The Pandemic Special

"The Pandemic Special"
South Park episode
The Pandemic Special.jpg
Directed byTrey Parker
Written byTrey Parker
Featured music
Original air dateSeptember 30, 2020 (2020-09-30)
Running time48 minutes
Episode chronology
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"Christmas Snow"
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"South ParQ Vaccination Special"
List of episodes

"The Pandemic Special" is a 48-minute[1] special episode[a] of the American animated television series South Park. The 308th episode overall of the series, it premiered on Comedy Central in the United States on September 30, 2020,[2] while also being simulcast for the first time on MTV and MTV2.[3][4]

As with the episode "South ParQ Vaccination Special", some sources, including Comedy Central's website,[5] list the specials as part of Season 24,[6][7][8][9][10] while other sources suggest that they are separate from the upcoming season.[2][11][12][13][14][15][16]

The special satirizes aspects of the United States' COVID-19 response, police brutality and racial unrest, including mental health, improper mask-wearing, education, Sinophobia and divestment from police. Critics praised the social commentary and humor, but criticized the plot and overall length of the episode,[16][17][18][19] with Adam Beam of The Slate opining that the episode's running time was not sufficient to develop its various story threads.[20]

It was the highest-rated South Park episode in over seven years, drawing in over 4.05 million viewers and becoming the most-watched program of the night.[21][22][23]

After its Comedy Central debut, the episode was released on the South Park website for free, as well as on the Comedy Central app and website with TV Everywhere authentication. It was also released on HBO Max in the United States 24 hours after its premiere. It is the first new South Park episode released on HBO Max after the service obtained the rights for the show from ViacomCBS, ending the Hulu second window.[15]

A second pandemic-themed special episode, "South ParQ Vaccination Special", aired on March 10, 2021.

  1. ^ "South Park Season 24". amazon.com. Retrieved August 5, 2021.
  2. ^ a b "South Park Returns With One Night Hour Long Special Event" (Press release). Comedy Central. September 15, 2020. Archived from the original on October 1, 2020. Retrieved September 21, 2020.
  3. ^ "Comedy Central's Emmy & Peabody Award Winning South Park To Simulcast On Mtv And Mtv2 For First Time Ever With Pandemic Special Event Tonight, Wednesday, September 30th At 8:00pm Et/Pt" (Press release). Comedy Central. September 30, 2020. Archived from the original on October 1, 2020. Retrieved September 30, 2020.
  4. ^ White, Peter (September 30, 2020). "'South Park': ViacomCBS To Simulcast Pandemic Special Across MTV & MTV2". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved September 30, 2020.
  5. ^ "South Park - Season 24". Comedy Central. Archived from the original on March 19, 2021. Retrieved April 14, 2021.
  6. ^ Pell, Roxie (February 21, 2021). "South Park Trailer Teases A Vaccination Special Episode In March". Screen Rant. Retrieved February 26, 2021.
  7. ^ Kemp, Ella (October 1, 2020). "Go Behind the Scenes of the South Park Pandemic Special". NME. Retrieved November 15, 2020. The episode launched season 24, and is the show’s first one-off, hour-long release.
  8. ^ Roberts, Samuel (November 10, 2020). "South Park Season 24: Release Date, Trailer and What We Know About the Show's Future". Tech Radar. Retrieved November 15, 2020. Technically, the site counts The Pandemic Special as South Park season 24 episode 1.
  9. ^ Martin, Anne (September 16, 2020). "South Park Pandemic Special to Air Sept. 30". United Press International. Retrieved November 15, 2020. 'The Pandemic Special' will serve as the show's Season 24 premiere.
  10. ^ "South Park - Season 24 Ep. 1 - The Pandemic Special - Full Episode". Comedy Central. September 30, 2020. Retrieved November 18, 2020.
  11. ^ Milner, Sarah Bae (March 14, 2021). "Everything South Park Mocks In The Vaccination Special". ScreenRant. Retrieved April 14, 2021.
  12. ^ Longo, Chris (September 15, 2020). "South Park To Premiere A Pandemic Special Event Episode". Den of Geek. Retrieved September 21, 2020. Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect that the episode is a special event, not the premiere of season 24
  13. ^ Kim, Allen (September 16, 2020). "Comedy Central to air one-hour 'South Park' pandemic special". CNN. Retrieved September 23, 2020. A premiere date for the 24th season of the series has not yet been announced.
  14. ^ Hibberd, James (September 15, 2020). "South Park tackling COVID-19 with its first hourlong episode". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved September 23, 2020. The show's 24th season premiere date hasn't yet been announced
  15. ^ a b Kobb, Kayla (September 30, 2020). "How to Watch the 'South Park' Pandemic Special Live Tonight". Decider.com. Retrieved October 2, 2020. The Pandemic Special' will be the first special in South Park's history. It's not connected to this upcoming season and will be a standalone, hourlong episode. There's a good and bad side to that news. The bad is that 'The Pandemic Special' is the only South Park episode that we know is premiering in 2020. Comedy Central has yet to announce when Season 24 will start
  16. ^ a b Schedeen, Jesse (September 30, 2020). "South Park: 'The Pandemic Special' Review". IGN. Retrieved October 1, 2020. there's no new season on the horizon
  17. ^ "South Park's Pandemic Special is damning and yet surprisingly earnest: Review". Consequence of Sound. October 1, 2020. Retrieved November 12, 2020.
  18. ^ Travers, Ben (October 1, 2020). "'South Park: The Pandemic Special' Makes a Convincing Case for Its Own Inadequacies". IndieWire. Retrieved November 12, 2020.
  19. ^ Williams, Stephanie (September 30, 2020). "South Park's pandemic special thrives in 2020's chaos". The A.V. Club. Retrieved October 2, 2020.
  20. ^ Beam, Adam (October 9, 2020). "Review: Even 'South Park' can't handle 2020 in the messy hour-long 'Pandemic Special'". The Slate. Archived from the original on October 9, 2020. Retrieved July 14, 2021.
  21. ^ Cite error: The named reference Variety was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  22. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (September 30, 2020). "UPDATED: SHOWBUZZDAILY's Top 150 Wednesday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 9.30.2020". Showbuzz Daily. Archived from the original on October 1, 2020. Retrieved September 30, 2020.
  23. ^ Nakamura, Reid (October 1, 2020). "'South Park' Pandemic Special Notches 7-Year Ratings High". Yahoo. Retrieved October 2, 2020.


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