Tastelessness comes in all shapes and sizes, but "South Park"'s brand of trashiness has always had an endearing edge. Naturally, that has a good deal to do with the familiarity we've established over the past 14 years and 15 seasons with the animation and over-the-top grossness, but it doesn't completely explain the hilarity we're able to find in a child (in this case Eric Cartman) literally thrown under a bus, or a school counselor sh*tting himself hard enough to propel him down the hallway.
“Bass to Mouth” is a bizarre tale that centers on a study of the TMZ culture, wherein the schoolkids are obsessed with a new online gossip site hellbent on publishing every intimate detail of the students' lives. Public ridicule inevitably follows, and few have the market cornered on ridicule quite like our beloved little antagonist Cartman.
When one student has an accident in their pants, the Eavesdropper website is all over it, and the faculty immediately sounds the alarm – the same thing happened last year at the school, you see, and that child killed himself due to the endless torment brought about by, well, you should know full well who orchestrated the ridicule by now.
Hoping to preempt the next tragedy, the school faculty brings Cartman in and requests that he help the kid get through the struggle, and bribe him heavily for it – a bribe that consists of beating the living hell out of Selena Gomez, oddly enough. But Cartman's concept of remedying the situation isn't exactly what the faculty had in mind; he gives a laxative-filled cupcake to another student, who craps her pants.
This leads to a scheme among the faculty to have a pizza day with laxative-covered pizza (with Arby's horsey sauce for good measure), but they're thwarted by the real source behind these Eavesdropper stories: it's not being published by a student, but by a rat with a blond wig named Wikileaks.
This ushers in the inevitable and bizarre return of the legendary Lemmiwinks (he previously appeared in the 2002 Season 6 episode “The Death Camp of Tolerance”). Only Lemmiwinks can take down Wikileaks and end the Eavesdropper's reign of humiliation. Along with Lemmiwinks comes the return of the ghostly Frog Prince, as well as Swallow… and let's just say shit gets really weird. The final battle between Wikileaks and Lemmiwinks is ridiculous, with the latter having no personified consciousness but accomplishing the mission anyway – which is to say he tore out the throat of his brother and saved the day.
Somewhere along this bizarre little timeline, the school faculty decides that the only way to wash their hands clean of guilt is to throw Eric Cartman under the bus – literally. They do, and it appears that he dies beneath the wheels of the public transit that the boys are riding back from Lemmiwinks' owner's house. They can't be bothered to mourn their friend while in the middle of a mission, but in the end it doesn't matter. Cartman appears on crutches as the episode concludes, saying "no hard feelings" to Mr. Mackey before the "mmkay" counselor is sent flying down the hall, propelled by his own fecal explosions. Eric had the last laugh, you see, with another dose of his laxative cupcakes.
There's no greater sociological message to be found here, no damning critique of social ills. It's a clusterf*ck of fun and weirdness, and for an animated show about potty-mouthed kids that's a decade and a half old, to expect anything else would be ludicrous. So pay no mind to the huffing journos who are calling for the end and bleating indignant tripe about the show having lost its edge and reducing itself to poop jokes. If you don't see "South Park" for what it is by now, you're as silly as a stupid rat with a wig on.
CraveOnline Rating: 8 out of 10