On last week's episode of "South Park," residents of our favorite made-up mountain hamlet woke up to a new kind of horror: a townwide Internet outage. No e-mail, no WebMD.com to check rogue symptoms and, most harrowing of all, no Internet porn. Panic-stricken and Net-starved, Stan Marsh and his family lash their belongings to the roof of their SUV and head west -- "out Californee way" -- in hopes of finding enough bandwidth to survive.
As the best episodes of "South Park" do, "Over Logging" manages to be equal parts insightful, hysterical and disturbing. If the Internet did go down, it actually would be a federal disaster -- probably causing not only a depression and security crisis but also serious disruption to the psyche of a nation that can barely imagine unwired life -- even though we can remember it. Which leads to the other side of the scenario: How absurd it is that the way we live has been fundamentally altered in, like, the life span of "South Park."
When I asked co-creator Matt Stone about having a show that bridged the gap from the pre-Internet era to now, he knew what to say.
"We kind of did that on purpose."