South Park Season 16-03 ‘Faith Hilling’ Recap

A new meme emerges in South Park called Faith Hilling, which involves taking a photo of someone pulling their shirt out to resemble breasts. The boys perform the prank on stage at a 2012 Colorado Republican Presidential Debate. Afterwards, the entire fourth grade class has to take a safety education class about the dangers of memeing.

They are shown a hilariously graphic video where people are saying “Oh long Johnson” while placing themselves in precarious situations, like on the train tracks. Trains keep hitting the people performing the memes throughout the video, thus illustrating that “memeing” is dangerous.

Eventually Faith Hilling evolves to Taylor Swifting, which is dragging your ass across the ground with your pants down. Stan, Kyle, and the boys continue Faith Hilling even though it is not considered passé. Then a professor discovers that cats have been taking photos of themselves with bread around their heads, no doubt proving that cats are as smart as humans.

The boys give in to the trends and not only start taking photos of themselves doing the new memes, but create some of their own by combining all of the previous ones. They arrive at another republican debate to photograph Cartman performing a meme up on stage again, but this time Cartman decides to stay true to their original meme and Faith Hills while singing a Faith Hill song. Everyone in the audience agrees it was the best Faith Hilling they have ever seen.

The episode concludes with a reporter talking about the newest meme performed by politicians, called pandering.

This episode really rings true to the younger Internet generation’s obsession with planking and memes in general. It speaks to the idiocy and ridiculousness of social trends that actually have no purpose other than to be outrageous.

The recurring use of trains hitting people throughout the episode is very funny, especially the first three times. It’s nice to see politics brought back into the picture too, even though it had no real connection to the episode other than the debates being contemporary.

I think Matt and Trey are really speaking to their demographic here, by using memes as a topic – since teens and young adults are mostly the only people who will understand the countless Internet references here.

This was definitely the funniest episode this season, but still falls short of making striking that basic irony bone that last season’s episodes were so accurately hitting every time. There isn’t really an intense anxiety to keep posting photos of your friends performing the latest memes, like it was sarcastically suggested in this episode. Kids just casually do it because it’s fun.