South Park: “Stunning and Brave” Season 19 Premiere Review

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South Park doesn’t know what to do. This might be the most self-aware episode since season 15’s “You’re Getting Old.” Recent events have plunged the youth of the world into hyper-aware policemen of political correctness. That’s South Park‘s audience.

The opening scene of “Stunning and Brave” has the school’s new principal directly point out several past events on this series its audience may jump on today that they probably loved yesterday. The new brotastic politically correct principal represents a large chunk of the show’s audience that it is now daring to question their love for the series. It’s a stunning and brave move for South Park.

The episode moves forward with white frat bros starting a war with the town’s citizens, including Kyle, who openly states that he doesn’t consider Caitlyn Jenner his hero. With the bros harassing him, and Cartman swearing off Jew slurs so he can stay safe, Kyle is faced with either stating something he doesn’t believe to shut people up, or standing up for his position and continuing to have dicks drawn on his face.

Cartman hilariously escalates that choice by sending an army of pregnant Mexican women, child refugees, and Jared Fogle to take on the frat guys. Kyle runs in and gets everyone to stop fighting by saying that he thinks Caitlyn Jenner is stunning and brave. He later states that this is a situation where nobody wins, except Cartman. South Park‘s fans have to choose whether they still think “City Wok” is funny. Matt and Trey, speaking through Kyle, have to choose whether to give up those fans. But Cartman, a character so heightened and so ridiculous that he’s become a walking, cursing satire of whatever the show needs him to satire, will remain iconic.

Based on the ending, South Park wants to keep being itself, but it also doesn’t want to lose you. If this premiere was any indication, how it attempts to do that will be fascinating television. Grade: B+

By Matt Dougherty

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