What South Park has done really well over the two plus decades it has aired has been to incorporate current issues and pop culture into the show. Subjects like starvation in Africa, Iran and Saddam Hussein, Sundance Film Festival, sexual harassment, and ADD in kids. Addressing the hot topics of the time is not unusual for Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the two behind the series. So, I’m sure it did not come as a surprise to South Park fans that in season 24 they address COVID and the pandemic.

There are only two episodes in season 24. They are extended episodes. The Pandemic Special and South ParQ Vaccination Special were the two titles. In them, Randy has to face the part he played in the spreading of COVID-19 as the city of South Park is hit by it. As the kids start heading back to school they begin to accept that things were never going to go back to the way it was before. Normal did not exist anymore. In the second episode, the citizens of South Park are begging for the vaccine. The kids are trying to get their teacher vaccinated but have to wage a battle against a militant group that wants to stop them.

South Park was one of the first shows to address the virus and pandemic. With its usual dose of silliness and off-coloured humour, of course. South Park has built its reputation upon its skill at satire. Instead, here it is trying to use of level of honesty and sincerity as they had never tried before. The change of pace requires a change of expectations by fans. It is a little different but really quite effective. For me, what took more of an adjustment was the long-form format of the episodes. Found them too long. Could have been divided into a couple of episodes.

Don’t get me wrong they do create laughs out of Zoom meetings and the question of wearing a mask or not. This is still South Park, folks.