South Park has been an institution for so long that it sometimes is lost on us how well they have their finger on the pulse of pop culture and the world. It never ceases to amaze me the different directions they take with the boys and how they can approach a touchy subject and mix it with both subtle and over the top humor to keep us entertained. However, it is safe to say that the season has been somewhat inconsistent, and just like Darth Saeris, I was looking forward to seeing them jump into a rhythm in the season. What we have here was a good, but not great episode with up and down moments of hilarity.
It starts off with Stan and Kyle watching TV and then getting interrupted by those infamous Sarah McLachlan commercials that take the mood down like a SNL Gilly sketch. This time, instead of the animals, she’s jumped on the train of crack babies, and the atrocities they encounter in life but most importantly, JUST LOOK AT THEM!
Kyle and Stan try to resist, but it’s too late. The tractor beam of manipulative images has them by the throat and the only way Kyle can shake it is by volunteering at the local hospital.
Kyle stops by the crack baby ward to do what he can to help the children. He then runs into Cartman in a nice shirt and tie and a video camera. Kyle is suspicious and asks Cartman why he’s there to which the reply is to help the children. Kyle, hilariously, asks again why he’s there. He knows he’s up to no good and follows Cartman to his new office where he’s gathered with his “firm” and is editing tapes together to his most brilliant money-making idea to date: Crack Baby Basketball League. Those four words are enough to make Kyle walk away.
That was my second favorite moment of the episode, and obviously was Comedy Central’s because they put that in the promo. The concept is that they put a crack ball in the middle of the crack babies and watch them go after it. A fairly simple idea to exploit with the wonders of YouTube and the internet. But as outrageous as the idea is, it’s brilliant because if Break.com, or any attention seeker on YouTube can gather fame doing the most asinine things, why not the South Park kids? Regardless, Kyle’s needed for the idea because they need a bookkeeper and duh, the Jews know their accounting. All it takes is a trip to Denny’s and the glory of ‘Baconalia’ to get Kyle to sign up. Kyle is assured that this is what the babies want and in the long run, this will benefit them. After all, it’s about the kids right?
We see Butters and Cartman on a recruiting trip to a pregnant crackhead’s house to try to recruit her ‘in the womb’ kid to play in their league. She wants the money, but of course, it’s against Cartman’s rules that he set up because no babies can get paid but she does not see the point and putting her kid with the league. Kyle pops in later after Stan rebuffs him by telling him he sounds like Cartman, concerning the stupid ideas and justification with concerns about the crack babies financial welfare. Cartman is just dealing with the fact that he needs Slash to perform at halftime and he’s just nowhere to be found. Kyle needs a reason to stay though. Cartman offers that in a hot tub of KFC gravy and McDonald’s french fries. Who wouldn’t stay for that?
However, now with a member of his own team questioning the money distribution Cartman must seek the answers to find a loophole and then gets to University of Colorado – Boulder to find out how they are able to make money off of their slaves, ahem, excuse me, “student-athletes”. Now, this is what I love about the show. Obviously NCAA violations about paying the athletes are front and center what seems to be a weekly basis. It’s always interesting to see the colleges that receive money for endorsements, ticket sales, merchandise and even the NCAA that get the money from EA Sports games to put these “student-athletes” into the game with no concessions. What’s really the difference in the exploitation of these crack babies versus the administrators or agents that take in kids in order to have dollar signs embedded in their eyes? But enough of deep thoughts, let’s get back to the story. I will say the great part of this act was seeing Cartman dressed as a southern plantation owner type trying to find a loophole to protect himself.
Kyle can’t shake that the babies still have nothing so he devises a plan with the EA Sports money they are going to get: build a crack baby orphanage. Cartman sees his loophole, declares his love of Kyle’s Jewish ingenuity and it’s his “university” for his money-making plan. Also, Slash can’t be found. He in Colorado and Russia in the same afternoon. Something is off…but Cartman sends his minions to the post office to gather information on Slash. But guess what? Slash isn’t REAL. He’s basically a Dutch Saint whose legend began in a fable and now has taken the world by storm. Because seriously, the dude is everywhere.
It actually makes more and more sense the more I think about it. Parents basically dress up as him a la Santa and rock the axe whenever needed. Again, makes more and more sense as I think about it. Great moment of the episode by the way, at least until the Denny’s sequence where it’s revealed to all the Slash isn’t real. The reaction is hilarious by Cartman especially when explained that it was his parents that performed at his 8th birthday and probably their parents that performed with Guns and Roses. Stan gets the best exit line because he knew all along and now knows how gullible his friends truly are.
Cartman and gang arrives to EA Sports only to find out that they have signed over all the rights to the Crack Baby Athletic Association. They are told thanks and you’re welcome for the lessons learned now get the hell out. Nothing like the exploitation of the helpless for capital gain huh? But what the hell, Slash ain’t real? Forget the kids, that’s just…too much to handle. Episode ends with Kyle and Stan finding out that someone built the Crack Baby Orphanage after all and…what’s this? Slash’s hat and guitar? It must be a November Rain miracle!
As I said in the beginning, no one is better than South Park in taking situations in the real world and throwing their spin on it. The exploitation tactics that are employed and the hilarity that ensues in this episode shows that. There was not too many laugh out loud moments for me but I still laughed a lot and dug this episode. It definitely had its fair share of moments and although not spot on consistent throughout the whole episode, it’s definitely in the above-average grade of episodes. Here’s hoping this momentum keeps going and the season hits its stride now.
3.5 cracked out grizzlies out of 5 should suffice.