Matt Stone and Trey Parker are “everything and everyone is dumb, so don’t care about anything” personified, so it’s not often that South Park takes an issue seriously (it would break the troll code). But that’s what happened in this week’s episode, “Time to Get Cereal,” featuring the return of ManBearPig.
The part-man, part-bear, part-… you get the idea… made his first appearance in season 10, in an episode where Al Gore tells the students of South Park Elementary about the “single biggest threat to our planet,” who “threatens our very existence and may be the end of the human race as we know it.” The kids are surprised to learn he’s talking about ManBearPig, which is, of course, a stand-in for global warming, the actual single biggest threat to our planet (if things don’t change by 2040, it’s already too late). Gore came back for “Time to Get Cereal,” and despite the sarcastic title, Stone and Parker (who, as ever, wrote the script) genuinely apologized for not taking global warming seriously.
You can watch the entire episode here, but to quickly recap: ManBearPig is on a killing spree around South Park, so Stan, Kyle, Cartman, and Kenny visit Al Gore for help. He’s retired from his life’s purpose of warning people about the monster (he’s even sporting a Beard of Sorrow), but he’ll assist the boys if they do one thing for him: say sorry for not taking him seriously all those years ago.
They do, but at the end of the episode, Gore tells the boys that it’s “up to young people” to literally save the world. Leave it to Stan to make a speech: “ManBearPig is real. It’s a demon that thrives on making deals to exploit mankind’s weaknesses. I am super duper cereal. We all have to work together, you guys. This one time. We all have to put our pride aside and say, maybe we were wrong.” Except unlike every other Stan speech, this one sounds genuine, like Parker and Stone really do they think they f*cked up by mocking Gore.
Not that it matters: “Time to Get Cereal” ends with the police arresting Stan, etc. (it’s funny because we’re boned). At least Gore got a nice photo out of it.