S22E02: "A Boy And A Priest" postshow discussion.

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S22E02: "A Boy And A Priest" postshow discussion.

Postby JamesPolo » Thu Oct 04, 2018 5:00 am

Well the first thing I thought of was of Shelly. She had a talking role in this episode, man would I like to see her have a big role in an episode. She was like the only one other than Butters that felt sorry for Maxi with all the hateful and pedophile like comments that the townspeople made at church. I was waiting for her to say something last episode and was happy she got to talk this time.

It did feel gross at times that Butters befriended Maxi but it had a genuine quality to it. We know Butters is put down a lot and that it was nice to see him with a friend that has it just as hard. It took a couple of minutes but I did realize that Maxi is not a child predator and the episode enforces that. The relationship did remind me of this Jew I knew who was like 25 and hung out with middle school and high school kids but I’m pretty sure he had some serious issues and was a pedophile of some kind.

I liked the calamity Jane joke as Heidi was that cowgirl type of character in I think its phone destroyer. It was a nice gender bend and showed that Cartman has feelings for her still and misses her. Heidi should be shown in some way if not just for a second in an episode this season.

I felt bad for Butters and Maxi as no one seemed to like either of them. Maxi should have had others to spend time with but I think the episode played out well enough that he was some kind of loner.

The Catholic Clean Up Crew was funny. They were like some sort of Mafia group like in the movies. The its either blood and cum or ketchup and mayo had me laugh. The kumby and Kumboni seemed brutal. Cum is tough to clean up though. I’m guessing that plays off Orgazmo or just general dislike to cleaning tools like that.

The creators decided to have Maxi be a kind of a hero as his story is that he tried to clean up the church himself but got lost. At the end he finally gets to do the cleaning. It was fun to see Maxi kill those guys. I think that they should have raped the boys themselves to add justification for killing them. Still they were making sure that Priests that raped children get away with it and get to just relocate somewhere nice. I guess Matt and Trey see that as a reason to kill off characters.

Overall I liked the episode but it deals with a serious issue that is hard to laugh at. Lots of people have been raped. Priests are there to help people but the setup and lifestyle causes them to become big fags. I’ll give the episode a few more watches to see how I feel.

I think it was at least a 7.5/10. The issue was a large one but it ends with Maxi just killing three people he knew were bad that are part of the church. We know the episode could have gone further to Maxi killing the Pope or something. The episode leaves the viewer knowing Maxi will fight child rape when he see’s it, countering the hateful things that townspeople throw at Maxi.

The episode could have used some scenes where people thought more of Butters and Maxi as being in a gay relationship. I’m sure having people catch them together in scenes that are gay priest joke setups would have made the episode more fun. Instead more time is spent making sure the viewer knows that both Butters and Maxi are bullied and that people don’t like their presence and that their friendship is not a sexual one but of human decency. I guess its just like Butters to make friends with a priest.
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S22E02: "A Boy And A Priest" postshow discussion.

Postby kfgg » Thu Oct 04, 2018 5:12 am

They licensed a few songs, always like it when they do that. I couldn’t identify all of them but I was able to recognize a couple of the songs at the skating rink. They had an original too which is great.

The only issue I saw with this episode was that they had a lot to shove into 22 minutes. A lot was probably deleted for time.
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S22E02: "A Boy And A Priest" postshow discussion.

Postby Big-Will » Thu Oct 04, 2018 5:53 am

Someday I'll get this right, lol. Posts about the episode have been mvoved here from the other thread and the subject titles changed to reflect that.
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Re: S22E02: "A Boy And A Priest" postshow discussion.

Postby JVM » Thu Oct 04, 2018 6:01 am

Father Maxi's Return
It would be a stretch to suggest Priest Maxi is one of the show's more popular or iconic characters, but he's been a fixture since the show's first season and usually maintained a seasonal presence on the show for the first several years, but he drifted out of focus for a full six years, from the thirteenth thru nineteenth seasons, and even many of the episodes just outside that period aren't very substantial, more akin to cameos. His only significant appearance in over a decade has probably been "The End of Serialization As We Know It", leading the Church in prayer.

