TV Choice: South Park- Informative Murder Porn
Reviewed by Matt Keleher
After a slightly underwhelming start to Season 17, this week’s South Park takes a swipe at the current crop of murder investigation shows (Cold Case Files, Dateline Murder and Southern Fried Homicide et al) that titillate viewers with reconstructions of risqué encounters and grizzly death at the hands of jealous spouses under the guise of investigative journalism.
“Boo! Boo Wendy! Boo Wendy Testaburger boo!”
After Wendy is heckled by Cartman, while trying to deliver her class presentation on Syrian refugees, Peter Mullin (a kid created solely for this episode’s plot expediency) wows the class with an impassioned talk attacking what he calls ‘Informative Murder porn’ and the damaging influence the shows may be having on parents watching them. For his closing barb, Peter posits the following question:
“If they’re obsessed with this stuff, how long…how long before one of daddies dresses up in lingerie and bashes mommy’s head in with a brick?”
Stan comes home from school to find his parents watching ‘Murder Porn’ – it emerges that Randy and Sharon watch the shows to spice up their marriage.
Have watched the preview and learning that Randy Marsh would have a prominent role in the story, I had a hunch it would be a significant improvement upon last week’s offering; many Randy-centric episodes (The Losing Edge, Over Logging, Medicinal Fried Marijuana) have proved to be among the funniest in South Park’s long history.
The kids fly into a panic after the mother of Aaron Hagan (a first grader) is killed by his father in an incident chillingly similar to those seen on the murder shows. Aaron wails inconsolably as the police rally round the house, screaming as his mother is stretchered away.
“Hey, that kid should not be seeing this” says Sergeant Yates.
A helpful officer simply throws a blanket over the kid’s head.
Determined not to allow this to happen again, the kids use an app to block the shows by activating the cable network’s parental controls with a security question only a child could answer: How do you tame a horse in Minecraft? Deprived of their beloved murder porn, Randy and the other parents visit the cable company to get the channels unblocked, but the unhelpful staff leave them with no choice but to learn Minecraft so they can answer the question, thus getting back their TV favourites…
The adults seek help from Corey Lanskin, a mercenary kid with a hammy cockney accent who is prepared to teach them Minecraft for the right price.
Corey finds the parents (especially Randy) trying his patience as he teaches them the Minecraft basics:
“How do you get wood?”
“By watching informative murder porn?”
“No, no in this Minecraft forest! How do you get wood?”
The kids confront Corey after they discover that he’s the one who’s been helping their parents learn Minecraft and unblock the cable. Corey claims that he’s just making a living and the blames lies not with him, but with the cable company:
“People copy everything they see they do on cable” he explains, lighting up a cigarette. Corey and Peter join a growing list of superb one-off supporting characters on South Park.
The kids ask the cable company just to block the murder porn channels, but staff are as condescending as ever:
“Aaaw you have to pay for the bundle. You can’t just pay for what you wanna watch, darn it!”
However, upon discovering that depriving parents of their favourite shows would upset them, the sadistic cable reps decide to change their policy. The company president announces that the cable network has dropped all true crime from its programming and those who wish to view it must have their box serviced every night by a technician in addition to purchasing 300 Portugese channels!
All in all, ‘Informative Murder Porn’ is a significant step-up from last week’s effort. Hungry for ratings, tawdry murder shows tap into a need innate in many people to gawp at violent, macabre incidents and this episode hits them with a zinger!
Let’s hope this week marks the start of a run of quality episodes.
Sharon and Randy play Minecraft:
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