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Trey and Matt are not afraid to attack anything. In this week’s episode, Insheeption, they tackle both the television phenomenon of hoarding and the Christopher Nolan film Inception. The episode starts with some promise, Wendy breaking the news to Stan that he is a hoarder and Stan being unable to deal with it. Wendy’s concern brought some questions. I was not sure if the two were back together, but it seems they are. South Park has down played this relationship in the past few seasons and I actually forgot they had got back together. It serve its purpose though as it gets Stan to Mr. Mackey, who is an even worse hoarder. They eventually venture into Mackey’s subconscious and the setup allows Trey and Matt to share their pretty unpopular opinion about Inception.
The first good gag in the episode is the sheep herder and his inability to make people believe that he isn’t a hoarder. The rest of the episode about the hoarding storyline falls away and South Parks criticism of Inception propels the rest of the story. Their problems with the film are pretty solid and probably the most salient line came from Sharon, “Just because an idea is overly convoluted and complex doesn’t make it cool”. Randy also has a good portion of the episode dedicated to his desire to be a free butterfly and to fly around looking for other butterflies to mate with. Randy has became one of the funniest characters on the show and at first we believe he can solve the problem, but ultimately he just gets lost.
The focus on Mr. Mackey in this episode is fun because he has not really been the focus in an episode in a couple of seasons. When he was introduced to the show he seemed to be a one note gag character and while in previous seasons they tried to elaborate on him, we get a pretty good understanding of who he is by seeing him as a child. Even if it is just a construct of his subconscious. As a child, Mr. Mackey is just as much of a nerd and sad little kid as you would probably think.
The biggest problem with this episode is that the concept is just a bit too flimsy. They really could have left out the first couple of minutes dealing with the hoarding storyline, and excepts for a few funny sheep herder lines, the episode would not have suffered at all. They were forced to stretch out very few jokes over a long half hour. Towards the end of the episode they introduce Freddy Kruger into the mix and instead of playing him as the usual boogie man character they build him up as a sort of hero. If you really think about it, you could say, this may have been the point. The obviously had problems with Inception and maybe the inability to make the episode make any sense was what they were trying to do. They do address the only hang up I had with the film, which makes you take a step back and realize just how ridiculous a concept like Inception really was.
I hate to say that it feels like they’re phoning it in at this point, since I have a great deal of respect for South Park, but it does feel that way. It wasn’t a bad episode mind you, but when it comes to South Park decent feels like a miss.