South Park Review: To Make a Long Story Short...

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South Park is at its strongest when it finds a bit and it commits to it. That's what made last week's episode so great, and the same can be said here.

On "I Should Have Never Gone Ziplining" the writers spoofed "I shouldn't have..." reality shows. Stan, Kyle, Cartman and Kenny on a ziplining tour? What could go wrong, right?!? And, let's face, things going wrong is the cornerstone of comedy because if everything went right, it probably wouldn't be all that funny.

Ziplinging On Spring Break

To make a long story short, when sliding down a rope at a moderate speed is combined with annoying time-wasting tour groups that discuss pointless minutiae ad nauseam, it causes the boys to suffer. That's some good comedic material ripe for South Park to mine!

The constant cuts to diagrams of internal organs, showing synapses in the brain going off or just what was causing Cartman's diarrhea throughout the episode, was too much. They were also the kind of hilarious exaggerations - reality shows really do depicts these kinds of diagrams-  that the episode absolutely nailed.

But none of the mockery of tours and tour groups that came before the boys found themselves on a boat in a way we've never seen them before... as actual humans. These live-action bits provided the best moments. Mocking the reenactments seen in these "I survived" progrms, seeing a teary confession from "Stan" while the group suddenly developed "cold sores" - thanks to Kenny - would be funny on its own.

Witnessing an actual version of Stan reveal the reason why they went ziplining in the first place? That pushes it to classic territory.

We've become so accustomed to the animated versions of the boys that when the show breaks its style (like the realistic sketches from "Free Willzyx") that it is instantly memorable. Could I have done with seeing real-life Cartman suffering the after-effects of Diet Double Dew and fast food off the side of the boat? Maybe. But it was disgustingly comical at least. Then, the revelation of how the boys got home, and the "actual rescue photographs" that went along with it, were absurd, featuring a welcome cameo from a character we haven't seen in a while.

Also, in great moments in Comedy Central advertising: the episode mocked Mountain Dew the whole time... then Ugly Americans had an ad for Mountain Dew. It's not as dissonant as when an Indiana Jones DVD ad aired after the South Park episode making fun of it, but, hey, Comedy Central knows who butters its bread. Dew the math.

This episode sharesd a lot of strengths with last week's "Butterballs," even calling back to the San Diego bit, because both just had so much going for them. There were fewer laugh-out-loud moments here, but it was another memorable half hour of television. Relive it now in our section of South Park quotes.


Editor Rating: 4.3 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 2.8 / 5.0 (316 Votes)

Worst. Episode. Ever.


norcal22 I doubt they were people who worked for trey as Cartman was played by Brandon Hardesty of internet fame.


MrSlave you make it sound like all those things would be hard for them to get. I'm guessing those are just people who work for matt and trey, the boat probably either belongs to them or a friend, the poo hose would be rediculously easy to set up, the lighting was nothing special- just mid day stuff, and the camera work wasn't hard nor did they probably have to shoot very many takes. I'm with Lakerscentral, I be willing to bet they just ran out of time


I think they must have some kind of problem with animation dept. It is obvious for the whole season, you know, lazy greasing big brother dude in Reverse Cowgirl, slow motion jewelry the next ep.... It's like half of them are on strike or fired... Any inside information? Not that I haven't enjoyed the non-animated part. It was...interesting.


What the hell happened with the south park. This season 16 sucks. I still watch it every week, because i hope they bring back the fun from previous seasons, but its only getting worse and worse. What happened?


They do the 6 days thing every week, so that was not the issue. I think this episode was actually what they call a banked episode. One that they get started on before the season. A few weeks ago they had a TV spot and they used a "Ziplining" clip so the animation sequence for that had already been done. They do these episodes to give themselves a little bit of a break during the middle of a run. So they came up with the idea during their writers retreat, but it was probably only about half baked. Also, doing the live action sequences also takes a lot more planning, and they do the bulk of their work over the weekend so this has been in the works for a while. What can happen is that they don't really know how to finish those types of episodes think "Stanley's Cup" and so they do some weird shit, like having Mr. Hankey save the day. I thought this episode was hilarious and a great parody of the horrible re-enactments you see on TV. 9 out of 10 for me.


Yes indeed. Hiring actors, a film crew, a boat, getting permits, doing risk assessments, setting up the poo hose, waiting for the light to be right, shooting endless takes. All much easier than clicking a few buttons in Maya.


DA FUCK?? only kinda funny fragment was when cartman said he got coldsore, not herpes. other then that boring as hell.




i'd be willing to bet the whole "real life" versions of the guys was done because the studio got behind on the animation. if you caught the preseason special, each episide is done in 6 days, putting an incredible time crunch on everyone. it was creative genius to take it the way they did, but i wonder if it was originally drawn up that way (no pun intended).

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South Park Season 16 Episode 6 Quotes

Cold sore is what girls call it, Kenny. It's actually herpes.


For four elementary school boys, an ordinary day becomes a descent into madness on "I Should Have Never Gone Ziplining."