BOSTON (CBS) — In the not-so-distant future, everyone will look back on the insufferable waste of time that was DeflateGate and laugh at the insanity of it all. Thankfully, South Park is already doing it.
The most reliably irreverent show on TV lambasted Tom Brady and DeflateGate in Wednesday night’s 19th season premiere, “Stunning and Brave”. But as the episode’s title suggests, it was more about Caitlyn Jenner and the culture of the politically correct.
The subplot that interested Patriots fans the most was that of Cartman, who declares Tom Brady his hero – because of course Cartman loves everything that the show hates. Cartman decides to “Tom Brady this thing” when he gets suspended for four days – the ol’ “deny and subvert” strategy that you heard for months on Felger & Mazz.
If you think Brady is innocent in DeflateGate, you’re in the minority. But, like just about everyone in the U.S., South Park hates Roger Goodell too. They hate the entire DeflateGate saga that took over everyone’s consciousness for over half a year. Cartman summed it up as a “perfect storm of hypocrisy that everyone in the country has to deal with for months on end,” and eventually says he intends to do what many Brady detractors wish he did in the first place: admit some kind of culpability, take the punishment, and move on. “I’m not Tom Brady,” Cartman says.
The episode’s high point was a hilarious dream scene in which Cartman plays Brady, Goodell, and even Bill Belichick, bickering back and forth over who broke the rules. The Patriots broke the rules, Goodell broke the rules in punishing them, he can’t just over-punish them for DeflateGate because he under-punished them for Spygate, Goodell can’t make up new rules, the ruuules, the ruuuuules, the ruuuuuuules… It perfectly summarized how the whole thing looked to fans outside of New England.
And at the end of the episode, Kyle once again sums up DeflateGate perfectly, saying Cartman is the only person who won in the whole fiasco. Patriots fans may feel they “won” when they got their QB back, but everyone still had to suffer through the worst off-season in history for nearly eight months. In the end, Brady was the only winner.
So how did Cartman get suspended in the first place? South Park Elementary has hired a new principal whose name is literally just “PC Principal”. And like any South Park villain, his character got more and more absurd as the episode went along. He starts by throwing out random detentions for simply questioning his off-base remarks about tolerance, and suspends Kyle just for saying (pardon my language) “Caitlyn Jenner is not a hero.” The horror!
PC Principal and his college bro cronies point out what South Park co-creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone hate about the extreme political correctness radiating from both ends of the political spectrum. In battling intolerance and protecting schools from bullies and hate speech, they become intolerant bullies themselves. They mute harmless humor, and destroy free speech.
When Cartman refers to Jared Fogle (yes, they went there too) as a former “spokesman” of Subway, PC Principal viciously beats him because he didn’t use the word “spokesperson”. When the dads are at a “college bar”, they tiptoe around everything they say and nearly get a beating of their own after referring to the U.S. as “America” – because what, you don’t think Venezuelans are Americans bro?!
The situation comes to a head after Cartman recruits pregnant Mexican women and Syrian refugees to start a war against the PC frat house – which, coincidentally, accepts Randy Marsh as a member after he reluctantly gets sucked into their culture. And gets absolutely hammered.
By the end of the episode, the boys are literally having their cake and eating it too. Parker & Stone lampoon themselves sometimes as much as the issues they tackle, and they essentially call themselves out for their own (sometimes) gratuitous political in-correctness. Sure, joking about politically incorrect things can “start a dialogue,” but when does it get unnecessary? But of course, how far can the line be drawn for political correctness before free speech fails to be a basic right of Americans?
It appears that PC Principal is going to stick around all season as he polices South Park Elementary (essentially, the show itself) over perceived intolerance and “micro-aggressions”. It also wouldn’t be surprising if it isn’t the last time they take shots at Tom Brady, because it certainly was not the first. The best news is, South Park continues to be as biting and uproarious as ever.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for CBSBostonSports.com and respects Cartman’s authoritah. His opinions do not necessarily reflect that of CBS or 98.5 The Sports Hub. Read more from Matt here and follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff.