South Park has poked around with its characters’ futures before—most notably with the sixth season’s “My Future Self ‘n’ Me,” which briefly shows two different version of the person Eric Cartman grows up to be. (Unsurprisingly, the one powered by spite and terrible choices inevitably wins out.)
Now, though, it looks like the series will be diving head-on into this forward looking concept, with the teaser for upcoming Paramount Plus “exclusive event”—they’re very insistent on the terminology—Post Covid showing an adult Stan and Kyle living in the future, and an elderly Randy being as dumb and short-sighted as ever.
Given that it’s just a teaser, there’s not a huge amount we can glean from the video—although it looks like Kyle, who apparently got a psychology degree in the intervening 30 or so years, might have taken over for Mr. Mackey as a school guidance counsellor.
Obviously, something terrible has happened in South Park—we get a shot of the town’s usual screaming chaos, albeit with a hoverboard tossed in to highlight the future of it all—but, then: Something terrible is always happening in South Park, so who’s to say what’s actually going on?
Post Covid is the first of what will be several efforts by Paramount to get some online control over the long-running Comedy Central franchise. (Rival streaming service HBO Max retains the extremely expensive rights to the series’ regular streaming license, which might also explain why the “exclusive event” terminology is being used, instead of the previous “specials” that the show deployed in 2020 and 2021.)
It’s not hard to see why: 24 years in, South Park remains one of the most potent brands in animation, a functionally unkillable satirical effort to reckon with two-decades-and-counting of American cultural dysfunction. Like it or not, the show is an institution—something it’ll try to prove all over again when Post Covid airs on Paramount+ on Thanskgiving, Thursday, November 25.