Following the most recent South Park episode, I became curious why South Park is able to get away with turning legitimate cultural issues into jokes. If you have not seen it, the season opener of South Park last week made fun of Colin Kaepernick’s public protest of kneeling during the National Anthem by changing the audio of the loudspeaker to offer his protest to the entire crowd. You can see the scene here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=voSzc2vgOLA
While this scene barely scratches the surface of what South Park has taken aim at, it begs the question of why they have consistently been able to make light of problems that are impacting the world. I don’t have a specific answer to the question, but below I will discuss the reason why I think South Park tends to get overlooked when it comes to their over the top, raunchy comedy.
Do you think the perception be different if South Park were a live action show? The first reason I think South Park may get away with all that they do is because it is a cartoon. Does the delivery of these jokes from the body of a cartoon change the perception of how the joke is received. Personally, I think it does, yet the content is still the same. To me, there’s a very interesting difference between the way people perceive a cartoon versus a real person delivering the same or a similar message. Even in the situation where it is a live comedian delivering these jokes, the reaction tends to be “did he/she really just say that?” whereas when it happens during South Park, the more common reaction is “whatever, it’s just South Park.”
With the most recent episode taking aim at Colin Kaepernick’s very real protest of racial inequality-whether you agree with his protest or not-it’s pretty interesting and apparent that South Park is able to get away with their brand of comedy more than others.