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Warning! The following contains spoilers for South Park's "The Pandemic Special." Read at your own risk!
2020 has been a real downer for a lot of reasons, and certainly a year that won't be forgotten for a long time. With so many negative things happening in the year, South Park returned at just the right moment, and for the umpteenth time in its run, reminded me that there's nothing too sad or depressing for me to laugh at when it comes to South Park.
Somehow, South Park managed to not only tie in everything from COVID to the new normal Americans have adapted to, but "The Pandemic Special" also pulled in protesting, various social movements, and somehow managed to tie it all into its lore. Seriously, what are the odds that the series would've aired an episode last October where Randy Marsh went to China, and now has inadvertently started COVID-19?
South Park even managed to hit on the more subtle news items of 2020. Out of all the things I expected to see in this special, Mickey Mouse commentating on losing money in China because of Mulan and the Disney theme parks having to close and cut jobs was not one of them. It really just showed how deep this episode went, and how Matt Stone and Trey Parker left no stone unturned in an effort to pick apart all the craziness that this year has delivered.
Of course, leaving no stone unturned means that there are probably going to be a lot of comments about the handling of some topics. I won't be the least bit surprised if advocacy groups are upset about some of the portrayals, but it's not like this series hasn't had its fair share of controversy over the years.
I don't know who or if anyone will be offended by South Park's "The Pandemic Special." What I can say is that it gave me some of the best laughs I've experienced in 2020, and I didn't really realize until after the special was over that I hadn't laughed that much this year. It was so great that I watched the repeat airing after, and I'll probably watch it another time this upcoming weekend just to laugh all over again.
If this is a sign of what's to come from Season 24, this may be one of the best seasons of South Park to date. If the season isn't that great, I can without question say "The Pandemic Special" will be remembered as one of the show's classic episodes. Or maybe I'm just overreacting because 2020 has been a downer year and something positive has come out of it. Either way, I'm happy.