The video: South Park is no stranger to political satire, and it was just a matter of time before the irreverent animated series took on the Occupy Wall Street movement. On Wednesday night's episode of the Comedy Central series, titled "1%," the kids at South Park Elementary fail the nationwide Presidential Fitness Test because grossly overweight Eric Cartman (the 1 percent) brings the entire school's average down. The rest of the students — the 99 percent — protest what they claim to be a flawed system. (Watch highlights below.) Two students Occupy Red Robin, the burger joint that contributed to Cartman's weight gain. When one of them takes a bathroom break, a reporter begins covering the Occupy the Restroom movement, satirizing the media's misguided, overblown coverage of the Occupy movement.
The reaction: This was "a great satire loaded with laughs," says Eric Hochberger at TV Fanatic. And "I can't remember the last time" the show was "so direct" in making its political views known. Actually, the Occupy humor "wasn't all that funny," says Ken Tucker at Entertainment Weekly. The jokes were "uncharacteristically obvious" and "flimsy." The OWS satire did feel "perfunctory," agrees James Poniewozik at TIME. But the episode was saved by a "classically disturbed, and surprisingly poignant" subplot in which Cartman learns to grow up after investigating a strange "killing spree" of his favorite stuffed animals — and discovering that he's the responsible party. See for yourself:
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