It all started with a bang — literally.
After reports surfaced Wednesday that “South Park” creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker were scrambling to alter their post-election episode due to Donald Trump’s shocking victory Tuesday night, TV fans didn’t know what to expect when the animated comedy began. But hopes were high, as the historic series has repeatedly stepped up to the greatest satiric challenges over 20 years, often providing pointed insight into murky cultural moments. So when “Oh, Jeez” (formerly titled “The Very First Gentleman”) opened with the big reveal that Mr. Garrison (a.k.a. Giant Douche, by the show’s terminology) won the presidency, seeing a random Colorado voter blow his brains out on the spot probably felt like a fitting start.
As the episode rolled forward, there proved to be as many surprises as there were speed bumps. Serialized “South Park” has been a treat these past few seasons, but “Oh, Jeez” illustrated the issues for a production always rushing to meet its weekly deadline and a story that keeps expanding to incorporate more mockery. Just in this half-hour, we saw [spoilers ahead]:
- Mr. Garrison turned into a memberberries zombie, driven by the nostalgia-flavored fruit to follow through on his obscene campaign promise to “fuck them all.” Garrison recruited Randy Marsh (by projectile-vomiting memberberries on him) when the befuddled parent showed up to complain, and now Randy has poisoned his wife and daughter in similar, grotesque fashion.
- Still addicted to trolling people online, Gerald Broflovski is recruited by Hillary Clinton to wipe out an anti-troll server in Denmark that will expose the online search history of every person in the world.
- Despite losing the election, Bill Clinton introduces Bill Clinton’s Gentleman’s Club to South Park Elementary students, as an effort to win back women who are fed up with boys’ bad behavior.
- Cartman, afraid of losing his girlfriend Heidi because of his past intolerance toward women — specifically his hatred of the new “Ghostbusters” movie — convinces her to flee with him to Mars.
Now, of the many characters incorporated into the multiple storylines above, only two produced anything resembling a cathartic response to Tuesday night’s tragic election results — and both were based in an irate Hillary Clinton looking for vengeance on the sexist assholes who wronged her.
The first came when we discovered Gerald wasn’t actually on a mission for the U.S. government. Instead, he was sent to Denmark as a sacrifice along with his troll friends, a revelation topped off by the briefcases they thought to be bombs popping open and displaying Rick Astley’s 1987 video for “Never Gonna Give You Up.” That’s right: Hillary Clinton rick-rolled her trolls.
While that was a solid “I caught you laughing” joke, the second and more viscerally satisfying surprise came when Bill Clinton went to visit Butters, the unofficial leader of South Park’s boys’ rights organization (whose go-to move is dropping their pants and proudly displaying their “manhood”). Warned to “stop smooshing snake” by his father when Bill first arrived, Butters listened quietly as the former president warned “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.” There to save the kid as much as to correct him, Bill said, “She and all the other women in the world are about to get payback. […] Women are sick of our shit, son.”
Sadly, we didn’t get much of a tease as to how Hillary will enact her vengeance on a husband, a gender and a nation who’s screwed her over time and time again, but the ominous nature of her presence hints at possibilities to come. And that may be the best we can hope for from a show trying to change not just one episode but the course of a season at the eleventh hour. Unlike in previous post-election episodes, “South Park” has to fit this year’s half-hour piece into a larger puzzle. It wasn’t a standalone effort that could be whatever they wanted, and because of this, it lacked a similar, immediate impact. These few moments helped keep the show current, but it felt like the writers took a mulligan overall; begging for more time to make their grand statement, likely because they were just as stunned as the rest of us on Tuesday night.
Still, for a nation transitioning from isolation to anger in our collective grieving process, the promise of a wrathful Hillary Clinton burning down the patriarchy is a temptation too necessary to ignore — especially when this is the only way we’ll ever get to see it. Hopefully, with a little more time, the resulting product will match the demand for it. You’ve got another week, boys. A nation is not-so-patiently waiting.