South Park: Pandemic 2, The Startling

South Park: Pandemic 2, The Startling

C-

South Park

Pandemic 2, The Startling

Season 12, Episode 11


When we left our heroes last week, there was no "to be continued" to be found, and some of you speculated that that was a commentary on ambiguous Hollywood movies like Cloverfield which had been parodied earlier in the episode. That seemed like a pretty smart bet. (I was just confused, rewinding the TiVo and trying to figure out if I'd missed something.) Well, it turns out last week was simply part one, and if tonight's not-that-electrifying conclusion proved anything about these two episodes, it's that they would've been much better if they'd been combined into one.
Not that tonight was terrible, but damn did they stretch out a joke way too long–and with no real B-story to keep things moving, either. Randy and his ever-present camera was pretty funny–but he was basically telling the same joke we heard half a dozen times last week: Randy won't put down the camera, even in the worst situations. (The only place it really paid off tonight is when we left Randy-vision and saw him doing crazy close-ups on people for no reason other than the Cloverfield effect.)
Anyway, in South Park (and indeed the rest of the world), the guinea pigs are attacking. And not only guinea pigs, but guinea bees, guinea rats, even a guinea T-Rex–which are all just adorable guinea pigs dressed up in felt costumes, a joke that was funny a couple of times, but not really 50 times. ("So furry! And they're attacking every city!")
The boys, in the meantime, have been shuttled off to Peru, where their army escorts are eaten, presumably by guinea bees. They wander the jungle with Craig in tow, and he constantly complains in his flatly sarcastic voice. I actually warmed up to Craig a little bit this week–he seemed to get a little bit more personality, even if that personality was just to try and not have any adventures. When the kids come upon an ancient Incan temple (so lucky!) they find a drawn prophecy in which Craig defeats the giant guinea pigs–and that shows that guinea pigs are driven away by Peruvian flute bands. (If you didn't see that one coming halfway through last week's episode, you've probably never seen South Park--or any show?–before.)
Homeland Security monster, it turns out, is actually a giant pirate guinea pig (yawn), and Craig, while trying not to bother him, ends up defeating him. Craig's montage at the end was a little bit funny, but it wasn't a strong enough payoff (nor was the "twist" ending) to justify these two weeks of SP. That was too damn long to tell a story with so little substance and so few real laughs. Kinda like Cloverfield. Maybe that was the point.
Grade: C-
Stray observations:
-- The Peruvian flute bands played Gary Numan's "Cars" at the end; that was a bit funny.
-- Butters showed up to say hello in the midst of all the chaos, which was nice. Hi, Butters.
-- The guinea pig eating a South Parker was pretty funny. But that's all I'm giving you, "Pandemic Part 2." No more love.

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