The knock against Brad Pitt’s summer mega-blockbuster, World War Z, was that it strayed away from the political message of the novel of the same name. If you want to cash in at the box office during the dog days, it’s all about putting on a plane crashing, nail biting, big budget acting spectacle.
On the small screen, the underlying message is what separates the extraordinary from the mundane, a South Park from a Big Bang Theory. South Park’s third installment of its 17th season, “World War Zimmerman,” takes the racially charged emotion behind the Trayvon Martin case and the post-case political debate about the Stand-Your-Ground law and completely turns it on its head.
Flat out, the episode is classic Cartman. He takes something he doesn’t understand to a level no other character in television can. By incorporating Cartman’s dream sequences, which are always a pleasure, the episode’s narrative moves with the World War Z storyline. The references to the Trayvon Martin case and George Zimmerman were obvious throughout but Matt and Trey needed to take the episode up a notch in its third act – a place where the first two episodes fizzled.
At this point, we have to trust Matt and Trey. We knew this episode was coming for months and when they tackle a topic this big they tend to deliver. The third act rivals some of the finest work they’ve done on the series. When you can turn George Zimmerman into a hero for shooting what he thinks is the biggest threat to mankind, you have balls. Only Matt and Trey couldn’t let Zimmerman save the day. In their most defiant statement of the season to date, Zimmerman is executed when the government realizes he didn’t shoot “patient zero” Token, but a little fat white child named Eric.
The episode could have ended there and I would have stood up and applauded. The bonus came in Token’s near death and Cartman justifying the existence of the Stand-Your-Ground law. When South Park took an extended hiatus, we dreamed it would pay off in well-thought out, precisely executed performances like these. Bravo, Matt and Trey.
Prediction for Next Week:
Remember our friend Mr. Garrsion? It’s been a while since he’s taken the spotlight. I’m predicting that South Park says hello to an old friend by giving him a new storyline to work with.