South Park deployed Cartman as a symbol of the “1%” that the Occupy Wall Street movement is protesting in an episode that wasn’t all that funny because it was so uncharacteristically obvious. No, wait — South Park is frequently at its best when it is most ferociously obvious; this was merely obvious obvious.
The setup: The South Park school was punished by the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition for its low national average — an average lowered by the obese Cartman, said to have, among other things, the “cholesterol level of a 70-year-old man.” Thus, the battle cry arose: The 99% of the school had to suffer (i.e., endure more phys ed classes) because of Cartman. Mr. 1% objected that this was “clearly President Obama’s fault.” But the media frenzy was on. With a mere two students protesting, the movement — depending on what TV reporter was talking, it was an “Occupy Red Robin” burger outlet or an “Occupy the Rest Room” demonstration — was over-covered by camera crews. And scores of police officers battling “full-on class warfare” that obviously didn’t exist.
With the humor pointing in all directions — at the defensiveness of the 1%, the hectoring of the 99%, and the gullibility of the media — there wasn’t much to laugh at. “We’re paying for your big fat!” Cartman was told. “People voted for Obama, so now they have to take it out on me!” was one of Cartman’s responses.
It’s not often that South Park goes off on a rant that seems flimsy, but Cartman’s other major complaint this evening — “These days, black people are somehow incapable of doing anything wrong” — was contradicted by Cartman himself, who’d blamed Obama for doing something wrong to him. (For the record, President Dwight D. Eisenhower started the Fitness Council.) Also, see one Herman Cain, whose history for having done something wrong was revealed perhaps a tad too recently to make even South Park‘s fast production turnaround schedule.
So let’s just chalk this one up to a mildly amusing off-week for the show. And one very funny, mean joke about Maria Shriver.