This is part three in a thirteen part series of hand-typed Internet posts concerning the first season of South Park, the show not the town.
Am I a South Park expert? MAYBE. Honestly, I already messed up this series because I posted “Weight Gain 4000” before this one, which does not reflect the order in which they aired. If you care, I’m sorry, if you don’t, I love you. The more important question is, “Was I 15-year-old when South Park premiered twenty years ago?” UNEQUIVOCALLY YES.
I was just ripe enough to enjoy both the show’s crude humour and cute cartoon characters, so despite my mistake I’m going to forge on like a guy who got the orchard too late for apples but still early enough to pull young carrots. Here’s part one and part two. Part three? Why it’s right under your nose!
“Volcano” premiered August 20, 1997
The boys’ hunting trip is threatened by activity from a nearby volcano and a mysterious creature called Scuzzlebutt.
Just as “Cartman Gets an Anal Probe” was influenced of the alien craze of the ’90s, “Volcano” finds inspiration in disaster movie-mania that figuratively destroyed cinemas of the post-grunge era. You see, unlike the hellscape of today, 25 years ago disasters were the stuff of fantasy and not everyday reality so entertainment seekers were delighted by cautionary yet unrealistic tales like Volcano.
Step by Step star Patrick Duffy makes an appearance as Scuzzlebutt’s leg. I just checked and yes, he’s still alive.
Educational films teaching baby boomers how to hide from nuclear bombs were spoofed in ‘Volcano’, which was no problem for Parker and Stone who made a live action bit of similar ilk before South Park even existed.
At one point Mayor McDaniels tells an aide to call “Inside Edition, Rescue 911, and Entertainment Tonight,” two thirds of which are still somehow on the air despite the Internet rendering them useless.
“Well, we’ll be doing plenty of drinking on this trip; After all, hunting sober is like …fishing …sober.” – Jimbo
It’s pretty tight, but its reliance on the disaster movie trope and its Patrick Duffy reference definitely age it like the grey mane of Duffy himself.
This episode gets .32 gauges out of .46 because Jimbo and Ned were really funny even though we’ve seen plenty of redneck type characters come and go from pop culture since. The only issue I had is that the A/B plots of this one don’t intertwine as delightfully as the show has proven itself to be capable of. It’s a minor quibble but if I sat here and said every episode is peaches and cream it wouldn’t be very interesting now would it?
South Park returns for its 21st season on September 13 on Much!