It may defy union solidarity to say it, but thank God we have South Park for at least one more week. “Guitar Queer-o” wasn’t the work of animation brilliance that “Make Love Not Warcraft” was, but it was pretty brilliant in its own right. Like that earlier episode, it showed Parker and Stone’s gift for getting nerd and game culture without sucking up to it. The episode mocked Guitar Hero as a waste of time–“Real guitars are for old people”–but also appreciated it as an awesome waste of time. (Something else for the old people: the music agent, the namesake of, and dead ringer for, The Partridge Family’s Reuben Kinkade.)
And another South Park paradox re-illustrated: the show’s ability to simultaneously parody ancient movie and showbiz cliches while getting real entertainment and even emotion out of them, from the rise-and-fall rock-star story arc (down to “chasing the dragon” in the game Heroin Hero) to Kyle and Stan’s reunion at the bowling alley. (Which was perfectly depicted, by the way, right down to the flock of birds on the mural above the lanes.)
Maybe most appropriate, though, was that the ad breaks were packed with commercials for actual video games–which, with The Daily Show in reruns and other programming drying up due to the strike, Comedy Central’s audience will have more and more time to spend with.