Some thoughts on last night's "South Park" mid-season premiere coming up just as soon as I buy some new underwear...
The "SNL"-style writing schedule that Trey Parker and Matt Stone have chosen to use on "South Park" (which Stone described in great detail when he was on Bill Simmons' podcast a couple of weeks ago) can keep the episodes feeling fresh, but it can also leave them feeling half-finished. Sometimes, it's as if Parker, Stone and company needed to take another few passes through the script to really nail the jokes; other times, the entire idea seems like the wrong approach to the story, but perhaps there simply wasn't time to go back and start from scratch.
Given some past celebrity-skewering "South Park" episodes, opening the back half of this season with a look at all the famous people who died over the summer seemed appropriate. Unfortunately, "Dead Celebrities" mainly turned out to be a rehash of the Michael Jackson jokes they told give years ago in "The Jeffersons" - then randomly turned into a kiddie beauty pageant parody (and a predictable one, at that) halfway through. Because the most recent "Simpsons" episode (one of the strongest in a while) was able to tell a single story from beginning to middle to end with no major digressions, I was probably a little more sensitive to abrupt story shifts in my animated comedies this week.
I did get a kick out of the running gag about Kyle's disbelief that Cartman would keep eating Chipotle, but overall, "Dead Celebrities" was a misfire. It happens. "South Park" misses about as often as it hits this far into its run. Hopefully next week's show will work better.
What did everybody else think?