Friday, March 20, 2009

South Park Takes on Superheroes

If you're not watching the current season of South Park, you really should be tuning in. After spoofing the Jonas Brothers in “The Ring”—which kicked off the show’s 13th season with a hilarious jab at Mickey Mouse and the Disney empire—South Park takes aim at “dark and edgy” superhero films in “The Coon.”

Taking to the streets as masked crime-fighter “The Coon,” Eric Cartman is hell-bent on making a name for himself as the “symbol” South Park needs by dressing up as a raccoon themed (and offensively named) superhero. Speaking in a guttural rasp with a penchant for disappearing in the middle of conversations (sort of), The Coon is a blatant riff on Christian Bale’s Batman in The Dark Knight with just a pinch of Watchmen’s Rorschach thrown in for good measure. Unfortunately, The Coon has competition in the form of “Mysterion,” another pint-sized vigilante with a similarly raspy voice and an affinity for monologues.

South Park is always right on the money when it’s focused on Cartman, particularly when his narcissistic nature gets the best of him. The show’s even better when Cartman teams with Butters who, in this episode, takes on his “Professor Chaos” supervillain persona alongside his henchman “General Disarray.” With another hero stealing The Coon’s publicity, Cartman hatches a plan with Butters to force Mysterion to unmask himself by threatening to blow up a hospital. Again, a great nod to The Dark Knight.

There’s a lot to love about this episode, including the South Park Police Department’s apparent fear of Professor Chaos, poor attendance at Coonicon ’09 and the big “reveal” of Mysterion’s identity at its conclusion. It’s not necessarily as laugh-out-loud funny as “The Ring,” but “The Coon” has a lot of fun at the expense of the current crop of superhero films.

Head over to South Park Studios to watch the episode in its entirety.

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