South Park: Bigger, Longer, & Uncut - ADULTS ONLY
As I grew up, I will admit that I was never heavily acquainted with adult animation on television like the others. The closest I got to get to experience it, especially during my high school years, was The Simpsons, King of the Hill, Family Guy, and even Robot Chicken, and that was just a few snippets worth of each show. Let’s say that because of how wary my family was on what’s appropriate or inappropriate to watch on TV, I sneakily went to these shows, mostly late at night, aware of what to expect from them.
But one show that I was never quite familiar with, and it’s pretty obvious why, was South Park. I understood that this show was full of crude humor, language, sex humor, potty humor, you name it, it blazed in all its glory with all of those, in addition to addressing issues that went on in America at the time of each episode’s airing.
Well, just recently, I got started on South Park through three different adventures. The first was the Pandemic Special. The second, the Vaccination Special. And the third, this one: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut.
To those of you who never followed South Park before, it’s a story about four boys, Stan Marsh, Kyle Broflovski, Eric Cartman, and Kenny McCormick, who all lived in the fictional town, South Park, Colorado. One day, on a Sunday morning, they all decided to go see an R-rated movie called “Terrence and Philip: Asses of Fire.” After the movie, because of them picking up many obscene phrases from the R-rated flick, the boys went back to life in South Park, swearing like sailors since. This completely horrified the teachers and parents, who all got earfuls of their newfound vocabulary. Once they caught on to the source of the boys’ swearing habits, they staged a protest against Terrence and Philip and their movie for subjecting impressionable children to such foul language. But what started as a petty dispute against their ideas of creativity and freedom of speech soon escalated into an all-out protest against Canada itself, and soon, into World War III. In defense of Terrence and Philip and knowing that their parents were charging against Canada over the most minuscule of reasons, the four boys, alongside the other kids in town who shared their beliefs over Terrence and Phillip's dilemma, formed their own organization, La Résistance, to sneak into the site of Terrence and Phillip’s execution – which was in a USO show for the American troops about to invade Canada – to try to rescue and save them before their parents killed them off.
Along the way, Kenny McCormick, after dying a horrific death (once again) from one of the tricks he learned from the Terrence and Phillip movie, was sent into Hell, where he confronted Satan and his newly deceased and acquainted confidant, Saddam Hussein. Kenny learned from them that should the blood of two Canadians, Terrence and Philip, spill onto American soil, it would’ve been the prophesied sign for Satan to rise beyond the depths of Hell and take over the world. So, in his spirit form, Kenny went out to his friends to warn them of what was to occur unless they rescued Terrence and Philip. So pretty soon, alongside the high-scale stakes of World War III and a noble and persistent rescue mission awaited a full-on march to prevent the end of the world from coming to fruition. If a war broke out - not just any war, but World War III, of all things - and it’s potentially going to unleash the end of the world courtesy of Satan’s rulership, then profanity coming out of children’s mouths should be the leastof anyone’s concerns.
In keeping with the traditional South Park formula, the movie went all out there with its potty mouth humor, violence, and sexual humor, topped off with plenty of discussions on topical issues, primarily those that were all the rage in the late 1990s. It included Bill Clinton’s presidency, and even the idea of kids returning from an R-rated movie and repeating what they heard from said R-rated movie, much to the protests of their parents. It was said that Matt Stone and Trey Parker wrote the movie as a subtle potshot against all the people and parents who complained about South Park's vulgar humor shortly after it made its broadcast debut. It was as if the movie was South Park’s way of saying to mainstream audiences everywhere…
If you don’t like us, buzz off! What we do is none of your business.
In some cases, however, the movie’s main topics and issues went on to still carry relevance even today.
The movie’s message can easily apply to anything that anyone – at least, according to social media – calls offensive, and it would still work all the same. It’s incredible to think of how well this movie aged with that outlook in mind.
It’s one thing for Bigger, Longer, and Uncut to address such issues for the betterment of American society. But it’s made a lot funnier not just by the upscaling of the conflicts centered around them, but also by how seriously the parents of South Park took it to a point where they started to acknowledge less and less the consequences of their actions.
What the parents should have done is keep their children from watching the R-rated movie; it wasn’t meant for them anyway.
And another thing, you think the parents were oblivious to the idea of them being held accountable for the children’s newfound ways of speaking? Not so, according to ‘Blame Canada’s’ final closing lyrics:
For the smut we must stop
The trash we must smash
The laughter and fun
must be undone
We must blame them and cause a fuss
before somebody thinks of blaming us!