After a long period out of the spotlight though, the character returns in a big way here, leading the updated church in mass once again, bringing the community together by their ripping on him. It's a smart choice because it manages to be funny while also playing into how rarely the characters seem involved in forms of worship and outright ignorant, while still reinforcing the church's importance. It also creates an easy mirror with the kids' behavior - multiple previous episodes focused on the idea that the kids ripping on each other is part of how their friendships work.

Most importantly though, Maxi is renewed as a character -- as he is not only a devout man of faith prone to mistakes and sin, but we also introduce him as a lonely outsider in the town who is not valued by those around him. This adds a fresh dimension to the character for future appearances and spin-offs beyond simply using him as a human prop to explore issues of faith, and also renews him as one of the more level-headed and responsible adults in the town in an era of the show when such characters have generally been phased out and de-emphasized.

I'll talk more about his role in the actual episode later.

Butters' Development
When Butters was properly introduced to the show in season 3, we were told he was one of the most unpopular kids in school, on the same level as the well-loathed Pip, and all of the kids ripped on him regularly. As the boys began using him for their schemes and he was promoted to a main character, the ripping began to draw back as they became more friendly, until it became mostly Cartman who ripped on Butters; "Casa Bonita" and "AWESOM-O" are great flashpoints, as these episodes both show Stan and Kyle siding with Butters over Cartman. Over the last five years, the main four boys have almost disappeared in favor of Butters as an official fifth main character, and he headlines more episodes than Stan, Kyle or Kenny. Within the boys' extended group, we also see him with Craig and his friends, who seem to be more popular than them!

Why does this matter?

The real-life development behind Butters is mirrored indirectly in his speech to Father Maxi as he discusses how everyone once ripped on him once, but now he's become one of the cool kids; this is underlined a little more when he mentions Maxi's speech two years earlier, which is roughly what a realistic South Park timeline would fit. It reminds me how Officer Barbrady referenced having previously been the town's only policemen in early seasons. It's sometimes difficult to tell if South Park's changes over time are intended as retroactive by Matt and Trey, given that it rarely looks backwards, but this episode reinforces Butters' social evolution is a part of his character and not merely a retroactively bigger role in the boys' history. (save "Pre-School")

Again, this seems irrelevant, but it does matter -- because this evolution is part of the emotion in Butters' story to Father Maxi. This is not Butters merely telling the audience and Maxi he's been there, but those of us watching regularly knowing ourselves that Butters has been there. There's a deeper understanding at play. The scenes are enhanced by remembering what Butters has been through, and what he's overcome, as the show's run. If someone like Stan or Kenny was in this role, the episode's standalone story wouldn't be terribly effected, but it wouldn't have the same emotional impact. The light continuity connection adds a lot.

Clyde's Birthday
It's been a while since Clyde's been a presence on the show, as focus has shifted increasingly to Craig, who is now usually with his boyfriend rather than his other friends. Token's persisted due to his satirical and representational value, and Jimmy's still around the boys with his usual episode a season, but Clyde's fallen a bit to the wayside, never completely forgotten but rarely in focus. Funnily enough, his last appearance in "Moss Piglets" involved him telling the other kids his birthday party was the same weekend as that episode's conclusion... and if that isn't enough, he had a birthday party at Casa Bonita back during season 14's "You Have 0 Friends". He's a busy kiddo.

The Roller Rink is a new location for the show here, and it's the setting for Clyde's birthday bash. It's an interesting but welcome change, as Casa Bonita has often but never exclusively been shorthand for birthday parties in South Park. In addition to our boys, we also see Craig, Tweek, Token, Kevin Stoley, Dogpoo, and at least two or three more kids in the party group, and Powder is a familiar face on the rink, although those kids didn't look to be party guests. Interestingly, I don't believe Roger Donovan was present, presumably just off-screen; indeed, outside the one shot with Fr. Maxi we don't believe we see any adults present.

Continuity
Stan's arm is in a sling and that's all that is carried forward from last week. My good friend @kittylovesvideogames called this last week and I think it was the smart decision. While a lot of complaints about the show the last few years have taken aim at continuity, there's a difference between continuity and serialization, and the latter is the real root of these complaints. Keeping little balls like this in play is how it should be done.

