TV Review | South Park (S26.E1 “Cupid Ye”)
“South Park Season 26 comes out swinging by tackling some of America’s prickliest issues,” says Max Nocerino
Rejoice, friends. South Park Season 26 has arrived and Episode 1 came right out swinging, tackling some of the prickliest issues facing America right now. Especially regarding race and cultural background. When the title, Cupid Ye was revealed on the morning of February 8th, I instantly knew that one of my 5 predictions for Season 26 had come true. Sort of.
The episode begins innocently, only to devolve later into dark satire and bizarre weirdness that only South Park can do. Kyle has been hanging out a lot with Tolkien, making silly Tik Toks and making his former best friend Stan, feel glum and left out. Cartman, feeling “sympathy” decides to help him in the Eric Cartman way. By being a good Christian and driving a wedge between Kyle and the rest of the school. Sowing rumors that Kyle runs Hollywood due to his Jewish heritage. But is it really Cartman?
Over the last half-decade or so, Trey Parker and Matt Stone have given Cartman an invisible flying cupid version of Cartman, known affectionately as Cupid Me. But since Cupid Me became Christian and changed his name to Cupid Ye, he’s gone a bit “bat-sh#t crazy”. This is a clever satire of Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West, who over the last year started making bizarre and unstable Antisemitic comments and epithets. Kanye suffers from something and this is superimposed onto Cartman, as the Cupid, Me really doesn’t exist and Cartman is off his meds and needs to talk to someone fast.
Kanye West (or Ye) divorced his wife Kim Kardashian last year and began to exhibit somewhat of a mental breakdown. He tweeted that he wanted to go “Defcon 3” on Jews (totally randomly) and had a sit-down dinner with white supremacist Nick Fuentes. South Park basically roasts Kanye for a third time but this time they don’t actually use Kanye.
South Park has 2 settings. Either it destroys a celebrity with the “celebrity.” Or it uses a clever scheme of smoke and mirrors to create a representation of that celebrity that they superimpose into their bizarro child world. This time, Trey took the latter and sadly Kanye does not appear. Cupid Ye is his stand-in and represents what the world has experienced with Kanye West. A prominent African-American figure who is suffering from mental illness and is in serious need of some help. As a Jewish male, I personally don’t hate Kanye and pity him for the way he is spiraling out of control.
The episode also tackles antisemitism at the root of it, as despite my calmness there is a rise in Antisemitism in America. The Jews run everything! The Jews control the media! Kyle controls Hollywood! Misinformed whispers spread throughout South Park elementary, representing how America believes and assumes things through word of mouth and without any real basis in fact. Kyle controls Hollywood simply because he is a Jew. And even though it sounds ridiculous, stupid people will buy it.
TIK TOK TROUBLE
Kyle and Tolkien continue to make their ridiculous Tik Tok videos, despite the new controversy at the school. Until Tolkien starts to believe that perhaps Kyle is the one calling the shots in their partnership. Kyle angrily asks him to show some compassion, considering he is black and should know how he feels. African-Americans and Jewish people have both suffered heavily from discrimination throughout history and it would seem natural that they should band together to be stronger. However, Cartman spews rhetoric. “The Jews are stealing the black identity. The true chosen people are the African-Americans”
TOO CLOSE TO HOME?
In this country in 2023, we are currently embroiled in black inequality and the Black Lives Matter Movement is trying to right this terrible wrong. However, many antisemitic attacks are being perpetuated. And when people like Kanye say Jews are bad it makes everyone else in America want to choose a side. And it doesn’t help that some antisemitic attacks are frequently perpetuated by black Americans in horrible incidents of hate and ignorance.
The whole stealing of the black identity is very much represented with outcries of cultural appropriation of black culture. And the harsh reality is that sometimes the schools with the smartest kids are simply the ones who work harder and are not based on race. The episode tackles a lot of raw issues and I really appreciate Trey Parker and Matt Stone putting the spotlight on the racial tensions between two discriminated groups. Kyle finally tries to tell everyone that he does not run Hollywood and uses facts.
Hollywood is a multi-tiered organization run by everyone. And the only reason Jews are singled out is that the ancestors of many Jewish Hollywood types were the ones who moved West to work in vaudeville and then later movies. Because those jobs were deemed undesirable by the main part of the country. Kyle seems to finally have them in the palm of his hands until in classic-genius South Park fashion, the crowd declares that Kyle is the one who should run Hollywood and they chant “Jew. Jew. Jew!”
IGNORANCE IS BLISS
They learned nothing. The ignorant Americans are back at square one. Antisemitism and anti-black will likely never go away. However, it is very disheartening when two targeted groups do NOT come together to try and make themselves stronger. There are many Kanye’s out there and there are many Nick Fuentas’s. When will it end? Most likely never.
South Park airs on Comedy Central every Wednesday. It is unknown how long season 26 will run as last season we only got 6 episodes. Hopefully, we will get a number soon. Episode 1 gets a B+.
UK fans can catch up with a host of specials on Paramount+.
Why not complete your South Park collection with the awesome “Stay Back Six Feet” themed mug? Grab yours with our affiliate link now.
Max Nocerino is a regular Staff Writer for The Future of the Force. He is a passionate Star Wars fan and loves the literature of the galaxy far, far away. Follow him on Twitter where he shares his love of the Force frequently!