It’s not often that I completely dislike a South Park episode, but I completely disliked “HUMAN CENTiPAD.”
As the title suggests, the two main concepts parodied in this episode were the iPad craze and the 2010 gross-out film Human Centipede. There are many reasons why South Park’s split seasons work well, but one of it’s main drawbacks is that the pop culture-reliant show misses opportunities to skewer events that happen during season breaks. Squeezing in jokes to topics that are long out of the public consciousness does not make for a topical satire.
This episode combined the worst of South Park: purposeless toilet humor, untimely parodies, and one-note jokes that keep repeating without improving.
Let’s be clear, I am a fan of this show. However, I am not a fan of this episode. The toilet humor and crude sexual jokes have never been what interested me in the show, though I understand that they are more attractive to South Park’s core demographic of 18-34 year old males.
I like the show best when it is on point, exposing a current event, or trend, or mindset (or whatever) for what it really is. The show can make (and has made) great arguments that have much to do with issues that important and controversial in our society.
Trey Parker and Matt Stone do also create silly episodes where the four main characters (Kyle, Stan, Cartman, and Kenny) do typical eight-year-old boy things, and those episodes are often funny.
This episode centered on the fact that no one reads Terms of Service agreements that pop up before downloading most software. OK, we get it. People don’t read these things and don’t understand how much of their information they’re giving to companies like Apple. This is clear in the first act of the episode. Dragging on this point for an entire 22 minutes is really, well, a drag.
The “Human Centipede” chain is a great device for some disgusting sound effects, but the joke doesn’t evolve or move past the obvious. Oh, look, the guy’s eating a burrito. Oh, now he’s choosing to eat smelly food instead of sweet food. What ho, what fun.
The jokes surrounding the ineffability of the Apple Geniuses were also mediocre at best, and repetitive. I don’t even need to discuss the incredibly bland, monotonously repetitive nature of the Cartman B-plot. Profanity is funny! If we repeat it enough, it’ll be even funnier!
You know what I think happened? I think Parker and Stone got together one day, and someone riffed on how crazy the iPad trend was, and then someone mentioned the 2010 movie and said “Hey what if they made a Human Centipad?” And then everyone laughed and decided this was a wonderful idea that had to be developed into a full-length episode.
The only scene I enjoyed in the episode was the opening, when Cartman ribs others about not owning iPads and then is shown to be merely holding a piece of glass with an iPad cover. There. We get that the trend is stupid, that the hipster superiority of iPad users is stupid, and that the backlash against the iPad’s popularity is stupid as well. That’s all you needed to do, Trey and Matt.
Here’s to hoping next week’s episode is better.