'South Park' mid season premiere: Asperger's syndrome gets the Cartman treatment

South Park returned for its mid season 15 premiere, picking up where the show left off, with the malaise of “You’re Getting Old” having deepened heavily. Stan’s morose conviction that the world has become filled with, ah, excrement is only increased when he faces a fall filled with Terra Nova and Ashton Kutcher in Two and a Half Men, both of which were mercilessly ridiculed. Oh, and he was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome.

Yes, Trey Parker and Matt Stone managed to satirize the HPV vaccination controversy (their subtext: people who don’t think their children should be vaccinated are idiots) while turning the episode on a classic Cartman misunderstanding. After the school discusses the HPV virus, the subject of Asperger’s arises, a term that Cartman heard as “ass burgers.” Thinking he had an easy way to get out of school, he made some hamburgers, stuffed them down his pants, and complained to the school nurse of pain in his rear end.

In the logic of South Park, the hamburgers that spent time in Cartman’s underwear attained an added, flavorful je ne sais quoi that immediately became a sensation. Cartman opened up a bustling burger stand that sent chains such as McDonald’s and Burger King into an angry frenzy.

Stan, meanwhile, sank into a depression that the guidance counselor believed was Asperger’s brought on by a school-administered flu shot. Placed in a ward housing other such diagnosed patients, Stan discovered that, once these “patients” are left alone, they became the fully functioning Secret Society of Cynics, bristlingly aware that “the world has turned to s—.”

It was a fine coda to June’s episode — you know, the one that some interpreted as a sign that Parker and Stone were disenchanted with their South Park creation, now that they are “mature” Book of Mormon Tony Award winners. Nothing could be further from the truth. That is, if you believe in truth, as the Society of Cynics might say.

I also highly recommend you watch Six Days to Air: The Making of South Park, a terrific special airing on Comedy Central this Sunday at 10 p.m. The documentary follows Parker and Stone from the opening of Mormon to the creation of the amazing “HUMANCENTiPAD” episode. To see the duo and their devoted, bleary-eyed team of producers, writers (including SNL‘s Bill Hader), and animators churn out the vulgar glory that is a good (or even mediocre) episode of South Park is fascinating to behold.

Twitter: @kentucker

Comments (41 total) Add your comment
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  • kim in kentucky

    Thought it was mixed — liked the Cartman’s ass burgers part, but the rest – eh. And please – “amazing “HumancentiPad” episode” ???

    • Dirk

      It really was freaking hilarious! Granted, you needed a strong stomach, but if your constitution is up to it, a brilliant episode indeed.

      • Lucy

        Too funny! a laugh out loud episode!

      • supyo

        I’m not going to say that South Park is no longer relevant, ok? OK?

        But it has jumped the shark…

        They just don’t do “brilliant” like they used to…

    • Dave

      Felt the same way as you about this episode, as well as HumancentiPad. Amazing? Really? My stomach is certainly up to it (I’ve seen The Human Centipede), but that episode of South Park was not very funny and just kinda dumb.

      • Awie

        Hope everyone is enjoiyng the second half of season one of The Crew! I know I’m excited to see the return of my character, Jenni, and thanks to all who’ve made episode 8 a hit.

  • dean white

    South Park: who may stand against thee?

  • Pslightly Psycho

    Missed it last night but needless to say SOUTH PARK continues to reign supreme as one of TV’s greatest and most profane comedies ever.

  • Rica

    I thought it was the most depressing episode. I didn’t laugh once, I just felt really bad for Stan, especially the last 15 seconds. Jeez, guys, lighten up.

    • al

      why do you feel bad? i see this as being comepletely normal to life. Your young, and everything is awesome, and when you get older you see things for what they are so you need escape…drugs or alcohol experimentation is sad? I think its normal.

      • LOLOL

        somebody got assburgers…ligthen up yo.

    • supyo

      why did you feel sorry for a cartoon?

      • Peter

        Not that South Park characters should elicit a lot of sympathy, but is that how you view all fictional characters? How do you enjoy stories of any kind if you can’t sympathize with them?

  • PJ

    I didn’t think it was that great of a follow up to the finale last year, which I loved. I hate when Trey and Matt sink to the grossout level. I prefer the episodes like the Peter Rabbit one or the Margaritaville one (brilliant!)

    It was decent though

  • zimzyma

    I found it interesting in the EW article that the SP creators hate season 1-3 the most…those are my favorite. Just little kids trying to do grown up things in crazy situations. Now the show is like “let’s take something that happened last week, make 1 joke out of it, and repeat that one joke over and over for the whole episode”. Wow, they make an entire south park episode in 3 days! It shows.

    • Drew

      They’ve always made the show in a week’s time, just like they’ve always incorporated current events. Just cuz you didn’t notice, don’t blame the show.

    • Dirk

      I do like the first 3 seasons, but they really don’t hold up well to anything that came after that, so I get where they’re coming from.

    • LOL

      Zim sounds like he needs another drink.

    • Leah

      …..But….that’s what comedy is….In comedy you take a joke, and then expand into a bigger joke until you have created one brilliantly constructed joke by the end. I fail to see why this equals bad comedy.

      • Leah

        That comment was meant for zimzyma. I thought it would show automatically in a reply, but I guess not.

      • James

        Is your name really Leah….or should I say Funnybot!

  • anonymous

    I think they completely missed the boat with the ending. Plus what happend with Cartman burger was too predictable

    • Bryan

      I thought that too…until he goes back to drink before seeing “Zookeepier”. I swear they based that episode on me. SP’s skewering of pop culture is one of the few things that can almost always give me a cheap laugh.

    • LOL

      An episode called “Ass Burgers” had an ending that was “too predictable?” Holy cow. Are you really saying that?

    • Z

      The predictability of it was the point and the laughline.

      I cracked up at how they addressed it so meta-ly by just having Kyle’s realization run in the background since that sort of realization is inevitable in the show, where Stan thought it was actually something that would continue.

  • e4ia

    “Zookeeper 2: Zookeepier” Enough said….

    • LOL

      Really? Enough said? Say more you fountain of wit!

  • Mick

    I thought that was funny too until I realized they might have just have given Hollywood an idea.

    • Mick

      That was supposed to be a reply to e4ia’s comment.

  • bobby buttburger

    you guys just dont understand like me and stan your not awake in the matrix. What is that drink he was using? Maybe that is the secret. I just started drinking beer a few weeks ago for same reason as stan. Glad this was a 2-parter so that i could see that im on the right track. dont feel sorry for me dummie i feel sorry for u;.

  • Ian Cooper

    This episode was final confirmation for me that South Park’s 15 minutes are over. The part where they visited the hospital with the Asperger’s patients was just contemptible and the contemptible bits are becoming the norm for Parker and Stone. Jokes about feces and making fun of illnesses only goes so far before people wake up to the fact that it’s just not that funny. South Park jumped the shark with The Return of Chef and it’s been mostly downhill from there. They should wrap this up before it gets really sad and embarrassing.

    • Dan

      You do realize south park has been running for over 15 years right…… Not exactly “15 minutes” of fame…… I enjoyed the episode though.

    • bbmcrae

      Yep, it’s the new math. 15 years and hundreds of millions in revenue and merchandising = 15 minutes. At least to incredibly thin-skinned grandma types.

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    • Rodrigues

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