Later on, we get an interesting note as Priest Maxi mentions having gone all the way to the Vatican to solve the problem with Priests molesting young boys, only to stay quiet thinking the problem could be solved, becoming disillusioned by this point. It's an interesting allusion to "Red Hot Catholic Love", a well-remembered episode many fans were reminded of this week. While Maxi was broadcast on television live delivering his speech, the fact he "stayed quiet" could still fit with his not leaving the Church. The "straight to the Vatican" comment makes it clear to any fan, but without references to the Queen Spider or Gelgameks, it can still work to a non-fan as a reference to any priest questioning the situation.

A huge reason I bring this up is because this callback forms the basis of an emotional sequence, and it completely works without having seen the previous episode, but it also comes off a lot stronger when the viewer can remember and understand the effort Maxi underwent. The kind of effort a lot of fans were worried this episode would be invalidating. It plays similarly to Butters' referencing having once been unpopular, forming the basis for his speech to Maxi and their friendship. This consistency makes minor characters like Maxi more interesting, and it's non-linear nature keeps the feeling that South Park is a universe and not merely a toolbox for satire. This is how continuity is supposed to work

There's a delicate balance at play, but the show found it -- there's ways to work continuity that don't alienate people but still deepen the show for fans.

Resolution
The key words for the resolution are "There'll be plenty of priests to replace you here in South Park."

Priest Maxi is not happy in the town and still feels excluded, and he's felt powerless for not speaking out against the Church -a fresh start can allow him to find a new, kinder congregation and a fresh start; but this line reminds him that by leaving the town behind, he is also leaving the children to fall prey to the very cancer he has spoken out against in the past. He's felt powerless, but he realizes just being here and enduring the townspeople's ridicule, he is protecting the children and making a difference, thus rediscovering his purpose in the town and becoming comfortable with his role. The realization his exit might enable the kind of behavior that's made him ashamed is what enables his revenge against the Clean-Up Crew.

It has a bittersweet quality, as Maxi has to continuing enduring abuse, but it seems that he feels a sense of purposing knowing he is protecting the children.

Trivia/Notes
- Stuart has his first lines in a good while, and more interestingly hanging out with Randy just the two of them; the two of them seemed to be the closer of the dads around seasons 4-6ish, and I'd been remarking to a friend the other day how it seemed Stephen had replaced Stuart and Gerald as Randy's best friend and confidante.
- No sign of Skeeter at Skeeter's Wine Bar this time, lol
- Sharon seems to be wearing her normal sweater inside the church in the first scene, but has on a fancier outfit outside later.
- The Church now has the cemetery gate and a little sign, in line with South Park: The Fractured But Whole but these might've been there in its last appearance.
- "Board game night"; Trey loves board games and we've seen Stan playing with Grandpa a few years ago, and the boys used to play Investigative Reports with Bill Kurtis in a few older episodes.
- Cartman has his third or fourth variant of a cowboy outfit, eh?
- Kenny manages a pretty early line in this one.
- A potential connection with the previous show: discussion of priests molesting young boys, addressed on the show over fifteen years ago, is so normalized that the parents joke about it regularly.
- Linda Stotch seems to be especially fond of making
- You can see a lot of parents in the Church - the Marshes, the Stotches, the Blacks, the Tuckers, Mr. Valmer, in addition to Mr. Adler, Jimbo and Mr. Mackey - but I didn't spot Ms. Cartman, Mrs. Valmer or the McCormicks inside. Carried over from s20, we also can spot Det. Yates and his wife as well. I might've missed a few,
- Not related to the episode, but made me wonder; is PC Principal a Catholic?

Personal Note
There's weak spots in this episode and it probably sounds like I'm giving it a free pass -- but this is the kind of episode I wish the show was willing to do more often. It checks most of the principal boxes -- it still ties into current events in a humorous way, but the emotional core of the story comes from the characters - not just in the way they're established in this story, but as they're established in the show's larger continuity. It's still a complete standalone story that performs on its own but it's strengthened by the ties that connect it to other episodes as well. By bringing together two characters who haven't interacted extensively before, it also alters the existing fabric of the show in a different way. None of these elements stops it from being humorous, and there's jokes that don't fall into the same running gags so it's not reliant upon any one thing.
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Re: S22E02: "A Boy And A Priest" postshow discussion.

