One of the most exciting aspects of the fall season, for many people, is the influx of new television episodes in so many top series. Thousands of people are all set and ready to tune into their HD cable networks and watch the renewal and premieres of their favorite shows. Perhaps most exciting among these premieres, this season, is the opening to the second half of the 15th season of South Park, about which just about everyone seems to be quite curious. In fact, due to the mysterious and uncharacteristically sentimental (sad, even) finale to the season’s first half, this may be the most anticipated South Park episode to date.
The fact of the matter is, while Matt Stone and Trey Parker (the show’s creators) are no strangers to the idea making big changes and then casually reversing them an episode later, the first half of this season’s final episode – “You’re Getting Old” – seemed to cross over a line that can’t be crossed back. Over the course of a single episode, Stan and Kyle, whose friendship is in many ways the show’s very foundation, stopped getting along; Stan’s parents got divorced; and, there is even a brief hint that Kyle and Cartman (whose mutual hatred is another of the show’s foundations) are beginning to get along. More significantly, however, the dialogue in the episode – most of it between Stan’s parents – seemed to be speaking on behalf of Stone and Parker about the idea that the show is “getting old,” and that the same thing happening week after week isn’t as funny as it once was. It seemed as if South Park’s beloved, light-hearted creators were finally getting serious, and were destroying their own creation right in front of us.
Now, however – despite some people’s beliefs that the “You’re Getting Old” episode had actually been an abrupt and unannounced ending to all of South Park – Stone and Parker are set to be back in the studio creating new episodes. Naturally, casual and diehard fans alike are burning with curiosity to see what they come up with. Will the show move on in a different direction, with Stan alienated from his friends and his parents remaining divorced? Will the show take on a more serious tone due to the fact that the boys are getting a bit older? Or, like so many instances in which the popular character Kenny has died only to be inexplicably resurrected in the next episode, will South Park simply ignore its own changes and continue on as if nothing ever happened? Thousands of fans will be watching for the answers, come October 5th.