Too Soon? South Park Pokes Fun At The Penn State Scandal
You just knew that this was going to happen at some point. With the Penn State scandal erupting last week, Joe Paterno getting fired after 46 years as the head football coach at the school, and disgraced former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky doing an interview on NBC‘s Rock Center to talk about the sexual abuse charges brought up against him, you knew that someone was going to try and turn it into a joke. It’s just the way the world—and comedy, for that matter—works. So we weren’t necessarily surprised to see South Park be one of the first comedy shows to mention it:
However, we were surprised to see them mention it so quickly. Just a week after the PSU scandal blew up, the South Park writers were on it. They used it as fodder for a bunch of harsh and potentially over-the-line jokes on Wednesday night’s SP show. And it made us think: Isn’t it too soon to be making jokes about what happened at Penn State? Especially since Sandusky’s alleged victims are just starting to come forward in light of all that’s gone down at the university.
It’s a tough question to answer. On the one hand, this is what South Park does. They poke and prod people with uncomfortable pop culture references and get people to react to them. On the other, the jokes that they made on the show weren’t particularly funny because the incident literally just happened. What’s so funny about little kids getting sexually abused? Nothing. Nothing at all. Yet, the South Park kids were used to make light of the PSU scandal.
I’m no fuddy-duddy. I don’t think it was wholly wrong or immoral for South Park writers to use the scandal as a part of the show. However, I think that we’ve all been bogged down by stories about Penn State in the last week or so. So the South Park writers might have been better off saving the jokes for a month from now. I understand that that’s not necessarily their style and that they were doing more than just jokes by including a Penn State mention—they were also essentially ethering the school for not reacting quicker to the whole situation. But I still think they might have benefitted from waiting awhile to attack Penn State on South Park.
Then again, what do I know? The show did just get renewed through 2016. So they must be doing something right over there. Let’s just hope that other comedians don’t see what South Park did and make Penn State part of their act, too. Not yet, at least. It’s still too soon.