On this week’s South Park, we’re forced to take a peek into Gerald and Sheila’s sex life. They both apparently enjoy a UPS man fantasy. Gerland has a costume and everything, and when Ike walks in on them, he jumps to the conclusion that he’s just caught his mother cheating on his dad with the UPS man. Ike draws a picture to show Kyle what he saw, and while Kyle is consulting with his friends, Randy overhears and decides it is his responsibility to inform the men of the town to beware of the UPS man.
“Insecurity” isn’t going to be considered a new classic anytime soon. Centered on Randy Marsh and Stephen Scotch’s attempts to rally the men of the town to protect their wives from the threat (or lure) of the UPS man, with a B plot involving Cartman setting up a home security system, it had the designs of a solid episode. We even saw a little hint of South Park Republicanism when Kyle tries to convince his parents that it’s better to do things yourself rather than rely on the convenience of having other people do things for you. The stories merge with the invention of “In-Security,” a security system that goes off when individuals feel threatened. It’s a good concept that works for the first gag, but is repeated a dozen times to diminishing returns. Ultimately the parts never came together in the way that so many episodes of South Park manage to pull off.
But the greatness of South Park lies in the fact that even though the episode as a whole may not have worked, there were three elements that made “Insecurity” worthwhile. The first was the representation of the home security call center, and how the commercials always shoot the employees fielding the calls with a panning shot. It’s completely silly, but perfectly executed. Unfortunately it’s bookended by the running joke that the advertisements for these systems always show white guys committing the crimes, which again, probably only deserved one or two references.
The second best part of the episode was a recurring thread involving Fred Gwynne’s Jud Crandall from Pet Sematary (1989) as a beer drinking, advice giving mystery man who’s slow New England accent and folksy warnings about the similar threats of The Milk Man and The UPS Man serve to terrify and incite the men of the town into action.
And the final, and best moment of the episode was used in one of the episode teasers, and even that didn’t kill the joke.
It’s been awhile since we had some decent impressions on South Park, and I’m willing to put up with a less than excellent episode for the sake of enjoying Randy as Bane and a good Fred Gwynne homage (a South Park favorite). You could likely just skip “Insecurity” and watch Randy’s Bane impression a dozen times, though. “Mr. UPS Man” might be this season’s “Mr. Scientist”.
Lindsey Bahr is a writer living in Los Angeles