South Park somehow achieved the nearly impossible with lasting a whopping 21 seasons. Its season 21 opener, “White People Renovating Houses” largely proves why it’s been so successful.
Overview (Spoilers Below)
In true South Park form, it’s relevant and balances low brow humor with poignant socio-political commentary. The intro scene features Eric Cartman surrounded by friends Butter, Stan, Kenny, Kyle, Token, and Timmy. “Alexa, add ‘big hairy balls’ to my shopping list.” Alexa replies, “Ok, added ‘big hairy balls’ to your shopping list.” Frighteningly, this is a scene which may very well have played out in the real world. If it hasn’t, well, now it’s sure to happen. Hopefully, Whole Foods is stocked up on big hairy balls.
But while these moments may foster some laughs, it’s the takedown of white supremacy and blue collar entitlement which “White People Renovating Houses” dominates at. Remember the “Goobacks” episode? Yeah, those guys are back. With a vengeance.
Randy and Sharon Marsh unveil their new series, “White People Renovating Houses.” The premise: The Marshes flip houses. If you’ve ever seen a similar show from HGTV, it’s far too accurate.
But a rally interrupts Randy’s show when a group of protestors waving Tiki torches, confederate flags, and anti-GOogle and Apple signs appear. During the episode, Randy chastises “Don’t you know every time you wave Confederate flags around you make us look stupid?” He continues, “People are going to start associating ‘White People Renovating Houses’ with their hateful stupidity.”
At one point, Randy even mimics President Donald Trump’s response to the violence in Charlottesville when he states, “There’s been a lot of hurt here; hurt from both sides!” And with that, Randy offers jobs for all. His solution: Replace personal assistants with actual people. Unfortunately, the new assistants aren’t working out. That’s partly because Jim Bob strumming Kendrick Lamar isn’t the same as Alexa playing the actual song. But the real issue is the workers feel their jobs are undignified.
South Park has almost never been this on point or dark. I really appreciated the biting takedown of white supremacy and entitlement. At the end of the episode, the rift is sort of resolved. However, this episode marvelously captures the turmoil in North America. “You’re stuck in another time, afraid to change,” Randy tells Daryl. “Why are you so close-minded?” wonders. But just before the show proceeds to an incredibly dark spot, the show shifts focus.
I like that the show concentrates on Randy. He’s been one of my favorite characters since the “Make Love, Not Warcraft” episode. I’m hoping season 21 offers more Randy-centric episodes. Additionally, I hope more entries like this present relevant social and political commentary.