Let's be clear, in case there's any traces of residual confusion/hope: "South Park" is not headed in an entirely new direction. This week’s episode, “The Last Of The Meheecans,” returned the little Colorado town and its inhabitants to precisely as they always were. No more sh*t splatter sounds, no more Jameson swigs, and certainly no more mental health patients doubling as Matrix characters.
With the age of Cowboys & Indians behind us, what's a group of young boys in the modern world to do with their make-believe dreams of history-glossing character adversity? As last night's episode showed, there's plenty of drama and intrigue to be found in the struggle between would-be border-hopping Mexicans and the overzealous Border Patrol assigned to prevent their arrival.
In Eric's backyard, a standoff exists between "Mexican immigrants" – aka half the boys playing – and "Texas Border Patrol". Naturally, the Texans’ goal – spearheaded by an overzealous Cartman, of course – is to maintain their border while the Mexicans’ job is to cross the border. Kyle leads the Mexicans, using himself as a diversion by taunting Cartman into an anti-semetic tirade while the rest of the Mexicans sneak over the border.
Cartman's furious with his team’s loss, but soon discovers that Butters got lost and never made it across the border. The unfortunate young Butters is hit by a car while trying to get home, and the naive suburban white couple take Butters back to their home, thinking he's Mexican from his clothing. They try to make him feel at home by giving him various chores to do around the house all day. He's naturally despondent, just wanting to go home, so the couple drops him off 'with his people' at El Pollo Loco.
Once there, Butters – now dubbed Mantequilla (Spanish for butter, of course) – rallies his fellow Mexicans and gets them to “cross the border” and go home. Seeing the reverse border hopping take place, the U.S. border patrol is utterly confused and makes it their new aim to stop Mexicans from leaving. Reinvigorated and doubly determined to win the game, Cartman uses his uniform to blend in with the real border agents while the others place fliers around town looking for their lost friend.
Meanwhile, Mantequilla/Butters becomes a national hero in Mexico for returning the civilian prosperity. He ultimately returns to America, of course, and in slipping back across to the U.S. undetected he wins the game for the Mexicans, foiling Cartman's plan.
Trey Parker and Matt Stone have addressed immigration in the past, but this cleverly executed plotline was a solid concept that rang true with related modern dilemmas – particularly with the current crisis in Alabama, where recent legislation has escalated a debate that hits close to home. The focus on self-empowerment throws shades of the Occupy movement currently sparking up around the country, rather than centering on the cauldron of restrictive laws. Which, of course, isn't to say that Parker & Stone have aligned with the 99% demonstrations taking place – the protests are right over the plate of their satirical material spectrum.
CraveOnline Rating: 8 out of 10