South Park South Park South Park: Post Covid – a future from Apocalypse 2019 season 5 premiere Something terrible is going to happen in the second episode of South Park’s latest season. Photograph: Comedy Central
The latest season of South Park began with the terrifying revelation that the human race is under attack by a dreaded new disease: Apocalypse 2019.
The virus’s first victim, Cartman, died slowly from the symptoms, eventually dying and being replaced by Waffle. Cartman’s elderly mother, who was also infected, has to undergo plastic surgery to appear more attractive to the neighbourhood boy before succumbing to the inevitable next morning. Despite the early promise, Apocalypse 2019 soon turns into a fairly lackluster continuation of what came before it.
It does however finally, finally bring the long-awaited pop song in South Park that deserves it. After years of tirelessly taunting Cartman, Mr Garrison actually gets some kind of medical breakthrough that transforms him into the unflappable Nietzsche-resembling Mr Mackey, and he starts his long-delayed journey into rightwing politics. Along the way he ends up slaying Treehorn, and relaunches the school rock group The Newts to replace Mr Garrison’s lost band.
In parallel to South Park’s dystopian time-traveling storyline, Apocalypse 2019 takes place in the year 2060, when humanity has already been cloned and extended to the entire planet. Unfortunately for the two parallel versions of Cartman, the virus has spread, and one of them has been cured. The other, though, has not – a horrible turning point that will be coming later in the episode.
After Cartman’s death, the (fictitious) world’s most powerful man, Donald Trump, fights a pop battle against an alien monster – further indelibly linking the satire of South Park’s past and present and demonstrating how far advanced this particular satire has become.
The only potential problem with Apocalypse 2019 is its general length. Episodes of South Park usually run between 40 and 60 minutes, and for South Park’s long-running quality to be this unwieldy for an episode of Apocalypse 2019 is a bit of a jolt. That said, if South Park’s new two-hour epics have taught us anything it’s to expect the unexpected, and it’s pretty hard to imagine Apocalypse 2019 not being at least half-way up the list of strongest episodes of any season to date.