I've been on a bit of a South Park Binge lately - Figaro had wanted to do some catch-up as he lives in a land that gets its televised chuckles from Silvio Berlusconi's plastic surgery, and the Paramount/Viacom/Comedy Central/Scientology publicity stunt worked its magic on me. And what a welcome publicity stunt it was.
Too many of us have the early seasons of South Park lodged in our heads - the Chef Aid, shitty cameo, predictable, hah-hah-the-animation-is-so-crappy seasons that stayed on the air because of all the fat Americans who emotionally indentified with Eric Cartman's wish to kick everybody in the nuts. All the dumbfuck Americans who got up in arms because they wanted to know who Eric's daddy was to the degree that they were unable to appreciate - indeed, violently objected to that peice of broadcast genius, Not Without My Anus. Back in the day when episodes like Mecha-Streisand were few and far between and it was obvious to the dullest observer that the show's writers were being bitched around by a nervous production and broadcast team.
I think it was the movie. After the movie, I don't know what the increase in the show's ratings was and how much creative leverage that gave the writers. I just like to think its success equipped Trey Parker and Matt Stone with great big sets of arrogant iron balls. But in any case all of a sudden the 4th season is solidly, unbrokenly awesome.
Then I left the country for years.
And then they attacked Scientology, vague rumours swept around the world, Isaac Hayes maybe-quit, and here I am again. Loving South Park. Now I have to go to the Four Seasons for some breakfast conference about how to make people my age buy stuff. They'd better have those little pains au chocolat, or I'm falling asleep in protest.