South Park Season 13, Episode 13: "Dances with Smurfs" - Review

Ah, sweet satire. It's what South Park does best, and this week the SP team let loose on one of the most often ridiculed pundits of our day: Glenn Beck. There have been many Glenn Beck parodies before this, and there will surely be many more afterward, but this one is at the top of the list.

But before we get to the Beck bashing, let's talk about the first couple minutes of this episode. That was pretty freaking dark, and perhaps badly timed with all the shootings going around these days. Of course, there's nothing sacred with South Park, but they might have been a bit excessive with the graphic (albeit unseen) school murder-suicide of an eight-year-old boy forced to put his mouth on the barrel of a gun.

Regardless, the death of little Gordon Stoltski (a redhead; poor gingers, they never get a break) opens up an opportunity for Cartman to take over the school's PA and it quickly becomes clear that this is a Glenn Beck parody. They spoof all of the classic Beck-isms: the ridiculous chalkboard secret messages, the wildly irresponsible accusations, and of course, the casual mention of the word "socialist" at every opportunity. By the end of the episode, Cartman even has Beck-esque hair, just in case there was any ambiguity about who the target is. But, as giggle-worthy as all this is, it's fairly easy to see where it's going, and it couldn't have been all that hard to write. At this point, Beck is so much of a parody of himself that you don't even need to be too creative, you just have to get as close as you can to the real thing (as The Daily Show and Jon Stewart did just a few days ago). Where this story really shines is its clever blending of Cartman's usually egocentric schemes with some Glenn Beck-style rants.

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