We've always been able to rely on Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the creators of South Park, to give us a brutally crude representation of the real-life issues humanity is facing. Whether that was the presidency of Donald Trump, the BP oil spill, or more recently the global pandemic, South Park offers a unhinged look at the situation and somehow keeps it light with mature and outright shocking humour. Well recently, South Park unveiled its latest special, titled the South ParQ Vaccination Special, an extended episode focussing on how the vaccination process and the conspiracies of the pandemic have affected the residents of South Park. I've checked out the episode to see how it continues from where the Pandemic Special left off, and as you'd expect, the show is once again not pulling its punches.
The Vaccination Special picks up a few months after the Pandemic Special, and sees the people of South Park scrambling to get their hands on a vaccine that is being held at the "hottest spot" in the entire town, the Walgreens supermarket. The store is being guarded by a bouncer who routinely foils characters' attempts at bargaining their way to a vaccine, yet the elderly are allowed to cut ahead of the line to get their jab. With immunity on their side, the elderly begin to tear up the streets of South Park like rowdy teenagers much to the dismay of critical workers alike the teachers at South Park Elementary. The boys (Stan, Kyle, Cartman, and Kenny) decide to steal some vaccines to be able to help out the teachers, but a local militant group featuring the Lil' Q-ties (a parody of conspiracy theorist site QAnon) get right in their way and a fight ensues.
As you'd expect from a South Park show, the jokes are plentiful and brilliant, but if you aren't ready for some truly raunchy comedy then beware as the Vaccination Special does everything in its power to offend in a typical South Park fashion. From poking fun at QAnon and the 'Elite' (the alleged individuals who secretly control everything), there's comedy at every turn. However, I did find the Vaccination Special to actually lack a little in comparison to the Pandemic Special, in terms of its comedic tone - and I think that's down to the lack of Randy Marsh.
Randy has grown over the years to be a mainstay in South Park, and for the most part, he has some of the more hilarious storylines, the most recent being the marijuana plantation Tegridy Farms. Unfortunately however, Randy has taken a backseat in the Vaccination Special, as it's framed more so on the boys and their 'brotions' (the feelings the group of four have for one another). In Randy's place, the main adult for the special is actually Mr. Garrison, who has returned to South Park to once again become a teacher, with the help of his assigned secret service agent, Mr. Service.
Mr. Garrison and Mr. Service do have some truly hilarious outings that sees them discover and undermine a QAnon plot and make a deal with the Elite, but it just isn't the same as Randy's signature and outright bizarre plots. And, for what it's worth, the Vaccination Special isn't the best showing of the boys either, as their plot is generally less comedic than what we are used to.
For doting South Park fans, the Vaccination Special is an absolute must-watch either way, and even though I don't think it will stand up as one of South Park's all-time best outings, it's still very much a great way to spend forty minutes. It does however, leave me with a deep hankering for more from the talented creators, and while it's hard to tell when we'll get back to a more regular seasonal format, I for one am extremely excited to see where the future of South Park takes us.