The minute The Simpsons Movie came out last year, people began asking when there would be a sequel. Meanwhile, another animated TV series that spawned a big-screen spinoff has toiled away quietly, unburdened by plaintive cries for another trip to the multiplex -- and it's the show I'd most like to see in theaters again. I speak, of course, of South Park.
South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, a profanely brilliant satire of musicals, politics, and pop culture, was one of the high points of the summer of 1999. The TV show was less than two years old at the time, yet the movie far surpassed anything that was being done week-to-week on Comedy Central in terms of scope and ambition. "Blame Canada" was even nominated for a Best Song Oscar, for crying out loud.
Yet there hasn't been much talk of a sequel until now. The Los Angeles Times reports that according to co-creator Trey Parker, he and Matt Stone will definitely make another South Park movie -- as a finale to the TV show. "We talked about maybe some day doing a movie to sort of end it all, and that seems like the best idea," Parker said. "That's been a big thought to do the last show as a movie."
Currently, the duo is committed to doing the show for Comedy Central through 2011. Whether they'll renew the contract then or quit and make a movie, they don't know.
Apparently they almost made a second film last year before having to turn it into the three part "Imaginationland" episode instead. You run out of ideas mid-season, that's what you gotta do. It's evidence of a problem frequently cited by the Simpsons team, which is that it's hard to make a film while still working on a TV series without one or both suffering in quality.
I'm glad to know another South Park film is in the cards, though I wish it could be sooner. Bigger, Longer & Uncut belied detractors' claims that the show didn't have a brain behind its potty mouth. Despite the crude animation and the cruder language, the film sharply skewered everything it set its sights on. The songs were deceptively clever and well-written, and several were spot-on parodies of musicals like Beauty and the Beast and Les Miserables. You could be turned off by the film's filthiness, but there was no denying Stone and Parker hit their satiric targets.
They bucked another trend, too, simply by making a TV-based movie that wasn't awful. By 1999 we'd seen a decade of bad adaptations like The Beverly Hillbillies, The Avengers, The Mod Squad, and Sgt. Bilko, to name only a few. Bigger, Longer & Uncut (along with a select few others) proved that the genre wasn't entirely a lost cause.
So yes, let's have another South Park movie. If nothing else, it would give bad parents another chance to prove their worthlessness by bringing their kids to a midnight screening of it (which I personally witnessed with Bigger, Longer & Uncut). What separates the sophisticated from the rubes better than South Park?
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Eric D. Snider (website) wouldn't mind another Simpsons movie, either.