“Time To Get Cereal” is essentially a sequel to the 2006 “South Park” episode “ManBearPig,” which depicted former Vice President Al Gore as an attention-seeking loser who tried to convince the world of the existence of a fictional monster that was “half man, half bear and half pig” in order to feel better about losing the presidency to George W. Bush in 2000. The undeniable subtext, of course, was that man-made climate change — you know, the dire existential threat that the real Gore was warning everyone about — was a hoax, and that Gore himself was a joke.
Trust me, I’m not reading into this. “South Park” had previously mocked the idea of man-made climate change in the 2005 episode “Two Days Before the Day After Tomorrow” and had taken smaller pot shots at the idea on subsequent occasions. And considering that Parker and Stone seem to take pride in being iconoclasts who will rip on the left and right with equal glee, one could have made the case that individuals who applaud them for ridiculing Republicans, Christian conservatives and corrupt politicians shouldn’t get upset when they took a swipe at a liberal target.
Except, of course, for the fact that man-made global warming isn’t some left-wing talking point. It is a scientific fact, one that needs to be acknowledged and addressed through intelligent policies to avoid worldwide catastrophe. Denying its reality, particularly when you are a popular comedy show with millions of viewers who interpret your satire as representing a deeper truth, was extremely irresponsible.
This is the point that Parker and Stone made about themselves in “Time To Get Cereal.” The A plot begins when Stan Marsh (Parker) sees Ned Gerblansky (also Parker) get brutally captured and mauled by ManBearPig (whether Ned’s seeming death is permanent remains to be seen). After realizing that this means Gore had been right all along about ManBearPig’s existence, Stan recruits the other South Park boys (Parker’s Eric Cartman and Stone’s Kyle Broflovski and Kenny McCormack) to find Gore and obtain his help in defeating the evil creature.
The catch, though, is that Gore wants them to apologize for making fun of him all those years ago — and if their apology is deemed insufficiently sincere (or “cereal,”), the former vice president will return to his newfound love of bowling.