What the world needs now is South Park, sweet South Park. With Trey Parker and Matt Stone slowing their production down to a single set of ten episodes a year, it has felt like an agonizingly long time since the last we saw the boys. There are a lot of great animated comedies on the air right now – Rick and Morty, Bob’s Burgers, Lucas Bros. Moving Co., etc. – but no one even attempts satire the way that South Park does.
Perhaps it’s because of the way the show is made. Written, voice acted, and animated over the course of week, South Park has a distinct advantage over its peers, being able to commentate on the freshest headlines. Foul-mouthed humor and over-the-top characters go a long way, but by having its finger on the pulse, South Park transcends to a special place in pop culture.
Last season’s topics were so current and ripe for satire, that our attempt at predicting which topics South Park would skewer found us offering zero correct guesses (for season 17, we hit on 5 out of 13…). Drones, freemium games, and gluten slid by us, but how could we have guessed there would be an episode about cock magic?
Anyway, last year’s failures haven’t stopped us from making some predictions for this season. Knowing Parker and Stone, their ideas will blow ours out of the water, but it’s still fun to imagine some of these scenarios playing out.
Here are our predictions for the topics South Park will take aim at during season 19:
Chris and Nick’s Totally Kewl Predictions…
Fake Internet Outrage
Nick Harley: Internet bullying isn’t just irresistible to kids; we adults love to gang up on people online too. We may not be motivated by the same reasons, but adults love publicly shaming anyone they perceive to be offensive online. On Twitter, this compulsion has reached its breaking point, with people getting outraged about any flippant comment or thoughtless mistake. If your LA business, say, uses gender specific signs on your bathrooms, you may find yourself blasted all over Twitter for being insensitive to trans issues, and in no time, every media outlet will pick up the story, and then the whole country can take part in shaming the evil doer from atop their high horses. This trend only continues to grow, so I think it’s only a matter of time until the people of South Park wield their torch and pitchfork emojis.
Chris Longo: Comedian and new host of The Daily Show Trevor Noah makes mediocre, if slightly racist, jokes three years ago, and the internet digs it up. Miley shows her coochie at the VMAs, cue the social media outrage. Taylor Swift shoots a music video in Africa and fails to put a black person in it: seething hot internet think-piece venom. Welcome to 2015, the year of fake internet outrage. The public gets an issue bubbling on the social media sphere, then the media then runs with it. Soon everyone forgets about it and then the cycle begins again. Our need to constantly find a target of collective scorn has Cartman written all over it. He’s found social issues to champion in recent years, taking on the NSA, the Washington Redskins, and gender-neutral bathrooms. Shitter, the social media outlet hosting only himself and Alec Baldwin, is made for spewing vitriol on the web. Bring on the rage.
Ashley Madison Hack
NH: When the personal information of millions of adulterers hit the Internet this past month, I couldn’t help but think about the sex addiction episode of South Park. The Ashley Madison Hack seems like the perfect opportunity to revisit some of that top-secret government conspiracy, celebrity sex addiction material once again in a new way. Or perhaps a South Park resident, like Randy Marsh, could be revealed to be on the site, or even Stephen Stotch, who has a history with, erm, sexual promiscuity.
CL: Did the Ashley Madison Hack deplete your faith in humanity? Did it make you question the foundation upon which e-commerce is built on? For some 40 million members of a website that was constructed as a safe-haven to cheat on your spouse, a trust was broken. There it is, that same word people tend to work into their wedding vows. The beautiful irony is that those who signed up for the website likely didn’t cheat at all, and that’s because there was nary a woman to be had on the website. Of the 40 million plus looking to go the extra-marital distance, estimates show that the number of women who actively used the site was in the tens of thousands. Part scam, part sad commentary on the state of the male sexual identity, I expect Matt and Trey to rattle the town of South Park with leaked information on every husband with a wandering eye. It could get dark fast. Maybe that’s why we saw Cartman casting a shadow over the town in the promo.
NH: Did you really think Trump wouldn’t be on this list? The garbage-spewing human hairpiece is hijacking the Republican Party, hurling misogynistic insults in-between talks of building the Great Wall of Mexico, and whipping the “they took our jobs” Americans into a frenzy. Trump is the irresistible comic fodder candidate the comedians have been dreaming of. If Matt and Trey don’t give Trump the South Park treatment, they are stronger men than I.
CL: This small, ignorant Colorado town got behind Hilldog and Obama (Boom, baby!) in 2008. We’d be damn-near shocked if a Trump 2016 sign isn’t hanging in Cartman’s room or on the bumper of Jimbo’s truck. The animation of the show has changed over the years, but I’ll hold out hope they can give Donald Trump the Saddam/Mel Gibson effect.
NH: South Park hit on the transgender issue with last year’s “The Cissy,” but Bruce Jenner’s transition into Caitlyn offers a completely different angle. Caitlyn Jenner has no doubt brought awareness to the issues faced by transgender community, but her wealth and status promises that Jenner will not face the same sort of awkward transition, scrutiny and prejudice that other members of the transgender community often have to face. This is something that many transgendered people have brought up in the media, and South Park has their own resident that might take issue with Jenner’s privilege. Yes, Mr. Garrison once made a transition, and Garrison always seems to take the hostile position on issues that face the LGBTQ community, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Garrison goes after Jenner.
CL: Matt and Trey don’t shy away from any topic, but Caitlyn Jenner could be an instance where they tread lightly. As Nick said, they touched on transgender issues last season, and have long made statements on being comfortable in one’s own body. Had the story hit its peak later in the summer, Caitlyn Jenner would be unavoidable. Enough time has passed that maybe we get a reference, but I can’t see them devoting an entire episode to Caitlyn.
Return of the Coon
NH: Superheroes continue to invade pop culture at alarming rates. We make our bread and butter off of comic book material here at Den of Geek, and even we’re starting to get superhero fatigue. With Batman v. Superman on the way and more heroes like Supergirl popping up on TV, the over-saturation of the genre makes it seems like a prime opportunity to resurrect the Coon. It definitely seems like Parker and Stone may have got the Coon/Mysterion material out of their system with Season 14’s three-part “Coon 2” storyline, but it would be funny to see Cartman adopt the persona once again, only to have the rest of the fourth grade completely sick of superheroes.
A True Star Wars Parody
CL: We’ve seen George Lucas roasted on South Park numerous times. Curiously, there have been few Star Wars references, and “Obama Wins” was the only episode to touch on the sci-fi classic in an extended way. With the Force Awakening in December, look for Matt and Trey to close out season 19 with a Star Wars Christmas Special.
Come back next year, when we get our season 20 predictions completely wrong!