This demonstrated in all its glory the inadequacy of their parenting habits, the shortsightedness of their convictions, and above all, the colossal idiocy of their cause.
Of course, I will admit, of all the things the parents did in this movie, I’m surprised that the one thing that never crossed their minds was washing the kids’ mouths out with soap.
The only adult who came remotely close to doing what’s right was the Ticketmaster at the beginning of the movie, who attempted to thwart the kids away from watching the Terrence and Phillip movie. At least he tried; he was bribed by the boys to get in the next minute when they roped in a homeless guy from the streets and posed him as their quote-on-quote ‘guardian’. Although, the more I think about it, if the Ticketmaster was so cautious about allowing children into “Asses of Fire” the first time, then why wasn’t he as restrictive when the rest of the South Park kids came in hordes to watch the movie once they heard about it?
Ah, well, what did I expect? This is a comedic film. Not everything needs to make sense to keep the humor strong.
The voice acting in this movie was terrific. Trey Parker and Matt Stone hit their strides when voicing the main characters, and each of the characters expressed different shades of personality that made them clash against each other while, at other times, making them jibe well alongside each other. Even Kenny McCormick, despite not being easily interpreted through his orange coat, still expressed some charm, uniqueness, and likability that separated him from the other South Park characters yet still left an equal impression on the audience.
The characters themselves were equally as quirky and charming, too.
Stan felt like the noblest and most righteous of the group, as he caught on to the dilemmas at hand and did whatever he can to set things right, especially when they concerned his crush, Wendy. Some of the pursuits Stan went on to win Wendy’s affections were complicated by two things: one, Wendy was getting acquainted with a transfer student from Yardale named Gregory, who was very articulate and knowledgeable about certain things, especially politics. And two, he was advised by the cafeteria chef, Chef, to – and I quote – ‘find the clitoris’. That word of advice from Chef alone made his pursuits to catch Wendy’s affections that much funnier, in addition to Stan unintentionally puking either when he’s around Wendy or when Wendy spoke with him.
Kyle Broflovski felt like a very humble kid who was easily intimated by his mother, Sheila Broflovski. He had a Jewish upbringing, but even that wasn’t brought to attention in the movie like it may have been in the show. Yet, I was still intrigued over the idea of watching him come to grips with how watching someone like her mother go off the deep end in the name of an otherwise noble cause might warrant some action in response to that sooner or later.
Sheila Broflovski herself was easily the most offended of the parents and guardians when she heard the children, including Kyle, repeating the foul language from the Terrence and Phillip movie and was responsible for starting the protests against Canada and founding a group for that purpose called MAC, or Mothers Against Canada.
Eric Cartman was the most obnoxious of the four-boy band. He was a bratty kid who always called people names and always made a big deal over the slightest misdeeds or situations in life. Still, his small willingness to do good despite his misgivings made him too goofy of a character not to like.
Outside of one snobbish line from Gregory…
I should never have sent a boy to do a man’s job.
…I didn’t find him to be that spiteful. In fact, I found him to be a charming, delightful character for the most part, despite him being set up as Stan’s love rival for Wendy’s affections. I eventually read that this was his only appearance in the entire series, and that’s a shame. I would’ve liked to see more of him throughout the show and see how he correlated with Stan in such similar circumstances.
One particular character that I noticed had lots of praise from South Park fans was a distinguishably eccentric kid nicknamed Ze Mole. And I concur, he's quite a knockout. His French accent, his warped opinions on life, his aggressive demeanor, they made him stand out as an unorthodox yet equally entertaining character as he helped Stan, Kyle, and Eric with their rescue mission.
I thought Satan’s portrayal in this movie was very humorous and yet oddly endearing. In this movie, Satan was the ruler of Hell and all the condemned souls who dwelled there, but underneath his rough, muscular exterior, he had a hidden tender side that made him look insecure about his rulership. Not helping matters was how Saddam Hussein — who happened to have been killed six weeks prior by a pack of wild boars, according to the news — continually and sexually made moves on Satan. Considering Satan’s imminent plans to rule the world, Satan was uncomfortable with his motives. This chemistry also resulted in plenty of homosexual innuendos, which added to the humorous implications regarding Satan himself, of all beings.
