The Cult of Cartman

19 12 2008

South Park: The Cult of Cartman – Revelations
Cast: Trey Parker, Matt Stone
(Comedy Central) Rated: N/A
US release date: 7 October 2008 (Paramount Home Video)

Review by Derek Beres

“Don’t you ever, ever compare me to Family Guy! If you ever compare me to Family Guy again, I’ll kill you right where you stand.” It is here, in the middle of a desert somewhere between South Park, Colorado and Los Angeles, that Eric Theodore Cartman makes a heartfelt and impassioned monologue about his normally humorous penchant for storytelling, before shoving Kyle aside to escape on his Hot Wheels tricycle. Indeed, he almost succeeds in getting Family Guy pulled from the air. If not for his continual nemesis—Kyle—trailing him all the way into the television studio, he would have completed his mission.

Cartman isn’t always so unlucky—in “Scott Tenorman Must Die”, he successfully murders Scott’s parents and feeds them to him in a bowl of chili, right before Radiohead appears to laugh at the boy who had sold Cartman pubic hairs for $10. Cartman himself even refers to this incident in the two-part “Cartoon Wars”, when scaring Bart Simpson out of line to speak to Rupert Murdoch and present his case about the dangers of Family Guy.

Pop culture references run rampant in South Park, as do the equally biting social commentaries. Let me pause briefly before exploring that idea. Suffice to say, I’m somewhat of a South Park addict. I won’t go as far to claim that I’m a South Parkian, a la Trekkies and other slightly skewed people with too much time on their hands, who dress up like film characters and attend conferences to discuss the existentialist ramifications of Luke Skywalker not finishing Jedi training to help his friends. I’ve never dressed as Yoda and demanded that people “Do, or no do. No try.” I have no plans on buying a costume dedicated to eight-year-olds with large mouths and no morals. But to say that South Park isn’t one of the most culturally relevant (and funny) television shows we have would be equally unacceptable.

I have this friend who pushes buttons. He has the amazing ability to push to the point of complete and unapologetic exhaustion, and then still he pushes more. Somehow you never quite go over the edge. This is most definitely a skill: some people push a little bit and set others off on wild tangents. To annoy, and yet not destroy, is a discipline, and I have the feeling that Trey Parker and Matt Stone are well versed. Besides a run-in they had with Chef (Isaac Hayes) after taking a strong right hook at Scientology a few years back, they are usually let off the hook, no matter what they say or how they say what they say.

Read the full review on PopMatters.

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