White Flight Club: South Park S21 E01 “White People Renovating”
South Park S21 E01 “White People Renovating” (Comedy Central)
The last two seasons of South Park were amazing, the politics and criticism have gotten much deeper but are still surrounded by all the silliness that keeps it interesting for anyone watching who just wants to have fun.
Yes, I am taking South Park pretty seriously, but if you have been watching the last several seasons, they have been making some very serious social criticism (in fairness, they have always been making strong arguments about social issues but lately they have really ramped it up).
Anyway, I am recapping South Park Season 21. Here we go.
If you haven’t seen South Park S21 E01 “White People Renovating” *Spoiler Alert*
Part One: White Flight Club
The poor whites of South Park are angry because Alexa (yes, the Amazon electronic home concierge) has taken their jobs, so they decide to march in protest.
Meanwhile, Randy and Sharon Marsh have started their own home “flipping” show and because there were no more good show names left, they chose the name “White People Renovating Houses.”
The protesting poor white folks interrupt Randy and Sharon twice, so Randy decides to provide a solution, getting rid of electronic concierges and replacing them with real people concierges (aka the poor people take the place of the electronic concierges).
One poor white person holds out (Darryl), it turns out that he wants his home renovated but his house can’t get remodeled because of an inconvenient load bearing wall.
Randy comes up with a fix, and the house gets renovated allowing for total white reunification.
1. This episode makes a strong argument that the problem with race relations is that most white people aren’t really angry about racism itself but are angry about how overt racism disrupts their ability to seamlessly exercise white privilege.
In other words, the white people of South Park (wink wink) desperately want to discipline the open racists so that they can go back to their normal lives but they (we) seem to have no desire to actually try to end racism.
In fact, there is not one black face even displayed during most of the episode (Token shows up in one scene at the beginning) and I suspect that this was intentional.
I also find it interesting that this episode aired on the same day that the Jamelle Hill controversy broke. Will white people ask Comedy Central to censure Matt and Trey for calling all (or most) white people fake anti-racists?
After Charlottesville, how many of the politicians and talking heads who were so upset about the white supremacists marching (and running down Heather Heyer) have done anything to, demand justice for Freddy Gray, turn the water back on in Detroit or Flint, or insist on undoing the damage charter schools have done to public schools in urban areas since Charlottesville?
Matt and Trey are saying that this silence speaks volumes.
The main point of this episode of South Park was to suggest that upper middle class and upper-class white people want those who would like to take racism mainstream to just keep it under wraps so that they can continue to sit back and enjoy the spoils.
It is also likely that they are suggesting that renovating racist icons doesn't make them any less racist.
2. Matt and Trey are also making a strong argument about class.
Upper middle class and rich white people regularly look down on, exploit, and degrade poor white folks but poor white folks will go along with whatever the upper middle and rich white folks want as long as they can be conned into believing that they are “rich” too.
All Randy has to do is create a better living room in Darryl’s house and the poor whites of South Park are willing to hang up their Confederate Flags and go right to back to being exploited for their labor.
Again, nobody opposes the racism or the classicism at the roots, as long as the trains continue to run on time in the good neighborhoods. For a couple of libertarians, this is a surprisingly Marxist argument for Matt and Trey to make.
Part Two: Alexa = Narcissism
The other portion of this week’s episode involves Cartman growing tired of his girlfriend Heidi, not because she has done anything wrong but because she doesn’t dote on him as much as Alexa does.
In other words, for narcissists like Cartman, the need to have contact with real human beings might not be as necessary after full immersion with many of our emerging technologies.
Actually, I suspect the point that they are making here is that people who are most drawn to this kind of technology are most likely narcissists.
It is important when covering some of the ground that South Park has been covering, to have some silly (and even moronic fun). Cartman is definitely in charge of the department of silly and moronic (and narcissistic fun).
Part Three: Chicken Wings
I got the prize link quite a while before the start of “White People Renovating,” but apparently, I was not in an acceptable delivery area for the prizes (I live in Michigan).
Very cool that they gave out free chicken wings, South Park bags, and South Park T-Shirts to people all over the country.
Have to admit I am a tiny bit sad I didn’t get wings or a shirt myself :(
Oh well, good times.