South Park delivered an unexpectedly pointed message at the end of its hour-long pandemic special on Wednesday night ― and it was a message directly urging viewers to vote.
The episode was full of the show’s trademark off-colour humour, with jokes about everything from bestiality to police brutality. It also took on social distancing:
There were Zoom meetings and mask debates:
But the big moment came during the show’s final minutes, when a character made a direct plea to vote. That character was President Donald Trump, or rather, Mr. Garrison, who has essentially morphed into Trump since 2015.
Garrison/Trump explained how the pandemic was good for his reelection chances. So, when a scientist said he was on the cusp of having a breakthrough, the president whipped out a flamethrower and roasted him on the spot.
“Don’t forget to get out and vote, everybody!” he said straight to viewers. “Big election coming up!”
The message was much more blunt than the show’s previous forays into presidential politics, which have tended to lean heavily toward nihilism.
In 2016, South Park presented the choice as one between a giant douche (Trump) and a turd sandwich (Hillary Clinton), a callback to a 2004 episode that parodied voting for unsavoury choices when the kids had to decide between the douche and turd as the school mascot.