South Park S25 Episode 4 Review
SCREW. VLADIMIR PUTIN. Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last week, then you know that the Russian President has angered everyone with his invasion of Ukraine last week; and I do mean everyone. The Ukrainians are fighting back with everything they have, the West is sending weapons and money to help them, and everyone’s turning their backs on Russia. Even the Russian people are starting to desert their leader. However, that doesn’t change the fact that it feels like we’ve gone back in time to the days of the Cold War, where all we needed to start World War III was some nutjob pressing a button.
As someone who was born after the fall of the Soviet Union, I don’t know what it was like to grow up like that. As someone who’s well-versed in history, though, I don’t want to see the world go back to that. And neither does South Park, as they make clear in no uncertain terms. But, on the other hand, too much nostalgia can be bad for your health.
Mackey Goes Mad With Cold War Nostalgia
As the town of South Park comes to grips with Putin being the most hated guy on Earth, Mr. Mackey reacts to things in the only way he knows how: panicking. First, he starts putting the school through nuclear drills and making the students freak out and run to the gym. Then when the PC Principal tries to reason with him, he starts thinking he’s a Russian spy. Things quickly snowball from that point onward as Mackey grows increasingly paranoid that Russia’s going to nuke the US. So he tries to pre-empt this by hacking into NORAD.
Mr. Mackey serves as Matt and Trey’s springboard character for them to address just how destructive Cold War Nostalgia can be in today’s climate. Those who grew up in it might miss those times and think things were better because they were simpler. However, the truth was, they really weren’t. Yeah, there was a lot of cool pop culture stuff to come out of that time, but the Cold War also affected the world in ways some people are still recovering from. People lived in fear of the other side and died over it. Is that really what we want to return to? South Park doesn’t think so, and neither do I.
In addition, the reason why the show makes this statement is due to the widespread belief that Putin himself is nostalgic for the days of the Soviet Union. And that Russia invading Ukraine is part of an attempt to return things to the way they were under Communist Russia. In other words, Putin’s gone mad with Cold War Nostalgia.
Don’t Hate the Country, Hate the Guy In Charge
On the other end of things, we have Butters serving as the focus for the B-Plot. As he gets ready for this dressage competition, he goes up against this kid from a Russian family living in South Park. Thus, Butters’s parents boo and hiss this other kid (who never even speaks) for no other reason than simply being Russian. Again, the point is clear: right now, no one wants to be affiliated with Russia in any way; the country’s a pariah. But we shouldn’t throw shade at innocent people just for being Russian.
Hear me out: you shouldn’t hate someone just because of where they come from, even if their original home has done bad things. This is because they have got no control over what the people in power do and are thus blameless about everything. Or, as I like to put it, don’t hate an entire people because their leaders are jerks. Instead, hate the people in charge, like Putin. That’s basically what South Park is trying to tell us in a very unsubtle way, all while making jokes about horses pooping and mounting each other.
Not the Best Episode, But It Has Something to Say
“Back to The Cold War” might be the weakest episode of the show’s twenty-fifth season for several reasons. Firstly, it backslides into dealing with current world events, something that the show seemed to want to avoid after the Pandemic. However, it’s impossible to not say anything about the Russian Invasion of Ukraine. Matt and Trey had to say something about it. And yeah, some of the stuff was pretty funny (Butters’ pony kept trying to have sex with the other pony), but it could’ve done it in a less confusing way. If anything, this episode felt like a reaction to how Putin’s Cold War Nostalgia is ruining things for everyone.
Now, rather than end on something else, I have something to say. If you want to help the Ukraine ruin Putin’s plans, then donate money to help them. UNICEF, the Ukrainian Red Cross, and many others are working to help the people suffering in this war. Also, there is now a million-dollar bounty on Putin’s head. No, I am not joking.