Plain and simple: Current season of “South Park” isn’t funny

Ariana Longoria, Contributor

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This season of “South Park” marks the show’s twentieth anniversary. For 20 years, America has loved watching these four maniacal, twisted versions of “Peanuts” characters every week.

“South Park” has become, from its humble cardboard-cutouts roots, a premiere example of satirical, rapid-fire entertainment. In the previous, as well as the current season, “South Park” has experimented with episode-to-episode continuity, each season structured as one long narrative arc.

Last season’s larger storyline blended well with each episode’s smaller plot. The entire season lampooned political correctness while also acknowledging its deserved place in culture. It was funny and intelligent, even at its lower points. Most importantly, each episode still felt independent.

This season, however, is not working as well as the previous season. Its focus is light on jokes, and heavy on plot. Each episode ends on a cliffhanger, and every time we tune in, it seems like we are watching another installment of a very lame, very unfunny “South Park” movie.

In addition to lacking humor, this season covers the presidential election in a very safe, predictable way. Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the show’s creators, offer no new, interesting or even comical takes on the election, which is satire-proof. This election is already ridiculous to the point of lunacy. “South Park” has not seemed to realize this yet.

The main storyline that writers have been spending an abhorrent amount of time on is internet trolls. Gerald Broflovski, a world-famous internet troll, makes the entire storyline ridiculous, humorless, and uninteresting.

This season does have a few merits, though. By far, the funniest focus that the season has is the fictional-fruit, “memberberries.” Memberberries whisper nostalgic phrases to the characters as a way to unwind and relax. They seem harmless, recalling things like “Jurassic Park” and “Ghostbusters” but become troublesome when they yearn for the days that there were fewer Mexicans around and when gay marriage was not legal. Hopefully, this plot device will intersect with the presidential storyline at some point.

Overall, this season of “South Park” may be its weakest yet. This is surprising, given how good last season was. Perhaps after this experiment, Parker and Stone should return to the tried-and-true formula of self-contained episodes.

Of course, every time people have given up on “South Park,” the show bounces back with breathtaking creativity and originality. There’s a reason this show has been on the air for 20 seasons, and there’s little reason to believe it won’t be on air for another 20.

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