South Park manages to venture into some dark territory on occasion – here I'm thinking of Cartman feeding a boy his own parents and then tasting the kid's tears – but it's usually tempered with a goofy surrealist bent. Last night was a little different.
Last night was an honest-to-god horror story.
Granted, it wasn't an entirely new one, just one that took aspects of "The Lottery," "Wicker Man," and Chuck Pahlniuk's "Diary," but it was one of those rare times where the satire was so bleak and accusing that it was hard to laugh when the jokes occasionally rolled in.
The episode started with an unstable, despondent Britney Spears blowing her head off, and surviving…with three quarters of the head missing. Which stops absolutely no one from remarking how chubby and crazed she looks. When the boys realize that for god's sakes, think we need to leave this one alone, the citizens of South Park calmly reveal the truth: the need Britney to die, as part of a vague, indirect sacrifice. When she finally does die, the epilogue shows the townsfolk happily remarking on what a good corn crop this season has produced. Then they look up at a news story about Miley Cyrus, and sinisterly remark that the next harvest looks like it'll do just fine, too.
Rarely does "South Park" go so far into "A Modest Proposal" territory that it loses its humor, but holy crap. That was one grim damn episode.
Maybe I'm just a little touchy because I made that exact observation to someone a few months ago – "She's ours now, and apparently we need her to die," I believe was my remark – and now I feel both prescient and horrible.
So either "South Park," after 11 years, has finally succeeded in offending me...or it's just annoyed me by taking an off-hand sick joke I made and devoting 22 minutes to it.
Either way, as Stan and Kyle often do, I think I learned something today: apparently I just don't find the idea of a nearly-headless Britney Spears attempting to record an album all that funny.
Just to be clear, here:This...
...does not offend me.
But the nearly-headless Britney sacrifice thing was maybe pushing it.