• Bible Films Blog

    Looking at film interpretations of the stories in the Bible - past, present and future, as well as preparation for a future work on Straub/Huillet's Moses und Aron and a few bits and pieces on biblical studies.

    Matt Page


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    Tuesday, July 14, 2009

    South Park's Margaritaville

    I've been meaning to post this for a while, but the third episode of the current series (series 13) somehow manages to cover both the credit crunch and a parody of the week leading up to Jesus's death. Margaritaville starts when Stan deposits his funds at a bank only for his money to be gone before he leaves his chair. The town goes into hysteria about the failing economy, but unites behind Stan's father Randy's campaign to stop spending except for essentials. Meanwhile Stan's outrage propels him on a journey to the heart of the economy in a quest to return a margarita making machine his family no longer needs. Kyle, however, fails to be convinced by the anti-spending movement, and instead spreads a message about faith (in the economy). As Kyle spreads his message it being clear that his message is being presented in the style of a biblical film. Randy's council starts to resemble the Jewish Sanhedrin, and one of their meetings is interrupted by the news that a young Jew is speaking blasphemy in the marketplace. Cut to a scene of Kyle preventing a "stoning" (with squirrels) of his teacher. There's a Sermon on the Mount scene, very reminiscent of King of Kings (1961), which leads to Randy's council discussing how to deal with Kyle. their meeting is interrupted by Cartman who is all too happy to betray his friend.

    We're then shown Kyle and his followers celebrating their final meal and a (only slightly) guilty Cartman rejoining them. Stan finally gets to the heart of the US treasury department, only to discover that decisions on the economy are made entirely at random. The final scene is of Kyle taking everyone's debts upon himself thus solving the economic crisis, only to see Barack Obama taking all the...um...credit.

    It's a very well worked parody combining scathing comments about the economy, taking shots not only only at the banks and politicians, but also the average person on the street. The parallel with Jesus is particularly so well worked that it makes me wonder whether had this scenario been used as an example of the penal substitution theory of atonement, I might still believe in it.

    US viewers can catch it on South Park's official website. The rest of us can catch it here. There's also a brief write up of it at Clique Clack


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