The media expected South Park ‘s 21st season premiere to tackle Charlottesville and white supremacists based on its preview. And it did. But it saved its sharpest edges for mocking Americans distraught about the decline in manufacturing and other blue collar jobs.
In the episode, workers in South Park are up in arms over technology companies automating their jobs and take to the streets in protest (complete with waving a confederate flag). The protestors disrupt Randy Marsh’s new house-flipping show called White People Renovating Houses, so he proposes a solution: “There’s been a lot of hurt here; hurt from both sides!” says Randy, echoing President Trump’s infamous take on the violence in Charlotteville. “What if I told you I could get you all jobs?”
Randy’s idea is to give the unemployed jobs literally taking the place of Amazon’s Alexa shopping assistant units in peoples’ homes. But the newly employed find memorizing grocery lists and looking up stuff online undignified and quit.
In the episode’s most scathing exchange, Marsh shoots back: “Sorry you didn’t go to college so you have to take the jobs you can get … coal mining and truck driving are not exactly jobs of the future … you’re stuck in another time, afraid to change…”
That attitude, of course, just makes matters worse, leaving one worker to storm out declaring, “Muslims trying to kill us, black people rioting, Mexicans having babies… so I say, ‘Kill ’em all!'”
All that leads to a sequence with Randy renovating the lead protestor’s house for a rousing finish that brings the town together. “No matter how bad the country gets, you can alwayscount on white people renovating houses,” Randy declares.
Before the episode premiered, many online – particularly progressives – were rather concerned how the Comedy Central series would tackle such sensitive subject matter: