At FinalBoss, we considered the first episode of South Park season 22 a bit of a home run. It had everything we love about the series in its current format. Political jabs, Cartman’s not-so-casual racism and another example of the South Park community acting in bizarre and incomprehensible ways.
You can imagine then that we were super stoked on episode 2. So how does it hold up? Well, for us, it’s a resounding: meh.
South Park: A Boy and a Priest – What Happened?
After South Park’s priest, Father Maxi, has enough of all the child molestation jokes being thrown at him, he befriends Butters, who helps him become a happier and more confident person. The episode is clearly about current abuse issues in the Catholic Church, and harks back to that age-old episode Red Hot Catholic Love, where yet again Father Maxi seems to be the only member of the clergy that isn’t molesting children.
Why This Episode Felt a Bit Flat
As has become typical of South Park, episodes are usually written and produced the same week they go to air. This keeps humour and topics current and South Park feeling relevant and fresh. A Boy and Priest, though, didn’t seem to follow that formula. It appeared to be an episode that was entirely pre-planned and put together in advance. It could have been done last year, there was nothing topical about it at all. Granted there have been news stories recently about Catholic Church abuse, but this didn’t really address them, it was more a general wash over the idea.
In a twist that is unusual for South Park, this episode seemed a bit like filler.
It was just sort of a one-off sketch. This is fine for South Park, if it works. Who can forget the Crack Baby Athletic Association or Man-Bear-Pig? How about You’re Not Yelping or Gluten-Free Ebola? These are all classics that didn’t follow the current format. The problem is, this whole story with the priest felt quite dated and old hat, disappointing when the edgy humour South Park normally brings. Obviously abuse within the Church remains a contentious issue, but this episode did nothing new with what we already have, and felt more like a rehash of old gags than serving up any sort of comedy justice or launching a scathing attack on the current problems.
Our Overall Thoughts
After all I’ve said about South Park season 22, episode 2, The Boy and the Priest, it may come as a surprise to say that I did actually enjoy watching the episode. It was funny in parts and had some good humour.
But, it also felt like a bit of a nothing episode.
It didn’t have the impact of the season opener, or many of the others from recent seasons. It also wasn’t as funny as other more stand-alone episodes, such as Grounded Vindaloop or Put It Down (the episode where Mr Garrison pisses off North Korea and throws Tweak under the bus).
A Boy and a Priest is a bit of a strange one.
It sort of sits in a South Park no man’s land between their current run of on-point political satire and their old-fashioned silly episodes that are totally outlandish, utterly insane but totally hysterical — like that one where the internet breaks.
There is nothing particularly wrong or right with this episode of South Park. It kind of just exists for a few laughs. I guess there is nothing wrong with that, but given the genius the creators have produced on some very funny or very relevant topics over recent years, this one kind of felt like a waste to me.
MVP: The Catholic Cleanup Crew
Best Play: Getting the Cumboni
Best Line: It’s an Eight Year Old’s Birthday, Of Course It’s Cum