Anyone wondering about the deep satirical underpinnings of Paramount+’s new South Park “exclusive event,” Post-COVID, is in luck this Thanksgiving morning, as the studio released a “sneak peek” of the “We’re not calling it a special” special today. Said clip reveals that not even a trip to the future can rob South Park of its legendary Swiftian punch.
By which we mean: Hey, enjoy a clip of an aging Randy Marsh yelling at his son Stan to kick a doctor dressed like a disco ball square in the nuts.
Writing this from the distant past of Wednesday night (i.e., several hours before Post-COVID goes live on the streaming service), we have absolutely no context for what this clip actually pertains to. Stan appears to be breaking Randy out of somewhere, sure, and Randy seems happy as ever to see some balls get kicked. But what does this particular game of scrotal soccer spell for the future that Post-COVID takes place in? What themes does it speak to? How does it address our various cultural anxieties, in the way that the previous South ParQ Vaccination Special and Pandemic Specials did?
(Note: Post-COVID is not a special; if it was a special, it would presumably have to stream on HBO Max with the rest of South Park. This is an “exclusive event.”)
We simply don’t know, any more than we know what moral forces wage war within Stan Marsh’s spirit as the patriarchal voice demands he give in to authority and kick a ball or two. All we can really tell is that the future must be a brutal place, where only crotch-based violence is the pathway to freedom, or respect.
Post-COVID is one of several new South Park projects that were commissioned during the show’s recent extension on Comedy Central; by the time you’re reading this, it should be live and streaming on Paramount+.