“South Park” Season 18, Episode 1
Nearly two decades later, show runners Matt Stone and Trey Parker continue churning out quality work. Season 18 of “South Park” kicks off with an episode largely dealing with the NFL and its recent scandals.
The episode starts out with Stan, Kyle, Kenny and Cartman dropping out of school and trying to create a company on Kickstarter, a platform that allows people to crowd-fund. Their pitch to investors is that they will do “absolutely nothing,” but they find trouble gaining steam with the company name of ‘Furry Balls Plopped Menacingly on the Table, Inc.’
Cartman suggests using the name Washington Redskins because of the recent court ruling that stripped the football team of its trademark. Team owner Dan Snyder becomes furious and tells the gang their name is offensive to him and his team (cue the oh-so-sweet irony).
Throughout the episode, the running joke is that Snyder and his team are upset of the use of their name, echoing the sentiments Native Americans have about the football team.
One scene shows Snyder sulking on his private jet, at his mansion, then on the side of a road with one tear streaming down his cheek. The sequence is almost a direct parallel of a 1970 commercial involving Native Americans, and shows the blatant bigotry of Snyder and his reluctance to change.
The rest of the NFL was not spared, either. The elevator scandal, Commissioner Roger Goodell’s incompetence, and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones’ womanizing are all lampooned at some point.
The season premiere offers a dose of real-time satire that “South Park” has been lacking in recent seasons. With the amount of public scandals recently, the rest of the season should be just as great.
Speakeasy Grade: A
“Key & Peele” Season 4, Episode 1
The comedy duo has returned and the hilarity–and social commentary–continues. The season 4 premiere of ‘Key & Peele’ has many memorable, relevant skits, but some stand out more than others.
The most impressive skit tackled prejudices about homosexuals held by the black community. A large family asks for guidance on gay weddings when their cousin becomes engaged. The ‘expert,’ played by Keegan Michael Key, answers ridiculous questions asked by each family member. Lance Riddick (shoutout to “The Wire”!) plays an old man who’s convinced gay weddings have separate hymns (including songs such as “YMCA” by the Village People). Overall, the skit effectively skewers real beliefs, but keeps in good faith.
Another great skit depicts two rednecks, played by Key and Jordan Peele, who are drinking at a bar down south. Just when you think certain racism will ensue, they start wholly praising the qualities of blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and Native Americans while talking like country bumpkins. The whole bit does a damn good job at flipping the notion of a conservative southern man completely on its head.
The two also dabble into science fiction with a sketch poking fun at alien invasion movies in addition to racial issues. Other sketches included a TRL skit, an ongoing “True Detective” gag and another notable President Obama impersonation.
While some jokes fell flat (the “True Detective” stunt in particular), Key and Peele continue to show why they are at the forefront of racial and social satire.
Speakeasy Grade: B+