Man, this show can get really heavy when it wants to be.
Overview (Spoilers Below)
Heidi and Cartman’s relationship has reached a new level of unhealthy, with them openly fighting each other in the hallways at South Park Elementary. In the wake of this behavior, PC Principal brings in a strong woman to be the new vice principal, aptly named “Strong Woman,” whose cool and collected sternness is a challenge even for the well-meaning principal. In the background of this, our favorite farting Canadian comedy duo, Terrance and Phillip, (who are now quite old) have landed themselves a Netflix special that all the kids in South Park are watching.
PC Principal, charmed by Strong Woman’s…strong personality has fallen head over heels for her, while Kyle, who you may remember started having feelings for Heidi in episode 7, is still crushing on her as well, and is feeling outcast from the other kids. PC Principal, meanwhile, can’t stop hearing “Hootie and the Blowfish” playing in his mind, which turns out to be a manifestation of his crush on Strong Woman. All the while Kyle gains a newfound empathy for the victims of , Terrance and Phillip’s farting comedy and begins to think that the mean-spirited behavior of Cartman and his friends originates from Canadian culture. He then forms a protest organization, Millenials Against Canada, or “M.A.C.” to put a stop to Terrance and Phillip’s new show.
PC Principal struggles to reconcile his feelings for Strong Woman with his dedication to being professional and PC at his job and confides his problem with Mr, Mackey. In response, Mackey requests an HR representative to come down and review the safe workplace guidelines for everyone. But then Mr. Mackey begins crushing on the HR rep, Miss Conduct. (Basically, a female Mr. Mackey)
Kyle’s friends try to point out to him that he’s turning into his mom, but he’s hearing none of it, and his efforts to protest against Canada incurs the wrath of the Canadian ambassador. Outraged, the ambassador goes to the White House and confronts President Garrison, and the tensions between them put the United States on military alert, with the two countries at risk at going to war. In the background of this, Mr. Mackey and Miss Conduct turn out to like each other quite a bit and start to hit it off.
As the country falls into chaos, President Garrison calls Kyle to try and get him to lay off the protesting, but Kyle redoubles his anger as he righteously declares he must stop Canadian culture so he can create a nicer world, where he isn’t ridiculed for trying to help, and where Heidi doesn’t become another Cartman.
The episode concludes as we see President Garrison launch a nuke at Canada which destroys Toronto, and in a contrasting tender moment, PC Principal and Strong Woman hold hands while “Hootie and the Blowfish” play to celebrate their newfound love.
Sometimes, it’s easy to see where South Park will go when it comes to its plots, but this is one of those episodes that really threw me for a loop. This episode is all about character development and isn’t really funny save for some clever gags. Yet, I still found myself engrossed in what’s going on. Kyle’s frustration over Heidi turns him basically into a mirror of his overbearing mother, who you may remember also tried to destroy Canada in South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut. His pain over Heidi feels real and is played for more than just laughs, and feels like its incurring a realistic and dramatic change in Kyle’s character. Meanwhile, PC Principal’s struggle over his feelings for Strong Woman actually felt genuine and compelling, and I’m left curious to see how their relationship evolves. More than anything, I want to see how this plays out in the season finale, and the implications of President Garrison’s nuclear strike on Canada, which is a good sign for the season finale. An unorthodox episode, but one I definitely enjoyed.