New Jersey-themed reality shows have been the target of ridicule since they first overflowed into our lives, so why did it take TV's best jesters—South Park's Trey Parker and Matt Stone—so long to smear them with tar and feathers? Last night's episode, "It Came From Jersey," finally let Parker and Stone rip Jersey Shore, Jerseylicious, and The Real Housewives of New Jersey a new one, but did the execution match the lofty expectations?
The gags were fast and furious (and repetitive), with the obvious jokes splattered all over the screen like hair gel. The new South Park residents from Jersey were predictably brash, trashy, and orange, and from a critical standpoint, we can say that the episode took "the easy way out" but was also "the only way to go."
The best gag involved South Park's take on Jersey Shore's Snooki, who they turned into a pickle-eating, daiquiri-slurping, lap-grinding, gremlin-rat-monster, Golem-like abomination whose choice of exit was crashing through the nearest closed window. Yes, I giggled every single time she did that (and fell over when she was raping Cartman). What can I say—I have a sophisticated sense of humor. But beyond that, the message was simply and effectively this: New Jersey caricatures are annoying and need to die.
There were allusions to zombies, John Carpenter's The Thing, and Teen Wolf, and the episode culminated with an unlikely ally for South Park residents. Osama Bin Laden and his boys from Al Qaeda were called in to help, and they used highjacked airliners to crash planes into the Jersey mob (unsurprisingly, lots of commenters on various Web sites had a problem with this).
South Park has done a great job lampooning pop culture in the past, and many are hailing this as one of the series' classics. But it could also be called one of the sloppier moments in South Park history, thanks to a patchy story that amounted to little more than 22 minutes of shouting "Jersey Sucks!"
What did you think of last night's South Park? Was it a shining moment or a lazy attack?