It almost seems like too much of a coincidence that the final episode of this run of South Park aired in America on the day that Barack Obama won a second term in office as President. Because ‘Obama Wins!’ is, as the title suggests, all about the election, or at least, the South Park version of it.
The episode begins with Cartman travelling to various swing states around the country, dressing as a child and screaming for his mommy while people queue up to vote. He’s amused by the hostess offering warm nuts to passengers on planes as he travels around but it’s not immediately clear what he’s up to.
And since this is South Park we’re talking about, you’d never guess that the plot of this episode would revolve around Obama making a deal with the Chinese about the future of Star Wars. That’s right, and Cartman is in on the deal too, because he wants to play Luke Skywalker’s son in future Star Wars movies, and he’s willing to use voting papers that he’s stolen to get what he wants. Cartman has stockpiled thousands of voting slips, and they prove that Obama didn’t actually win the election (although in South Park this doesn’t mean that Mitt Romney won, Obama’s opponent was actually a duck in a suit).
What we get is a wonderfully weird episode of South Park that includes the return of Disney boss Mickey Mouse (thankfully not in his super angry giant form) as well as a special guest appearance from the President himself. It’s a great way to end a very good run of episodes, with only ‘Going Native’ being a less than stellar episode.
It’s pretty astonishing that show that’s been running for so long (‘Obama Wins!’ is the end of the 16th season of the show, episode number 237) to be able to stay so consistently good, but Matt Stone and Trey Parker are in complete control of it, staying away from celebrity cameos (celebrities might appear in South Park, but they are almost never voiced by the real celebrity) and having a fearless attitude towards big new stories or big establishments. They do things on their own terms, and couldn’t care less if Comedy Central likes it or not.
So in this episode we get Morgan Freeman explaining things (he gets a new freckle each time he does so), Cartman riding a Tauntaun and the Chinese trying to take the rights to Star Wars away from Disney to protect them from sucking (which they inevitably will). For any other show, this would feel like jumping the shark, like a step too far away from reality; but because South Park doesn’t really exist as a cartoon version of the real world, it’s so far managed to be utterly insane on many occasions, but you’d never find yourself saying ‘Oh, come on!’ in disbelief.
Matt and Trey can continue to make South Park for as long as they want, and when the standard is this high, why would they want to stop?