Dec 18, 2009

104 - Big Gay Al's Big Gay Boat Ride

Synopsis: The big homecoming football game pits the South Park Cows against their arch rivals, the Middle Park Cowboys. Uncle Jimbo has convinced the rest of the town to bet heavily on his nephew, Stan the star quarterback, to beat the sixty point spread. But when Stan discovers his dog Sparky is gay, he becomes so confused he loses his will to play in the big game. A mysterious magical new friend, Big Gay Al, helps Stan understand the wonders of being gay and sends him back into the game.

Tackling homosexuality, and those who abhor it, through the inclusion of a gay dog voiced by none other than George Clooney is not an easy task. But, in what feels like the first fully formed episode this season, South Park succeeds with style and grace.
The idea of a gay dog is absurd enough to yield any pretentious overtone or preachiness (which is a word often applied to more recent South Park episodes), and fits just perfectly in the South Park universe. This episode has many fine points examining the fixation of homosexuality in Western culture. We have Stan claiming the Sparky's not a homo, he's "just confused" and trying to "fix" him. Then we have the obvious closet Mr. Garrison and his insanely funny hate speech that reeks of ignorance, denial and extremity, as most anti-gay speeches and campaigns do. And the inclusion of Jesus almost revealing his true feelings on homosexuality is marvelous. Of course, we can't forget Big Gay Al, an overly flamboyant stereotype who looks after gay animals who teaches Stan to be tolerant of gays.
Then there's the football subplot. It raised fine points about how football stars are treated unfairly well over average students, and the thought that Jimbo would gamble on Elementary school football is funny, but it didn't tie in with the over-riding storyline or theme very well, unlike, say, Weight Gain 4000. But, in saying that, it provided enough laughs to keep it from being a big deal (One of my favourite moments in the episode is Jimbo praying to Jesus, and Jesus' annoyed response - "Leave me alone.").
All in all, a very sharp and well-done episode - easily the best so far. It provided plenty of laughs, insight and absurdity, which kept it well-balanced, and stopped it become neither preachy nor tasteless. -8.4/10

Quotable Notables: "Gay people? Gay people are evil, right down to their cold black hearts which pump not blood like yours or mine, but rather a thick, vomitous oil that oozes through their rotten veins and clots in their pea-sized brains which becomes the cause of their Nazi-esque patterns of violent behavior. Do you understand?" - Mr. Garrison

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