“SOUTH PARK” is accustomed to triggering public sensitivities. What even the Comedy Central series is not used to setting off, though, is its viewers’ own devices.
In South Park, though, Confederate flag-waving white nationalists are demonstrating to win back their jobs not from other men, but machines — in this case, personal assistant “Amazon/Google thingies.” (Disclosure: Amazon founder Jeffrey P. Bezos owns The Washington Post; but then, you knew that.)
In court, reality-show host Randy Marsh tells the judge that the Tiki torch-wielding white supremacists are ruining the white-people “brand” — and thus his home-renovation series — through their “hateful stupidity.” The show also nods to President Trump’s rhetoric last month when Randy speaks of hurt from “both sides” and proposes a twist of an employment truce.
Meanwhile, Cartman and his friends shout orders at their personal assistant device, which prompted some viewers to claim on social media that the “South Park” dialogue was activating their own in-home “smart speakers.”
The show also parodies rapper Kendrick Lamar, when the twang-happy guitarist Jim Bob — having replaced a digital home assistant as his new gig — is told by his new owner to play “HUMBLE.” With a few bars, he turns it into a country tune.
Last month, the show’s creators spoke of the challenges of satirizing the Trump era, telling the Hollywood Reporter that they are not “actively putting in” their presidential satire this season, adding: “But we are not actively leaving it out. It’s the world we live in.”
A world, of course, in which Parker and Stone can satirize white supremacists, personal-assistant devices and Lamar — all in under a rapid-fire half-hour.