“COULD YOU PASS THE DEAD FETUS?”
June 3, 1998
“The people of South Park attempt to raise awareness of the school nurse’s disability. Meanwhile, the boys travel to China to compete in a dodge ball championship.”
Once again, Trey and Matt split an episode’s time with two different storylines. While one of them takes apart fake “woke” activism, the other takes cheap shots (get it?) at school sports.
Opening with the dodgeball storyline, it’s pointed out that, yes, dodgeball is a pretty intense sport for children to play. Anyone who’s had to play will have their neural pathways remember the pain of being smacked around by those red, angry balls.
The kids object to playing, asking if they can instead play with the “big parachute” — which brought back a flood of school memories. What even is that thing?
When the South Park Cows (great name that’s not just “Tigers” or some crap) go to Denver for the national championship, there’s a fun moment where the coach of the Denver team makes fun of South Park, saying, “amazing where people live these days.” And no offense to Denver…but it’s not exactly the metropolitan capital of the world in a position to make fun of anyone.
Finally the team makes it to China for the world finals. While the Chinese accents can be considered racist, there’s a great bit where the Chinese commentators perform caricatures of Americans where, in accents, talk about credit cards and dairy-free creamer. In the words of Metallica: sad but true.
However, the Chinese dodgeball team is particularly powerful because of state sponsored doping — which calls to mind the most recent 2022 Olympics regarding Russia (speaking of which, it feels weird glibly mentioning Russia without bringing up Putin invading Ukraine. Hopefully a mad dictator doesn’t destroy the world with nukes — otherwise these beloved analysis’ will stop!).
Meanwhile: the bulk of the episode of South Park is about the school nurse, who happens to have conjoined twin myslexia. While the nurse wants to live her life as usual (even if that means dealing with harassment), Mrs. Broflovski is determined to make a big stink over it: positioning herself as an awareness savior. Usually the parents of South Park all unite under these Broflovski parades, but Mrs. Marsh has some harsh words toward Kyle’s mom when Mrs. Broflovski freaks out Stan.
Back to the “woke” activism thing: I’m not saying activism is bad. Nor am I parading against “wokeness.” But there is a precedent of usually white people and women taking on causes that don’t concern them even at the behest and pain of those they try to help. Just turn on TikTok and you’ll find plenty of people saying things like: Trader Joe’s foreign food section is racist because it makes ethnic food “fun” (yes, that’s an actual TikTok I’ve seen).
But it goes without saying that Matt and Trey sometimes go over-the-line when they try to make fun of causes, especially if those causes aren’t hurting anyone. Therein lies the problem of having to make fun of “everybody” whether they deserve it or not.
There’s a great line in this episode where the nurse says she isn’t offended by the children’s insults/fear toward her. She says they’re joking because they’re, “coming to terms with what they don’t understand.” And many times, that seems to apply to comedians, like Trey and Matt, who crack jokes at people groups because something in them is scared or doesn’t bother to understand how the world has moved on since the 90s. Take Dave Chapelle’s needless harassment of trans people, labelling himself a TERF (trans exclusionary radical feminist) akin to JK Rowling. Sad but true.
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