World War Zimmerman
|"World War Zimmerman"|
|South Park episode|
|Episode no.||Season 17
|Directed by||Trey Parker|
|Written by||Trey Parker|
|Original air date||October 9, 2013|
|South Park (season 17)
List of South Park episodes
"World War Zimmerman" is the third episode of the seventeenth season of South Park, and the 240th episode of the series overall. It premiered on Comedy Central in the United States on October 9, 2013. It parodies World War Z and the George Zimmerman murder trials.
Eric Cartman draws attention by acting unusually nice to Token Black, and having nightmares while asleep in class. When his counselor, Mr. Mackey, questions him, Cartman says he thinks Token is a "ticking time bomb". It is revealed that his nightmares feature himself as Gerry Lane, the protagonist in the feature film World War Z, with the role of the zombies in that film being played by African Americans, including Token, who are rioting after the verdict of the Zimmerman trial. As per Mackey's encouragement, Cartman reads a poem to Token, and later performs a musical adaptation of it at a student assembly, disavowing any involvement with the Zimmerman case. When Token takes offense at the notion that he should feel bad because of Cartman's feelings, Cartman, feeling the "outbreak has started", goes to his house for his survival kit, picks up a random woman (warning her to get to the nearest airport if they wanted to live) and commandeers a passenger plane at an airport, warning the passengers they can only stop the end of the world by finding a place where the "contagion" can't reach them.
At the departure point airport, the authorities find a crude survival guide made by Eric, which depicts black people as zombies and Token as Patient Zero. On the airplane, Cartman discovers a black passenger in the bathroom, and locks him in. When the passenger tries to break out, the other passengers, hearing his screams, believe Cartman and begin to panic, causing the plane to crash in the Rocky Mountains. Cartman and the woman survive and go to Jimbo's gun store to purchase a rifle to kill Token, but Jimbo informs him he can't shoot anybody unless he's threatened in his own home (as Colorado, unlike Florida, does not have a stand-your-ground law). After considering this, Cartman and the woman head for Florida to shoot "the other Patient Zero", George Zimmerman, as a way to stop the outbreak. After once again commandeering and crashing a plane, Cartman and the woman arrive in Florida at night. The two wear black so as best to remain unseen. The woman states she hadn't been able to thank Cartman for his bravery, but is hit by a truck. Cartman then goes to Zimmermans' house wearing blackface. Zimmerman shoots Cartman, to the praise of the officials for apparently saving them, before one of the agents discovers that Cartman is white. Zimmerman is tried, found guilty, and executed via electrocution for attempted murder.
Cartman survives the shooting, and back in South Park, he apologizes to Token, who is upset at being publicly branded as a Patient Zero. Cartman then tricks Token into moving close enough to shoot him as per the stand-your-ground law. At school, Cartman once again has another nightmare, this time about the "terrible" ending to the film World War Z, and is sent to Mackey's office along with a bandaged Token. When Mackey demands that the two apologize to each other in order to resolve their "feud", and argues that Cartman's shooting of Token was legal, Token angrily denounces the stand-your-ground law and questions why it does not apply to white people. Cartman panics and flees once more, causing yet another plane to crash.
In its original American broadcast, "World War Zimmerman" was watched by 2.056 million overall households, according to Nielsen Media Research. The episode received a 1.2 rating/5 share among adults aged between 18 and 49.
The episode received generally positive reviews. Marcus Gilmer of The A.V. Club gave the episode an A−, describing it as excellent satire, concluding, "Some of those moments were brutal but it in a meaningful, impactful, and, yes, even funny way. That's what satire does when it works: It scorches." Max Nicholson of IGN graded the episode an 8.7 out of 10 and opined that "I always know it's a great episode of South Park when I have to walk on eggshells just to review it." He praised the "great social commentary" and concluded that the episode was "a return to form for South Park". Chris Longo of Den of Geek gave the episode four and a half stars out of five. He described the episode as featuring "classic Cartman" and concluded by saying "when South Park took an extended hiatus, we dreamed it would pay off in well-thought out, precisely executed performances like these. Bravo, Matt and Trey." Josh Kurp of Uproxx described being left "speechless", and compared Cartman's behavior in the episode to his acts in the fifth season episode "Scott Tenorman Must Die".
Conversely, Jack Cashill, author of If I Had A Son: Race, Guns, and the Railroading of George Zimmerman, criticized the episode's satire of stand-your-ground laws, saying that the creators, whom Cashill noted are usually bold enough to espouse contrarian views, instead "took the tried and true" approach with respect to such laws and the Zimmerman case. Cashill commented, "South Park had it absolutely wrong and it’s really a shame because they are one of the few sources of common sense on the mainstream media." Cashill stated that those laws passed in Florida with overwhelming support from the black community because such laws actually help minorities more than any other group, and stated, "The Zimmerman case had nothing to do with 'Stand Your Ground' regardless, it was a case of self-defense."
- Kondolojy, Amanda. "Wednesday Cable Ratings: 'Duck Dynasty' Beats 'American Horror Story: Coven' + MLB Baseball, 'Bad Ink', 'South Park' & More". TV by the Numbers. Zap2it. Retrieved October 20, 2013.
- Gilmer, Marcus (October 10, 2013). "'World War Zimmerman'". The A.V. Club.
- Nicholson, Max. "South Park: "World War Zimmerman" review". IGN. Retrieved October 20, 2013.
- Longo, Chris. "South Park: World War Zimmerman, Review". Den of Geek. Dennis Publishing. Retrieved October 20, 2013.
- Kurp, Josh. "Eric Cartman Was At His Most Evil Since ‘Scott Tenorman’ In The ‘South Park’ George Zimmerman Episode". Uproxx. Retrieved October 20, 2013.
- Staff. "'South Park' just 'wrong' about Zimmerman". WorldNetDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2013.
- "World War Zimmerman". South Park Studios.