South Park: Go Fund Yourself Review (Contains Spoilers)

South Park returns in slightly less than a blaze of glory...

€œBoner balls. Boner forest. Dense boner forest.€ And with those seven words, it€™s abundantly clear that South Park is back and as uncompromising as ever. But unfortunately, things aren€™t exactly off to the best start. Go Fund Yourself (a joke that 2 Broke Girls got to almost a year before South Park) is a lot like Season 15€™s Crack Baby Athletic Association but less inventive. In a pretty on point skewering of crowdfunding; Cartman, Stan, Kyle, Kenny, and Butters want to create a start-up company so that they can make a living out of doing absolutely nothing. Unable to settle on a name since even the most grotesque of word salad titles have been taken, they choose the Washington Redskins as the NFL€™s copyright has been thrown out. And that€™s where the episode starts to flag. The majority of the jokes really don€™t hit home for viewers who don€™t live in the US and/or don€™t follow American football. For example, the joke about NFL commissioner Roger Goodell being a robot means pretty much nothing to anybody not familiar with the NFL and who he is. But apart that rather minor problem (this is an American production after all so unfamiliar references are to be expected), the problem is the satire. In short: it€™s far too heavy-handed. South Park doesn€™t exactly deal in subtlety but Go Fund Yourself feels like it€™s entirely constructed around slams against the Washington Redskins, and the analogy of the Washington Redskins being Native Americans and Cartman€™s start-up company being the Washington Redskins. A joke that could have well held up over the course of the episode had it not been used so much and so blatantly. The episode is in that tricky area of satire between subtle enough that it can be missed and so intentionally ridiculous that the heavy-handedness doesn€™t impede how funny it is like Season 17€™s Black Friday trilogy. It€™s satire but without the requisite amount of humour to justify how forcefully the message is put across.
Also, the inclusion of ISIS feels seriously out of place and like it was added at the last minute to make the episode feel more topical since crowdfunding and the debate around the Washington Redskins€™ name have been around for some time. The two mentions and an appearance of roughly four seconds contribute nothing to the plot and come across more as heavy-handed moralising against the Redskins than genuine satire. And while Trey Parker and Matt Stone€™s policy is generally €œEither everything€™s okay or none of it is€, the use of ISIS for comedy in such a banal storyline is rather tasteless. But while it does feel too heavy-handed and a bit niche, the episode does pack in some good moments. As usual it€™s Cartman who steals the show, particularly when he comes up with the entirely ridiculous prediction that their new company doing anything at all will result in Butters being beaten and sexually assaulted in an elevator. Go Fund Yourself is far from Trey Parker and Matt Stone€™s best work but it€™s an enjoyable enough way to while away twenty minutes. Here's hoping that the rest of Season 18 picks up from here. What did you think of Go Fund Yourself? Let us know in the comments section below...
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JG Moore is a writer and filmmaker from the south of England. He also works as an editor and VFX artist, and has a BA in Media Production from the University Of Winchester.