South Park is often at its very best when it’s being topical, so the Lance Armstrong story really going BIG during a run of South Park episodes made it seem inevitable that Matt and Trey would find some way of lampooning it.
And they’ve done so in grand style with ‘A Scause For Applause’, one of the strongest episodes of this season that hits all the right targets.
But, in typical South Park fashion, it’s not a direct ‘Lance Armstrong is well bad’ story, instead making Jesus the villain of the piece. That’s right, Jesus (who of course is real and lives in South Park) has tested positive for HGH, with the breaking news that he’d used it during all of his best ‘miracles’, so the residents of South Park (including a distraught Mr. Mackey) are getting their ‘What Would Jesus Do’ (W.W.J.D) wristbands snipped off and feel thoroughly let down by JC.
But one man (boy) takes a stand; Stan refuses to remove his W.W.J.D wristband, and he becomes Nike’s new spokesman, with his ‘Stanground’ slogan inspiring the people of South Park. Stan is then accused of snipping the band off then gluing it back together by a French scientist, and he teams up with Jesus to get revenge on him. They both back the plight of Belarusian farmers, and they go to the P.F. Pityef Bracelet Factory to have wristbands made to highlight this.
The episode gets wonderfully weird here, as it suddenly becomes a Dr. Seuss style world, with similar animation and rhyming dialogue. On any other show, it might feel like a mistake, and South Park has already made a mistake this year when ‘I Should Never Have Gone Ziplining’ jumped into live action footage and didn’t work, but this works extremely well and is funny as well as bizarre.
Later in the episode, there’s a great scene where Jesus is speaking to reporter about the Belarusian farmers, as in the background they are gunned down and run over by tanks, which the reporter only points out after Jesus has passionately spoken about the progress they’ve made.
It’s a really strong and very funny episode of South Park, and once again shows the great knack the show has for parodying current events.