By Angela Espinoza, Arts Editor
Season 16 of South Park ended triumphantly last Wednesday with another well-timed election episode following 2008’s “About Last Night…” and 2004’s “Douche and Turd.” What makes this season finale even more exciting though is that just last year, the show’s survival was uncertain, with even Trey Parker and Matt Stone believing, for a time, that “You’re Getting Old” was to be the last episode. Luckily though, that was not the case, and to celebrate I’ve come up with what I feel are the five best episodes of the 16th season.
5. “Faith Hilling” (aired March 28)
The boys intricately crash the Colorado Republican Presidential Debate all so they can snap a picture of Cartman ‘Faith Hlling.’ The act in question requires a person to pull out the front of their shirt to mimic breasts, and the picture creates a national debate on ‘memeing,’ and the dangers that surround it. This episode pokes fun at the ever changing popularity of memes, in particular ‘planking’ and ‘cat breading,’ and asks how far we’re willing to take a joke, and more importantly, for how long?
4. “A Nightmare on Face Time” (aired October 24)
Randy excitedly enters what he sees as a new business venture: purchasing the local Blockbuster. His family desperately tries to explain that no one rents movies anymore with so many quality streaming services available, but Randy doesn’t listen. As Halloween nears, Randy starts to lose his mind, all while the boys fret to make the town ‘Monster Mash’ and win the costume contest. This episode hilariously spoofs The Shining while putting the nail in the coffin once and for all on the subject of streaming versus renting. And keep an eye out for all the background characters in costume: my favourite was Mr. Garrison as Ryan Gosling from Drive.
3. “Butterballs” (aired April 11)
Butters’ sweet old grandma has come to town, but what no one realizes is that she’s brutally bullying Butters. Scared for his life, poor Butters eventually goes to the boys for help, only for Stan to completely blow things out of proportion. This episode is an excellent satire on the Kony 2012 scandal, using the subject of bullying as the target cause, and presenting us with two soon-to-be classic songs, “Make Bullying Kill Itself” and “Jacking it in San Diego.”
2. “Raising the Bar” (aired October 3)
Cartman finally accepts that he is indeed obese, which he combats by purchasing a scooter. He goes around demanding the same treatment that someone suffering from a disease would receive, which explodes him to popularity as ‘Fatty Doo Doo,’ Honey Boo Boo’s male counterpart. As it seems like the world’s standards are gone for good, James Cameron takes it upon himself to ‘raise the bar.’ South Park’s has a handful episodes about reality shows, most of them great, but it’s perhaps this episode that provides the best commentary, asking the question: what the hell is wrong with us? We also got a delightful new theme song for James Cameron.
1. “Obama Wins” (aired November 7)
There’s a conspiracy going around the night of the election, and it involves Cartman. After he brings in Kyle, Cartman watches his plan successfully grow, with Kyle attempting to stop it. Things get more complicated though, as Obama himself, the Chinese, Disney, and even Morgan Freeman all have a role in this scheme. This episode outdoes the rest of the season in terms of twists and turns, and manages to end with a bang as it covers an array of current events, all without sacrificing a few jabs at pop culture.
This whole season really was something of a showstopper, but alas, I could only pick the five best. That said, I do have a few honourable mentions, which include “Insecurity,” “Sarcastaball,” and “A Scause for Applause.”