Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Best Show on TV, Part 4

The Best Show on TV

"The Office" (NBC) -- 2/9/2006 - 4/2/2006
"Huff" (Showtime) -- 4/2/2006 - 8/26/2006
"Big Brother" (CBS) -- 8/26/2006 - 10/4/2006
"South Park" (Comedy Central) -- 10/4/2006 - present

I kept waiting for a show to jump out at me and distinguish itself as The Best Show on TV. I figured it might be a new show ("Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip," "Heroes") or a returning favorite ("Boston Legal," "Veronica Mars," "The Office"); I just figured what when it hit me, it would hit me. Just like previous title holders "The Office," "Huff" and "Big Brother" had (well, that's a bit disingenuous; I was merely waiting for the "Huff" Season 2 premiere to award it the title).

Well, last night it hit me. The Best Show on TV is "South Park."

My first clue: the episode description read, "The boys dedicate their lives to defeating a mad gamer and saving the World of Warcraft." Now, before watching the episode, my familiarity with Warcraft was that I had sort of heard of it, almost. I thought, and said to my wife, that it was unfortunate that I probably wouldn't understand the episode.

But, two minutes in, I was not only understanding what was going on but was delighted by what I saw. World of Warcraft is, apparently, some sort of online computer game, where players from all over the world play at the same time. Or something. The point is, several minutes of the episode were rendered in gorgeous computer animation, in what I would assume was the Warcraft style, and it worked. All in all it was a typically wonderful "South Park" episode.

And the thing is, "South Park" is as strong as ever. Maybe stronger. The list of episodes they've done over the past season is as good as anything they've ever done, and while a certain segment of the online community (although a smaller segment than NBC had hoped) has lined up to teabag Aaron Sorkin for being brave enough to stand up to those scary, threatening Christians, "South Park" was the pretty much the only American media entity with the stones enough to take on the Mohammed cartoon controversy earlier this year (even though Comedy Central chickened out). I enjoy "Studio 60" fine, but, Aaron Sorkin could probably learn something about genuine courage in art from Trey Parker and Matt Stone. After all, it's not like Evangelical Christians are going to boycott your head off with a dull sword while shouting "Allahu akbar!"

Still, knowing all of this, it never even occurred to me until last night (although it only took a couple of minutes into the episode) that "South Park" might be the best show on TV. But it is. Don't believe me? You can download most episodes at this site. It's where I went to catch up, because I'd been taking "South Park" for granted and not watching it regularly for the last few seasons. And shame on me. But it's nice to know that even though I wasn't watching, "South Park" was there, being consistently awesome.

This episode was pretty good, but "Oprah's Minge" left my pantaloons soiled.
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