‘South Park,’ Season 15, Episode 12, ‘1%’

COMMENTARY | “South Park,” Season 15, Episode 12, “1%” is a scattershot episode, commenting on the Occupy Wall Street movement, self-esteem, multiple personality disorder, and the need to set aside childish things.

Spoilers follow.

It all begins when Cartman is blamed for bringing down South Park Elementary’s score in a presidential physical fitness test all by himself for being addicted to fried chicken and having the cardiovascular system of a 70-year-old. The school refuses to single him out to protect his self esteem, so the self esteem of the entire school is damaged by being labeled a bunch of layabout sluggards and being forced to do extra PE.

While Cartman ruminates with his stuffed animals about how unfair someone as awesome as himself is being picked on for something that is clearly Obama’s fault, two of his schoolmates decide to take matters into their own hands by occupying the parking lot of the local Red Robin. This in turn sets off a media and police frenzy which causes traffic to be snarled in the sleepy community of South Park.

In the meantime, Cartman’s stuffed animals are being killed one by one. Who is doing this to the poor, persecuted Cartman? A fire forces Cartman and his milquetoast of a mom to stay with Token’s family on the theory that in the age of Obama no one may mess with or blame black people for anything.

It turns out to be in vain.

Occupy Red Robin takes a turn for the worse when a group of fifth-graders show up who blame the fourth graders for bringing shame upon the entire school. In the meantime, it is suggested that Cartman himself is destroying his own stuffed animals, unaware of what he is doing, in an effort to set aside childish things.

While the image of Cartman shooting apart a doll while sobbing is an arresting one, the episode is not one of the best. Partly that may be that the boys attempted to parody a movement that is itself a parody and therefore cannot be depicted as sillier than it already is in real life.

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