Not surprisingly, the season 19 premiere of South Park ruffled some feathers. Pretty much everyone got their toes stepped on by “Stunning and Brave,” which is an homage to America’s new culture of political correctness.
South Park opened season 19 with the introduction of a new character: PC Principal. As the Washington Post reports, he’s not the quintessential figure of political correctness. Rather, he’s got the PC persona disguised in the physical and mental attributes of a party-school frat boy. Not only that, but he’s taking pledges for the “fraternity” that is the new world of being politically correct.
What is PC Principal doing in South Park in the first place? The bigger, more accurate question is: what is he not doing there? He’s got a lot of cleaning up to do among the familiar cast of decidedly un-PC South Park characters, and the first in the crosshairs is Kyle. Not a surprising target, as Kyle mustered the nerve to question Caitlyn Jenner’s “hero” status.
PC Principal was decidedly unimpressed.
“I thought we were all on board that Caitlyn Jenner is an amazing beautiful woman who had the exquisite bravery of a beautiful butterfly flying against the wind. And then this s— flies out of people’s mouths!”
Caitlyn Jenner wasn’t the sole target of the South Park premiere episode. Tom Brady and “deflategate” took some very targeted, accurate hits as well. Bleacher Report had plenty of kudos for the way Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s South Park premiere summed up the biggest scandal of the last NFL season.
One of the biggest challenges faced by South Park’s season 19 premiere was being PC without being preachy or losing the anything-goes appeal that has been its foundation for going on two decades now. The reaction of the fan base was definitely mixed.
South Park, though, has never banked on being universally loved. Far from it, actually. The currency of South Park has always been controversy, which is something that “Stunning and Brave” sparked in spades. The biggest question fans are pondering is how serious the show’s producers are about actually aiming for more political correctness. Most fans of the show would probably agree that the PC movement isn’t what’s made them loyal to South Park for almost 20 years.
We can all hope that this newfangled PC attitude is just a passing fancy on South Park, perhaps a little bit more irony than usual from the masters of satire. It does look like PC Principal is going to be here to stay, though. Not to mention that the episode saw Kyle bullied and harassed from his initial view on Caitlyn Jenner to something much more PC.
“There’s no other way to say it, what she did took bravery, and she is absolutely stunning.”
Because we’re talking South Park, only time (and the next social media diversion in the U.S.) will tell how the future might unfold.
[Image Credit: Hulton Archives/Getty Images]