When South Park‘s official Twitter account posted a message using the hashtag “#cancelsouthpark” in mid-September, many fans were curious about what this might tease for the show’s upcoming 22nd season. Now, a new preview clip has shed some light on the subject: The season’s premiere episode will deal with a school shooting.
— South Park (@SouthPark) September 13, 2018
The brief description for the episode, which will be titled “Dead Kids,” doesn’t give much away. The note beneath the YouTube video reads simply, “Randy is desperate to help Sharon get her emotions under control and Cartman unexpectedly fails his math test.” Media outlets who received the preview were given a slightly different but similarly vague description: “Sharon is overreacting to everything these days and Randy can’t cope.” After watching the preview itself, viewers are given considerably more context for the title.
The clip features Stan’s parents asking him to tell them what happened at school today, to which Stan replies, “Um…oh, I flunked my math quiz.” His mother insists that Stan tell his father, Randy, what else took place. A casual reference to a shooting at South Park Elementary is made, which garners a mild reaction from Randy: “Did you get shot? No? Well, what’s this about failing a math quiz?”
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South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Smith are known for broaching sensitive subject matter on the series. The pair have been both praised and criticized over the show’s two decades for touching on (and sometimes lampooning) everything from politics to religion, and have repeatedly raised the ire of parents and activist groups.
Season 22 of Comedy Central’s South Park premieres with “Dead Kids” on Sept. 26 at 10 p.m. ET.