The Shit Heard 'Round the World

South Park

Those wacky envelope-pushers over at South Park (Wednesdays at 10PM on Comedy Central) have done it again. In last night's episode, those lovable little scamps and their fellow townspeople said the word "shit" 162 times (there was a running animated counter during the show). While this certainly isn't the first time "shit" was said on network TV, and Comedy Central, being a basic cable channel, can pretty much show whatever their advertisers will stomach, the now famous "Shit Episode" of the highly popular television show does feel historic in some way.

Does this mean that the s-word is going to be said in other shows, or even on South Park again, regularly? Probably not. However, hearing "shit" said so many times, over and over again had a kind of anesthetizing effect - it became abstract in its repetition.

The episode's plot involves a television show that's going to say "shit" on national TV, and the various townspeople's reaction to that event. Like the South Park feature film ( South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut) the plot of the episode predicts the public's reaction to the show itself. Most critics seem to hail the episode as "ground-breaking" or as a successful experiment in what the public will or will not accept.

Of course, the repetition of a curse word ad nauseam can get old very quickly unless the backbone of the show delivers. The fifth season opener of South Park proved one thing's for certain - the show is still bitingly satirical, clever, and most importantly, really fucking funny.

That's My Bush! Which brings me to a side note about Trey Parker and Matt Stone's (the creators of South Park) new live-action sitcom about President George W. Bush called "That's My Bush!" This show fails on so many different levels - it contains none of the spark that made South Park a huge hit. "That's My Bush!" is a situation comedy without the comedy. It has situations that could possibly allow comedy to follow, but situations themselves are not funny. You have to do something with them. The writers of "That's My Bush!" seem to think that the mere idea of the President taking off from work to wait for the cable guy is funny - but as you watch the show, no jokes follow - and when they do, they're not funny.

I realize that maybe I'm just not "hip" - I do get that the jokes aren't supposed to be funny - but for a satire on sitcoms to work the show has to first function as a sitcom - it has to be entertaining, or else it's just wry commentary. If "That's My Bush!" was also a good show, it would be truly subversive.

But for now, I'll stick to watching South Park and ignore whatever shitty new show Comedy Central tries to ride in on South Park's coattails. Shit.