‘South Park’ Recap: ‘Tegridy Farms’ Delivers Big Laughs Despite the Weak Plot

The one thing South Park has managed to not f**k up even once is Randy episodes. Stan’s dad Randy has become one of the show’s best characters over the years, mainly on the strength of his ability to completely change everything about himself from episode to episode. Normally, that sort of inconsistency would make for a bad character, but putting Randy in more and more ridiculous situations just works.

The episode opens with Randy and Sharon being called to school because Stan’s sister Shelly sent the recess monitor a picture of her butthole to turn a blind eye to her vaping. It turned out to be a dog’s butthole, but Randy’s had enough and wants to leave South Park to live a life with “hard work and tegridy,” so he moves his family to a farm. It turns out to be a pot farm because it’s Colorado and this is South Park.

Meanwhile at school, Kyle catches his brother with a vape pen and sets out to bring down the school’s vape dealers, who turn out to be Butters and Cartman. This plot never really makes a whole lot of sense or finds much of anything to say, but it does have a really great running gag about Cartman threatening Kyle by telling him Ronan Farrow will write a story about him, presumably about the events of last week’s episode.

Randy’s story is where the really good bits are, though. Randy, as usual, completely over-commits to his role as a pot farmer, making all of the family’s food and drink and clothes from hemp. He even makes Stan a hat out of hemp which causes The Spin Doctors ‘Two Princes” to play as foreground music whenever someone puts it on. They also had the genius idea to pair Randy with Towelie for the first time, with Towelie’s new job as the agricultural inspector who tests pot.

The link between the two plots is vaping, because Randy absolutely loses his s**t about vaping. The message is seemingly that vaping is marketed to children (because only kids like fruit flavors and not getting lung cancer), but Parker and Stone’s real problem, along with Randy’s, seems to be that the people who vape are hipsters and looks dorky. When Stan gets caught with the vape pen he and Kyle took from his brother Ike, Randy isn’t even mad because it’s harmful, he just calls it a “pussy stick” and “penis pen, wussy vape, lady joints.” Randy and his new-found Southern accent that he slips in and out of take it as an assault on his way of life when a vape manufacturer buys a neighboring farm, which leads to the episode’s climax at Big Vape.

If there’s a problem with the episode, it’s the plot feels a little weak. While Randy being irrational and becoming far to invested in something he just started doing is funny, I think they got about as many laughs out of the pot farm as they’re going to and the stuff about vaping didn’t seem to have any point or message aside from “smoking is way cooler than vaping,” which I’m not sure is the intended message and it’s irresponsible even for South Park if it is. One of the themes of the season seems to be that Parker and Stone want to say something about an issue, but they don’t actually know what it is they’re saying.

This season has mostly eschewed the episodic nature of other recent seasons, even ignoring plots set up in early episodes like Cartman vowing to prove Black Panther was a bad movie. It has, however, kept school shootings as a running gag. At this point we just hear gunshots at the school in establishing shots and there aren’t even meta jokes made about it being ignored, it’s just ignored. That made the episode’s ending a bit inscrutable, as Randy and Stan are still living and working on Tedgridy Farms at the end of the episode. And with the show taking off next week, we won’t find out if this story line will continue or not until Halloween. While the episode itself was good with a lot of funny moments, I don’t know that the plot could sustain another episode; it barely held up for this episode.

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