At face value, bringing back Turd Sandwich vs. a Giant Douche is pretty lazy for a show that is so uncannily fresh like South Park. In “Member Berries,” the first episode of the 20th season of Comedy Central’s animated franchise, Hillary Clinton represents the Turd Sandwich while Mr. Garrison’s representation of Donald Trump is the Giant Douche, and the citizens of South Park are just as torn between the candidates today as they were 12 seasons ago, when they were the mascot finalists for South Park Elementary.
But the use of this season eight joke in Wednesday night’s premiere plays a significant role in what Matt Stone and Trey Parker are setting up for the newest continuous story, one that rolls over from last season. At least we hope it plays a purpose, because we like to think the edgy humor is still sharper than ever, and calling Clinton a Turd Sandwich and Trump a Giant Douche seems dull in this ridiculous 2016 presidential election. Far worse is said daily by common people on Twitter and Facebook, and that’s seemingly why this attitude of “they both suck” has been resurrected and revamped. Not to mention the fact that complaining about both candidates, as Stan points out, has become a cliché.
“Member Berries” was far deeper than it seems, so let’s examine the stories that Parker and Stone have set up for this season.
“We all want something new that makes us remember the things we love.”
The key story for season 20 is faux nostalgia, or at least it’s one of the most prominent stories. Through “member berries,” Randy and others who long for a simpler time can revisit the things they love most while ignoring the horrors of present day. That’s pretty damn timely, between our constant reliance on ‘80s and ‘90s pop nostalgia (*looks around nervously, wipes sweat from brow*) and politicians routinely beating their drums over what used to be.
“’Member Chewbacca again? Oh, I love to remember Chewbacca! Hey, hey… ‘member when there weren’t so many Mexicans?”
If you dive down enough holes on Twitter — or simply follow Mike Huckabee — you’ll find too many people who actively practice this brand of “nostalgia,” pining for a simpler, safer America in which we didn’t get called out for overt racism by internet strangers, or we could complain about different religions or sexual preferences without fear of losing our jobs because of negative Yelp reviews. It’s only fitting that Randy Marsh, the guy who gets sucked into more fads and movements than any South Park character, is the one who first witnesses the casual racism of the member berries, so we can clearly look forward to him getting to the bottom of that issue as the season continues.