South Park went through a renaissance with season 18, gone were the days of episodes being totally disconnected from each other and focusing solely on their solo episode. Instead we were gifted, much to our surprise, with a season long story arc which gave the season a totally different feeling to the ones which had preceded it. Although season 18 was fairly clumsily handled at times, it showed potential for where the show intended to go, and season 19 continued with this.
South Park has really struggled to add new characters who have been capable of holding attention for more than one episode, however PC Principal very much was a headliner. PC Principal was the one constant throughout the season, being prominent in pretty much every episode, and being a central figure to the final plot, oddly enough more so than the supposedly five main characters (Kyle, Stan, Kenny, Cartman and Butters). Even the way PC Principal talked was totally different to everyone else and it made him stick out.
Even Caitlyn Jenner managed to continue to be funny throughout the season, which was quite remarkable considering that it was essentially the same, albeit hilarious, joke over and over again. What’s interesting about Caitlyn Jenner and PC Principal is that they’ve both been retained for the next season, and I can’t really complain because both have been good additions in this season.
Season 19 was a really strong season, it had a number of good episodes which made good points and were genuinely funny. Tweek and Craig’s episode is obviously a standout as was Jimmy’s sponsored content, but most of the episodes were at worst above average. There were standout jokes about the PC brigade, advertising, modern day news, fat shaming, the police, Donald Trump, Yelp, guns and those were just the big ones. South Park previously has been really hit or miss in the past but this season it was mainly hit, and more so than that it was critical striking.
The one criticism I would have of season 19 of South Park, is that the last episode flattered to deceive. The build up throughout the season had been so good, that by the last episode expectation was humungous, only for the show to not really deliver. It wasn’t that it was a bad episode, because it wasn’t, the stuff with the guns was funny, but as a season finale it didn’t hit the mark. It’s the same thing I felt about season 18, it’s as if they have so many ideas and story arcs going on that they just don’t know quite how to finish it, and it all becomes a bit messy.
The finale is very much up for interpretation, and I’ve seen a lot of people who have explained it in quite an interesting manner which makes it seem very clever and although it may not be right, it probably isn’t too far off what Parker and Stone intended. The problem is that it’s very complicated, and requires people to really understand the situation to get the joke, and a finale to a season should really be more clear cut.
I don’t want to dwell on the finale too much because the overall season was very good, however when it ends on a kind of meh note it does tend to bring a bit of a downer to the season as a whole. It’s almost as if they sacrificed the ending of this season for bigger things in next season, a la Mr Garrison’s presidential run.
All said and done, this was an excellent season of South Park and although the finale didn’t quite hit the mark as the other episodes had, it was still a really good effort. I’m glad that they continued on from the benchmark they set down with season 18, and I think the continuity really helps the show, as it protects episodes which aren’t quite as good as others.
I’m really looking forward to season and to see where they go with the Mr Garrison presidential bid and PC Principal. It will also be interesting to see if the boys are more prominent next season as they didn’t feature prominently this year, which was quite a surprise (especially Cartman).
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So what did you think of season 19 of South Park? Are you too PC and are against what the ads are doing to you? Do you buckle up buckaroo? Well leave a comment and share those thoughts, cause we all need Tweek and Craig levels of love.