South Park’s 19th Season is the Best Yet

Michael Bakshandeh, Technology Editor

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South Park’s 19th season recently ended on December 9th. In typical South Park fashion, the season covered all the most controversial topics of today’s world and almost perfectly satirized them. Topics of this season ranged from some low-handed blows to Donald Trump to the ineffectiveness of the police. Every episode packed a punch and taught a lesson, even though Kyle, the main character, wasn’t explicitly stating what the “lesson” was. There were, however, some big themes in this season that ultimately illustrated the dangers of certain new trends in our society.

Probably one of the biggest themes of this season was the idea of progressivism. In the very first episode, the old principal (Principal Victoria) is fired and replaced by “PC Principal.” “PC Principal” is a symbol for all college students. He perfectly represents their desire to be “progressive” while also being extremely popular, cliquey, and inadvertently very annoying. PC Principal immediately sets the tone for change in season 19 by bringing back certain episodes from South Park’s past to illustrate how intolerant they were. The students quickly find out that PC Principal’s call for change is no bluff. Although they desire for a return to normalcy, they are brutally suppressed by PC Principal throughout the season. Ultimately, the students surrender to PC Principal’s power and allow PC Delta’s progressive nature to infuse its way through the town.

On a similar note, the idea of “upscaling” was also a big undertone for this season. After Jimmy Fallon insulted South Park for its extreme poverty and lack of development, the people of South Park decided they needed to become more modern. The key to their modernization was… wait for it… a Whole Foods! They created “historic ShiTiPaTown” and advertised it all over the place to remove their negative image. At first, these changes seemed all positive as South Park moved closer and closer towards a utopia. Near the end of the season, however, it becomes clear that this utopia-like society is far from perfect. Kenny and his family are unable to compete with the increased prices and wealth in South Park. Eventually the town becomes so rich that even the original members of South Park start to feel the financial difficulties of living in South Park. In the last two episodes of the season, the people of South Park try to destroy the society that they had created.

Probably one of the more prominent issues addressed in this season was the concept of ads in today’s society. The final three episodes of the season are devoted to the intrusiveness of ads in our society and all the harm they create. Jimmy Valmer, the creator of “Super School News,” strives for an ad-free publication that delivers the news and just the news. Jimmy quickly realizes the difficulty of his goal. When PC Principal tells Jimmy that he needs to censor the information published in his paper, Jimmy refuses. In Jimmy’s perception, censoring information is preventing people from speaking their own opinions, and that goes against the philosophy of his paper. This starts a war between PC Principal and Jimmy. Through speaking the truth, Jimmy manages to slowly unravel the progressive infusions of PC Delta. The citizens of South Park suddenly become more and more aware of the dangers of PC’s influence and want him removed immediately. Jimmy is taken to a special facility which tests his ability to distinguish between “sponsored content” (articles written to promote a specific cause) and “ads.” The scary thing for South Park is that ads started taking human form and live side-by-side with humans. Ultimately, the citizens of South Park decide that ads will never stop being over invasive, but they can all work to control the influence of ads on their daily lives.

All in all, the themes promoted this season made South Park depart from its normal low-tension environment into one that was much more “sophisticated.” The punch lines all seemed to have a different tone to them, one that matched the changes with the town. With that said, the changes were definitely welcome. It was refreshing to see South Park take a different perspective on the issues of today’s society. The changes that were made in this season of South Park signified an important transition in South Park’s history that will hopefully continue into future seasons of the show.