South Park’s ‘Members Only’: An In-Depth Analysis

Photo Credit: Comedy Central

Howdy, everyones. Welcome back to yet another South Park Season 20 analysis! If you missed last week’s analysis, you can read it here. If you want to start back from the first analysis, go here and, to watch episodes of South Park for free online, visit their official website. Now, onto the analysis!

For those of you who haven’t been keeping up with the news surrounding South Park, last week was supposed to follow up on the election with an episode called “The Very First Gentleman”. However, the creators incorrectly predicted a Clinton victory and they had to change several scenes at the last minute. Since they had a limited amount of time to change the episode, there was only so far they could go with their commentary on Trump (who Mr. Garrison remains as a stand-in for) and certain parts of the episode felt like remnants from the original Hillary storyline. Thankfully, South Park had a full week to reflect on Trump’s victory, before this episode aired making “Members Only” feel a lot more cohesive. Right off the bat, they dive into Garrison’s victory with Jenner and Steve Bannon gathered at Tom’s Rhinoplasty.

Garrison has been transformed to more closely resemble his real-life counterpart. He’s got blonde hair and eye brows, an even more orange face, and a “stank face” for whenever he doesn’t know what people are talking about. Jenner tells Garrison that he’s had “an amazing transition”, an obvious reference to her gender reassignment surgery. What’s strange is that Garrison is no longer talking with a low monotone voice. So, maybe the Member Berries don’t have as strong of an influence on him anymore. Regardless, it’s nice to see Tom’s Rhinoplasty again, since it hasn’t really been central to an episode season one.

We get a follow-up on last week’s cliffhanger with Cartman and Heidi at the Spacex station. Apparently, they aren’t the only ones who want to leave the planet right now. There’s a huge crowd of people that they have to wait with including the singer, Cher and Butters, who ends up sitting next to them. Cher sings an unintelligible song which I believe is supposed to be “Believe”.

The next scene is in PC Principal’s office and it leads directly into the clip from this week’s preview. The Principal throws a fit about the election but it quickly gets interrupted by Garrison entering his office. PC Principal is extremely nervous throughout the whole discussion but he becomes even more flustered when Garrison brings up how he was fired. He claims that the Principal’s insistence that he was a bigot helped to “create him”. Now that Garrison’s president, he realizes that all of the stress associated with running a campaign can really dry someone’s dick out. He proposes that PC Principal suck him off so that they’re “Even Stevens”. Since we cut to the next scene right after this and we don’t see PC Principal again in the episode, it’s safe to assume that this transaction has yet to occur but I’m sure it will be a major plot point, later on.

The next scene is all about the Member Berries. We learn more about their society, in this scene. Apparently, they’re advanced enough to own and operate their own speakeasies. At said speakeasy, we’re introduced to a wrinkly mafioso-type berry. He heralds the main group of berries as heroes for rigging the election by “dropping Mickey in the drink” (a nice double entendre). We cut away from the Member Berries, for now, but they’ll become very important, later in the episode.

Back in Denmark, it’s revealed that Troll Trace plans on using trolls to “set the world on fire” and create a world with no secrets… Just like Denmark. This combined with Garrison as president spells doom and gloom for the whole world. Instead of doing anything responsible, Garrison invades Whole Foods and starts calling out people over the intercom. He specifically calls out Eduardo Hernandez, a Guatamalan immigrant who failed to pack his groceries properly. He asks Eduardo for a blowjob, just like he did for PC Principal. It seems like he’s going to do this with everybody who has even slightly wronged him. While he’s harassing Eduardo, he gets a phone call from The Pentagon asking for his immediate assistance. Garrison begrudgingly heads over.

Back at the Broflovski house, Ike is seen playing something other than Minecraft, for once. He gets interrupted by a FaceTime call from Gerald while playing Call of Duty. Gerald convinces Ike to troll for him. He believes that, if skankhunt’s account is still posting while he’s off in Denmark, Troll Trace will see him as innocent and release him from their server room. When we cut back to Ike, a few scenes later, we see him photoshopping skankhunt’s signature wiener pictures into women’s mouths. To convince Ike that this is okay, he refers to these penis pictures as “little worms”.

