South Park began the second half of its sixteenth season on Comedy Central last night. As is often the case with the show these days, the plot of the episode was centered around a topic that is on the public’s mind at this very moment: the NFL and its issues with rule changes and replacement referees.
Of course, South Park never goes after just one issue. Last night’s episode, called “Sarcastaball,” used the NFL as a conduit for lampooning the wussification of America as a whole. The plot of the episode included Randy Marsh inventing a new sport, called sarcastaball, which included a number of new rules aimed at making the game safer: a soft balloon is used instead of a football, the players wear bras, etc.
As always, the episode’s concept was stretched to its furthest limits. The NFL adopted the sarcastaball rules and Randy ended up as an NFL head coach. Some star players showed up, like Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, but they were just voiced by the usual South Park voice actors and didn’t actually make cameos (incredibly, this is the one opportunity to be on television that Manning didn’t take advantage of).
There was also a pretty dumb B-plot, involving Butters and wet dreams, that’s better left alone.
Overall, the episode was weak–especially by the very high expectation that South Park masterminds Trey Parker and Matt Stone have created by releasing some absolutely classic episodes in recent years.