Suppose you remember my review on Sausage Party. In that case, you know how I liked how revolutionary it was for it to push the envelope for R-rated animation, but thought that it tended to focus more on the adult jokes than on the characters or story? Well, one thing I liked about South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut was how it glorified in the adult humor to the point where it already turned the show’s rampant swearing into a monsoon-season level cussing up a storm, but still kept its focus on the characters and emotional arcs throughout the movie. Stan, Kyle, Kenny, and Eric expressed themselves in a way that you would find yourself relating to them whether you’ve seen the show in advance or not. And, when you look at what they’re fighting for in a vast light, you can even say that the plot was a huge joke with a rising crescendo, a fittingly bombastic punchline, and a timely, universal message that everyone should learn from.
I found the visual parallels spiced throughout America’s war against Canada to be fascinating. Because Americans got set to venture into World War III, some of the speech patterns and the actions performed resembled World War II because, hey, this was a World War. For example, a black-and-white newsreel entitled "The March of War" was made documenting the actions occurring in the midst of America's rising war against Canada. And, Bill Clinton announced the bombing of the Baldwins by the Canadians on the news, saying it occurred in “a day which will live in infamy,” which was how President Franklin Roosevelt described the bombing of Pearl Harbor by Japan.
While we’re at it, let’s peruse through what America did to Canadians during their vendetta against them. One, they rounded them up and put them into concentration camps, or, as they insisted that they’re called, “happy camps.” Two, they burned up anything of Canadian origin, similar to book burning. And three...to me, watching Kyle hide his Canadian younger brother, Ike, in the family attic to hide him from American troops felt equivalent to, say, French farmers keeping runaway Jews in their attics to hide them from intruding Nazis. Then, it hit me: half of the parallels seemed to indicate that the actions taken by America were precisely what the Nazis did during World War II. That perfectly implied that America’s actions against Canada, “justified” as their actions may have been, were no different from what their enemy nations did back in the first two World Wars. That is part of the creative genius of South Park that I am starting to greatly appreciate: telling hard truths underneath its stylized, comedic shell. Learn this well, 2021. Learn this well.
The animation, also as typical with South Park, looked a little cheap and choppy, but its high levels of expression forgave its shortcomings. I understood that South Park’s animation was created out of paper cutouts, and I can sense all that from the movements, structures, and placements of the characters and settings in the movie. But while the animation may look cheap in some places, I thought some other parts of its animation were very well-done. The Hell sequence, for instance, meshed the paper cutouts of Kenny as he plummeted into Hell together with some unusual, off-looking 3D animation to conjure the unnatural essence of Hell down to the damned souls who came face-to-face with him on his way down. So, like I said, the animation was cheap in some parts and top-notch in others.
I especially liked the little touches made onto the movie, too. Upon potential rewatches, they helped sneak in some extra bits of goodness to add to the movie’s collective memorability. Here are the few that I caught.
In a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment, you’ll notice Jesus Christ marching with the American Army as they continued their search for Canadians. To see someone as righteous as Jesus on the wrong side of society felt very odd but in a funny way. Another classic detail I noticed was when Gregory made his speech - or rather, sang “La Résistance” - to the kids at Carl’s Warehouse, and he stood on a box labeled “SOAP.” As in, a soapbox. I say classic because I saw this in such films as Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Fantastic Mr. Fox, but it still heightened the essence of the speech being made, never with fail. And, if you’ve seen Kenny’s mother in this movie, you’ll notice how she’s wearing a shirt that says “I’m with stupid” with an arrow pointing left. Well, look at where’s she’s placed beside Sheila in the ‘Blame Canada’ parade. Why do I feel like that was not a coincidence?
When I was younger, I remember watching some trailers of South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut, even when I was in middle school, so I acknowledged a little bit of what the movie was about and what I would’ve expected in a movie like this. But it wasn’t until later when I discovered how it was also a musical film. And considering how South Park was typically a satirical comedy show, the idea of the South Park movie being a musical sounded unusual. After finally seeing the movie, I was legitimately surprised with how well the musical elements worked in the South Park canvas. Many of the movie’s musical themes were both satirizing and inspired by the Disney films from what is generally described as the Disney Renaissance, and it even had some shades of Les Misérables thrown in for good measure.
It helped that Trey Parker and Matt Stone had some musical experience before, starting with the making of Cannibal: The Musical in 1993. So, I liked how they utilized their homage to the musical format by infusing one of their most groundbreaking works with the DNA of the musical craft, of which they are huge fans. Their musical expertise would only have been improved upon when they put together The Book of Mormon in 2005.
