By Caryn James | James on Screens April 28, 2011 at 3:53AM
What’s the delicate way to say this? Those South Park guys have a taste for poo, so if you’ve been put off by their recurring character of Mr. Hankey – the walking, talking turd in a Santa cap – your gag reflex would really have been set off by last night’s season premiere.
Kyle was kidnapped by Steve Jobs and the evil Apple empire, which surgically stitched him together with two other people, mouth to butt, to make the experimental HUMANCENTiPAD; he was basically the intestines.
As usual there was a satiric point too. Kyle had not read the Apple agreement before signing its terms, and as a result they got to track him anywhere, do anything. I have to say, though, Eddie Izzard has been doing a cleverer version of that idea for years, mocking the quick, cheerful way everyone checks “I Agree!” whenever a screen full of boilerplate appears with a new computer download; who knows what you’re signing?
Delicacy is beside the point on South Park, which has always gone out of its way to shock. And the series is about little boys, so its creators, Matt Stone and Trey Parker, get to give childish humor free rein. Last night Cartman, the rudest, crudest character, had his own bleep-filled subplot about being screwed over by his mother, who couldn’t afford to buy him an iPad.
But the show also felt as if Stone and Parker were going out of their way to do some low-brow humor and prove that they’re not Broadway sellouts now that The Book of Mormon is such a commercial and critical hit. The Book of Mormon is hilarious, sophisticated satire.
The season premiere was disappointing, but I’ve learned not to give up when South Park goes flat, because it will very likely come back with something unexpectedly brilliant (like the best episode ever, "All About the Mormons.") And you have to like a show that makes fun of the nerdy Geniuses at the Apple store and Jobs’ cultish control of the world.