Far too many major news stories this year reminded us of previous seasons of "South Park." Was 2015 actually just a rip off of old episodes of the raunchy comedy?
We've compiled a few examples. A warning, these are R-rated jokes, because it is "South Park," after all.
Another quick note: Hulu for some reason allows you to embed these clips, but then when you click play, a message comes up telling you it cannot be embedded. So we included a link to each clip next to the non-working video.
Changing Racist Flags
This year, pressure started mounting on Mississippi to change its flag to remove the Confederate emblem. South Carolina finally took down the Confederate battle flag from its Capitol. A number of college students pressured their schools to make changes, either renaming buildings so they aren't named after white supremacists, or to change something like the Harvard seal because of the racist underpinnings.
Way back in Season 4, "South Park" debated changing their flag because it was racist. Defenders don't want to change the flag because it's been that way since the time of their ancestors.
"That flag represents a time when blacks were persecuted by whites," Chef responds in one scene.
Uncle Jimbo asks, "What about the baseball team, the Cleveland Indians, huh? Should they change their name because it's racist?" "Yes," Chef responds. (Wait, isn't there a major football team that has a name that's racist against Native Americans?)
Watch a clip: Racist Flag
Chipotle had a rough year, thanks to customers in multiple cities getting sick. One of the most common complaints reported was customers saying they have gotten sick from food contaminated with E. coli bacteria, which leads to symptoms that include diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting.
In Season 13, one of the principal jokes of an episode about dead celebrities is a fictional product called "Chipotlaway," which cleans stains from underwear after eating Chipotle. Cartman bribes a judge at a beauty pageant with the product when he notices her eating Chipotle. The judge admits to him, "It's my favorite fast food. I would eat it every day, except..." (She trails off as she looks away in embarrassment).
Cartman responds, "Except, you can't afford buying all the new underwear?"
Watch a clip: Billy Mays Here
Sexual assault and harassment in schools received a significant increase of attention in the past couple of years. Some celebrate that we're finally paying attention to such an important issue, though critics have also said we're going too far. One episode from Season 3 of "South Park" seems to capture the critics' worst nightmare.
In the episode, the class is visited by "Petey the Sexual Harassment Panda," who arrives to train students about "what's right and wrong." In reality, virtually every college campus is doing training and education workshops for students about sexual harassment, and more K-12 schools are, as well. On "South Park," everyone starts suing each other over instances of sexual harassment and collecting tons of money in judgments. Soon the classroom is on egg shells because no one wants to be sued for harassment. In real life, critics of the efforts to address harassment and assault on college campuses say the ramped up efforts are causing people to do the same.
Though unlike the "South Park" episode, very few students speaking out about their experiences with sexual harassment and assault are making any money off of it. Most of them have filed complaints with the U.S. Department of Education, which don't result in monetary awards, and a minority of victims have engaged in litigation.
Watch a clip: Sexual Harassment Panda
A Stripper At ATO
In Season 13, a local Alpha Tau Omega fraternity hired a stripper who, we are led to believe when the camera cuts away, engages in sexual activity with the frat bros.
In October, an ATO chapter in Indiana was kicked off campus because of a video showing a bunch of brothers gathered around as one guy performed oral sex on a stripper.
The fictional ATO on "South Park" was punished, too, but only because the stripped turned out to be a local cop working undercover.
Watch a clip: Hand Me That Evidence Bag
Microaggressions And Intolerance
On college campuses, microaggressions began getting a lot more attention while students demonstrated, calling for more efforts to promote diversity and get their classmates to stop using racially-charged words.
The "South Park" boys also once learned about intolerance.
In Season 6, they are taken to the Museum of Tolerance to learn about stereotypes, racism and other forms of bias.
Watch a clip: Museum of Tolerance
When a fictional Kanye West gets upset that someone accused him of being a "gay fish" because he said he liked "fish dicks" (it was said fast so that it also sounded like "fish sticks"), he tries to track down who came up with the joke.
They pin it on Carlos Mencia, who in real life was accused several years ago of stealing jokes. The fictional Mencia admits he didn't come up with the joke, and says he just "repackages them." Hmmm … who else said that in 2015? Oh right, The Fat Jew.
The Fat Jew was called out for building a career off of stealing jokes and content from other people and then posting them on his Instagram account without credit. When he was called out for it, The Fat Jew said he was just a "curator."
Watch a clip: I'm Not Actually Funny
Ghost Costumes As KKK Attire
The Citadel military academy recently punished several cadets for wearing pillow cases that strongly resembled the hoods from Ku Klux Klan outfits. The cadets had said it was part of a "Ghosts of Christmas Past" skit. Ghosts, huh?
In Season 5 of "South Park," the town's people dressed up as "ghosts" in an attempt to scare away all the rich people who moved in. (All those rich people also happened to be black, and the ghost outfits happened to look exactly like KKK getups.) The rich people in the "South Park" episode end up believing they are ghosts and decide to move out because the town is "hainted."
Watch a clip: The Town's Hainted
Warning: This Reading Material Is Triggering
But an episode from Season 14 of "South Park" shows trigger warnings could be a way to get students to eagerly read the lesson material.
When Garrison handed out copies of Catcher in the Rye and warned that there were some "very risque parts," "strong vulgar language" and that many schools still ban it, the students actually got really excited about reading it.
Watch a clip: Let's Read It Now!
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