Postby Big-Will » Thu Oct 04, 2018 6:08 am

Okay, so the town wasn't suspecting pedophilia from Fr. Maxi, they were just bummed that he disappeared for unknown reasons.

Fr. Maxi had a crisis of faith that led him to think the cleanup crew were going to kill him. When he heard what they offered, he killed them instead. He got rid of something a lot of Catholics think the Church should get rid of: the transfer of pedophile priests to parishes that don't know their history, thereby allowing those priests to find new victims. But he killed three of his fellow priests in the process, so he'll do penance for that. I don't think anyone in town will report that to the authorities, they're just happy to have their priest back, and are just as happy to resume the pedophile priest jokes. :mrgreen:
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Re: S22E02: "A Boy And A Priest" postshow discussion.

Postby JamesPolo » Thu Oct 04, 2018 3:29 pm

Big-Will wrote:
Thu Oct 04, 2018 6:08 am
Okay, so the town wasn't suspecting pedophilia from Fr. Maxi, they were just bummed that he disappeared for unknown reasons.

Fr. Maxi had a crisis of faith that led him to think the cleanup crew were going to kill him. When he heard what they offered, he killed them instead. He got rid of something a lot of Catholics think the Church should get rid of: the transfer of pedophile priests to parishes that don't know their history, thereby allowing those priests to find new victims. But he killed three of his fellow priests in the process, so he'll do penance for that. I don't think anyone in town will report that to the authorities, they're just happy to have their priest back, and are just as happy to resume the pedophile priest jokes. :mrgreen:
I thought that the townspeople were being nihilists as they joked on Maxi. Its that they don't care if their kids are raped as a continuation of their uncaringness from last episode with school shootings. Everyone knows Priests rape kids sometimes. They just don't give a rats ass anymore unless it cuts out their fun time which is making fun of peoples life's work.
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Re: S22E02: "A Boy And A Priest" postshow discussion.

Postby Det. Sandy Vagina » Thu Oct 04, 2018 3:40 pm

Just like I said after the previous episode, I knew Stan was gonna have an arm cast... And yet there were people panicking, believing he would be killed off...
People who say Father Maxi is a great character are just bullsh*tting because aside from Red Hot Catholic Love, he's never been anything but "the priest" for when the characters went to church. He's never been a three dimensional, unique, interesting character.

That aside, I still liked that he got an episode of his own, as I love it when minor characters get a chance in the spotlight, no matter who they are.
Also, I was under the impression that the townspeople knew Father Maxi wasn't a pedophile. Not that they don't care if their kids are molested...
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Re: S22E02: "A Boy And A Priest" postshow discussion.

Postby James--76 » Thu Oct 04, 2018 6:05 pm

I reckon it was Kyle who invited Butters to board game night :lol: better episode than last weeks.I heard The Whispers- “It’s a love thing” at the Kidzone Roller Rink.
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Re: S22E02: "A Boy And A Priest" postshow discussion.

Postby Stanluv25 » Thu Oct 04, 2018 8:04 pm

Wow, another wonderful episode. Two great episodes back-to-back? I think they're spoiling us. :roll:

