South Park: the end of obesity, an episode more critical than funny

This May 24, the Paramount+ streaming platform broadcast South Park: The End of Obesity. After Butters' Street Cred and the inclusive multiverse dreamed by Cartman, this new 50-minute special episode continues the line of medium-length films inaugurated by the franchise during Covid-19. This time, obesity is in the spotlight. Cartman may have found a miracle solution to lose weight, but he quickly encountered the complexity of the American health system. The opportunity for authors Trey Parker and Matt Stone to deliver a scathing critique of their contemporaries.

Ozempic and lousy health system

As has become the norm for the franchise, this new episode of South Park is not burdened with politically correct. This is also the most virulent criticism we have seen in a while on the series. If Cartman's motivations for losing weight are more than questionable, the young boy's inability to access the medication he needs is rooted in a very concrete reality: the American healthcare system is an administrative abyss where money reigns supreme, and only the richest are able to afford certain medicines, even if it means depriving the poorest of the treatment they need.

The episode revolves around a little-known scandal in Europe, that of Ozempic. A drug normally reserved for diabetic patients, but whose side effects quickly interested people wanting to lose weight quickly. By slowing down the speed of stomach emptying and accelerating the feeling of satiety, Ozempic and its derivatives have gone viral on social networksleading not only to serious side effects for healthy people who abuse it, but also to significant stock shortages in pharmacies, making it impossible for certain patients to access it.

Body positivism and Lizo

Faced with a failing health system, the poor have only one option: focus on body positivism and listen to Lizo, the singer known for her speech of tolerance and self-acceptance. Unsurprisingly, the episode does not fall into good feelings, and hits where hypocrisy reigns supreme. The Ozempic-ravaged city mothers who push Randy to consume weight-loss substances by robbing pharmacies in crop-tops is a pessimistic, but brilliant, satire. We expected no less from Trey Parker and Matt Stone.

More satirical than funny

This is an observation that is starting to become recurrent among South Park : the special episodes of the series, while far from being duds, tend to get bogged down on one side or the other of the spectrum. Either they are too focused on humoreven if it means abandoning the satire which gives all the flavor to the program, or as is the case for The End of Obesity, they concentrate their efforts on social criticism, and lose relevance in terms of humor. If you have a subscription to Paramount+, the episode is still worth the detour, if only to see the slim version of Cartman insulting all his classmates.

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