‘South Park’ Recap: “Going Native”

Butters has the rage. We’ve seen it before. You can’t be that nice and positive and not have a breaking point. When Butters loses it, we usually get Professor Chaos, and a series of endearingly flawed and inconsequential attempts to cause, well, chaos. In “Going Native” Butters really does lose it: he beats a kid up for having diabetes. Game on.

The clip ends too early, though. Butters isn’t finished insulting everyone. “You guys think Cartman is the only selfish piece of crap in this school? You’re all fake and stuck up and none of you have the courage to tell Jimmy that his jokes aren’t funny. The only one of you with any sense of dignity is Kenny, and the rest of you all have your heads up your butts. [To Cartman] And that’s the other thing, you’re always trivializing things by having the last word, we’ll you’re not getting the last word this time.”

He doesn’t even care when he’s being scolded. He shouts insults and sarcastic asides at his father and the school administrator without hesitation. It’s actually pretty great when Butters refuses to stand down. Then Stephen Stotch reveals that this is just because of his culture and asks that Butters be allowed to take an extended leave. It turns out they’re from Ha’vaii (only the “Howlies” call it Hawaii, duh). And then things get kind of confusing.

Briefly: Butters goes to Ha’vaii for some long, likely invented and apostrophe-laden ceremony. Kenny joins him because the lady at the ticket counter thinks Butters is drunk (not with rage) and Kenny is able to join because Butters’ Maholo Rewards Card – a sort of Super Safeway card that ensures savings from burger joints to Sheraton resorts. When they arrive, they discover that the Mahalo Awards Card is going to be eliminated and that means there won’t be any difference between natives and tourists and they literally go to war fighting with golf and bocce balls against the coast guard cannons, but they can only do so with their special cocktail and Kenny saves the day with a little help from Elvis’ ghost when he brings the natives more vodka. Ok so that wasn’t so brief. But it was truly strange. And I have no idea what the impetus was for this episode. The Descendants? Immigration? Did I miss something big? Ultimately, it doesn’t matter. It was a Butters and Kenny episode, and that’s awesome.

There were some great moments in “Going Native” too. When Kenny writes letters to the guys back in South Park his internal monologue is “Decipherable & Vaguely British Middle Aged Guy” and his letters are exceedingly proper. (“‘On the morrow?’ What the fuck is wrong with Kenny?”) The natives of Ha’vaii basically consist of anyone who lives there (“Your ancestors came on an airplane 6 months ago. Our ancestors sailed here. On a cruise. 9 months ago”) and they all just do touristy things all day like drink out of coconuts, wear flower necklaces, and play bocce ball. And when Butters fights for his people, he causes true mayhem. He hits a golf ball into the eye of a cruise ship captain causing the ship to break in half and capsize Titanic-style. It was nearly as epic as the whole tap dance fiasco, only this time without the remorse.

Eventually we find out that Butters is ragey because “Ben Affleck has everything.” Because he’s handsome, and talented, and gets Jennifer Lopez, and Argo “holds up and everything.” But when someone updates Butters on the fact that Ben Affleck married Jennifer Garner, not Jennifer Lopez, Butters suddenly finds peace. He’s ok with the fact that Argo is really good, and that Ben Affleck has a lot going for him.

There was one particularly base joke, though, that seemed off. Butters likens his rage to an “emo chick on her period.” Really? I’m not going to compare you to the show that shall not be named. But it’s a little too close to the GPMS for comfort (which, for the record, I’m only aware of because of the good folks at the Slate Culture Gabfest). Soooo….let’s not do that again. Also, Jennifer Garner is lovely. For what it’s worth, I’d take her over Jennifer Lopez. To each her own.

On a side note, South Park is apparently being sued because The Lollipop King from “Imaginationland” is copyrighted. Also Mama June commented on Episode 9’s depiction of herself and Honey Boo Boo. She called it trashy. Sigh.

Lindsey Bahr is a writer living in Los Angeles.

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