South Park pandemic special
Credit: Comedy Central

South Park is going to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic in a big way.

Comedy Central on announced Tuesday a one-hour special episode of the iconic animated series devoted to the coronavirus crisis.

A trailer for the episode shows Randy Marsh announcing some sort of "pandemic special" attempting to cash in on the crisis, Cartman worrying about authorities trying to make him return to school, Kyle fretting about social distancing and a scene with the kids in a classroom encased in protective cubicles with a police detective as their new teacher.

The official description: "Randy comes to terms with his role in the COVID-19 outbreak as the on-going pandemic presents continued challenges to the citizens of South Park. The kids happily head back to school but nothing resembles the normal that they once knew; not their teachers, not their homeroom, not even Eric Cartman."

The episode marks the first time the 23-year-old series has ever made an hourlong episode. There have been long stories before, but they've been broken up into separate episodes — for instance, the show did a rather brilliant three-part episode titled "Imaginationland" in 2007 that aired over three weeks.

"The Pandemic Special" will premiere onWednesday, Sept. 30, at 8 p.m, and will be available on HBO Max 24 hours after its premiere. Creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone typically have a very last-minute creative process, writing episodes just a week before air and then scrambling to animate them right up to their deadline. That there's footage for the special's trailer two weeks in advance suggests the duo are spending extra time on this one, and the subject matter is certainly ripe for South Park's brand of iconoclastic humor and penchant for apocalyptic storylines.

The show's 24th season premiere date hasn't yet been announced but is presumably coming soon given that this special proves the series is back in production despite the pandemic.

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