Starvin' Marvin In Space
Why, yes, it is a Chocolate Yum Yum Bar, Miss Struthers!
As Comedy Central continues
its festival of reruns (creatively packaged this time as the "South
Park Road Trip") we were treated to a season three retread, which
itself featured the return of our first season friend, the Ethiopian boy
Previously the boys
(Stan, Kyle, Kenny, and Cartman) adopted Marvin so they could receive
a free Teiko sports watch. Of course, wackiness ensued. In Marvin's
return, his people are still starving in Africa and the ineffectual
Christian missionary leads bible study in God's language, English, while
admonishing the starving people "No, no, no! We don't eat the bibles!"
Into this bleak
landscape a spaceship from the planet Marklar lands. After the ship's
pilot is eaten by a lion, Marvin finds the ship and uses it to search
the world to find a place for his people without missionaries. He is
unsuccessful, and enlists the help of the South Park boys. The CIA,
Christian Broadcasting Channel (CBC), and Sally Struthers all pursue
Marvin. A particularly chilling scene is the CIA's first meeting with
Sally, who has turned into Jabba the Hut by eating all the relief food
intended for the starving Africans. After the incentive of a Chocolate
Yum Yum bar, Sally agrees to help the agency.
In the meantime,
Marvin and the boys make it to Marklar, where there are plenty of natural
resources, peaceful and accepting natives, and no missionaries. Kenny
is left behind on earth and frozen in carbonite a la Han Solo, there
is a spaceship battle interrupted by Pat Robertson's CBC fundraising,
and eventually everyone ends up on Marklar.
The Marklars understandably
are confused by all the conflicting points of view until Kyle uses their
language to explain: "Marklar, these Marklars want to change your
Marklar" etc. The Marklars decide the Ethiopians can stay and the
missionaries must leave. Sally gives the boys a ride home in her ship
and the Ethiopians celebrate around a waterfall. Sadly, there is no
mention of Chef. Kenny's ultimate fate is unknown.
Who should be offended
by this episode: evangelical Christians, Sally Struthers and famine
relief workers, CIA agents, fans of cheesy "inspirational"
songs, Australians, Pat Robertson, George Lucas, and Ethiopians (I don't
think they really use the click-click language, but I could be wrong).
Goddess bless those
boys, Matt Stone and Trey Parker, for despite the seeming anarchy of
each South Park episode, there is always a Worthy Message to
be found. The show delights in skewering the inability of certain religious
types to address real social conditions, and this week's Worthy Message
is no exception: the missionaries and the CBC want to prevent the Ethiopians
from going to Marklar, where there will be plenty of food and land,
because the Marklars have not heard the gospel of Jesus Christ and the
Christians value salvation over survival.
is introduced not just for cheap laughs (although her Jabba "ho
ho ho" is excellent) but as an example of someone who tries to
help starving children in Africa but ends up corrupted by power and
massive quantities of free food. It is only Cartman's heartfelt (!)
plea that convinces her to abandon her selfish ways and help Marvin
and his family. The CIA is involved and should be feared because our
government (in the South Park-verse) is always involved in shadowy pursuits.
Next week, the road
trip comes to an end in Afghanistan, and Cartman takes on Osama bin
Ladin. USA! USA!
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