eating their sugary cereals. Another great scene of the special is a car chase between Randy and the kids, the moms and the cereal mascots. The Cuckoo Bird is flying a Cocoa Puffs themed helicopter and shooting cocoa puffs at the moms. It’s surprising the creators didn’t include a bit about the President of Iran who recently died in a mysterious helicopter crash. Nevertheless, the creators found another way to murder our dear, speechless, Kenny.

Overall, this special touched on some important topics and lessons as mentioned, and this writer strongly recommends watching it for that reason. By pushing the bounds of comedy, especially with its pop culture references, and teaching lessons through satire, South Park has proved once again that it is arguably the best mature cartoon on television for almost 30 years.

South Park: The End Of Obesity is now streaming exclusively on Paramount+.

Pop-Break Staff
Pop-Break Staffhttps://thepopbreak.com
Founded in September 2009, The Pop Break is a digital pop culture magazine that covers film, music, television, video games, books and comics books and professional wrestling.
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