‘South Park’ Season 20 Premiere Takes On Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Colin Kaepernick, J.J. Abrams, ‘Star Wars,’ And Internet Trolls

The Season 20 premiere of South Park not only picked up where it left off last season, but it reminded viewers as early as the opening scene that the show always provides very current social commentary. Regarding issues of race, Colin Kaepernick’s recent national anthem protest movement was mirrored in elementary sports, while Cartman sported a “Token’s Life Matters” shirt throughout the episode. Donald Trump’s presidential run was echoed through Mr. Garrison, while Hillary Clinton was compared to a “turd sandwich.” And while the girls of South Park Elementary are being harassed by an internet troll, America’s obsession with nostalgia is mimicked as J.J. Abrams — Hollywood’s master of the reboot — is called upon to save the day.

In an episode from early in Season 19, Trey Parker and Matt Stone warned America what might happen if Donald Trump was elected president by showing him as the President of Canada. Mr. Garrison, who was growing tired of Canadians moving to South Park in an attempt to escape their president, raped and killed Donald Trump. Having run a political campaign in South Park promising he would get rid of the unwanted immigrants, his success in getting the Canadians to leave gave him the momentum he needed to set his eyes on the White House. His campaign then, and in the Season 20 premiere, is based on a statement Mr. Garrison made during a Canadian history ceremony at the school.

There’s only one immigration policy that I believe in, and that’s “f*** ’em all to death.”

In that episode last season, Kyle was the embodiment of the voice of reason. Unfortunately for him, after 19 seasons worth of trying to teach the residents of South Park how to learn from their mistakes, everyone is tired of his warnings. He tried to warn the people of South Park that they needed to stop Mr. Garrison’s campaign before it got out of control and caused a serious threat to the future of America. And just as Donald Trump continues to get closer to becoming the President of the United States, Mr. Garrison continues to gain momentum in the satirical South Park universe.

As the Season 20 premiere opens, the South Park Cows are facing the Jefferson Sabres in fourth grade volleyball. The arena is sold out, as everyone is anticipating whether or not one of the girls on the team will sit down during the playing of the national anthem. As every member of the South Park Cows sits down, the sport commentary covers the action. They explain that the girls are sitting out to protest being victims of online trolling. As soon as the national anthem is over, the vast majority of the crowd leaves, and the coverage of the game on television stops, just as the volleyball game actually starts.

So in the first few minutes of the show, South Park has pointed out that people who normally couldn’t care less about a certain sport will suddenly have a strong opinion about its athletes if the players are taking a politically divisive stand. And in true South Park form, the fact that the girls are sitting out the national anthem because of internet trolling really does force one to ask exactly how Colin Kaepernick decided that this was the best way to address the issues of racial injustice.

After the volleyball game, PC Principal (who was introduced in Season 19 to replace Principal Victoria) commends the girls for their protest. The girls say that they mostly want Eric Cartman to be punished for the trolling being done under the name “Skankhunt42,” but PC Principal argues that there’s no evidence that it’s truly Eric. Spoiler alert: it’s not. Although it’s never mentioned directly, Eric is wearing a shirt that says “Token’s Life Matters” from the very beginning. South Park has often poked fun at the fact that the show portrays a mostly white town with minorities who often fill very stereotypical roles. Cartman’s offensive shirt that feigns an attempt at being socially progressive is nothing compared to the way he later mocks the idea that women can be just as funny as men.

The federal government sees the political divide over the national anthem issue as potentially dangerous for the country, so they hire J.J. Abrams to write a national anthem “reboot” so that it appeals to everyone.

“We know you’ve been asked to reboot a lot. We know you’re tired. What do you say, sir? We all want something new but that makes us remember what we love!”

Abrams agrees, but the song isn’t introduced in the season premiere. Luckily, the good people at Comedy Central have provided viewers with a taste of what to expect.

Cartman hosts a rally at the school to help raise awareness about the internet trolling. Claiming that many guys think that it’s just a matter of girls not having a sense of humor, he gives the angry girls in the auditorium a chance to say something funny. Of course, since they all hate Cartman, they aren’t in the mood to say anything funny at all. The scene then cuts to Stan’s dad, who hears about the forthcoming Abrams song, and complains that “everything’s getting a reboot now.” He is then asked about who he will be voting for in the presidential election: a giant douche or a turd sandwich.

