South Park’s “The Pandemic Special” Brings Comic Relief to 2020

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southpark.cc.com

“The Pandemic Special,” an episode bringing Covid-19 to the small town of South Park, can be found on the “South Park” website.

Avery Purcell, Staff Writer

Riveting, repulsive, and absolutely hysterical, comedy show South Park’s latest episode “The Pandemic Special” induces satisfying nostalgia, cleverly relays comedy from current events, and stirs up the show’s signature controversy.

Disclaimer – South Park is rated TV-MA (language, crude humor)

A debatable show meant to highlight the conflict of opinions, South Park follows the lives of elementary school students living in South Park, Colorado. Using pop culture references and creating parodies of celebrities and major public figures, the show adapts to relate to its audience, adding heaps of an unrefined, untamed frame of mind.

Thousands of fans awaited this much needed comic relief from events of 2020. I was anxious to see how well the producers would portray the beloved town, and I was not disappointed. 

Aired September 30, “The Pandemic Special” maintains the disputable nature from the previous 23 seasons of South Park. Drawing on events throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, the show hits home with extremely relatable topics, inspiring nodding heads throughout the country. Elementary student character Stanley Marsh raises the idea of mental distress throughout quarantine from social separation. His endearing moments of confessing his emotional stress provide a sense of awareness and reality to the issue.

I felt a strong sense of connection as I viewed the episode, residing in the midwest state of Colorado that the show occurs in. The return of characters I much adored pulled me in closer, awaiting the plot that Kyle Broflaski, Stanley Marsh, Kenneth (Kenny) McCormick, and Eric Cartman would play out before me. From their unique voices to Cartman’s original song, “Social Distancing,” every second was filled with thrill and laughter.

By finding a way to make fun of every social institution, every opposing issue, the show somehow manages to unite the audience in hysteria. As teachers at South Park Elementary quit their jobs from the looming virus, the show has their positions filled by… police officers. These officers were looking for work after their force had been “defunded.” This clever aspect and many other hilarious inclusions add depth to the episode.

Randy Marsh (pictured) steals the show with his aloof nature and interesting methods to cope with the Covid-19 pandemic. (southpark.cc.com)

“The Pandemic Special” is the first episode of South Park that the producers had to create distanced from their own homes. Despite this struggle, the five-time Emmy Award-winning team and creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone kept the show’s low budget appearance and extremely entertaining, vulgar humor. The number of times I had to crinkle my nose at the show was astounding, but it was balanced with genuine chuckles. Similar to the rest of the television series, this episode expanded on topics generally hard to swallow. 

That being said, this hour-long viewing is not for everyone. Illustrating slapstick jokes and reveling in taboo topics, viewers are in for a rude awakening if they don’t know what they are getting themselves into. At times throughout the episode, I felt attacked, or even angry at the show. But when hasn’t a South Park episode been absolutely enraging?

By providing the much needed comic relief of 2020 to the audience, South Park has done its job successfully. “The Pandemic Special” touched on tough personal topics, placing positive spins on issues of the world. I can honestly say that I’ve already rewatched this episode, and plan to do it again.