Crisis averted, people!
The internet (including our site) has been abuzz with panic about the cryptic double meaning in the South Park mid-season finale.
Amongst all the hearsay and rumours, I couldn’t find anything official about whether or not creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker had signed a new deal with Comedy Central to extend the show past 2011, and so I contacted Comedy Central PR to get the final word.
The official news is that the show will continue until 2013, in the same format of two runs of seven episodes a year.
The episode that freaked fans out had Stan’s parents break up and move out of South Park, while Stan’s friends shun him for being such a pessimist. But it was the ominous argument between Randy and Sharon that sparked many a worried forum thread.
“How long can we keep doing this?” Sharon cries, and approaches the camera as she complains about how “every week it’s kinda the same story in a different way, but it just keeps getting more and more ridiculous.” Fans have come to expect a comment from South Park about some kind of issue, and this one seemed particularly personal; the creators are bored.
This season’s apparent decline in quality was also considered a sign of fatigue. However, the boys came fresh from launching their Broadway show The Book of Mormon, and apparently skipped the usual pre-season two-week preparation time, including a writer’s retreat, where ideas for the season’s stories are thrown around. This is likely the cause of a below-average run, but if The Book of Mormon‘s success is anything to go by – the show picked up nine Tony Awards this week, including Best Musical – the guys are not finished yet.
So if they are continuing, what did the episode mean? The show is known for changing things up occasionally. After five years of killing Kenny in every episode, the joke got old and he died permanently, before returning without explanation and only dying when it served the story. Teacher Mr. Garrison was a closet homosexual, then became openly gay, then got a sex change, became a lesbian for a while and finally had another operation to become a man again. The boys moved up to the fourth grade, and Butters became a central character.
This could just be another transitional time in the show’s history. Stan’s parents have broken up, Stan apparently doesn’t live in South Park any more, and it was even indicated that Kyle and Cartman may be getting closer. Whatever happens in the rest of the season, beginning October, it will definitely be interesting to see where they take it.
Phew. I’m resting easy now, knowing I have at least two more years of goin’ down to South Park.