There's the new Tiger Woods—let's call him TMZ Tiger—running through his Florida McMansion, popping pills and bellowing, "Put down the golf club!" and "You're overreacting, you stupid Swedish cow!" while an enraged Elin wields a nine-iron. She is, to put it mildly, not happy. Violently not happy: "You f*%$#@! I never should have married you! Why the %$#@! are you getting the text messages from some lowlife hooker on Thanksgiving?" Whack, whack. Run, Tiger, run. Duck, Tiger, duck.
This wasn't some top-secret video leaked to Bossip, revealing once and for all what really went down last Thanksgiving in Windermere, Fla., when Woods crashed his SUV and we discovered that St. Tiger wasn't so sainted. The whole sorry, sordid truth came tumbling out: the text messages, the gazillions of girlfriends, the pre-nup. Rather, this was the season premiere of South Park on Comedy Central-where TMZ Tiger's travails are immortalized in the form of the latest Xbox video game that Cartman and Kenny are playing: "Oh no! I just lost an endorsement" and "Wow! I didn't know golf games were so cool."
Tiger's troubles have the whole nation in an uproar, including the CDC, where scientists gathering for an emergency confab demand to know, "Why are rich, successful men going out to have sex with a lot of women." The answer: There's been a national outbreak of sex addiction. Mostly, it's the rich and famous who are most affected, but even the prepubescent denizens of South Park are not immune from infection.
Long story short: Kenny dies (again), this time David Carradine-style. Kyle and Butters end up in sex rehab-alongside Bill Clinton, David Duchovny, Michael Douglas, Charlie Sheen and Dave Letterman. Factor in wildly promiscuous monkey sex, death by auto-erotic asphyxiation and a determined President Barack Obama blaming the outbreak of sexual addicts on flying saucers, wizard aliens and Roswell. ("We must keep our youth away from money and success," he declares.) It's vintage South Park, offensive and scathingly satirical, a mash-up of cultural references ripped straight from the headlines. (According to a Comedy Central rep, South Park's creators noodle with the content right up until air time.)
Tiger, of course, is just a tool—a really colorful tool—for South Park's creators to take down the hypocrisies of celebrity and the cynical narrative of celebrity scandal: TMZ breaks the news; celebrity goes into hiding; paparazzi stalk said celebrity who then enters rehab—before or after (depending on what the handler's dictate) embarking on the requisite apology tour. Tiger is, of course, ripe for the picking because prior to his incarnation as TMZ Tiger, his was a carefully constructed image made for billion-dollar endorsements: Squeaky-clean family man with Swedish bathing-suit model/nanny for a wife.
His transgressions fascinate because of two things: 1) Nothing sells like a good story of scandal and redemption, particularly when the hero gets to take a mighty fall and 2) Ours is a society that thinks it has a right to know what goes on between the sheets of the rich and famous.
"I am so happy that I am cured and no longer want to have sex with anyone but my beautiful wife," a chastened video game Tiger declares in a video game press conference. "Now I can be faithful, and my wife won't feel any need to get revenge by sleeping with a lot of guys. So I officially announce my return to golf."
"Yeah," says Stan, stepping away from his Xbox, "golf is stupid again."
Teresa Wiltz is The Root's senior editor. Follow her on Twitter.