The Single Most Absurd Take on the Pandemic

South Park’s view on the pandemic is done expertly the Trey Parker and Matt Stone way.



The official HBO Max poster that highlights Randy Marsh as he looks contempt with his actions in the Pandemic Special. While the poster art was done by South Park Studios, this image makes for a great summary for what lyes in this incredible special.

Owen Etter, Staff Writer

Being around for about twenty-three years with twenty-three seasons to back it up, South Park has always shown a spotlight on modern topics in their own brilliant satirical way. Some classic examples being when they talked about the use of a specific word on television in the episode, “It Hits the Fan,” or when they covered SJW’s and overly PC people in the episode “stunning and brave.” Obviously, fans couldn’t wait for Trey Parker and Matt Stone to give their own little take on the dumpster fire that is 2020. Premiering on Comedy Central on September 30th, 2020 and available for rewatchability on HBO Max, the South Park Pandemic Special is one of the best interpretations of how 2020 has gone thus far. 


In the beginning of the episode, it’s very clearly established that this episode is taking place a few good months after the pandemic happened with shots of empty schools, empty bus stops, and the town looking gloomy and trashed. Another theme that’s established early on is that this episode IS NOT going to be one of their “milder” episodes, so watch with heavy viewer discretion. It’s not just a few F-bombs that make this special incredibly mature, but it’s due to how heavily the plot relies on Randy Marsh having a very successful weed farm and what he specifically does to the weed as well as actions he takes while he’s high. 


On the topic of this special being really adult, Parker and Stone weren’t afraid to get political. Mr. Garrison makes an appearance as Donald Trump himself and there are also lots of mentions of the current views on police and the BLM movement. The special even got to the point where the entire town started a massive brawl over who wasn’t wearing a mask and how big of a deal it is to each individual citizen. While I did find all of these elements incredibly humorous, others might not share the same sense of humor and might find these jokes to be totally offensive. But again, no group or individual is excluded from Parker and Stone’s satire. 


One particular part of the special that could really hit home with viewers is when Eric Cartman starts to sing a musical number about how much he loves quarantine but for all the wrong reasons. He doesn’t get to interact with people, he gets to skip out on school, and every day is just a day off for him, which a good portion of viewers might really get enjoyment out of and be able to secretly relate to. But at the end of Cartman’s happy singing, information about schools attempting to reopen comes out and Cartman pulls a Cartman by trying to get things back to quarantine so he can continue to be lazy. This entire arc worked for me because everyone likes to laugh at Cartman when he’s struggling, but in this arc, it can be incredibly relatable for some. 


This brings me to the main message of the special that hit the hardest for me personally. While not a lot of details can be said without spoiling major plot points of the special, Stan comes to a realization that he wishes he could just go back to the way things were before the pandemic. I really enjoyed this revelation because I think at this point, all of us wish we could have our old lives back to an extent and just turn things back to the way they were. This small monologue is delivered really emotionally and very powerfully by Trey Parker and was a very satisfying realization to all the chaos surrounding the boys and the audience in this amazing special.