South Park: equal opportunity offenders

“South Park” is back and their twenty-first season is underway. It looks to continue the formula of lampooning current events like white-supremacists and the North Korea situation.

Season 21 started on Sept. 13, 2017 and will have ten episodes in its run. As with the previous two seasons, this one will include “dark weeks” after the third, sixth, and eighth episodes of the season where nothing new will be shown.

It is a possibility that a form of linear continuity will be used in this season, following its use in the past three seasons. This season could focus more specifically on a few topics as opposed to switching it up per episode.

The twentieth season of the show faced backlash from fans and critics for using recurring jokes such as the “member berries” that weren’t humorous and satirizing Donald Trump too much. The use of continuity in that season was seen as a flaw instead of an asset.

Creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone have gone on record saying they are tired of doing episodes spoofing Trump, and he will not be a factor in this season.

“We fell into the same trap that Saturday Night Live fell into, where it was like, ‘Dude, we’re just becoming CNN now.’” Parker said. “We’re becoming: ‘Tune in to see what we’re going to say about Trump.’ Matt and I hated it but we got stuck in it somehow.”

The duo also believe the line between satire and reality has become blurred, and was affecting their brand of humor.

“We were really trying to make fun of what was going on but we couldn’t keep up and what was actually happening was much funnier than anything we could come up with,” Stone said. “So we decided to kind of back off and let them do their comedy and we’ll do ours.”
Parker and Stone will go back to focusing on the “Kids being kids,” which they say is the root of the series.

“South Park” debuted in Aug. 1997 and became an instant hit, expanding to over 20 seasons of the show and is on the track to air through 2019.
The series premise revolves around four elementary school boys– Stan Marsh, Kyle Broflovski, Eric Cartman, and Kenny McCormick– and their adventures around their town of South Park, Colorado. While the town itself is fictional, it is located within the real life South Park basin in the Rocky Mountains in central Colorado, adding a touch of realism to the series on that aspect.
The cartoon has been running with a TV-MA rating since it began. The content of the series has kept up with this rating through the years and has been far from wavering in terms of how vulgar it will get.

Parker and Stone explained why their young characters are like this as “this is how young boys really talk when they are alone”. This, along with how South Park doesn’t refrain from poking the bear of controversial topics, has drawn much criticism from parents and general reviewers alike.

Even so, Parker and Stone call themselves “equal opportunity offenders” that are simply looking to make people laugh and “that no particular topic or group of people be spared the expense of being subject to mockery and satire”.

Recently, the “South Park” team has moved on to making RPG style video games published by Ubisoft. The first game titled “South Park: The Stick of Truth” released on March 4, 2014 received overall positive reviews. A sequel titled “South Park: The Fractured but Whole” will be released on Oct. 17, 2017 for the Xbox One, Playstation 4 and Microsoft PC.

Erika Brandenburg


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