SOUTH PARK - "South ParQ Vaccination Special"
South ParQ Vaccination Special is truly a gem. I am loving Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s hour long specials that we’ve gotten so far. With so much time between specials, the duo really have the time to plan the plot and jokes rather than rushing them out in a weekly fashion (as shown in the Comedy Central documentary 6 Days to Air: The Making of South Park.)
Something worth noting is that the opening card has changed for this special, and they recognize the racist connotations that exist within their universe, which is something they’ve never done before. Through this they request their show be used to spark conversation and create a more inclusive future, which was great! I always thought South Park did a great job acting as a spring into conversation, and I’m glad they see it that way too.
The special opens with Mr. Mackey and Mr. Adler trying to get into the local Walgreens to receive COVID-19 vaccinations. Mr. Mackey was convinced he could get them in early, but his plan was quickly foiled as the Walgreens’ bouncer turned them away, sending them to the back of the line. Trey and Matt’s hilarious portrayal of Walgreens being the coolest place in town is hilarious and true. This part of the plot provided a lot of laughs, especially the part where a vaccinated elderly man is doing donuts in the school parking lot. The plot also rings true. In the last two weeks I’ve seen people around me trying to find places that are taking people in their age bracket, just as the episode portrays in true South Park style.
After Cartman pulls a juvenile period prank on his teacher Mrs. Nelson, she leaves - done with risking her life to teach ungrateful children. Kyle, Cartman, Kenny, and Stan get their hands on the vaccine and bargain with everyone in town, leading to an all out battle to try and deliver the vaccine to their teachers.
When Mr. Garrison returns to town after his stint as President, he is put back in as the replacement teacher; to which the children respond by trying to get Mrs. Nelson back. She refuses to return until she is vaccinated, hence why the boys have the vaccines (I won’t tell how they get it though). This part of the plot was very funny, but it intertwined with a rather heavy subplot about how quarantine has made the boys’ friendship different than it used to be before. This was reminiscent of their Season 15, Episode 7 episode “You’re Getting Old Now.” I wonder if this will carry into the future, just as this seems to be a few weeks post the pandemic, clearly following the previous Pandemic Special.
South ParQ Vaccination Special is a little more thoughtful and less on the nose as the Pandemic Special was with its jokes and plotlines, but I’ve always enjoyed South Park’s take on growing up. It always provides a lot to talk about, as they requested in the opening! As I said before, they had more than one week for each episode to keep up to date with what was happening, and there’s more subplots than in a usual episode, notably about Garrison and QAnon; hilarious and all true. For my Canadian readers, you can watch the South ParQ Vaccination Special for free on CTV.ca, and for my American readers, you can watch on southparkstudios.com