South Park Nails The 2016 Presidential Election Dynamic In Its Season 20 Premiere

Who are you supporting for president – a giant douche or a turd sandwich?

That’s the central question posed in the premiere episode of “South Park”‘s 20th season Wednesday night, marking another brilliant beginning to the bravest show on TV, that takes on all sides with precision accuracy (you can watch the full episode here).

In the South Park universe, the 2016 presidential election is a standoff between a Turd Sandwich – portrayed by Hillary Clinton (who is referenced by name and likeness) – and a Giant Douche, played by the foul-mouthed former teacher Mr. Garrison. Garrison is simply a stand-in for Donald Trump, of course, now tanned, with Caitlyn Jenner as his running mate, and occasionally wearing his “Where My Country Gone?” hat.

Garrison realizes throughout the episode that he doesn’t in fact want to be president, and makes it his mission to throw the election to Clinton. Unfortunately Clinton’s unlikability makes that a more difficult task than it would appear – she is a Turd Sandwich, after all.

Meanwhile, there’s a national anthem crisis, and the only person who can save America is JJ Abrams. Congress enlists the “Star Wars” re-booter to reboot the anthem, so all can feel good about standing for the song.

And while Cartman runs around playing the role of a Social Justice Warrior, re-booting “Little Red Riding Hood” as a story about a “gay boy,” a grandma who is a black kid (“get over it”) and featuring a hilarious woman, since women are very funny, the title of the episode, “Member Berries,” takes shape. The chatty “super food” serves several purposes, bringing abut nostalgia like remembering the good ‘ol days of TV but also the time when “there weren’t so many Mexicans.”

Colin Kaepernick himself makes an appearance at the end – when he didn’t know whether to kneel or stand for the new national anthem (which was the same national anthem, just allowing people to honor it by sitting or standing), and if the season 20 promo is any indication, his stance against the police will be taking centerstage in future episodes.

In a cultural moment where political comedy consists of Trevor Noah, Sam Bee and John Oliver trying to make the edgiest Donald Trump joke they can think of, and safe space culture and fear of microaggrieving someone has muted most discussions approaching the politically incorrect line, “South Park” is more necessary than ever.

They have carved out a corner and stood alone – making fun of everyone and all constituencies. And a prediction as this 2016 season gets underway – there will surely be a controversial episode that lights a fire under the perpetually offended, and with their lightning fast turnaround time, South Park can respond to the backlash in near realtime. Get ready: Turd Sandwich vs. Giant Douche is the 2016 race to mirror our American reality, and play out on Comedy Central every Wednesday night.

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Steve Krakauer

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