Arts & CultureFilm & TV

South Park’s 20th season brings fresh and hilarious content

Comedy Central’s South Park has left a legacy unlike any other TV show before. It is the longest-running Comedy Central series and the third longest-running animated series in American television. It has won five primetime Emmys and a Peabody, and has been adapted into a full-length feature film and multiple video games. In 2013, TV Guide ranked South Park the 10th greatest TV cartoon of all time.

As the show pauses for a week in the midst of its 20th season, it is time to reflect on what creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker have addressed so far, and how they can possibly conclude the storylines they are juggling. 

While the latest season tackled some major current events, such as the presidential election and national anthem protests, Stone and Parker have also made some key character developments. Kyle’s dad, Gerald Broflovski, has become an internet troll who spams people on social media, including the entire nation of Denmark. Denmark, in response, creates a troll defense server capable of exposing the identity of a troll on the internet. This of course backfires and ends up with the entire town of Fort Collins, Colorado, being hacked.

Despite his evil reputation, Eric Cartman appears a changed person in Season 20. He comes out in support of feminism and sports a “Token’s Life Matters” shirt.

The boys, however, have seen this act before. When the girls at school are attacked online by Gerald’s trolling and turn on the boys, the boys assume Cartman is to blame and they destroy all of Cartman’s electronics, taking him off the grid. This inspires Cartman to try to heal the division in the school and South Park community.

Maybe the most ridiculous character from the show behind Cartman, Mr. Garrison nails his role as South Park’s version of Donald Trump this season, complete with his anti-immigration rhetoric, tacky orange spray tan and red power tie. However, once Garrison realizes that he has a legitimate chance to win the election, he panics as he has no tangible plan for running the country.

Garrison decides he has to throw the election, but even when he admits his illegitimacy to be president and tells his supporters to vote for Hillary Clinton, he instead gains support for “speaking his mind” and Clinton, caught off guard, calls him a liar. Hilarity ensues.

The show also introduced “’Member Berries” this season. These talking, grape-like fruits become widely consumed by the adult characters as they spew feel-good nostalgia about how simple and happy the world used to be and how great Star Wars is. But soon people cannot help themselves from “‘membering,” the term used in the show that refers to the eating of the berries. Randy Marsh starts a support group for Member Berry addicts and begins to investigate what sinister intentions the berries may be hiding. Sometimes, nostalgia is not the only answer.

Despite its 20 seasons and 273 episodes, South Park manages to keep creating fresh and hilarious content. The show has also been picked up by Comedy Central for an additional three seasons, and Stone and Parker have shown no signs of getting tired.

With all the unresolved conflicts created in this season, it will be exciting to see how the future of South Park resolves them. One thing is certain: We won’t see it coming.

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Franklin Lewis

Franklin Lewis

Franklin is a senior News writer for the Daily Emerald. Born and raised in San Francisco, he writes about university culture past, present and future. He also hosts the Spotlight on Science podcast for the Emerald Podcast Network.

Email: [email protected]
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