Call me naive, but I doubt very much that anyone watching the first season of South Park in 1997 would have looked at, say, an episode like “Cartman Gets an Anal Probe” and thought, “Yeah, these guys will write arguably the most successful musical of all time in thirteen years. It will sweep the Tonys, sell at over 100% capacity for months on end, people will – yes, people will spend upwards of a thousand dollars on a single ticket. And it will be about Mormon missionaries!” I mean, someone might have, I suppose, on a quantum level, or in some side universe, or somewhere, but on this plane? Yeah, not so much. (Although Cartman did break into the old Cab Calloway/Al Jolson “Moon-a and the June-a and the spring-a” song at the end of that episode, so maybe we should have had some inkling. I don’t know. I was a freshman. Freshmen never know what’s going on.)
Two years later, though, when South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut came out – and we were all of a sudden shocked that sleazy sleaze merchants Trey Parker and Matt Stone could write a song as catchy as “Blame Canada,” which was nominated for an Oscar, of all things, and probably should have won – the fact that these guys had more than weenie jokes and Kenny’s perpetual demise up their sleeves became a little more obvious. Still though, a musical? Broadway? Even if they could write one, were we, as a culture, ready for their brand of cracked sarcasm to permeate the Great White Way?
Nine Tonys for The Book of Mormon later, we clearly were. But Parker and Stone, though a little older and much, much wealthier, are still Parker and Stone, and South Park is still resolutely South Park, and so the fact that this week’s episode is called “Broadway Bro Down” and centers around one character’s profound carnal arousal after going to see Wicked, and features Stephen Sondheim having a “bro off” while wearing a Terry Bradshaw jersey, probably shouldn’t surprise us at all. You can catch it – along with every other episode of South Park, if you have nothing pressing to do this month – at South Park Studios.