Moss PigletsSeason 21 Episode 8
Editor's Rating 2 stars
South Park has gotten as far as it has on the strength of its unspoken pact between the Matt Stone–Trey Parker brain trust and the viewing public. Their chaotic one-week turnaround schedule makes them one of a small, elite cadre of pop-culture institutions capable of commenting on the world in real time, and their proud lack of decorum frees them up to say what SNL’s network censors would never allow. In this respect, South Park provides a valuable service by posing a series of hostile checks against the B.S. du jour, and earns itself a lot of slack. Fans swallow all the sophomoric humor and blithely offensive provocations, some more eagerly than others, as the cost of doing business with TV’s most timely running commentary. When directed at the right targets, a bloviating loudmouth can be a hero.
But when Stone and Parker fail to hold up their end of the bargain, as in this week’s episode “Moss Piglets,” their weaknesses show themselves more prominently. This latest half-hour doesn’t have much to say about anything transpiring in the real world, relying instead on a pair of purely comic story lines confined to their fictitious universe. “Moss Piglets” gains a link to our dimension approximately halfway through, the moment that a mysterious operative utters the letters N, F, and L, but even then, the commentary never hits harder than, “Gee, the NFL’s sure having a hard time keeping viewership up!” Instead, the episode whiles itself away on character work for its thinly sketched ensemble. This uncharacteristically insular interlude neuters its own satire, as if spliced in from a different and altogether more typical TV show.
The more substantive half of the episode follows through on the profoundly unhealthy relationship between Cartman and Heidi, which left off last week with the suggestion that she might be an ideal match for her hate-fueled boyfriend instead of his victim. “Moss Piglets” takes that idea and runs with it, remolding Heidi in her love’s twisted image. She has expanded to a more spherical shape, developed a couple patches of acne, and speaks in a familiarly strangled tone of voice. We can tell Cartman has rubbed off on her by the way she pronounces school as “skew,” but it’s because that’s part of a sentence comparing a Saturday at school to slavery that we can tell he’s penetrated her soul. So extreme is Heidi’s transformation into a Cartman double that even he’s kind of repulsed, and now we’ve arrived at the joke.
As Mr. Mackey muses, “She’s kind of like Cartman, only with the ability to follow through.” Her general effectiveness makes her even more dangerous than the genuine article, so all hell breaks loose when she’s reminded of a volunteer commitment to judge her school’s special-education science fair. (That she seemingly has no memory of offering to do so reinforces the mental totality of her metamorphosis into a full-blown piece of shit.) As cynical and calculating as Cartman with twice the self-discipline, she realizes that the easiest way to reclaim her weekend would be to frame her bailing as a principled stand. From there, we’re off to the races, as she perverts the basic concept of virtue to weasel out of doing something nice for special-needs kids.
South Park, it bears mentioning, does right by its deep roster of characters with mental disabilities. Though questionably animated, the main players of the alternate plot intertwined with Heidi’s fall from grace are shown to be clever and capable — even when villainous. Recurring antagonists Nathan and Mimsy (modeled after second-string Looney Tunes characters Rocky and Mugsy) figure prominently into the science fair Heidi refuses to judge, having carried on the proud tradition of the baking-soda-and-vinegar volcano. Their skill mostly lies in scheming, as we learn when they plot to sabotage Jimmy and Timmy’s decidedly more impressive project. The rhyming pair has successfully bred microscopic organisms known as tardigrades or “water bears” to respond to audio stimuli, and because Taylor Swift’s album drop is this week’s buzziest happening, that audio stimuli happens to be “Look What You Made Me Do.” Jealousy sets in, and Nathan attempts to unceremoniously end the tardigrades’ lives via the ol’ hair-curler-in-the-fishbowl trick.
The episode makes its first flirtations with larger relevance when that plan backfires, and elevates the water bears’ intelligence to hokey-pokey levels. Dark-suited men materialize and move to commandeer Jimmy and Timmy’s potentially groundbreaking project, but they don’t hail from any shady governmental agency. They’re with the NFL, and their plan is simple: If the tardigrades achieve complete self-awareness, then they can be made into football fans at a time when America has increasingly chosen to tune out. (The recent spike of controversy over pre-game protests has hurt the league’s ratings, suggesting that both viewers outraged over the refusals to stand during the National Anthem and viewers outraged over the NFL’s treatment of these protests have started to migrate.)
This comic concept doesn’t quite cohere until we get the visual of three humans in a football stadium full of silent fishbowls, and even then, the joke is disappointingly tame. This gag hasn’t been beaten to death quite like “They should make the airplane out of the food, it’s so bad!” and yet it’s about as trenchant an observation. Listen closely, and you can hear a sweaty stand-up comedian mumbling to a crowd, “The NFL needs crowds so bad, why not get bacterias to watch! That would count, right?” The joke doesn’t make sense, but that’s never been a problem for South Park before — it’s just not all that funny.
