"The Last of the Meheecans" let us declare, viva Mantequilla! - South Park review

(S1509) It has been a while since I've watched South Park on any regular basis. It's not because I don't think show is funny anymore, or that my comedic sensibilities have matured much, if any, since middle school. I stopped watching regularly because my girlfriend simply can't stand it -- to the point that she refuses to be in the same room when it's on. Don't get the wrong idea: in my household I rule the remote with an iron fist. But the nature of my job as a critic is such that I subject her to hours and hours of television programming that she would rather not watch, so I kind of have to pick my battles.

Since I haven't watched South Park on a weekly basis in many years, I can't really say whether or not the show in general is any more or less funny than it was in the early 2000s. But having watched "The Last of The Meheecans," I am left with the feeling that I might not have picked a great episode to jump back in with.

South Park has always been very good at pointing out -- and then ripping to shreds -- hypocrisy, absurdity and idiocy in our culture. Sure, the show relies heavily on dick and fart jokes, but when show creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker have a greater point they want to make, they usually make it in a concise, convincing way. I guess I just don't really get the "point" they are making (or trying to make) in "The Last of The Meheecans". If the point is simply to demonstrate how silly the illegal immigration issue is, I'd have to say they failed to properly make that point. If the point is to make fun of Mexicans and/or the rednecks who volunteer for border patrol...well, that's just too easy.

The episode starts with the boys playing a rousing game of "Texans versus Mexicans" during a sleepover. Cartman is the leader of the Texans, whose job is to keep the opposing team, the Mexicans made up of Stan, Kyle and Butters, from crossing an imaginary backyard "border". If the Mexicans make it across the border, they win. If they are kept at bay, the Texans win.

Butters gets so engrossed in the game that he gets lost outside. While the other boys are in the house eating pizza and climbing into sleeping bags, Butters gets caught in a snow storm and hit by a car. He is rescued by a middle-aged white couple who mistake him for an actual illegal alien. Butters plays along and adopts the moniker "Mantequilla". The white couple are racist ignoramuses and assume that since Butters is Mexican he surely must love yard work and domestic labor. Butters breaks into song as he washes dishes and operates a leaf blower. "Work, Mexican, work," goes the refrain. Not exactly the best musical number the show has ever done. It's mildly offensive and not all that funny. South Park, in my opinion, is at its best when it's clever/poignant or when it is mega-over-the-top offensive. The whole episode kind of feels like it is on the verge of pushing the envelope, but never actually pushes it. The result is a mild racial discomfort, and that's about it.

"The Last of The Meheecans" takes kind of a left turn at the mid-point, and becomes less about goofing on the illegal immigration debate and more about goofing on the economic crisis. When Butters finally tells his adoptive parents that he wants to go home, they assume he must mean Mexico. They can't take him all the way there, so they do the next best thing and drop him off in front of an El Pollo Loco restaurant. Due to Butters' ongoing obliviousness, he accidentally convinces the kitchen staff that they need to return home. Home like as in Mexico. Butters sparks a mass exodus of Mexicans out of the states and back over the border to their homeland. A combination of a down housing and food service sector and a renewed sense of Mexican pride causes Butters' disciples to head south.

Mantequilla becomes a national symbol in Mexico. A holiday is named after him. But when the Mexican president gives Butters the choice between staying in Mexico, a country on the rise, or returning to his amigos in the crumbling El Norte, he chooses his amigos. Little does he know that one of his amigos (Cartman) is preparing for his return by joining the real U.S. Border Patrol. Desperate to win the silly game, Cartman fires at Butters with a rifle when he gets close the border. Luckily for Butters, the other Border Patrol agents are so troubled by the loss of all the Mexicans that they gladly take Cartman down to assist his border crossing.

By Lucas High

About the author

Lucas High is a man on a mission. That mission: to watch television for a living. Drop him a line at lhigh2@gmail.com, on Facebook and on Twitter at twitter.com/LucasHigh.

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On: Thursday, October 13, 2011
Confused said:

Wow. I didn't even get halfway before I stopped and wondered, "Why the fuck am I reading this?"


This is bad, and you should feel bad about it. How's that ultra-lucrative job writing for tvgeekarmy.com? I know, it must have been hard turning down the guys from the WSJ and the NYT, but I just don't know if your decision to pursue a career fingerpainting with the excrement of your literary betters is working out. I mean, you've forgotten your chief role here, you're supposed to guzzle Matt Stone and Trey Parker's piss and praise the vintage. Have you forgotten that you write for a website caled "tvgeekarmy.com"? And seriously? How many times do you need to mention your fake girlfriend so that your only other reader, your mother, thinks that your ephemeral love interest is real?

On: Thursday, October 13, 2011
Eric - TV Geek Army "Revered Leader" said:

Thanks for taking the time out of your no doubt busy schedule to express your opinion, "Confused." It's too bad that in your somewhat lengthy statement that you failed to make a coherent argument as to why you presumably did not enjoy Lucas' review. 

I in fact did enjoy his review, as it laced narrative and analysis into a unique perspective on viewing this episode. 

Finally, I also don't see the logic in why we should automatically praise South Park? But much more importantly, you seem to hold some sort of ill thought out anger whether we have or have not. 

Confusing, indeed. 

On: Friday, October 14, 2011
Newsworthy said:
On: Sunday, October 16, 2011
aj green said:

Eric, are you Lucas' dad?

That was a pretty lame review. Let me guess. Your girlfriend lives in Canada.

On: Sunday, October 16, 2011
Eric - TV Geek Army "Revered Leader" said:

Nice that you took time away from the Bengals to drop by, AJ 


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