South Park has revealed the satirical subject matter for its season 21 premiere, with a short video that pits the central gang against Confederate-flag-waving protestors. This comes as something of a surprise, after co-creator Trey Parker pledged that South Park season 21 would be less about politics and more about “kids being kids”.
Parker has also stated recently that the South Park writing staff have decided to “back off and let [politicians] do their comedy and we’ll do ours”, because he believes that “satire has become reality”. However, the allure of satirical comedy seems to have been too strong, with Parker and Matt Stone delving into timely subject matters once more, as arguments about Confederate statues rage around the web and tensions mount between the left and the right in the USA.
In the show’s typically on the nose style, this video came with a short synopsis that spells out the social context of the episode: “Protestors armed with tiki torches and Confederate flags take to the streets of South Park. Randy comes to grips with what it means to be white in today’s society.” As you can see in the clip, these protestors will whip out the Confederate flag for any occasion – even swatting a fly.
Of course, it’s hard to extract much information from a fifteen-second promo clip, but a bit of pausing can reveal a little more. A shot of a crowd sees one protestor dressed as Braveheart, one with a banner reading “U will not replace us”, and another with a sign that says “you took our jobs”, alongside the logos of Amazon, Google, Apple, Microsoft and other massive companies. Notably, every protestor in the crowd shot is a white male.
It seems fair, in the typical South Park style, to expect this episode to start somewhere vaguely resembling reality - after all, a protest like this doesn't seem far-fetched at all - before dramatically derailing and going down some seriously strange paths.
It also seems safe to assume that this episode – which is titled “White People Renovating Houses” - will attract a lot of attention. South Park is no stranger to controversy, having caused its fair share of uproars across its 200+ episodes. So, will this episode skirt around the offensive material, or handle it tactfully? Or will this mark another occasion on which the show goes too far? That remains to be seen.
There isn’t long to wait to find out, though, as the episode’s premiere is just around the corner. It’ll be interesting to see if the season that follows sticks to political themes, or reverts to Parker’s previous statements and puts the focus back on Cartman, Kyle, Stan, and Kenny.
South Park returns to Comedy Central on September 13, 2017.