|"The Pandemic Special"|
|Episode no.||Season 24|
|Guest stars||Sef Furman|
|Original airdate||September 30, 2020|
|List of all South Park episodes|
Randy comes to terms with his role in the COVID-19 outbreak as the on-going pandemic presents continued challenges to the citizens of South Park. The kids happily head back to school but nothing resembles the normal that they once knew; not their teachers, not their homeroom, not even Eric Cartman.
The town of South Park is run down and deserted. Outside the Stotch residence, Butters, wearing a mask, asks his dad if he can take him to the Build-A-Bear Workshop which has recently reopened. Stephen tells him that they are not visiting non-essential businesses. They then see townsfolk heading to Town Square and they go to find out what is happening.
At Towns Square, Randy gloats that Tegridy Farms weed has seen a 400% increase in sales since the shutdown in March while other people have gone out of business. He then announces that he is "giving back" by launching a Tegridy Pandemic Special.
In the car, Sharon berates Randy for making a special out of COVID-19 which is hurting and killing people. Randy simply responds, "We'll see if they like my special."
At the Cartman Residence, Cartman wakes up to another day of social distancing and online school. Staying in his pajamas, he sings a song about how great this is. He fakes his computer freezing up during his class's Zoom call and continues singing until his mother tells him that they are thinking of opening school again. He flips out over this.
It is raining at Tegridy Farms. Cars line up to buy Randy's Pandemic Special from his roadside stand. At home, a visibly despondent Stan joins his mom at the table for lunch. She asks him how online school is; he complains that they are not learning anything. She asks him if he wants to talk about it but he declines, claiming he is strong and is simply worried about how it is affecting weaker kids like Butters. Randy then comes in and happily announces that they have run out of weed for the day. Sharon berates him again and reveals that Jimbo is gravely ill from COVID-19 in hospital. Randy brushes it off, saying that Jimbo is a fat alcoholic and they should not let a virus from China bring them down.
It is announced on the news that the Park County School District is holding a meeting the next day about how they would bring students back to school. Stan and Shelly are happy at this news. Meanwhile, it is announced that scientists have pinpointed the virus to a certain bat in Wuhan, China. What they do not understand is how the virus could have spread from a bat to a human. Randy recalls his time in China where he and Mickey Mouse took turns having sex with a bat.
Randy leaves the room in a panic and calls up Mickey Mouse. He recalls that he fell very sick right after that incident in October and he thought he just had the flu. He then says that they cannot let scientists find that bat. If Sharon finds out he is responsible for COVID-19, she would be "a total bitch" about it.
Randy walks down Main Street and looks at the destruction the coronavirus has brought. The street is now deserted, businesses are closed, and people are losing their loved ones. A man approaches him and thanks him for his Pandemic Special, as it helps him cope with the demise of his wife from the virus. Overwhelmed with guilt, Randy yells at him to stop and runs away.
The next day, Mr. Mackey holds a Zoom meeting with the parents, telling them that their children can return to school on Monday. The current teachers do not feel safe to return, so the school has hired new teachers in their place, people who are out of work due to COVID-19. These new teachers turn out to be the Park County Police Force.
As Stan and Shelly get ready for school on Monday, there is a news report that scientists have found the animal that started the coronavirus. Randy panics again and tries to stop his family from watching the news until it is revealed that the animal in question is not a bat, but a pangolin. Randy recalls that after having sex with the bat in China, Mickey Mouse got him to have sex with a pangolin.
At South Park Elementary, the students wear masks and are seated at socially distanced desks with barriers. Cartman's seat is empty. Harrison Yates and Mitch Johnson are the new 4th Grade teachers. They try to start the day with some Math but are interrupted by police officers forcing Cartman into the classroom. He squeals and struggles as they handcuff him to his desk and put a mask on him. Mitch tries to get the class to do fingerpainting but Cartman, not wanting to be at school, disrupts the class and pretends to throw up on Kyle. Kyle beats up Cartman and the class cheers them on. The teachers open fire until Tolkien gets shot in the arm and then lies that he had COVID.
At the scientific facility, the chief scientist is conducting a tour for pandemic specialists. Randy somehow manages to join the group. The scientist explains that they have found that another species inserted its DNA into the pangolin and the key to be a vaccine would be to extract and identify the foreign DNA. As the tour group moves off to the next tour location, Randy kidnaps the pangolin.
The parents gather outside the school where Mr. Mackey announces there has been a COVID-19 exposure as Tolkien was taken to the hospital. All the students are to be quarantined for two weeks in the school with the teachers. At the gym, Stan protests that it was not COVID-related but Yates claims that they shot Tolkien due to the circumstances surrounding COVID-19.
At Tegridy Farms, an anxious Randy watches a news report about the pangolin's escape. Just then he gets a parcel delivery. He opens it to see a human heart with the words "YOU'RE DEAD" written in blood on the box lid. He calls Mickey who sent him the parcel, and Mickey tells him he is having him killed and his DNA secretly sent to the scientists for the vaccine. Randy then gets an idea to ejaculate into his Pandemic Special so he can vaccinate people without them knowing and tells Mickey not to kill him.
At night, Randy climbs into Jimbo's hospital ward through the window. He jacks off into the Pandemic Special, lights up and joint, and forces it into Jimbo's mouth.
