(Sorry, this is Hulu, so you’ll have to put up with some commercials.)
South Park, with its irrationally crunched production schedule, can’t help but be hit and miss. This is a pretty damn good episode, though, and it doesn’t even have to lean on its usual crutches of excessive profanity and sex. It’s pretty gory, but who cares about that these days?
This one’s about commitment to “the rules.” The kids go to the South Park Pioneer Village for a field trip, and discover the workers there are so devoted to teaching about life in 1864, that they won’t break character, even when armed robbers take them hostage and start executing them. The situation is completely over-the-top, and even though it turns violent very quickly, it’s surprisingly hilarious.
The foul, selfish Cartman and sweet, innocent Butters aren’t there to see this, though. Forced to hold hands as partners, Cartman drags Butters out of the village so he can play at an arcade. Butters hates the idea of sneaking away from the class, and he clearly doesn’t enjoy the arcade at all, but he refuses to release his grip, because “teacher said not to let go.”
Butters, who’s been my favorite South Park character since his first appearance, shines like a burnished trophy here. Being a clean, mild-mannered kid, he’s often taken advantage of, but when the terrifying prospect of “getting in trouble” hangs over his head, he resists with all his might. In this episode, Butters has the cutest panic attack you’ve ever seen, and he even hits a couple of people in an apoplectic fit. Trey Parker and Matt Stone have said that their favorite scenes to write are the ones involving Cartman and Butters, and it’s easy to see why.
In the end, Stan turns the tide of the situation with some clever, Bugs Bunny-like stunts that made me actually want to applaud. It’s a very funny mixture of cartoon silliness and extreme violence, with a touch of uncompromised sweetness dashed in. I don’t think I can say that about any other cartoons out there, and that makes Super Fun Time a Top Cartoon to me.