Back in November of 2018, we reviewed “Tegridy’ Farms” the 4th ep in season 22 of South Park. At the time, it was the most accurate representation of the professional cannabis we’d ever seen on television. In the last two years, the Tegridy Farms theme has continued to be an important new part of the town of South Park and it hits a new high in the new Pandemic Special.
South Park has always made great holiday specials. The Spirit of Christmas short films, Jesus vs Frosty and Jesus vs Santa, were the very first incarnations of the show and the Woodland Critter Christmas from season 8 is among the most memorable episodes they ever had and was itself a parody of the “John Denver and the Muppets: A Christmas Together” holiday special, but one where the critters participate in Satanic behavior like the possessed crew of the 1997 movie Event Horizon, which also inspired the episode. The creators of South Park clearly have a deep and meaningful understanding of not only the history Holiday Specials on television, but what they represent to the zeitgeist of pop culture.
The South Park Pandemic Special is a special like no other before it. The ability of the South Park creators to put out material that is incredibly timely and tied directly to current events has always been one of their greatest strengths. Animation typically takes much longer to produce than live action content, and programs like The Simpsons, American Dad, Family Guy and Bob’s Burgers have a much longer turnaround time than South Park. Only Saturday Night Live, which is written the same week it airs, seems more timely. So distance learning, masks, the Wuhan pangolin, Chinese bats, social distancing, Black Lives Matter, Defund the Police, the 2020 election, the Mandalorian and Mickey Mouse are all incorporated together into an epic story that at it’s heart is very much centered on legalized cannabis.
The actual “Pandemic Special” within the episode is a discount of Tegridy Farms marijuana Randy Marsh is running to help the townspeople cope with the stress and anxiety created by the Coronavirus, a special he announces at a town meeting being held outdoors. He also mentions that despite a near complete economic shutdown, his cannabis business has seen over a 400% increase in sales, which is a reality we see reflected everyday in the industry. Cannabis was deemed essential in the early days of Covid 19 and thankfully people have been able to continue medicating over the past eight months. Early on we began to see many changes in the business, see our “Top 7 Ways the Coronavirus is Changing the Way We Consume Cannabis” on pages 32-33 inthis issue, and many of them are reflectedhere. Randy wears a mask as he does curbside cannabis delivery and customers don’t even have to leave their cars.
This is a bit of a spoiler alert, so be warned: Later in the episode, Randy learns from the news that a bat in Wuhan, China started the pandemic, prompting a flashback to a past visit to China, in which he partied hard with Mickey Mouse which lead to them both having unprotected intercourse with a bat. Realizing they are responsible for the virus, Randy wanders South Park and guiltily observes the terrible impacts of the virus he helped to cause. South Park Elementary reopens, but the teachers, who will not work for fear of being infected, have been replaced with the now defunct police force, which had lost most of its funding because of police violence. The ability of the writers to tie all of these themes and topics in a special like this is a really impressive display of comedic talent and artistic capability. That’s all I’m going to say, so if you haven’t watched this episode yet, get as high as you can and check it out ASAP, and be sure to have some Tegridy’.
Watch episodes of South Park for free at southpark.cc.com.
Patrick Ian Moore