‘South Park: The End of Obesity’ Is the Fat Joke to End All Fat Jokes

Today’s new Paramount+ ‘South Park’ special is a spectacular send-up of every fold and facet of the obesity epidemic
‘South Park: The End of Obesity’ Is the Fat Joke to End All Fat Jokes

In the newest South Park special, South Park: The End of Obesity, nothing tastes better than fighting the American health-care system.

When Paramount+ announced the title and target of the 55-minute South Park special, which it released earlier today, Paramount provocatively propounded the possibility that, after a 27-year struggle with his own fat ass, South Park’s most obese and most racist fourth grader may finally shed his circular figure with the help of trendy weight-loss drugs such as Ozempic. In South Park: The End of Obesity, the boys rally behind Eric Cartman’s attempt to acquire some medically assisted willpower in his efforts to slim down and cast off his unofficial nickname of “fat ass” once and for all, and the entire town grapples with the ramifications of such drugs’ unequal distribution between the haves and the have-nots. 

In a focused and nuanced follow-up to the underwhelming South Park: Not Suitable for Children back in December, Trey Parker and Matt Stone masterfully tackle the obesity epidemic and the many business interests involved in both its treatment and its perpetuation. 

Cartman-sized spoilers ahead for those who haven’t yet watched South Park: The End of Obesity, which is the smartest and funniest South Park special since the Streaming Wars, but its lasting legacy might be fulfilling the promise laid out by its promotional material to make everyone stop calling Cartman “fat ass” to the dismay of Pakistani people everywhere.

In a creative curveball, South Park: The End of Obesity begins with a different disclaimer from its usual “all characters and events on this show” opening card as the creators warn viewers that, during the episode, their ears will have to endure the sounds of Trey Parker actually injecting himself with weight-loss drugs in real life. Then, the special cold-opens on Cartman and his mom at the doctor’s office where the advertised inciting action occurs as he learns about the wondrous world of semaglutide injections, better known by the brand names Ozempic, Wegovy and Rybelsus.

However, Cartman’s doctor informs him that insurance companies don’t consider obesity a disease and, therefore, won’t cover the exorbitant costs of such drugs if the patient doesn’t have a diabetes diagnosis. Upon learning of Cartman’s quandary, Kyle makes the slightly out-of-character decision to help his old frenemy navigate the American health-care system in one of the most hilarious original South Park song montages of all time.

Meanwhile, Randy falls in with a drug-addled crowd of “MILFs” who have been abusing Ozempic just to flaunt their slim figures by wearing crop tops in inappropriate situations, such as when they rob a pharmacy at gunpoint to get their fix after their supply is cut off. The health-care system’s crackdown on non-diabetic Ozempic users simultaneously inspires Kyle, Stan, Kenny and the rest of the boys to order the base ingredients of semaglutide from factories in India at stupidly cheap prices (a real thing that people really do, apparently), which provokes the rage of America’s most dangerous body-positivity activists: the entire cereal lobby.

Tony the Tiger, Captain Crunch and the Coco Puffs bird all band together to end the appetite-suppressing drugs and return Americans to their dependency on sugar and fat-positive music like Lizzo, brutally raiding the Indian factory and inspiring the hilarious news headline, “The Terrorists Claimed That Obesity Is Not a Disease and That Every Body Is Beautiful As They Burned the Factory to the Ground.”

The boys, the MILFs and the cereal mascots all square off in a high-octane, Mad Max-style, bullet-riddled car chase, only to find that, in the end, the health insurance companies always win. However, Kyle resolves to learn a lesson from the debacle and implores the whole school to stop mocking widespread obesity, because the factors behind the problem are much larger and uglier than Cartman’s ass.

South Park: The End of Obesity strikes that important balance between thoughtful satire and absolute silliness that makes South Park such a singular franchise, a juxtaposition that’s been sadly missing from the last few Paramount+ specials. 

Parker and Stone demonstrate a mature understanding of the complexities of the obesity epidemic in America as they skewer the most culpable corporations and individuals responsible for the toll it takes on the middle-to-lower classes, but they never stand too high on the soap box to deliver the outrageous action sequences and hilarious spectacle that every South Park special should feature — especially considering how long we have to wait between each drop of new South Park content.


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