“Is it just me, or are things around here getting worse and worse?” When uttered on this week’s episode, these words aren’t intended as a sweeping meditation on anything beyond the South Park kids’ classroom. But they stick with a viewer all the same, and once they shed their context, they endure as a bleak portent of things to come. South Park should have been firing on all cylinders in 2017, a haywire year wherein every week has brought a new treason or scandal. Just this past week, many members of the Republican Party went on record that they’d rather support a pedophile than a Democrat. These are boom times for satirists, but South Park has chosen to kick back and giggle about how lame the NFL has gotten. Until they accept their role as public agitators — a role they’ve courted since their earliest you-mad-bro teases — “worse and worse” will be the order of the day.
• Water bears: neither water, nor bear. Discuss!
• Some have referred to Rocky and Mugsy as a cheap knockoff of Hanna-Barbera’s somewhat similar Dick Dastardly and Muttley, from Wacky Races. These people are charlatans. Do not heed their words.
"D-Yikes!" is the sixth episode of Season Eleven, and the 159th overall episode of South Park. It aired on April 11, 2007.
Ms. Garrison gets dumped again, after complaining about men she is told about lesbianism. Unfortunately, the lesbian bar Les Bos has been bought by Persians.
Ms. Garrison enters her classroom as her students are settling in, and vents some anger she had built up for a bad blind date she had the night before. She yells and insults the students, just before assigning their homework, which will be to read 'The Old Man and the Sea,' and to write an essay about it over the weekend and have it finished by Monday. Stan, Kyle, Kenny and Cartman are not happy about the fact they will have to spend their whole weekend doing homework, but Cartman has a plan that will fix their problem. Cartman brings the three others to the back of a truck rental place, where a group of Mexicans are located. Cartman tells them to read the book, and write four different essays for them, and the boys go off to enjoy their weekend.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Garrison goes to the all-female gym Curves to work out, and still release some built up anger. As she curses out men on the treadmill, a woman named Allison gets onto the treadmill beside her, and the two strike up a conversation, sharing a common dislike of men. Allison then invites Mrs. Garrison down to the all female bar, Les Bos. It doesn't take Mrs. Garrison to long to realize though that Les Bos is a Lesbian Bar, and runs off to the bathroom horrified. Allison follows her, and the talk the two have makes Mrs. Garrison wonder about her sexuality, and the two end up kissing, and then having sex all night.
The four boys return on Monday morning to the Mexicans out back by the Truck Rental place to pick up their essay from the Mexicans. The Mexicans read the books, but did not write essays. Instead, they wrote to their esses (Friends). The boys blame Cartman for the misunderstanding, and they find out at school everyone else did their book reports. They are surprised though when Mrs. Garrison gives them more time for their report. She then tells her students that she is gay, to which Stan replies "Again?" The class likes this newfound personality in their teacher, and encourages her in her choice.
That night Mrs. Garrison returns to Les Bos, a lot more confidently then the night before. She makes small talk with people, but then gets into a fight with another lesbian, which is interrupted when a woman comes in and tells them some bad news. Les Bos is being closed down for good, because it is being bought out by Persians. Herbert Garrison is not happy about this, and refuses to leave. She brings the lesbians to Mayor McDaniels to try and save Les Bos, but the mayor sends them away from her office. Mrs. Garrison does not give up though, and encourages her fellow lesbians not to give up hope. A Persian representative visits Les Bos to talk to the lesbians, to try and reason with them, but has to deal with Mrs. Garrison. After meeting heavy resistance from the woman at the bar, the Persian says, "Look, we don't have to offer you anything. So, I don't know why you’re being so difficult, this is crazy!"
Mrs. Garrison responds with, "No. This isn't crazy. THIS IS LES BOS!" (A parody of a famous line from the movie 300) and then kicks the Persian representative in the balls. Because of this, the fact the lesbians were refusing to give up their bar hit the news, and lesbians everywhere began to support their fight. The Persian representative returned to his co-workers, and told them of how the 30 Lesbians were refusing to give up the bar, and so called more Persians for help. The Persians prepared for an attack, and charged Les Bos, and the Lesbians that stood outside. The fight that followed only involved pushing and shoving back and forth, and in the end the Persian grew tired and retreated. The lesbians celebrated their victory, as the Persian returned to their HQ, where they confronted their boss, Raluf Xerxes. Xerxes gets angry, and decides he must confront the Lesbians himself.
At Les Bos, Mrs. Garrison comes up with a plan to send in Mexicans to Club Persh, the Persian base, and dig up any information they can to use against the Persians. A full day passed, and the lesbians were getting tired. To keep them energetic, Mrs. Garrison made coffee, and after that the Mexicans came back with some valuable information on Xerxes. When Xerxes arrives and confronts Mrs. Garrison, who reveals that they know Xerxes is actually a woman, and threaten to expose her secret. When Mrs. Garrison tells her that lesbians accept woman no matter who they are or how they look, Xerxes is delighted, and ends up having sex with Mrs. Garrison. Xerxes then decides to let Les Bos stay, and the lesbians celebrate.
When Allison question Mrs. Garrison why she isn't teaching right now, she tells her that the school hired someone to fill in for her, which turn out to be the Mexicans who are teaching the class Math, and Kyle says he is actually learning something for once.