‘South Park’ Season 19: ‘Sponsored Content’ Episode Review


This week on South Park, Jimmy Valmer, South Park’s handicapable comedian and editor of the elementary school newspaper, faces down PC Principal and begins to learn the secret behind South Park‘s recent turn toward ultra-political correctness. Jimmy takes his job very seriously and refuses to put sponsored articles or edit one of his writer’s brash choice of words: daring stances in 2015’s media culture. The word that PC Principal confronts Jimmy about just so happens to be “retard.” The irony seems to be lost on PC Principal and finds himself in an awkward position of disagreeing with an “oppressed minority.”

In an attempt to clear his own conscious and to convince Jimmy that he supports the handicapped community, PC Principal throws a fundraiser at his Politically Correct Fraternity. The plan backfires as Jimmy witnesses meat-headed frat boys picking up girls by acting concerned about political correctness, and he releases a story in the following day’s Super School News entitled “PC Stands for Pussy Crushing.” PCP kicks Jimmy off of the school paper and hands the head editor job to Jimmy’s longtime handicapped rival, Nathan, but Jim still has many supporters, including the townspeople who are tired of reading news online and being bombarded with advertisements. Jimmy soon learns that there is much more to South Park‘s recent bout of ultra-progressivism than just PC Principal or Whole Foods coming to town.

Soon, a representative from insurance company Geico visits the Valmer household to try and convince Jimmy to include “sponsored content” in Super School News. Jimmy refuses to include ads and, more specifically, ads that are disguised as news stories (an insidious marketing ploy that has been prevalent in today’s instant media cycle). When the Geico representative threatens Jimmy, he is shot and killed by Officer Barbrady, who was run out of town in last week’s episode “Naughty Ninja” for shooting an unarmed minority. Barbrady spits out the famous line from The Terminator “Come with me if you want to live!” And Jimmy follows South Park‘s first police officer into his car.

The final act of this week’s show is a sci-fi buffet. The secret agent who brought Barbrady into the fold of South Park’s PC conspiracy (voiced by South Park staff writer and SNL alum Bill Hader) tests Jimmy’s uncanny ability to distinguish advertisements from real news stories by showing him screenshots from sites such as Huffingtonpost, Newsweek, and other formerly respectable news outlets. The missing student Leslie, who we learned at the end of last week’s episode is no average little girl, is sat in a room with Jimmy to interview him. After a short time Jimmy emerges from the interrogation room demanding the secret agent tell him “Does she know she’s an ad?!” in a nod to this year’s sci-fi thriller Ex Machina.

Meanwhile, Mr. Garrison, who is still running for president with running mate Caitlyn Jenner, is approached after a speech by ousted South Park Elementary Principal Victoria. This is the first time we see the classic South Park character since the mention of her firing in episode one of this season. Victoria informs Garrison that there is much more going on in their town than a move towards political correctness. Victoria is revealed as part of the PC resistance and recruits Garrison and Jenner.