South Park, Season 16, Episode 8, “Sarcastaball”
Written by Trey Parker
Airs Wednesdays at 10:00pm ET on Comedy Central
I know it’s mentioned every time South Park comes back from a break but it’s amazing how these guys come up with a new show every six days. Sometimes I think that fact allows them a little bit of leeway in terms of quality of the episodes, but truthfully what they are doing is turning out at least 3 quarters of the episodes that are consistently good. That is incredibly rare, especially considering how they do it. Don’t get me wrong, when an episode doesn’t work, it REALLY doesn’t work but most of the time they are doing something very impressive.
We return to the mid-season premier and it is one that yet again manages to capture perfectly what is happening it pop culture and poke fun at it at the same time. I am always up for seeing an episode that relies on Randy and his overreactions to everything, then when they throw in Butters I am sure that I will enjoy the episode.
Randy learns that Stan’s school has banned kickoffs from the student football league, over fears of concussions that seem to affect more and more professional athletes. This opening has one of the funniest moments in which one player thinks he’s driving a car on the field and another thinks that he is baking cookies. Because of the ban, at the next PTA meeting Randy sarcastically argues that they should start a new, safer sport named “sarcastaball.” which consists of all players wear bras and tin foil hats, using balloons instead of footballs, and hugging other players when not praising them.
The sport takes off and Randy is then only made more sarcastic as he goes before congress and makes it a national sport to be played within schools. He also is hired as the coach for a Sarcastaball team in the major league as it has now replaced football. This is all very funny as we see Randy’s frustration growing over how stupid the sport is and how nobody can tell he’s being sarcastic.
Meanwhile, Butters who at the start of the show mentioned how he could not play any sport, is instantly amazing at the sport, mainly because he’s such an innocent and sweet kid. Obviously Cartman is awful at it.
This is where the show gets its gross out humour for the week. Butters is shown going to sleep and imagines getting attention from all the girls in his class because he is the star of the time. He wakes up to find he has had a wet dream but not knowing what it is, thinks it is a “creamy goo” that comes out of everybody when they have happy dreams because that is what his dad has told him. He then stores it inside a bottle and puts it away in his closet. The innocence of Butters allows for them to get away with so much in terms of what they can have him do. I love to see how far they are willing to push it and so far I don’t see a limit to how far they will go.
When Cartman turns up begging for help, Butters gives him the stuff to drink thinking that it’ll make him better. Eventually everyone is drinking it and it has even turned into a sports drink. We are then treated to a particularly hilarious montage commercial of athletes drinking it and throwing it on their faces.
Randy goes for a scan and realises that he is in fact the one to blame because it’s his inner self who actually enjoys being cynical. This makes him want to stop being sarcastic all the time and so he halts a game of sarcastaball and admits his mistakes. He is then given a shot of Butters Creamy Goo and instantly recognises what it is. The sport is disbanded and Butters is grounded. This ends with the best scene in which Butters can’t understand why but accepts it anyway. He really captures the innocence of what a 10 year old boy is actually like, especially since the others are wise beyond their years.