FILM CORNER: New South Park Special Tackles COVID Vaccines and QAnon
This past Wednesday, Comedy Central aired the second one-hour television special of South Park that tackles the COVID pandemic. Ever since their Pandemic Special aired last Fall, I’ve been waiting for what South Park would do next, and when it was announced that a new special would air, this South Park fan was filled with anticipation. Without posting any major spoilers, I will explain the plot of the new special.
There are people waiting in line at the local Walgreens in South Park, and due to protocol, the elderly is getting the vaccinations first. This frustrates many of the citizens. In the meantime, the main characters of the show (Stan, Kyle, Kenny, and Cartman) face criticism after Cartman and Kenny pull off a controversial prank on their teacher, Mrs. Nelson, which results in the class getting Mr. Garrison (back home from the Oval Office) back as their teacher. The boys find out a way to get Mrs. Nelson back in the classroom while Mr. Garrison finds out that a group that sees him as “The Chosen One” plan a way to prevent “The Elite” from taking over.
Now, it’s pretty much common knowledge that South Park creators, Matt Stone and Trey Parker, doesn’t hold back punches on the topics they tackle in their long-running animated series, and I wasn’t surprised that they would hit the nail on the head when it comes to the handling of the COVID vaccines. The waiting list for the vaccine to be given at the local Walgreens is symbolized as a line to a nightclub where the elderly are considered as V.I.P.s for the vaccine. There is also the relatable frustration of certain citizens of when they are allowed to receive the vaccine. Another interesting aspect to this episode is that the creators of the series tackles the conspiracy group, QAnon, to the point where the official title of the special is “South ParQ Vaccination Special.” Every meaty detail that QAnon has done, said, and supported is parodied very well in the episode.
Then, there is the giant elephant in the series: Mr. Garrison. Last time we saw him was in the previous special where he was President of the United States and sporting a Trump-style look to him (complete with an artificial face tan and blonde wig). We see him now back to what he originally looked like, and wanting to live his life like it was before he was elected several seasons prior. His attitude is even similar to back before the events that lead to his presidential run in Season 19. With him being a former president, he even returns to South Park with a member of the Secret Service. Since the election, I was wondering what would be done with Mr. Garrison since Trump lost his re-election, and honestly, to have him return in a mindset of going back to the way things were before he became President was a very well done choice on the creators part. However, with the fact that his Presidency was based on Trump, there are those in South Park who are not too keen about his return.
I enjoyed the Vaccination Special for what it was: a dark yet funny satire on the COVID vaccines and QAnon. Though it aired last week, the special is available to watch on HBO MAX, which has become South Park’s new home when it comes to streaming.