While an animated Hillary Clinton is shown as being the turd sandwich, a spray-tanned Mr. Garrison is the giant douche. For those unfamiliar with South Park lore, this is a callback to the Season 8 politically-themed episode “Douche and Turd,” which aired a month before the election between President George W. Bush and Democratic challenger John Kerry. As Mr. Garrison is celebrating his commanding lead over Turd Sandwich in the polls, he confesses to his potential VP (the controversial version of Caitlyn Jenner from the Season 19 premiere) that he’s not sure what he’s supposed to do if he actually wins the election.

“Are you telling me that we’re about to be voted into office, and we have no idea what the f*** we’re gonna do?! Oh, geez!”

As Kyle talks to Mr. Mackey about the possibility of somehow being guilty for the internet trolling being done against the girls at his school — comparing it to the “collective guilt” shared by the Germans who allowed Adolf Hitler’s rise to power — viewers are introduced to “Member Berries,” for which this episode of South Park was named. While they had been mentioned in passing a few times already, Mr. Mackey pulls out what looks like a cluster of adorable grapes that can speak. In an attempt to help their eater feel better, they remind him of things from the past that he loved, like Chewbacca and Ghostbusters. As he grabs one to eat, Mackey asks himself a question laden with foreshadow: “How could anyone think these are bad?”

Back to the election, Garrison/Trump is being interviewed. They do the calculations and ask Mr. Garrison if he thinks he’ll be able to “f*** to death” the 7.6 million people who he has already promised will receive that treatment in the first year of his presidency. This is an arc clearly inspired by Trump’s claims to build a wall to keep out Mexicans, to ban all Muslims from coming into America, and to “bomb the s***” out of ISIS.


As usual, for anyone who has failed to grasp the point this particular episode is trying to make, Mr. Garrison once again sums it up quite nicely. Realizing that he’s probably going to win and has no idea how to be the president, he confesses his feelings of despair to his political advisers.

“What the hell do I do? If I win, I won’t be able to do what I promised. But every day I keep going up in the polls… If I quit, I look like a total jackass. If I win the election, I look like a total jackass.”

Meanwhile, Kyle finds a crack in Cartman’s persistent cry that he wants to help make gender relations better at their school. Cartman claims to have been attacked by the girls at their school. But Kyle sees through his lies because the drawing of a vagina on Cartman’s face is anatomically incorrect: it includes a pair of testicles.


And then, like the brilliant plot of a Guy Ritchie film, all of the seemingly unrelated stories come together. As the “giant douche” looks for a way to lose the election, he overhears a news report about the unveiling of the new J.J. Abrams-penned national anthem. Since it is an anthem that everyone is supposed to love, he thinks sitting it out will turn supporters against him enough to vote for Turd Sandwich. His plan backfires, however, when the announcer at the football game asks everyone to “stand, sit, or kneel” out of respect for the national anthem, leaving both Mr. Garrison and Colin Kaepernick confused about how to proceed.

And then, in case you forgot about the Member Berries, Stan’s dad is shown enjoying his first batch. He has practically reached a state of nirvana as the talking fruit remind him of Star Trek and Bionic Man. But then, without warning, they start reminding him of other things from that time in American history, like when there were fewer Mexicans in America and when gay marriage was still illegal.

As they did with Season 19, it looks like the story arcs from Season 20 will continue from one episode to the next, rather than simply wrapping up each week and tackling a completely different subject the following week. With the presidential election just two months away, the drama between Hillary “Turd Sandwich” Clinton and Donald “Giant Douche” Trump will continue to be mocked by South Park.

South Park airs weekly on Comedy Central. The show can be seen Wednesdays at 10 p.m EST. For viewers without access to Comedy Central, the new episodes are available to stream for free through the Comedy Central website or on-demand with a Hulu PLUS account. At both locations, every past episode of South Park is available to stream as well.

[Featured Image via Comedy Central/South Park]

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