It’s finally here – the extended promo for Prototype 2! (Just in case you haven’t heard the Johnny Cash version of Hurt enough times already this week). Just kidding readers, I was referring to the latest episode of South Park‘s 16th season, entitled ‘Cartman Finds Love.’ If you’re anything like me, you’ve been disappointed with the last few episodes and are hoping for a mid-season comeback.
There’s a new cheerleader at South Park Elementary – and much to Cartman’s excitement – she’s black. Immediately, Cartman tries to set her up with Token (as much as fourth graders can be “set up”), despite Token’s annoyed response to Cartman’s pseudo-advances. Cartman voyeuristically proceeds to stalk the girl, Nichole, until he learns that she actually has a crush on voice-of-reason/good guy Kyle.
Cartman doesn’t hesitate to to tell Nichole that he and Kyle are a secret “item,” and that although Kyle’s embarassed to tell everyone at school about their love, at home, he’s the best boyfriend Eric’s ever had. Kyle mistakes all of the girls’ newfound interest in him for romantic intrigue, when in reality, they are probably excited to have a potentially new gay friend. Meanwhile, Cartman successfully hooks up Token and Nichole, by locking them in the boys’ locker room with board games, a sandwich tray, and grape soda.
Token and Nichole’s relationship seems blissful (especially for Cartman, who is happier than a successful panda breeder), until Nichole’s father tells her that she doesn’t have to exclusively date black guys, just because she’s black. Nichole starts having second thoughts about the relationship, and the dream team breaks up. Bad news for Cartman, but even worse news for the adorable “Cupid Me.”
When Kyle takes newly-single Nichole on a date to a basketball game, Cartman intervenes by appearing on the jumbo screen and encouraging all recently broken up couples to give their relationships another try, while pushing his gay facade further by begging now-ex Kyle to come back to him. Kyle tells Nichole the truth about everything, she realizes that race doesn’t matter, and she and Token decide to give it another go.
‘Cartman Finds Love’ scores laughs in a way that most of the other episodes this season haven’t, maybe with the exception of ‘Reverse Cowgirl‘ and ‘Faith Hilling.’ Sometimes, the best episodes of South Park are the ones without any topical references, without (hardly) any celebrity parodies, and without any episode-long attempt to make a point.
Since South Park is about to go on hiatus until Fall 2012, it makes sense that Trey Parker and Matt Stone would air this solid episode now, ending their half-season on a high note.
Let us know what you thought of the episode in the comments.