Anyway, what a hilarious but also genuine episode. Gotta love the usual jokes of the catholic church and everyone in it being pedophiles, and the clean up crew going around town 'cleansing' was hilarious. The silly scrubby machine they used on Stan and Clyde that obviously doesn't do sh*t. :lol: This episode once again made me fall in love with Butters all over again. He's not some little bitch to Cartman's latest schemes, he's just a sweet kid who cares for others. All he wants is to show Priest Maxi a good time and to be his friend. And he takes him along to board game night at Stan's, saying he's one of the popular kids now. :lol: Poor naive Butters, but that's what has always made him so cute. After this, I really like Priest Maxi as a character. I already knew he wasn't the typical pedo and that's what makes him cool. He generally cares for the boys and their safety and he's aware of what the church tries to hide. He'd rather stay behind for the boys than go off and start anew.
LOLed at the clean up crew luring Butters, Stan, and Clyde in a van then sitting them in nothing but their underwear to 'lure' Maxi. So wrong but funny. Clyde- worst birthday ever! But they said he's turning 8? I thought they were 10 now? They aren't consistent with their ages so oh well.
There was also a great balance of Butters and Priest Maxi scenes as well as Stan scenes which was nice. Gotta love Stan walking around with a sling the entire time from getting shot last week. :lol: So it follows after the events of last week yet this was an entirely new story. Like that.
I'm sure there's more to say but as you can see, I loved this episode. Will watch again. 9/10
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Re: S22E02: "A Boy And A Priest" postshow discussion.

Postby mario88 » Thu Oct 04, 2018 9:27 pm

i can't understand if these 2 episodes were good or bad. i feel i should watch them 10 times before forming an opinion and even then, i'm not sure i would be able to.

besides, when a work of art (like i consider south park to be) is so open to interpretation, people tend to impose on them their own view. and maybe that's want south park wants, who knows.

at this point, i am almost speechless, cause i simply don't quite understand what they wanted to communicate.
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Re: S22E02: "A Boy And A Priest" postshow discussion.

Postby kfgg » Fri Oct 05, 2018 2:54 am

Clyde’s party at the roller rink has my mind stuck in 1997-1998. Nobody does that anymore. At least not around here. There was a time when that was a more common thing.
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Re: S22E02: "A Boy And A Priest" postshow discussion.

Postby Big-Will » Fri Oct 05, 2018 3:18 am

All right, how many birthdays has Clyde had on the show? I count three, which would make him 11 if the show actually let the kids age, :lol: Yet here he's 8 again.
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Re: S22E02: "A Boy And A Priest" postshow discussion.

Postby triplemultiplex » Sat Oct 06, 2018 2:27 am

A much more compelling story this week even while touching on another sensitive topic.

I am happy they stuck with the canon of Father Maxi being one of the only priests in the SP universe not out there raping little boys. And I like how that still throws the rest of the Church for a loop. I got my Red Hot Catholic Love callback I think I wanted. And it was done in a way that made sense for the episode even if you haven't seen that classic one.

Butters reaching out to someone he saw as being a fellow outcast was very much in character for him. Though when he reached for Maxi's thigh, that was a little WTF? Made me think they were going to go in a way different direction with that relationship. But in retrospect, that was just the old comedy "rule of 3". One weird thing preceded by two seemingly normal things is inherently funny.

The clean up crew; I thought at first the one Cardinal was "Pope Bill Donahue" from Fantastic Easter Special. It's a close resemblance, but not quite.
The sound effect for the "cumby" was delightful.

In the end, Maxi seeing himself as protecting his community from the organization he's supposed to represent somehow doesn't lead him to question his involvement in said organization. It's an astute observation about how many Catholics seem to stick by their team amid this endless child abuse scandal. The latest revelation is just from one US state. It's gotta be that times 50 and then times every other sect out there. (Fat chance the Catholics are the only Christian brand who put the organization before the people!)

This was a good bounce-back episode after a weak opener. Unlike last week, the character I wanted to empathize with (Maxi and his taking flak for what his peers have done) actually gets to be the hero; unlike last week when Sharon wilts to the crowd's insistence that she's just PMS'ing. This was satisfying in a way that the premiere was not.

A final note, I and others were quite right about Stan being just fine. I think I predicted he'd just have bandage; I was close. It was amusing that his injury was acknowledged by no one. Now I'm wondering if he'll have that sling all season. Then like, it doesn't get mentioned until the season finale when it suddenly becomes a critical plot point; like he can't do a simple task that would save the day. "Oh, my arm!" and the bad/hilarious thing happens while us viewers are rolling on the floor from a season-long call back.
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Re: S22E02: "A Boy And A Priest" postshow discussion.

