SpaceX, Elon Musk, and Mars were prominently featured on South Park Wednesday night, and the episode, while entertaining, is kind of a mess. This season, like the last couple before it, features an overall story arc. But the 20th season is even more of a serial plot — every episode picks up right where the previous one left off, making it pretty difficult for any casual viewer to get into. I spent half the episode trying desperately to figure out exactly what was going on before giving up.
And despite the hype in getting to see SpaceX grace the screen, no one actually jets off into space! Still, there are some humorous bits here and there about the company. And it’s nice to see Musk has a sense of humor about the more absurd aspects of what he and his companies are doing.
With the election of Mr. Garrison as the next president of the United States having wrapped up (dressed in a Trump-like orange tan and a troubling wig, aided by running mate Caitlyn Jenner), Eric Cartman (who’s now a feminist) and his girlfriend (???) Heidi arrive at SpaceX headquarters to declare that they’ve “given up social media, and would like to be as far away from the internet as possible.” Next stop — Mars.
“Take a number and join the others,” the receptionist tells him. “A lot of people want to leave the planet.���
Cut through some jibber-jabber with President Garrison talking with a school principal named PC Principal, literal purple sentient balls that seem bent on world domination, the Danish holding internet trolls prisoner (including Kyle’s dad) with a plan to use them to turn the rest of the world into Denmark, and then some stuff about emails, and we finally get back to space.
“We’ll be left alone to make our new world better,” Carman tells Heidi. Until Butters shows up, because of course he does. And then it becomes clear Cartman’s newfound love of feminism is just a ploy to be with Heidi.
Finally though, our boy Elon shows up. “Are we going to have some fun today?” he asks, getting very little enthusiasm in return. (By that way, thats really Musk doing the voice.)
“The only way for humankind to survive is with imagination and technology,” showing off all the things he and his companies are working on to save the species. This includes a four-inch wide pizza that, when heated, expands to a size that can feed 100 people. “I call it the pizza pocket,” he says.
“Excuse me Mr. Musk,” Cartman chimes in, “this is all super interesting and shit but can we see the Mars rocket now?” In this case, Cartman speaks for us all.
And then the big reveal: this is all just a tour. “We’re still about 10 years away from going to Mars,” he says. “Maybe eight.” No one is going to the Red Planet anytime soon. “Now if you don’t mind, I have hundreds of more tours to do.”
The purple balls (memberries I think they’re called?) finish singing Toto and one of them in the 1920s get up, shoots another and then Kyle and Ike run away, and that’s the end of the episode. I’m starting to see I did not miss anything over the last four years.
I would watch another episode featuring Musk, though. Perhaps next week?