While still having some great comedy over the past few years, “South Park” has slowly been on the decline. The main reason? The creators embraced the social commentary and serialized storytelling way too much. For example, Season 20 relied too heavily on an overarching story that centered around the 2016 Presidential Election. Due to the results of that election not going the way anyone expected it to, the season was forced to drastically change course, and the sudden shift was unfortunately obvious. However, things started to look up for “South Park,” ironically, with the pandemic.
While the Covid-19 pandemic ravaged the world (and continues to do so), it was these events where “South Park” started to find its stride again. “The Pandemic and Vaccine Specials” laid the groundwork for the fantastic “post-Covid” specials. The latter of which saw the main four boys end their friendship. Then 40 years later, after battling an NFT-obsessed Butters, they traveled back in time to undo the events of the pandemic (things clearly got complicated).
The most important thing to take from these specials was that creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone listened to the fans and realized what they wanted. The season 25 premiere, entitled “Pajama Day” is the first episode in a long time to feel like a classic episode of “South Park.”
The story is simple: Mr. Garrison is fed up that the class won’t listen to his ridiculous love life shenanigans. As a result, P.C. Principal cancels Pajama Day for the fourth-grade class. Naturally, our four boys are outraged, the parents get involved, and the town of South Park reacts the only way the town of South Park could.
Now, this premiere isn’t perfect. To be honest, it’s not even that funny of an episode. However, this episode serves as a stepping stone towards “South Park” getting back to its roots. From this episode, it’s clear that the show is moving back to focusing on the main four boys getting into random misadventures, with hints of social commentary.
While the commentary on anti-maskers is a little stale at this point (especially after four-hour long specials dedicated to the very idea) the jokes at the expense of Matt Damon’s cryptocurrency commercials shine through. There’s also a recurring gag throughout the episode involving Germany that I dare not spoil, but it also gets a huge laugh by the end.
It’s important to remember that this is only the first episode, there’s at least nine more episodes that will come from this season, so anything could change. However, if the subsequent episodes stick to this style, then the series might regain its stance as one of best shows on television. It's also important to remember that no matter what, the creators signed a $900 million deal with Paramount for six more seasons and a dozen more specials exclusively for Paramount+.
"South Park" airs every Wednesday on Comedy Central at 8/7C.
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