Postby Stanluv25 » Sat Oct 06, 2018 6:44 am

^ I was thinking the same thing about Stan's arm currently in a sling. It will be pretty hilarious if he has it all season and even funnier if no one mentions what happened until the end. :lol: Wasn't Butters in a halo head brace thing a few seasons ago that lasted the majority of the season? It would be funny if the same thing goes for Stan. Especially since it's his right arm so he's going to have to learn how to use his left for simple tasks now.
I did wonder why he wasn't at Clyde's birthday party. Maybe it was best not to risk roller skating if he already has an injured arm. :lol:
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Re: S22E02: "A Boy And A Priest" postshow discussion.

Postby JVM » Mon Oct 08, 2018 11:21 am

Det. Sandy Vagina wrote:People who say Father Maxi is a great character are just bullsh*tting because aside from Red Hot Catholic Love, he's never been anything but "the priest" for when the characters went to church. He's never been a three dimensional, unique, interesting character.
People say this because Priest Maxi is a good person, something that is almost never true in comedic television anymore because 'three dimensional, unique, interesting' characters are usually really f*cked-up. The term 'good character' is often used simultaneously for well-crafted fictional characters as well as for fictional characters who happen to be good people, because people aren't usually going to assign personhood to something fictional. The other adults in the show are typically careless and/or stupid, and even some of the nice ones tend to be highly eccentric, so Maxi's relatively grounded and protective self comes off as better, next to Randy who doesn't really care if his son is severely hurt and shifts from being overprotective to outright neglectful depending on the demands of the episode at hand.
James--76 wrote:I reckon it was Kyle who invited Butters to board game night :lol: better episode than last weeks.I heard The Whispers- “It’s a love thing” at the Kidzone Roller Rink.
I think the intended joke is that nobody actually invited Butters, since nobody speaks up when he leaves; he's still expected because he's come before ("board game nights" is plural) but I also kind of prefer to think it actually is Kyle just because it's hard for me to imagine Butters inviting himself.
Stanluv25 wrote:So wrong but funny. Clyde- worst birthday ever! But they said he's turning 8? I thought they were 10 now? They aren't consistent with their ages so oh well.
Big-Will wrote:All right, how many birthdays has Clyde had on the show? I count three, which would make him 11 if the show actually let the kids age, :lol: Yet here he's 8 again.
You have to be nine to start the fourth grade most of the time, but the show was still invariably calling them eight or nine year olds from season 4 thru season 14; I think "Crack Baby Athletic Association" was the first time anyone was referenced in dialogue as being ten years old, and the way "You're Getting Old" is set up, it seems that Stan is probably one of the older kids in his grade; what I'm getting at is that, sadly, this is one of the show's most frequent recurring errors in the show.

It's also possible that the Holy Dude didn't know Clyde well enough to know his real age anyway :)
triplemultiplex wrote:A final note, I and others were quite right about Stan being just fine. I think I predicted he'd just have bandage; I was close. It was amusing that his injury was acknowledged by no one. Now I'm wondering if he'll have that sling all season. Then like, it doesn't get mentioned until the season finale when it suddenly becomes a critical plot point; like he can't do a simple task that would save the day. "Oh, my arm!" and the bad/hilarious thing happens while us viewers are rolling on the floor from a season-long call back.
Oh God, please. This is the kind of continuity I wish the show returned to more often. Little old things coming handy, or becoming really inconvenient, more often.
kfgg wrote:Clyde’s party at the roller rink has my mind stuck in 1997-1998. Nobody does that anymore. At least not around here. There was a time when that was a more common thing.
I felt similarly. though I live near a skating place and I never knew it existed until I was an adult, and one of my neighbors has been going there since they were a toddler, so maybe I'm not the best judge. Maybe Roger just didn't feel like paying for Casa Bonita tickets :)
Stanluv25 wrote:I did wonder why he wasn't at Clyde's birthday party. Maybe it was best not to risk roller skating if he already has an injured arm. :lol:
There was empty seat or two in front of the camera, so I think the intention was that Stan was invited but unable to attend due to the Clean-Up Crew.

Or maybe it was payback for not inviting Clyde to the Terrance and Phillip party last season :)

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