South Park Oh Jeez: Season 20 Episode 7 – The shocking results of this election are one for the history books. One of the most exhausting races has come to a close, with Donald Trump emerging as the victor. As the entire planet watches what America does next, there are a few of us eagerly anticipating how it pans out on South Park. Season 20’s continuous storyline is parodying the American election, so far to great comedic effect. Last episode we saw Trump stand-in, Mr Garrison, evading a presidential race he never intended on winning, the boys and girls were still at war and Cartman tried to hide his non-pc opinion that chicks ruined Ghost Busters.
With the election results inaccurately predicted by every exit poll, it is a wonder that Matt Stone and Trey Parker finished the episode at all. And while it aired on time, President Elect Donald J. Trump was clearly not what they were expecting. The strongest indicator of shock and surprise was the presence of nearly first gentlemen Bill Clinton, giving a young rowdy Butters sage advice. While Bill’s gentlemen’s club (including Bill Cosby) is a joke that landed, it was hindered by the fact that there is no first gentleman. Other last minute changes included a sense of disappointment felt by the women and young girls of South Park Colorado. Heidi, Wendy, Sheila and Shelly all shared in a sense of defeat, most felt from Randy’s proclamation that women can be anything, except president.
While South Park is known for pushing the boundaries, it’s sense of humour seemed on par with this outrageous election cycle. Accordingly, what we’ve seen rather than sheer mockery, is a thoughtful analysis of American society and its current state of affairs. And that analysis culminates with the advent of member berries. While pundits scramble to figure out how Donald Trump won the presidency, South Park formulated an interesting theory rooted in nostalgia.
Member berries forces one into a nostalgic fervour, to remember a time where things were better, easier. The nostalgia that made us all fall in love with Force Awakens is the same nostalgia that wins Garrison the election. Trump’s campaign’s slogan“Make America Great Again” only solidifies the member berry hypothesis. It seems that many Americans want to go back to a time before globalisation, Obamacare and political correctness. Member when we didn’t have to worry about appropriation?
While the plotline was shaky at best South Park managed to pull off last minute changes reflecting what may be the most shocking presidential election in American history. There were moments that felt out of place here and there, but overall the sense of disillusionment and frustration was aptly portrayed. Even though the sense of victory felt by Trump/Garrison supporters was missing, we’ll be sure to see that sentiment in episodes to come.
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What South park does best is shine a light on societal truths and reflect them back for the world to see. They have managed that here with small sombre moments of reflection mixed in with traditional outlandish South Park humour. At this point, Vice President Caitlin Jenner, Mr Garrison, Randy, and Sheila are brainwashed by member berries, and the Danish have bested the trolls, so the season is far from over. Let’s hope that Matt Stone, Trey Parker, and all of South Park can navigate the aftermath of this historic election.