‘South Park’ Season 19: ‘PC Principal’ Episode Review


On the season finale of South Park, the connection between ads and political correctness is finally revealed as the citizens try to save their town. The divide between Kyle and Stan is put to the test as Kyle is manipulated by the sentient ad Leslie to give one of his big mind-changing speeches. Stan tries to uncover what his father has been doing in secret for PC Principal. The season culminates with references to America’s new calls for gun control and the ultimate definition of “gentrification” from South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone.

The episode begins with PC Principal in a gentrified part of Russia fighting humanoid ads as an outcast in a coat that resembles the posters for Leonardo DiCaprio’s new film The Revenant. Meanwhile, Jimmy is being held captive by Nathan, his handicapped nemesis, in his new apartment in The Lofts in Shi Tpa Town with his prostitute mistress named Classi. Nathan gives Jimmy a speech in which he compares political correctness to neighborhood gentrification. He says PC is just verbal gentrification; society’s attempt to clean everything up and look nice while hiding the ugliness of the truth, just like an advertisement. This is the seminal lesson of season 19 of South Park. Hiding the truth helps no one except for those who make money off of the suffering of others.

A recurring theme in the final episode was gun ownership. After last week’s attacks in San Bernadino, California, there have been renewed calls for stricter gun control as well as complaints that guns are too easy for anyone to purchase or that if everyone owned a gun, there would be fewer shootings. In response to this, everyone in South Park arms themselves with a firearm. In one scene, Liane Cartman demands her son Eric go to bed while he insists on finishing the movie he’s watching. After they both pull pistols on each other, Eric slowly backs up the stairs to his room and his mother looks at her pistol in awe of how easily Eric listened to her while she had her gun. At a dinner scene in the Marsh house, Stan pulls a gun on his father Randy and demands to know what he’s doing for PC Principal. Randy pulls a gun on Stan and soon Stan’s mom and sister Sharon and Shelly also pull out guns on their family. The Marsh family has a heated yet honest discussion of their emotional issues with each other and finally they all put their guns on the table. It seems some families can only be honest with each other with a gun to their head.

Randy reveals that he’s been working with Mr. Garrison, Principal Victoria, and Caitlyn Jenner to help find PC Principal because he is, in fact, trying to help South Park. They discover that a gun show in South Park is the target for the ads’ final move against the human race so they race over there in Jenner’s car, running over a few people on the way. The gun show in South Park is styled after the Westminster Dog Show, right down to the decor and the way the dogs are simply replaced by the guns, trotting them around the arena, et cetera. When the Marsh’s show up with Caitlyn, Garrison, and Victoria, everyone in the gun show pulls out their guns and another stand-off occurs. Instead of the bloodbath the ads assumed it would be, the entire arena of people rationally discuss their differences and settle the situation non-violently.

After the ads plan fails and Kyle and Stan reconcile, Leslie warns them all that the ads will only get smarter and mankind is inevitably doomed. Just then, PC Principal returns, lifts Leslie into the air, and exclaims “Leslie! You’re expelled!” just before punching her through the head revealing the glowing blue blood of a sentient ad. The episode wraps up with PC Principal forgiving the people of South Park for their “micro-aggressions” against him and his PC Frat. He declares that he will stay on as South Park Elementary’s principal and will try to help South Park become a more tolerant town.