Last week's episode of South Park made a brief reference to Trump's controversial leaked tape with Gerald's reference to "locker room banter". Now this week, subtext has become text, as South Park continues to offer its take on this ridiculous election season. Nevertheless, given how crazy everyday political reality has become, this poses a problem for the outlandish TV show; how do you keep up with a world that has truly gone off its rocker? Check out the promo below:
"A Douche And A Danish" struggles at times to meet the heights of reality, yet its critique of America's manifold problems is as sharp as ever; more than in previous episodes can we see the series endgame take shape. The continuous polarisation between boys and girls, the danish and the trolls, and Mr Garrison vs his own supporters continues, with hilarious results; starting with:
When Two Are In Love
Things at South Park Elementary have reached a breaking point, the boys and the girls are preparing to get physical. Thankfully, there is a boy/girl power team with the power to stop the war: Heidi and Cartman. If in previous episodes they seemed like a good, slightly sweet couple together, now the sweet nothings they whisper into each other's ears have become positively vomit inducing:
Their solution to the school's civil war is to sell Danish for Denmark, a country that has to resort to crowdfunding in order to start their Troll Trace website. Honorable intentions indeed, but things go haywire when they approach adults to sell them. Turns out the Danish have been trolled once again.
A Victory For The Trolls
In a sequence reminiscent of A New Hope's attack on the Death Star, the trolls have erroneously connected Lego with ISIS, and let the internet do the rest. Now the prevailing message is "Fuck Denmark". It shows that even with blatant untruths circling the net, the outrage cycle can make sure to perpetuate controversy all on its own. South Park cleverly mocks both those being outraged, and those doing the outraging, arguing that the internet has become a place where no one can ever win and where the truth doesn't matter.
Thankfully for the Danish, who realise they can't win as it is and go offline, Heidi and Cartman believe they have a way they can help, but we shall have to wait until next week to see what it is. Meanwhile, with Mr Garrison:
Misogyny Is The Final Straw
Smoking on stage like he's Andrew Dice Clay back in the late 80s, Mr Garrison does his usual schtick of making fun of blacks, muslims and Mexicans. The crowd whoop and cheer. Then he makes a sexist comment about sticking his finger up a woman's ass. This, and nothing before, is one insult too far.
When he rightfully points out that now he's being too offensive by insulting women, when before it was fine saying he would fuck everyone in the ass, South Park is cleverly skewing Republicans, and more specifically Republican women, for somehow being absolutely fine with outright racism but not with sexism. These comments should hardly have been the final straw, as they have been for many white women; it would have helped if he was condemned much, much earlier.
Love South Park? Check Out The Recaps Of Previous Episodes:
- 'South Park' Season 20 Episode 2: Not All Trolls Are As They Seem?
- 'South Park; Season 20 Episode 3 Argues That "Everything Sucks" In Its Most Depressing Episode Yet
- In 'South Park' Season 20 Episode 4 The Trump Tape Meets Harambe Memes
Naturally South Park doesn't have to be completely beholden to real events, but this concept of trying to sabotage the election is a little dated by now; right now, it really seems that Donald Trump wants to win, and if he doesn't win, he is willing to incite discord by saying that the election is rigged anyway. This "rigged concept" is what Garrison says to his disappointed supporters, only to find them chasing after him in anger for throwing the election. Seems that the idiot crowds in South Park are actually marginally more intelligent than those in the real world who do think the upcoming election will be rigged. After running away he finds himself in Randy Marsh's memberberries support group where he learns about:
The Decline Of The West
The series really starts to come together in these scenes when Mr Garrison meets the memberberries support group. Randy, who assumedly has spent the rest of the time this series doing copious amounts of research, introduces him to the memberberries, explaining that they have been there throughout history; including the Roman Empire which toppled after reaching its height.
As Randy says:
“When a civilization has become so big, it starts to get lazy.”
And when a civilization gets lazy, it gets nostalgic. The masses favor a simple message, such as when Reagan was in power. This was despite the fact Reagan and his men would deliberately lie to the American people in order to create a simple dichotomy of good vs evil. Obviously these weren't termed lies, it was called "perception management". Now in a post-truth society, it doesn't seem so important that people are told the right things from politicians, only that they say it in a clear way that we can understand.
The man behind this? In the funniest moment for me in the series so far, Marsh blames J.J. Abrams, who in rebooting Star Wars — which for the record I loved — didn't add anything particularly new or of substance, but tried to recreate that warm feeling people had when watching the first one. Something similar is happening with people's desire to go back to the simple time of Ronald Reagan.
The world is really really complicated, beyond ways that anyone can imagine. Most of the time it is hardly even run by politicians, but by invisible, unknowable forces. The hegemony of the U.S.A. is being usurped by China. The traditional workforce is depleting. I have no idea what Russia are up to. Better than dealing with that in a mature and practical way, it becomes easier to accept the simple lie: it's those damn immigrants, it's ISIS, it's because the white man has less privilege than he used to.
So instead of being intelligent enough to navigate the complexity, we see people moving nostalgically backwards, towards a liar like Trump, who although is hardly to betrusted, tells a simple enough message to be able to deal with the myriad of problems facing the country. How South Park will tie this criticism into a grand statement regarding trolling, Cartman and Heidi's annoying alliance, J.J. Abrams and the Danish people is beyond me; but it has been fascinating to watch so far. Thankfully, as usual, no one has been beyond criticism.
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