And speaking of which, the songs in this movie are fabulous. Many of them carried a specific power and passion to the songs that I worshiped and admired about the songs from the Disney Renaissance films while still being imbued with their own South Park twists.
Mountain Town, for example, is a very joyous, upbeat song about life in South Park, down to its abnormal nature, in a way that felt like it satirized the opening number, ‘Belle,’ from Beauty and the Beast. Heck, even the script made it clear that it’s paying homage to that song! That kind of tongue-in-cheek humor is yet another reason I’m starting to like South Park, now that I’m getting slowly introduced to the show this way. Some of the other songs continued to carry the same rhythms to their thematic messages, including:
‘Blame Canada,’ by the Mothers Against Canada as they geared up for their onslaught of protests against the country.
‘Up There,’ by Satan when he expressed his desires to see the outside world up above.
‘La Résistance,’ by the kids who formed said revoution to stop Mothers Against Canada and rescue Terrence and Philip.
‘What Would Brian Boitano Do?’, in which the kids thought about working out a solution to rescue Terrence and Philip.
‘Kyle's Mom is a Bitch’, sung by Eric Cartman - and reportedly carried over from the show, no less - trash-talking Sheila Broflovski in a showy fashion after her actions against Canada started to go too far.
’Eyes of a Child,’ the closing theme song, which still carried the power and weight of the songs in the movie, but in a more pop ballad fashion, not unlike many of the ending themes of the Disney films.
And of course, "Uncle Fucka", the song Terrence and Phillip sang in "Asses of Fire", which was just a barrage of obscenities and farts from them, and it tied into the potshots against those who accused South Park of being exactly nothing but that.
So, it’s everything I loved about the animated films from the 1990s, plus the adult humor and jokes of South Park all meshed into one, and I continue to have a blast with them every time I hear them.
Besides Mountain Town, the other songs still played to their satirical/tributary strengths for the movie’s benefit. ‘La Résistance’ is an homage to ‘One Day More’ from Les Misérables. ‘I’m Super’, sung by Big Gay Al at the USO show, reminded me of ‘Friend Like Me’ from Aladdin as well as the showstopping numbers of the 50s and 60s. The very beginning of ‘It’s Easy, M’Kay?’ gave off a very Mr. Rogers feel. And heck, doesn’t Satan’s song ‘Up There’ remind you just a wee bit of ‘Out There’ from The Hunchback of Notre Dame?
The only song that I didn’t find to be very memorable was ‘I Can Change’, sung by Saddam Hussein. Besides some stylish Arabian imagery accompanying him and a humorous, sketchy overview of Saddam’s family life, something about the song’s pleading nature just didn’t quite do it for me.
The 1990s were an excellent time for pure brilliance in the animation and musical departments, from the Disney Renaissance pictures to the Toy Story films, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, Anastasia, and The Prince of Egypt. Growing up with all of them gave me a strong appreciation for quality work done on either platform. You can say that watching these films as a general whole is similar to watching a stupendous Shakespearean act, with all the performers perfecting their roles every chance they got.
Well, watch out, folks! South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut felt like the wise fool of the troupe. If you can get through its excessive vulgarities, raunchy humor, and somewhat unsubstantial animation, there are some nuggets worth of vital truths to be found underneath its bite. And having never seen the show before seeing this movie, I am now becoming more and more hooked on the show with every episode I catch.
To those of you who were acquainted with the show even before the movie, give this another watch. It might have more in store for you than you’d think. But if you saw this movie before the show, then I say…
Welcome to South Park! Just don’t say I didn’t warn you.
My Rating: A strong B+
When Stan, Kyle, and Cartman were founding 'La Résistance', they initially thought of the password to get in as just that name. But then, when Gregory came and was asked of the password, he guessed 'bacon', to which he was allowed in. Because 'La Résistance' was founded to rescue Terrance and Philip, or T&P, I personally think that a better password for this revolution would've been 'toilet paper'. Just a personal suggestion.
You know how, in the show, you never see Kenny’s face because half of it is hidden in his orange coat? Well, Spoiler Alert! As Kenny prepared for his second departure back into Hell, he revealed himself as he said goodbye to his friends, and he was voiced by none other than Beavis and Butthead/King of the Hill creator himself Mike Judge. What a way to reveal Kenny!