The 19th-season premiere of South Park on Wednesday night initially felt like one big game of pop-culture catchup, as Matt Stone and Trey Parker tried to hit all the recent major updates they’ve missed during the show’s absence: Rape was called a “Hot Cosby,” Subway’s Jared Fogle was shown chasing Syrian refugee children, and Tom Brady and the NFL’s Deflategate scandal received sufficient screen time, thanks to a hilarious Vox-style dream-sequence explainer:
As was billed, though, the true star of the show was to be Caitlyn Jenner, one of the newest, most prominent faces of the trans community. There were initial concerns, of course, that whatever was cooked up for Jenner was going to be too low, especially coming from the people who have unabashedly locked Tom Cruise in a literal closet, made Saddam Hussein the devil’s bitch, and turned Barbra Streisand into a terrifying mecha kaiju. Makes sense.
So, how’d it go? Well, Stone and Parker ended up taking on Jenner by not really taking her on at all (though they did mention her a lot):
Instead, the episode really took aim at the so-called P.C. police, poking fun at the fact that, more and more, it feels like we live in a society in which we must say the “right” thing because it’s the “right” thing to do. The result was a compelling, albeit more conservative, episode that turned out to be, essentially, a 30-minute riff on Jerry Seinfeld’s thoughts about the creepiness of things being too P.C., especially in comedy. As the episode notes, this is the sound of 2015 pulling you over:
You can watch the full premiere here.