South Park dedicated its entire last season to an extended riff on Donald Trump, with Mr. Garrison transforming into a not-so-subtly Trump-esque politician. Still, the show’s famous “giant douche or turd sandwich” political leanings kept it from hitting Trump too hard, with creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone still preferring to play both sides of the aisle—a position that seems bizarrely quaint these days. Once Trump actually won the real-life election, South Park had to lean into its Trump-analog even harder, which caused the show itself to realize that satirizing real politics had suddenly become much more difficult by the finale.
Now, after all of that, Parker and Stone have decided that they’ve had enough of Trump. In an interview with Australia’s ABC News, the two of them admitted that Trump winning the White House has made it “more difficult” to write satire, so they’re just going to “back off” of Trump for a while and “let everyone in government do their own comedy.” The interview makes it clear that they’re not really enjoying the Trump presidency, but it’s hard not to see the “it’s too hard to make fun of real life” attitude as a predictably safe extension of the “both sides are just as bad” approach that South Park has had for years.
So, even though topicality has been one of the show’s strengths for a long time, don’t expect South Park to address the big orange elephant in the room when it returns for season 21 later this year.