I don’t know what got me watching South Park again this season. Probably, I just wanted to see them make fun of Trump and Clinton and the race for the White House.
Want to see some considered commentary? Watch Jon Oliver. Want to see the ugliness of humanity writ large? Watch South Park. And so I did. And it was truly hilarious, skewering Clinton and their Trump stand-in, Mr. Garrison, who has always been racist, sexist and homophobic, the PC trifecta, but is now popular with the American electorate because of his outrageous comments.
Don’t get me wrong, South Park was always funny.
I was an early adopter of South Park and, again, I don’t know why. There were these commercials teasing the show where the kids were just standing there saying funny things and I loved it and started watching immediately. I could just listen to Cartman talk all day. There’s just something funny about that. ‘Member when Cartman sang “Come Sail Away?” Hilarious.
So you might be thinking, I’m about to say, “‘Member those old seasons? ‘Member Mecha Streisand? ‘Member Chef? ‘Member Cartman getting that kid to eat his own parents?” [Editor’s note: The episode was “Scott Tenorman Must Die.”] But I’m not.
Somehow without changing creators, South Park has gone through a creative renaissance and become better than it’s ever been before.
It’s the most cathartic story telling I have seen about the election and the worries about Trump. This week, Mr. Garrison was in the situation room and he just had no idea what was going on (or where the Gulf of Mexico was), but was not going to let anyone push him around or tell him what was going on. It was every liberal nightmare about the inevitable testing of President Trump and it was hilarious.
South Park is using sequential story telling. Sure, there have been a handful of two-parters over the years, but this is something truly wonderful. Trey Parker and Matt Stone have always been good at ratcheting up the weird and sticking the landing, but somehow being able to take their time has made them better. ‘Member one of the early attempts at a two-parter? Who was Cartman’s dad? And then everyone is mad at Parker and Stone for a stand-alone Terrance and Phillip episode? Well, perhaps that put them off doing more serial stories for a while. I mean, we’re twenty years into South Park and I think they just started doing this last year. Oh, sure, they would mess with the status quo for a few seasons. ‘Member when Mr. Garrison was a woman? ‘Member when Kenny would die every episode? Watching Cartman try so, so, so hard to be nice to his girlfriend is the best and I love that they’re taking their time to develop it.
So what’s going on?
Well, Kyle’s dad is an internet troll, the worst of the worst, and he drives a Danish woman to commit suicide (more funny than it sounds), and the Danes vow to hunt down the trolls. They invent a device that makes everything you’ve ever done on the internet public knowledge. The Danes beta test of their troll tracking software shuts down society in a small Colorado town, causing suicides and a 100% divorce rate. And the Danes are threatening to bring it online throughout the whole world.
Meanwhile, Mr. Garrison unwittingly found himself running for President against Hillary Clinton. Garrison tried to say more and more outrageous stuff so no one would vote for him, but he won in a landslide and has no idea what to do as world war looms with the Danish and their internet revelations.
And meanwhile, the ‘member berries, a sinister snack food, are reminding people how great the old days were, citing Star Wars and working their way up to racist ideas. The ‘member berries endgame is unknown, but they have taken over the White House.
It’s also possible that time has simply caught up to South Park.
They are showing Butters naked all the time. Whenever Butters feels like he is being attacked because he is a boy, he lowers his pants and raises his fist in solidarity with his brothers. It is consistently hilarious. Garrison’s platform was that he was going to “f*ck our enemies to death” and he is trying to make good on his promise. There’s a lot of swearing and nudity and, contrary to some taste makers, I would say it just keeps getting more and more funny.
So this might have always been a foregone conclusion, but watch South Park. It is hilarious and has perfectly capture the late 2016 zeitgeist.
Do you think South Park’s still got it? Leave us a comment!