SPOILER ALERT: If you haven't watched the episode yet and want to be surprised, don't read this article. Hopefully you realized what a "recap is" but we just wanted to be safe.
Viewers across the nation all sighed a collective breath of relief when, after the first minute of this week's South Park, angry Cartman's secret item turned out to be a bow and not a handgun. Most of us had actually seen the previews for "The Cissy" so we knew it involved Cartman dressing like a girl/exploring his gender options and hanging out in the women's restroom at school, so we weren't all that concerned.
That said, the ultimate message of this episode left many viewers in the lurch, based on Twitter reactions. Transgender labels are far from the headline-grabbing fodder that the previous two episodes of Season 18 have focused on, such as the NFL and Ebola. However it's still an issue coming, perhaps a bit slower than others, into the limelight. We ourselves first learned of the concept of being "cisgender," or having a personal identity that matches one's gender, while listening to an interview with Owen Pallett earlier this year.
So is Cartman the genuine article? Is he really having gender identity issues? Hell no. He just wants to use the girl's restroom because it's nicer than the guys'. And when he pushes the issue (taking the name Erica), the school builds him his own bathroom in the janitor's closet, featuring a decorative waterfall and a Vivaldi soundtrack. His plan backfires (as usual) when Wendy opts to become "Wendall" and use his restroom as well.
Most of the conversation stemming from this episode has nothing to do with gender identity however. Remember how Randy posed as Lorde for the party at the end of last week's episode? That plot line comes back hard as it's revealed that Stan's father really is the so-called 17 year-old pop star. Randy's own story starts in a bathroom, where he records his thoughts, adds a drum loop and autotune to create hits. The record label keeps his secret and he makes huge paydays. It ties into the ultimate theme of the episode however, as Randy wrestles with the man he is and the female version of himself that the world loves.
Does Lorde take some shots in the episode? Yeah, but she's the rare case where Matt Stone and Trey Parker seem to genuinely appreciate a celebrity. Sharon gives Randy an impassioned speech toward the end of the episode where she predicts why the world loves the pop star so: It's someone making honest music and not having to feign horniness to appeal to listeners. Randy realizes the truth in her words and releases a song he wrote about defecating at work on a Wednesday afternoon, which becomes another hit. It helps that whoever contributed vocals to the track sounds almost (almost) spot-on to Lorde, although we haven't found any sources that can confirm she was involved.
The first three episodes of this season have all been tied into each other. Will we get that again during episode 251? Stay tuned to find out, but we're not sure where else the guys can take the Randy-as-Lorde plot line.
Our Favorite Quote: "You are watching E! Entertainment...that's how low you've sunk." -Host of E! Entertainment reporting on Lorde's strange disappearance.