'South Park' School Shooting Episode Could Be Its Most Offensive Yet
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South Park is not a middle of the road comedy. If you like people slipping on banana skins and making cheeky innuendos then the show isn't for you. South Park deals in much more of a religion-bashing, anal-probing kind of humour.
Over the course of the comedy's 21 seasons to date, there are very few major celebrities, politicians or cultural norms that have managed to avoid the show's trademark brand of outrageous lampoonery.
From placing NFL golden boy Tom Brady in an advert for 'Butters's Creamy Goo' (a sports drink made from - I'm afraid so - semen) and depicting Barbara Streisand as massive Godzilla-like monster, South Park goes where other shows dare not.
As such, fans of the show will no doubt be unsurprised to learn the title of the first episode from Season 22 - 'Dead Kids'.
Yes, creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone have decided it is time to broach the subject of school shootings. Can't see anyone complaining about that, can you? Nope, all looks safe and sound.
A clip from the episode has been released, offering a taste of what is in store. In the scene, the Marsh family are sat around the table having dinner, when mum Sharon asks her son Stan if he is going to tell his dad, Randy, what happened at school. To Sharon's shock, the first thing that Stan can think of is failing his maths test. Upon, further reflection Stan realises what his mum is referring to. "Oh, the school shooting," he replies.
Randy then asks if Stan 'shot up the school' or if he was shot himself, and after learning that he was neither, brings the subject back to the failed maths quiz.
As is so often the case with South Park, this episode is bound to cause offence purely because of its chosen subject matter, but this is almost always as a result of people mistaking the subject of the joke with the target of the joke.
Judging from this snippet, it seems as though the episode will aim to shine a light on how frequent school shootings have become and how we are becoming desensitised as a society.
Still, there will no doubt be a backlash to the episode as people blast Parker and Stone for even daring to search for humour in such a complicated and tragic subject.
It seems they are all too aware though, even using the anticipated outrage to market the forthcoming season by sharing promotional material with the hashtag, #cancelsouthpark.
The season will kick off in the US on 26 September at 10pm ET on Comedy Central.