It's been the better part of a year since we've seen our racist little buddy Cartman and all of his friends. South Park’s twentieth season drops Wednesday on Comedy Central at 10:00pm EST. After the stellar run that was Season 19, here are some of my thoughts on why Season 20 may well be incredible.
1. It's The Twentieth Season Of South Park
It’s a milestone, and I’ve no doubt that they will deliver. Season 19 was as smart as it was funny. It skewered the current politically correct climate — even anthropomorphizing the movement into PC Principal and his frat brothers — as well as touching on gentrification, Whole Foods, and online news vs. sponsored content, with a Matrix-like vibe. Furthermore, rather than being a full reset at the start of every episode, Season 19 (Season 18 did this as well, but to a lesser extent) had an over-arching story and character arc that started with the premiere and continued through to the finale. Matt, and particularly Trey, are brilliant writers, and this trend of continuity allows them to build a larger story, showcasing, and more fully fleshing out their undeniably unique world view.
2. Trey And Matt Excel At Everything They Do, But...
They’ve seen success with other projects like the movies BASEketball, Orgazmo, South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut, and Team America: World Police, as well as the brilliant and under-appreciated sitcom send-up That’s My Bush, and their Broadway debut with The Book of Mormon, a raunchy, hilarious, and surprisingly sweet poke at Mormonism.
Even within the realm of South Park, they created an incredibly fun and funny video game, The Stick of Truth (and are poised to release the sequel, The Fractured But Whole in December). The first game felt like you were playing an entire season of the show as the main character, and I would argue that this long-form narrative may well have been the catalyst for their two seasons of the continuity I described above.
The point is, while they know intrinsically that they can branch out from South Park and still create gold, they’re still coming back to the show. Why? Because they love it. The passion is still there, and that bodes well for us fans, and for this season.
3. The Current Political Climate In America Is Ripe For South Park
Trump and Clinton have their die-hard supporters, but even where I live in Canada (in an igloo, of course), it seems that very few people are particularly enthused about the upcoming presidential election. Trump vs. Clinton, to many, seems like a real-life callback to the Giant Douche and the Turd Sandwich.
South Park already touched upon Trump in the last season, making him an amalgam of The Donald and former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and having him build a wall to keep the Americans out.
With this season starting mid-September, and with a 10-episode run (likely including a couple of week-long breaks between an episode here and there), the season will easily continue until after the election on November 8th.
As the campaigns become more and more of a clown show — the Clinton email scandal, as well as when Trump, you know, says things — Matt and Trey are being gifted with a “yuge” amount of ammunition to work with.
4. Stranger Things And South Park
Trey and Matt love their references. In fact, they are particularly fond of referencing film and television from the '70s and '80s.
Stranger Things (which took place in the early '80s and boasted an '80s film aesthetic) was a phenomenon in July of 2016 (see my thoughts here and here), and I would be surprised if the show didn't spoof it in some way. Yes, it might be a long shot for my inner fanboy, but let me dream!
5. Will Season 20 Continue This Trend Of Season-Long Stories?
It certainly seems like it will. Wednesday's premiere is titled "Member Berries," and by the look of things, it'll pick up where Season 19 left off. Comedy Central’s website lists the episode's plot synopsis as:
I must say, I'm excited. I'm pleased that they're seemingly sticking with the more long-form style of storytelling, as they've proven they are quite adept at it indeed.
Are you excited for South Park’s 20th season? What's your favorite South Park episode so far? For me, I'd have to say "Make Love, Not Warcraft." Either way, hit the comments below and let's discuss! Thanks for reading!
Get ready for the next season with a little reminder of that twangy intro:
Update: Comedy Central recently released this new South Park clip.