I finally watched the conclusion of the South Park three-parter “Coon & Friends” in which the secret identity of Mysterion is revealed to be Kenny McCormick, and even though many of us had correctly guessed or hoped as much, Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s execution, as always, was brilliant.
Some fellow South Park fans (and aren’t we all, really) and reviewers felt bored with the lack of cultural satire, although it really is always there in some form or another. But I couldn’t have been more pleased with the show’s character evolution, even within its loose continuity. Trey and Matt had said that they initially didn’t intend to reveal Mysterion’s identity seriously, previously showing his face at a press conference a la Dark Knight, cleverly reminding us that all South Park kids look the same, with the exception of Eric Cartman, because he’s fat. I’m glad it occurred to the creators (as had to some fans), that they already do have a kid with superpowers to fill that role. And I’m especially glad to have more time dedicated on a deeper personality level to one of my favorite, and, let’s face it, more underserved characters on the show, Kenny.
I would be interested to know how early in the creative process the pair decided that Kenny would be the ‘protector that this city needs’, and to delve into his status as undead/immortal demigod. Kenny’s life and personality are guised but diverse and quite different than the other boys, so it has been rewarding in recent episodes to hear him give voice to the sick reality that is his family life, the town he lives in, his ‘friend’ Eric Cartman, life and death.
Kenny not only recalls the twisted underworld from which he may have once hailed, the ancient city of R’lyeh, but he remembers every death he has had, and is annoyed that his friends cannot. A little twist to the Cassandra complex thrown in there, an ironic and devastating curse to live with, when you think about it.
Hindsight: what is your power?
Kenny (as Mysterion): I can’t die. I’ve experienced death countless times. Sometimes, I see a bright light. Sometimes, I see Heaven or Hell. But eventually, no matter what, I wake up in my bed wearing my same old clothes. The worst part? No one even remembers me dying. I go to school the next day and everyone is just like “Oh, Hey Kenny,” even if they had seen me get decapitated with their own eyes. You want to whine about curses, Hindsight? You’re talking to the wrong f**king cowboy.
TOkun592, from the South Park wiki, made some very good points about the metaphysical connection between Kenny and Cartman. Cartman is shown to be aware of Kenny’s immortality, saying “He dies all the time!” to some repo men in “Cartmanland”. In “Succubus”, Cartman has Kenny’s eyes implanted into him; this could have allowed Cartman to “see” more, as he has Kenny’s immortals eyes. Kenny appears as a Ghost to Cartman in South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut. This is interesting, Kenny’s eyes may have allowed him to see Kenny when others could not.
He also notes that since Cartman has had Kenn’s soul in him in “A Ladder to Heaven” and much of season six, this may make it easier for him to accomplish supernatural feats such as easily controlling Cthulhu, a dark deity from another dimension.
The inclusion of Cthulhu was not only a stroke of genius, but both fitting and well-constructed. As more than merely fan service to nerds everywhere, it’s clear that Parker and Stone have more than the casual acquaintance with the ‘mythos,’ quoting not only some of the more famous lines, but also including other creatures and Elder Gods spewing forth from the BP (DP) Gulf Oil leak. Its inclusion into the South Park universe is placed cleverly, satirically, and in signature over-the-top form. The immortal concept allowed a great framework for Kenny to explore his mystical traits, while hilariously failing to understand at the end.
The ironic punishment of two abusive, neglectful, drunkard rednecks having to continually give birth to the same immortal infant/consciousness, is not only darkly in keeping with Lovecraftian horror cults, but also with the sick nature of South Park’s over-the-top depravity.
And who doesn’t love Mint Berry Crunch? The most hilarious diversion Trey and Matt have ever written into an episode (in three parts, no less).
Though doubtful, I would be eager to see the South Park mythos fleshed out in this area even more, perhaps elucidating Kenny’s many trips to heaven and hell, his past or origins in the nether realms, what exactly was going on with him during season six, or his alternate transformations into ghost or zombie.