South Park wasted no time in getting around to the sexual abuse scandal which has shaken the foundation of Penn State to its core. But the questions synonymous with Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s button-pushing series — “Too soon?” and “Did they go too far this time?” — will no doubt be asked again after last night’s episode.
The episode, titled “The Poor Kid,” featured (a still alive) Kenny and his siblings being taken out of their parents custody when they got in trouble with the law. (All together now: Simpsons did it!) But South Park dared to cross the line once again and attempted to make the decidedly unfunny Penn State scandal funny by skewering the very people who attempt to make light of the horrific news. In this case, it was the kids’ social worker, a wildly inappropriate jokester named Mr. Adams.
When meeting with the youngsters — displaced, by the way, due to their parents’ taste for Pabst Blue Ribbon — Mr. Adams began, “I’ve been looking over my file and see you kids have all been horribly physically and emotionally abused. Oh, whoops! That isn’t your case file. It’s the Penn State University Gazette. Ha! I’m joking. That’s just a joke. We like to have fun here. It is your case file. I was all just like, ‘It’s the Penn State Gazette,’ to be like a joke. We have fun.”
Mr. Adams, much to his own delight, continued, “Now, listen, you’re going to be put into a foster home, so I need to know, would you like to go to Neverland Ranch, a Catholic church, or Penn State University?” And when Kenny’s little sister began to cry, Mr. Adams attempted to cheer her up with a few more of his off-color jokes, like, “How about this one? Joe Paterno doesn’t walk into a police station. C’mon, that’s a good one!” Watch the full moment below:
But was South Park laughing in the face of those who attempted to make jokes about the situation (for instance, Bill Maher, who got something of a stunned reaction when he made a Penn State crack during a recent appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman) or laughing with them? The satirical South Park has never been one to spare feelings when it comes sensitive subjects, so does this really come as a surprise? Or did they miss an opportunity to say something a bit more substantial about the controversy? Will more boundary-crossing comedy shows, like Family Guy, now follow suit? Or do you think most will steer clear of the subject for a while? Who ultimately did a better job taking on the Penn State scandal: South Park or The Daily Show? And who can resist a Pabst Blue Ribbon?! Share in the comments section below.