Meanwhile at SpaceX, Butters tells Cartman that he’s a changed man. Cartman believes that there’s no way the biggest asshole in the school could turn into a “soft-hearted feminist like me” and that Butters is clearly faking it. However, expressing this concern to Heidi is near-impossible without outing himself as a fake. Butters makes a number of comments about how women are smart and funny which irks Cartman to no end. Butters believes that things are going to get a lot worse which is why he’s going to Mars. This is evidenced by the following scene which shows tons of Member Berries storming the oval office.

It doesn’t take long for Sheila to walk in on her son while he’s trolling. Gerald logs out of Facetime right before she can fully enter the room, making Ike look 100% guilty. Sheila calls Gerald on the phone to tell him that Ike has been skankhunt42 the whole time but, instead of scolding Ike, Gerald tells him to pretend he’s being scolded and that he’ll make it up to him later.

Back at The Pentagon, Garrison is access to many of the country’s military secrets as well as the drone program, satellite surveillance, extreme interrogation, and the nuclear codes. He remarks that each of these will be fun and useful for him but, when he enters the diplomatic strategies room, he doesn’t think it’s very fun. He’s briefed on Troll Trace but doesn’t know how to react to it. Military personnel warn that, if internet history gets leaked, China will go to war with the United States and that the United States will go to war with France. Putin calls the Oval Office, worried about what his girlfriends will find out through Troll Trace but Member Berries pick up the phone and confuse the hell out of him. The UK Secretary of Foreign Affairs calls Garrison directly, warning him “not to eat the memburries” and that they’ll “get inside your head”. Not liking the sound of something getting inside his head, he calls the Secretary a “limey bitch” and threatens to fly him over on a plane to suck his dick. This convinces the Secretary that America has indeed eaten the “memburries”.

Photo Credit: Comedy Central

Elon Musk gives a tour of SpaceX full of interesting inventions like hyper loops and food that can transform (does this mean he has something to do with the Member Berries?) but all that the “tourists” are really interested in is traveling to Mars. It appears that these tourists have been coaxed into a snafu though as Musk explains that quick easy space travel is still eight to ten years away. Butters, Cartman, and Heidi offer themselves to help Musk achieve his space travel goals more quickly. Butters believes that Heidi can help a lot, due to how smart and funny she is to which Musk responds “HOW funny?”.

Back at The White House, the Member Berries are having a party complete with a cover band singing Toto’s “Africa” but their party gets interrupted when the wrinkly old berry and his thugs drive through. He ends up shooting one of the “hero” berries from before and asking him if he “members stormtroopers?”. The mostly-dead berry responds “sure I member” but it seems like there’s a bit of a misunderstanding. The wrinkly berry isn’t talking about the stormtroopers from Star Wars but rather the ones from The Holocaust. He threatening says “People wanna ‘member? I’ll make ’em ‘member!”.

When Kyle gets home from school, he sees Ike in time out. Sheila explains that Ike has been skankhunt42 the whole time but he simply can’t believe that Ike would do something like that. He thinks it through in his head and realizes that his father has been skankhunt this whole time. He grabs Ike by the hand while their mother isn’t looking and runs off with him. When Sheila notices that they’re missing, she yells her old catchphrase (“What? WHAT? WHAAAAAAT?!) out the door.

Overall, I like this episode although I wish that there weren’t so many subplots going on at once. After Trump’s election, it would have been nice to get an episode entirely dedicated to the controversy surrounding him. I found Garrison’s speech about PC Principal “creating him” to be pretty interesting considering that a lot of people blame Trump’s victory on people’s desire to get away from the PC culture enforced by many liberals. It’s doubly interesting when compared to the previous season which was largely dedicated to satirizing and shaming political correctness. Basically, I found the Garrison/Trump commentary interesting but wish that it had more of a focus, since it was largely overshadowed by Heidi, Gerald, and the Member Berries’ subplots in the latter half of the episode. I also enjoyed seeing the return of classic South Park gags like Butter’s “Lu Lu Lu” song and Sheila’s catchphrase. I hope that we get even more small callbacks like those, later in the season.

I don’t really have any notes for this week that weren’t already covered. So, that’s about all I’ve got for today. See you in the next analysis!

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Benjamin D.Z. Brown is new to New York and new to NewsCult, having moved from Nebraska in May of 2016, after graduating from Culver-Stockton College (a small liberal arts school in Canton, Missouri) in May of 2015. There he studied Theatre and English and graduated cum laude from the Honors Program. His interests include gaming, animation, writing, and cute dogs. He works as an intern for the Man Cave section but will frequently dip into Entertainment for his weekly "South Park" analyses.

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