by Jeremy Rogers
The latest entry into South Park’s newest season is all about the opioid crisis. However, it isn’t predominantly poor and middle class white people who are the primary subjects of the new opioid crisis but instead costumed mascot performers.
The drugs have to be coming from somewhere, and South Park has their answer: the old folks home. Rap music starts playing as a montage of the senior living facility is shown. This seems slightly amusing at first and there is some decent social commentary about how people use assisted living facilities to get rid of elderly relatives. However, the joke never takes off; this is the first of a long line of jokes that fail to hit their mark.
The old lady in charge collects small German statuettes reminiscent of Precious Moments figures here in South Park called Hummels. The role for the seniors is simple: supply old Ms. McGullicutty with enough quality Hummels from mascots and all of the pain medication prescribed to each resident and she won’t use her influence to make life harder than it has to be. How does she exude power? Farting old lady farts. The jokes were probably written by the same folks who thought Memberberries, the malevolent old berries from the universally disliked season 20, would make for interesting villains.
Martin, the boy who loved Chuck E. Cheese, goes on a crusade against the opioid crisis that is killing all the costumed entertainers. There is nothing entertaining about this new character. He is there to pad the run-time of this episode and he does so in the least amusing way possible. The kids devise a plan to stop the flow of drugs from the nursing home which leads to a boring, uninspired musical number. In the end nothing remarkable happens. The final shot of the episode lacks any sort of comedic or dramatic tension.
As a whole, it is telling that the most heavily relied-upon jokes are the ones that feature farts. This whole episode sounds like a halfway decent idea that got pushed out before anyone had anything meaningful to say. The message sent about the opioid crisis is tired and dull. The message about nursing homes is fine but it never breaks new ground either as a joke or as a moral message.
Featured image from South Park Archives
Jeremy is junior majoring in News Journalism and Telecommunications and minoring in Political Science and American History. Though he is Byte’s Senior News Editor, he also writes reviews, features, and guest stars on podcasts.
South Park Season 21, Episode 5: "Hummels & Heroin"
“Hummels & Heroin” has some decent commentary about how the elderly are treated, but every other aspect of the episode falls on its face. The humor never gets off the ground. The new characters are boring tropes and the returning cast does nothing remotely interesting in the situation.