(Warning: Spoilers for South Park S20 E01&02 and potential spoilers for the remainder of the season.)
Update: Nothing conclusive from episode 03, but here are a couple moments that should be considered.
In the Season 20 premiere of South Park, we learn that the students of South Park Elementary are being mercilessly trolled online by someone called "Skankhunt42." Throughout the episode, we are led to believe that the troll is Eric Cartman, which is easy for us to buy, but the last moments of the show reveal the troll to be Gerald Broflovski, Kyle’s father.
Let me start by saying that this is a developing theory. There are holes in it, and I have yet to make certain connections. Granted, we are only a fifth of the way through the season. It is my intention to update this article as we go along if new ideas are presented, or if the show completely squashes this theory.
Still with me? Cool.
The wine that Gerald drinks each time he starts a trolling campaign is made from Member Berries. Allow me to present the evidence.
As mentioned above, every single time we see Gerald trolling in his office, he is drinking a glass of red wine.
That alone is nothing — I’m drinking a glass of red wine as I write this. However, there are a number of shots that focus particularly on the glass or on the bottle.
I find it difficult to believe that this is coincidental, as Matt Stone and Trey Parker rarely include anything for no reason in a show that is often complex and multi-layered.
The Member Berries themselves didn’t have much to do with the plot of the second episode of this season, titled ‘Skank Hunt.’ The theme of the episode was online harassment, and did not really involve nostalgia (Member Berries are nostalgia in fruit form) in any overt way. Yet, we see the Member Berries on a couple of occasions anyway. Why are they in the episode if they aren’t adding something to it?
Episode one was titled ‘Member Berries,’ and Episode 2 was titled "Skank Hunt." This certainly suggests a connection.
This season is already referencing the 2016 American Presidential Election, with Mr. Garrison and Caitlyn Jenner standing in for Trump and Mike Pence respectively. Member Berries are a super-fruit that placate the masses by reminding them of warm, fuzzy memories.
This is essentially Trump’s entire campaign platform. He intends to “Make America Great Again,” and frequently reminds us that he will deport Mexicans (for example), in an attempt to bring about warm, fuzzy memories of that time that America was perfect.
How does this alone suggest that Gerald’s wine is made from Member Berries? It doesn’t. Not yet. However, with this series shaping up to be another season-long arc, I think it’s very possible that we will see a connection between Garrison/Trump, the Member Berries, and Gerald’s wine.
Another Trump connection. While his campaign is about placating the masses with memories of when America was great, his online persona is, well, a full-on troll.
Once again, this doesn’t prove that Member Berries are fueling Gerald’s online vitriol, but it would provide another allusion to the current political climate in the States. Furthermore, we’ve all read the various think-pieces about how Trump running for office is an elaborate joke. In "Skank Hunt," Gerald says to his wife Sheila that perhaps the troll is “somebody who just thinks it’s funny to stir the pot and watch people freak out.” This could be a direct shot at Trump.
Feeling elated after a night of successful trolling, Gerald awakes happy and heads out of the house to run some errands. This sequence is delightfully paired with Len’s “Steal My Sunshine.” When he gets to the grocery store, we see him picking up a bottle of wine, specifically from a “local vineyard.”
A short moment later, he passes by some chattering Member Berries.
Why does the show keep touching on the wine, and the Member Berries, when neither are obviously connected to the plot of this episode?
This is the most damning evidence of all: Member Berries look EXACTLY like the grapes used to make red wine.
Inconclusive. I’m not saying this theory is true; I could be way off. However, I do think that this theory has legs, and, as stated above, I intend to revisit and update this piece as the episodes continue to air. Of course, this is all in the name of fun, and certainly isn't me taking any kind of political stance. If I'm going to do that, I won't do it on an entertainment website.
But what do you think? Am I off my rocker?
Let's all hear it for the return of South Park:
Sound off in the comments with your theories. As always, thank you for reading!