I’m a cynical a–hole, and proud of it. I take great joy in destroying things people love and complaining about how nothing is ever as good as it used to be (for instance, check out any of my recaps for the last half of Glee‘s second season). But as cynical and dead as my heart is, I can’t help but love South Park.

Wednesday’s mid-season finale, “You’re Getting Old,” was a surreal and brutally serious episode. After Stan’s 10th birthday, he suddenly started thinking that everything he saw and everything he heard was sh-t. Literally. Music sounded like violent diarrhea and even his ice cream sundae looked like a turd in a cup. A doctor diagnosed him as a “cynical a–hole,” meaning that he generally dislikes everything.

You’re Getting Old
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That was the big theme of the episode, which ended with Stan’s parents, Randy and Sharon, splitting up after she couldn’t stand his silly antics anymore. South Park got deeply and overly melodramatic with a final montage set to Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide” as a cynical Stan sat alone, miserable because everything he sees looks like sh-t.

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There will undoubtedly be a need to analyze this as a meta-commentary on the fact that South Park itself is getting old and turning to sh-t, that it’s doing the same things over and over again and after 15 seasons and over 200 episodes, creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone are saying that they think their own show has turned to sh-t.

Maybe that’s right, maybe it’s wrong, but regardless of the deep analysis, I absolutely loved the episode’s audacious and relentless message. The cynic in me loved how the show itself embraced Stan’s ideas and used them to leave viewers with a completely depressing conclusion to the mid-season finale.

South Park is currently scheduled for just seven more episodes to complete season 15 with no additional episodes or seasons ordered. “You’re Getting Old” may signal the impending death of the series, but creatively, the show just shot into a new realm of madness and genius.

Letting South Park turn so dark and depressing is brilliantly twisted, resulting in an episode unlike any they’ve ever done before. I’m a cynic because I feel like I’ve seen everything before and new movies or music or TV shows are just the same old crap in a new package. But South Park surprised me with its serious tone, something I didn’t think possible.

If you’re an optimist who thinks the trailer for Jim Carrey’s new movie Mr. Popper’s Penguins looks funny, I can understand how you’d be confused and disturbed by what South Park did with this episode. But if you’re even half as cynical as I am, the episode proved that not everything has to be the same old crap.

As for South Park‘s future? My cynical mind can’t figure out where it’s going. When the show returns for the second half of season 15, it may continue this trend and try to completely reinvent the show, or it could act like this was just a newer version of killing Kenny and ignore what happened. Either way, I’ll be surprised, and that’s all I want out of life.

Congratulations, South Park. By being completely cynical, you’ve briefly made me a little optimistic about television.

(Image and videos courtesy of Comedy Central)

John Kubicek

Senior Writer, BuddyTV

John watches nearly every show on TV, but he specializes in sci-fi/fantasy like The Vampire DiariesSupernatural and True Blood. However, he can also be found writing about everything from Survivor and Glee to One Tree Hill and Smallville.