Film reviews and more since 2009

South Park: The End of Obesity (2024) review

Dir. Trey Parker

By: Steve Pulaski

Rating: ★★★½

How do Trey Parker, Matt Stone, and the hardworking folks behind South Park follow up their previous special, (Not Suitable for Children), which I called “unquestionably the funniest, most accomplished of the bunch?” With South Park: The End of Obesity, another creative home-run that delivers body-blows to the American healthcare system, fad dieting, and the stranglehold both the junk food and the pharmaceutical industry have on this country.

In the past, I’ve lamented that South Park was better when it focused on plots related to the kids, and incorporated celebrities based on the storyline (episodes “Korn’s Super Groovy Pirate Ghost Mystery” and “Stupid Spoiled Whore Video Playset” are dime examples of this). The End of Obesity has Trey and Matt finding a delightful convergence of referential material and narrative ingenuity. What’s essentially a triptych of three distinctly different storylines meld together into an uproariously funny special, proving that most of these have been so good that ranking them in quality is almost impossible.

The End of Obesity revolves around the drug Ozempic, initially made for folks with diabetes that has now been found to lead to extreme weight loss. The special opens with Cartman visiting a doctor, who informs of him the new “miracle drug” that costs $1,200/month unless a patient has diabetes. Being that Cartman’s mom cannot afford it, the doctor instead prescribes “Lizzo,” a “drug” that should be consumed several times a day by watching the singer’s music videos. “Rich people get Ozempic, poor people get body positivity,” Cartman later says, a quote that should be inscribed on hospitals nationwide.

This leads to Cartman, Stan, Kyle, Butters, and Kenny trying to do the impossible in “navigating the American healthcare system.” This prompts a hysterically funny (and accurate) musical number revolving around America’s rigmarole of a medical system that involves several parties in what’s basically a competition to see who can be the least useful. The boys book appointments, fill out forms, fax documents, and argue with insurance in what leads to a whole lot of nothing; one of the most realistic South Park sequences of all-time.

Stan is the one to suggest the boys just order semiglutides, the active ingredient in Ozempic, from a factory in India in effort to make their own weight-loss shots, of course with the help of TikTok and YouTube nerds. When their formula proves successful, they decide to sell the shots for “less than the price of a Little Debbie snack” to help others hamstrung by a broken system.

Such a move angers the boardroom of “Big Sugar,” comprised of folks like Cap’n Crunch, Trix Rabbit, and Sonny the Cuckoo Bird, who preach the gospel of “body positivity” in effort to sell more sugary cereal unabated. Meanwhile, Randy gets involved with a group of the Ozempic-addicted moms of South Park when he’s mistaken for being “into drugs.” It affords him an opportunity to hang with MILFs, so he sticks with it, all the way to rocking a crop-top and later robbing a pharmacy at gunpoint.

The mascots of your child’s favorite junk food being portrayed as cutthroat mobsters would be enough to make The End of Obesity necessary viewing for South Park] fans, but the pointed attacks on the sorry-ass American healthcare system lead you to believe Trey, Matt, or someone in their family was recently victim to such a broken industry. Even Lizzo liberally catches strays in the second half of the special when a commercial about how“FDA-approved Lizzo makes you feel good about your weight” plays as Randy’s wife, Sharon, flirts with the idea of using the “drug.”

To boot, Cartman’s main priority is not shedding weight in order to live more comfortably nor be accepted for his appearance. He wants to be able to call Kyle “a stupid Jew,” tell the girls at his school they have “small tits,” and Pakistanis in particular that their country “smells like ass” while leaving them without an easy retort. The End of Obesity has South Park operating at its most merciless, both from an attack and narrative standpoint. The climax involves a Mad Max: Fury Road-esque car-chase with bastardization of recognizable characters unseen in the series since Imaginationland. If this gives you an idea as to the anarchic sensibilities of the latest South Park special, you still owe it to yourself to laugh loudly as you, if only for less than an hour, forget how America is built not only on dreams but on scams alike.

NOTE: South Park: The End of Obesity is available to stream exclusively on Paramount+.

My review of South Park: The Pandemic Special
My review of South ParQ: Vaccination Special
My review of South Park: Post COVID
My review of South Park: Post COVID: The Return of COVID
My review of South Park: The Streaming Wars
My review of South Park: The Streaming Wars Part 2
My review of South Park: Joining the Panderverse
My review of South Park: (Not Suitable for Children)

Voiced by: Trey Parker and Matt Stone. Directed by: Trey Parker.

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About Steve Pulaski

Steve Pulaski has been reviewing movies since 2009 for a barrage of different outlets. He graduated North Central College in 2018 and currently works as an on-air radio personality. He also hosts a weekly movie podcast called "Sleepless with Steve," dedicated to film and the film industry, on his YouTube channel. In addition to writing, he's a die-hard Chicago Bears fan and has two cats, appropriately named Siskel and Ebert!

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