The teachers at South Park Elementary are now armed with batons and police shields. Kids are only given 5 minutes to Zoom call their parents. They are given very short meal times in staggered groups. At lunch, Butters flips out that he is never going to go to Build-A-Bear and is taken away by the teachers.
Cars line up at the empty Tegridy Farms roadside stand while Randy sleeps. Sharon wakes him to get the car keys to take Jimbo home as the hospital informed her he is better. Seeing that his Pandemic Special worked, Randy hurries to jack off onto the rest of his weed.
Stan approaches Kyle in school, voicing his concern that Butters cannot take the shutdowns anymore. He calls President Garrison to ask for help. The President ignores Stan's pleas as he only cares about getting rid of all the Mexicans which COVID-19 helps him to achieve.
At Tegridy Farms where Randy is now so exhausted from jacking off that he uses a walking stick as he sells his weed to his customers whose cars are lined up. Sharon grabs him to go upstairs where Jimbo has grown a mustache that looks just like his. The townsfolk, including the Broflovskis, show up at the hospital, all having grown mustaches. This gets onto the news. Infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci advises people to wear their masks over their mouths and noses, where the mustache would be. They are asked to stay indoors, try to relax, and enjoy the Pandemic Special.
At night, Stan lies awake in the gym. He tells Butters that he will save him. He then rallies the other kids to get Butters out of school to Build-A-Bear so that he can do something normal. They break out of the school, with Timmy cutting the door chain with pliers. The teachers are on their phones and do not see the students escaping.
In news of the children escaping quarantine, the South Park townsfolk are panicking on the street, breaking into stores, hoarding toilet paper and the parents along with Stephen and Linda are out looking for their son and the children who are out of quarantine. The parents get into a fight over mask-wearing. The mayor asks Yates for help, he says they need their police equipment back (it had been deemed too extreme and taken away) in order to restore order.
The police now patrol the streets with military tanks, police cars, guard dogs, and large guns. They shoot and kill a boy building a snowman for violating safety orders. Next, they fire at Kenny and Annie Knitts. Kenny is gunned down. Stan, Kyle, and Cartman hide from the police and bring Butters, lying in a wooden cart, to the Build-A-Bear Workshop. Unfortunately, when they arrive, the store has to be shut because someone came into the store with a mustache. Stan pleads with the shopkeeper to no avail and then decides to break into the store.
At Tegridy Farms, Randy is desperately putting all the Pandemic Special onto the back of his pickup truck in order to dump it at Thompson Lake. He is confronted by Sharon who drives off to find Stan. He joins her.
At Build-A-Bear, Stan gets Butters to customize the bear he wants to build. Stan desperately and unsuccessfully attempts to operate the bear stuffing machine and ends up destroying the bear. Meanwhile, Sharon and Randy drive through the town where people are out on the streets panicking over their mustaches. People attempt to get more of the Pandemic Special which Randy wants to destroy. When Randy sees Applebee's being shut down due to the pandemic, he decided to own up and returns to the farm to get something.
Stan is still desperately trying to build bears. Kyle tells him to let it go but he refuses. The cops show up at the store warning them to get out in five minutes or be fired at. Stan attempts to build a bear in the remaining five minutes. Just as the police are about to open fire, Randy shows up and surrenders the pangolin. However, Cartman does not want the pandemic ended because he does not want to return to school. He takes the pangolin to the store's Do-over A Bear machine which essentially shreds and burns defective products. Stan yells at him to stop. Stan finally breaks down, realizing that this whole time, it is him, not Butters, who is unable to take the shutdowns anymore and is desperate for things to go back to normal.
Upon hearing this, Cartman has a change of heart. He turns back and surrenders the pangolin to the scientist. President Garrison suddenly shows up with a flamethrower and burns the scientist and pangolin to death, before happily asking people to vote at the upcoming election. Some people scream and run away, while the rest are left dumbfounded.
Tegridy Farms is now closed due to surrounding fires. Randy gazes into the burning distance as the news reports that all South Park residents have been exposed to COVID-19 due to the students breaking quarantine and South Park is now in a complete lockdown. Randy realizes that it is time for him to own up to everything.
He goes to the bedroom to talk to Sharon, only to see Sharon sporting a mustache, although she claims that she does not smoke marijuana. Seeing that Sharon actually secretly likes his marijuana, Randy decides not to own up and instead considers making a few more specials.
AV Club gave "The Pandemic Special" a "B+" rating saying: "While things were far from normal for the residents of South Park in this hour-long special, the show stays true to form, offering a surprising source of consistency. The world is in complete chaos, which couldn’t be any more on-brand for South Park."
IGN gave "The Pandemic Special" a "5" rating saying: "There's no doubt that some new South Park is better than no South Park at all. Unfortunately, the series' first experiment with a longer, standalone format doesn't really pay off. "The Pandemic Special" has moments of comedic brilliance but is brought down by a messy plot that struggles to put a fresh spin on the reality of life in 2020. In the end, the series would have been better served exploring these elements in a more traditional weekly format."
- "The Pandemic Special (Season 24, Episode 1)". southparkstudios.com.
- "AV Club: South Park’s pandemic special thrives in 2020’s chaos". AV Club.com.
- "South Park: "The Pandemic Special" Review". IGN.com.
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