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South Park Season 13, Episode 11: "Whale Whores" - Review


If you're one of those tree-hugging types that Eric Cartman despises, you already know about Japanese whaling practices, which often seem like they're taken from some weird horror anime. But the practice is quite real, and quite disturbing, and sometimes the people on the opposing side of the issue (the tree huggers) get a bit crazy too. South Park lampoons everyone involved in an entertaining episode that maybe didn't succeed at effectively conveying the more meaningful aspects of the issue.


So, some background info is needed to give the jokes in this story some context, since I dunno if South Park's fanbase really watches Animal Planet that much. Basically, Japanese whalers don't give a sh** about any creature in the sea. As SaveJapanDolphins.org puts it: "In the small fishing village of Taiji, entire schools of dolphins are driven into a hidden cove after a prolonged chase. Once trapped inside the cove, the fishermen kill the dolphins, slashing their throats with knives or stabbing them with spears. The water turns red with their blood, and the air fills with their screams."


So...yeah, that explains the first scene of this episode pretty succinctly. In response to the slaughters, a couple "reality" shows popped up to stop the practice. Japanese whaling has been a hot topic in the media for a few months now, and the Whale Wars show is the pinnacle of the anti-whaling sentiment. But like most "reality" shows, a lot of the events weren't really that interesting, and the captain of the ship has been accused of everything South Park showed in this story. So if you're an environmentalist (tree hugger), all of this makes perfect sense. If you haven't been following the issue, you'd be lost. Which is kind of the major failing of this episode. The writers had a great chance to explain the practice and its horrors, but their portrayal of the issue is kind of weak, and the episode lacks the hard-hitting, eye-opening moral/social commentary that South Park had in previous seasons. Pointing out the obvious douchebaggery of Paul Watson and "the incompetent vegan pussies who did absolutely nothing and tried to make it into drama" is fair game, but there's a bigger animal cruelty issue here that could have used a dose of South Park's unique brand of comedic, yet meaningful, satire.


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Comments

Default avatar cat
Nov 2, 2009 4:05AM EST
cartman singing pokerface is better then the original pokerface
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