- Entertainment and Media»
- Cartoons & Animation
South Park Predicted Alec Baldwin's SNL Trump
South Park has always been about extremes, particularly about reversing the extremes that exist in society so that the issues become a lot clearer. The show never fails to bring about a sense of discomfort or disagreement or agreement from its audience, and the first episode of season 17 is no exception.
The series returned in the fall of 2013 to the sound of Eric Cartman speaking loudly and obnoxiously on his cell phone to a friend about other people, and is then unceremonious about his frenemy, Kyle, interjecting to correct his lies and to ask him to go and share his thoughts in private.
South Park’s goal here seems to be to outline the stupidity behind people saying publicly that “the government should stay out of our private lives.” But more than that, it takes the opportunity to start commenting on the NSA’s activities in recording the data of millions of Americans without their permission, and to send Cartman on his own ‘undercover’ journey into the NSA to expose it under the pseudonym of Bill Clinton.
While there is much more complexity to this episode, and to South Park episodes in general, it revolves implicitly around Edward Snowden’s release of secret government documents to make the American public, and indeed the world, aware that their personal information was being scanned and recorded under the guise of protecting their liberty.
And when discussing the format with which to release such information, we are introduced to an “Alec Baldwin commercial,” as seen below:
While a little crass, the content of Baldwin’s speech is eerily similar to the actions of Donald Trump himself, who has stated that, when it comes to tweeting, he “just [shouts] out” his thoughts at his office staff, who then post it on his behalf. No thumbs necessary, right?
‘Baldwin’ goes on to announce that he has moved on to ‘Shitter’, as explained by South Park itself below, which Eric becomes an enthusiast of.
The reason for making Alec Baldwin a target in its efforts to talk more about the use of social media was likely due to Baldwin's own history of controversy with Twitter. Although it's true that his social media past is controversial, it is nothing when compared to how Donald Trump has singled out women, targeted groups and individuals because of their race, and has generally demonstrated his lack of knowledge about the things that are vital to the makeup of American society.
Let Go, Let Gov (available on iTunes here) centers around Cartman's attempt to find significance (i.e. to be important, to feed his ego as a 'threat' to the NSA and to whistle-blow on its operations) as well as transforming the DMV into a place for Butters Stotch and his disciples to find peace with their actions.
But most importantly, the episode is a premonition of Alec Baldwin's spot-on portrayal of Donald Trump on Saturday Night Live, as demonstrated below.
The irony is that the extremity given to the representation of Alec Baldwin in the episode is very close to the reality of the now President-elect. Indeed, the culmination of the jokes on Alec Baldwin is a new show on MSNBC: "Free Pass with Alec Baldwin."
President Trump may not have been given a lot of free passes with the things that he has said, tweeted, and been recorded saying, but he has certainly gotten away with them. And while the movement #LoveTrumpsHate has taken center stage in the anti-Trump riots that have occurred all over the United States in the aftermath of the general election results, it is still remarkable that South Park made a connection between the two now infamous Trumps that would overtake social media and would stand as a symbol for the right to free hate speech.
You can see all of Alec Trump's and South Park's greatness in South Park's 17th Season. There is a lot more wonderful content and subtext to be enjoyed in all of South Park's episodes, but this episode is proof that it's not just the Simpsons that can predict the future.