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South Park Season Premiere Has Mixed Messages

South Park, Season 23 Episode 1 Review- Mexican Joker

Fall is finally here, and that means it’s time for our favorite shows to come out with new seasons. Of course, this means it’s time for new episodes of South Park. I’ve been waiting all year to write about Comedy Central’s topical hit, and after the promo from this earlier this week, I had high hopes. After seeing the season premiere of “Mexican Joker”, though, I felt like the show only met us 65% of the way.

After a hilarious opening focusing on Tegridy Farms, the weed farm Randy started last season, we then get into the main plots of the episode. The first one is how Randy feels his business is threatened when people start growing their own weed, leading him to try and get it banned. He tries justifying it by saying it’s taking away his livelihood and threatening his kids health and future, but I see through him. He only cares about the money, like how he’s the only one in his family invested in the farm.

South Park I hate Randy Marsh

I get the appeal behind Randy: he’s an idiotic man child that lets the show do things they can’t do with the kids. But it can get old relying on one guy all the time. Personally, I hoped that the Tegridy Farms would have flopped last season, so we could put some focus back on the four main boys.

The Boys are Back

Regarding the boys themselves, their story was the funnier of the two. When Cartman learns about ICE arresting potential illegal immigrants, he does what you’d expect: sic them on Kyle’s family and laugh his butt off. It’s such a classic Cartman thing for him to do, and even though we know it’s reprehensible, we can’t help but laugh at it.

South Park angry Kyle
Kyle keeps this scowl pretty much all episode

So Kyle gets sent to a Detention Camp by himself, and the show could have easily run with the joke that ICE thinks he’s an illegal immigrant, they do something better.

Over the summer, people have debated over whether ICE’s detainment camps are “concentration camps”. So when the guards realize Kyle’s Jewish and American, they have an “Oh Crap” moment, and realize this will make them look like racists. So they offer to let Kyle go, but in true Kyle fashion, he demands all the kids be set free.

Kyle’s long been the voice of reason on the show, but after the whole PC Principal thing, that side of him started to be downplayed. Seeing him stand up for what he thinks is right is a return to his roots that I appreciated seeing.

What’s Happening Now?

Then things took a turn for the weirder. Kyle’s comparison of the kids mistreatment to a supervillains origin story is clever, but saying it would create a “Mexican Joker” fell flat for me. Erik Killmonger came to my mind first; I never even considered Joker. Since it’s South Park, though, the guards get the wrong idea and just try to get the kids to not hate them.

Then Randy goes full on Heath Ledger Joker and blows up everyone’s weed gardens. To be honest, I wasn’t paying attention to his story, caring more about Kyle. Unfortunately, the episode ends on a cliffhanger. Everyone’s now afraid of Mexican Joker and the kids still locked up in detention camps. Which means South Park’s still using serialized stories.

So what was South Park trying to say here, again? Were they ripping on ICE by comparing the camps they run to concentration camps? Were they cashing in on the upcoming Joker film? And why do they still care about Tegridy Farms? There are a lot of ways this story could go this season, but this was a shaky start. Hopefully, next week will resolve the detention camp story in an entertaining fashion. That, and I want to see how far Randy will fall before Tegridy Farms goes under.

I Give “Mexican Joker” a 3/5. Lots of Potential, Poor Delivery

Stray Observations

  • I thought it was genuinely hilarious when Cartman realized Kyle+Detention Camp= Sensitive Subject. How did he forget Kyle’s Jewish
  • Cartman’s completely nonchalant about being sent to the camp by Stan is so him.
  • I want Tegridy Farms to burn down so Stan can move back to South Park
  • ICE named the princess in their puppet show Star. Is that a coincidence? Because I hope so.

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