TV Recap: South Park, ‘Stunning and Brave’

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If you didn’t expect the first 30 seconds of the new season of South Park to begin with a Bill Cosby rape joke, you haven’t been watching South Park.

“Stunning and Brave,” the first episode of the show’s 19th season – yes, 19th – is everything you want it to be and more. At this point in the show’s history, whenever a big news story breaks, or there is a new trend that doesn’t quite make sense, we often to look to shows like South Park, Family Guy or even the satirical news programs like The Daily Show for effective commentary, and on the front, “Stunning and Brave” more than delivers.
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This season premiere found the South Park boys caught in a rock and a hard place between expressing their true feelings on Caitlyn Jenner, with many claiming that she’s “not really a hero.” After Principal Victoria is fired for referring to a rape as “Hot Cosby,” a new principal comes in known only as PC Principal, “PC” in this instance of course standing for “Politically Correct.” What you probably imagine to happen in this scenario is exactly what happens, and in true South Park style, with the PC crowd waging war on those who feel they should be free to express their opinions. As expected, the episode wastes no time taking stabs at celebs, calling shots and spitting fire on the stupidity of many current events, with the new character PC Principal obviously representing the legions of Social Justice Warriors and Tumblristas who flinch like salt in a wound at the slightest discomfort and attack anyone who opposes their radical, often extreme mindsets.

“Stunning and Brave” uses the publicity surrounding Caitlyn Jenner as a brilliant jumping off point for satire of today’s popular culture, and no one gets out unscathed. There’s even a small dream sequence that tackles the current Tom Brady “DeflateGate” scandal going on. At this point in their career, Matt Stone and Trey Parker have satire and social commentary through art down to a tee, and it’s for this reason South Park has been on the air for almost two decades.

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Not all the humor in “Stunning and Brave” comes from the satire, though. There’s a few hilarious moments involving the PC crowd that have brilliant uses of bleep censors. When all of them are shouting at once, and there’s a bleep censor going off every two seconds to the point where it almost sound like a long continuous noise, you have to wonder what they could even be saying. Quite often in animation, or at least traditional-style cartoons, swear words are funnier when they’re bleeped, and Parker and Stone have a cemented understanding of this principle.

The front-bottomed feminazis and race baiters of the internet will probably be writing angry letters to Comedy Central after this episode, which more than prove the episode’s point. Towards the end of the episode, Cartman practically looks straight into the ‘camera’ and says to Kyle “Sometimes joking about PC things is important to start a dialouge”. That’s exactly what South Park has done since the beginning and it has never failed them. Episodes like this are the reason why.

After 18 seasons on the air, audiences know what to expect from South Park, and “Stunning and Brave” is exactly what you’d expect. In other words, it was gold.

OVERALL RATING: 9/10
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Dylan Brandsema is a staff writer for Pop-Break specializing in film and television. When he isn’t writing reviews or spending too much analyzing the medium, he’s writing and directing his own independent films as well as drinking way too much soda. Currently at full-time film major at Full Sail University, Dylan eats, sleeps, and breathes everything related to the cinema. You can follow him on Twitter @SneakyOstrich69.

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