Election Results Keep Ruining Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s Plans

Mr. Garrison was never supposed to be President
Election Results Keep Ruining Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s Plans

In addition to occasionally screwing over the country, U.S. presidential election results have sometimes ruined plans for TV comedies, as well — specifically, TV comedies written by Trey Parker and Matt Stone. The South Park duo have been known to take inspiration from real-world headlines, kind of like Law & Order but with more anthropomorphic giant douches. 

But this strategy didn’t work too well during the 2016 election. The South Park episode “Oh Jeez” aired literally one night after Donald Trump was elected president. So, naturally, South Park’s Trump stand-in, Mr. Garrison similarly defeated Hillary Clinton in the show’s parallel election.

But this wasn’t always the plan. Originally, the episode was called “The Very First Gentleman” and focused on Bill Clinton’s return to the White House (this time, as the first First Gentleman), as well as Mr. Garrison’s return to teaching. Everyone at Comedy Central was so confident that Hillary would win that they even aired a promo for the show in which PC Principal declares that the “country changed last night” following weeks of “online trolling” and “male locker room mentality.” 

When the ad dropped, The Hollywood Reporter even noted: “Perhaps Matt Stone and Trey Parker know something we don’t. … It seems this week’s new episode of Comedy Central’s South Park calls the presidential election for Hillary Clinton.”

The episode, which still features a lot of Bill Clinton jokes, was hastily rewritten at the last minute following Trump’s win. At one point, Parker and Stone actually thought about airing the episode they had already produced “as-is,” to serve as “a document for history.” Then they considered broadcasting a black screen instead of a show. Ultimately, they opted for the less horrifically bleak course of action.

Weirdly, this wasn’t the first time that a federal election threw a wrench into the pair’s plans. Remember their 2001 George W. Bush-themed sitcom parody That’s My Bush?

It was pitched prior to the election, meaning that Parker and Stone weren’t even sure which presidential candidate would win, and therefore, become the subject of their show. When Bush ultimately took the presidency, Parker admitted that he was surprised, telling an interviewer, “I’ve been thinking about this show in terms of Al Gore for so long.” Reportedly, they even had a title picked out: Everybody Loves Al.

Even more disastrously, the results of the 2000 election prompted a recount and a prolonged legal battle, delaying work on the series. As Stone recalled, “We sat down on an election night and had a big party with all of our writers to find out who our show’s about … and like everyone else we had to sit on our thumbs for five weeks.”

That’s My Bush was canceled by Comedy Central in August 2001, just a month before the premise of the show would become a whole lot less funny.

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