Times ‘South Park’ Actually Admitted It Got Things Wrong

Times ‘South Park’ Actually Admitted It Got Things Wrong

South Park isnt a show thats known for its sincere apologies — something tells us that the press release where they said sorry to China while mentioning that (President) Xi doesnt look just like Winnie the Pooh at all wasnt meant to be taken seriously. But saying youre sorry and admitting you were wrong arent exactly the same thing. Every once in a while, South Park does say We #$%@ed up without actually saying We #$%@ed up or, you know, apologetically laying naked on a bear rug like that guy from BP. For instance... 

Retconning Token/Tolkiens Name


Naming the only Black kid in the boys class Token was a pretty funny gag — for about two episodes in 1998. The more the show started treating him like a real character instead of a background joke, the more his dumbass name stuck out — itd be like if Cartman was named Phat Kidd, and they had to call him that with a straight face 20 times per episode. In last years episode The Big Fix, just before a storyline in which Stan and Token actually become good friends, the show addressed the issue by having Stan awkwardly discover that Tokens name was Tolkien (after J.R.R.) all along, and every single kid at school knew that except him. Yes, even Cartman. 

The show went as far as to change Tokens name to Tolkien in all the subtitles and descriptions for older episodes in their website, and the time Cartman wore a T-shirt with the words Token Lives Matter was explained away as him being a f---ing moron (which was already evident). Other instances of Tolkien himself supposedly writing his name as Token were caused by, lets say, gnomes or hidden aliens. Stan feels like a terrible person for assuming a Black kid could seriously be called Token, as if they lived in some edgy 1990s cartoon or something. 

As for those who think South Park sold out to the woke mob with this episode, I regret to inform you that they sold out 23 years ago when they recast Token/Tolkien so he was voiced by a Black person, although there was no whining about the show going PC at the time.

Admitting Al Gore Was Right


Over the years, South Parks creators have dropped subtle hints that they didnt take the concept of climate change very seriously. Theres the time the town stupidly falls for a fake global warming panic represented as a giant dick drawn on a map, the time when some environmentalists try to use Jedi Mind Tricks to brainwash the kids into believing in global warming and the time a character gets called a "f---ing r----d" for suggesting global warming could take less than millions of years to change the climate. The most notable of these instances is the 2006 episode in which Al Gore (having recently starred in An Inconvenient Truth in the real world) stops by South Park to warn everyone that a half-man, half-bear and half-pig monster is coming to kill everyone and its super cereal. 

In the episode, ManBearPig is obviously fake and just a pathetic way for Gore to get attention. Cut to 12 years later, when ManBearPig does show up in South Park and starts killing everyone. 

The boys are forced to look up Al Gore and say sorry for making fun of him while still making fun of him and depicting him as a self-obsessed loon, but at least hes a self-obsessed loon who is right and helps save lives. The real Gore said he was impressed by the episode and appreciated the gesture, even if his character still cant pronounce the word serious correctly. 

Acknowledging Randys Flanderization


In recent years, South Park has slowly morphed from a show about some fourth-grade kids into a show about a guy running a weed farm with a sentient towel, co-starring some fourth-grade kids. This wouldnt be so bad if the guy in question, Randy Marsh, hadnt slowly devolved from a capable adult into a completely ridiculous being who mostly repeats the same gag over and over — a process known among adult animation fans as Flanderization. 

For a long time it looked like Matt Stone and Trey Parker had actually forgotten that Randy was supposed to be a knowledgeable geologist with a college degree and all. That is, until last years South Park: The Streaming Wars Part 2, in which Randy realizes how annoying and useless hes become and reverts to his original self during a musical number called We Missed You, Randy.

Once again a geologist, Randy designs a desalinization plant in order to help solve a drought and make it so South Park doesnt have to rely on recycled pee for water anymore. Unfortunately, by the end of the episode hes forced to go back to his annoying "Male Karen" persona to save the day. Its unclear if hell be Geologist Randy, Karen Randy or enter some new phase in upcoming episodes, but just knowing that Stone and Parker are aware of the Randy problem is reassuring. 

Satirizing Their Own Audience via President Garrison and The Whites


When Parker announced the show was backing off from doing more Donald Trump jokes in 2017, it was simultaneously kind of a relief (because both the character and real person are so incredibly annoying) and kind of like letting their most awful fans win — like Donald Trump Jr., who said the announcement made his day. Previously, theyd caught some flak from a certain section of their audience for scenes like the one where Trumps stand-in, Mr. Garrison, admits that hes dangerously unqualified to be president and asks everyone to vote for Hillary Clinton, to which she robotically replies, My opponent is a liar and shouldnt be trusted. 

By admitting that sometimes, one side of the eternal Giant Douche vs. Turd Sandwich debacle is objectively worse than the other, South Park had apparently disrupted the delicate balance of their equal opportunity offenders philosophy. In other words, the South Park fans who unironically laugh at Cartmans racism and say, Its just satire, bro! didnt appreciate being satirized themselves via Trump, who wasnt simply their preferred candidate but more like a physical embodiment of all their privilege and entitlement. Not making fun of him anymore was probably the right choice from a creative perspective (its not like there was any shortage of Trump-related satire in 2017), but it also sent the unfortunate message that the shows worst fans were indeed above mockery. 

Thats why it was, shockingly, kind of a relief when Garrison/Trump did show up at the end of the 2017 season and everyone groans and wants him to go away... except The Whites.

The Whites, a well-off family that thinks theyre persecuted just for being The Whites, feel like a depiction of white anxiety that South Park would have never done in their early years, when they had whole episodes about stuff like how hate crime laws are unfair to white people. Along with Token/Tolkien and the ManBearPIg episodes, they confirm that the show does have the ability to grow, even if it means alienating some long-time fans. Maybe one of these days theyll issue a real apology to Emperor of Black People Jesse Jackson. 

Follow Maxwell Yezpitelok's heroic effort to read and comment on every '90s Superman comic at Superman86to99.tumblr.com. 

Thumbnail: Paramount Global Distribution Group 


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