Caitlyn Jenner is the subject of South Park's season premiere episode, airing Wednesday, titled "Stunning and Brave." And according to Comedy Central, Jenner will be praised by the main characters on the satirical cartoon.
This season, a new principal takes the helm of South Park Elementary, a Colorado school attended by the show's main characters. The principal forces the boys to confront the damage they’ve done through their history of racism and unconscious bias, according to Comedy Central. While longtime viewers hardly expect Eric Cartman to ever be truly sorry for his misdeeds, only time will tell what this episode has in store.
Often hilarious and irreverent, South Park has earned its reputation by showing disrespect for pretty much everyone. However, its treatment of transgender characters has been particularly notable.
In the episode "Eek, a Penis!" one of the boys' teachers decides after a gender transition that she wants to return back to her former male gender presentation and ends up growing a new penis on the back of a mouse. Then the mouse runs through the town to shouts of "Eek, a Penis!" from women terrified of the wriggling creature.
In the episode "Mr. Garrison's Fancy New Vagina," in which Mr. Garrison becomes Mrs. Garrison, gender transition is presented as a problem. Not to mention that the person transitioning is best known for his belief that his hand puppet, Mr. Hat, is a real person.
Despite its irreverence, the show actually received praise for tackling the issue of gender in another episode, "The Cissy," in which it raised awareness about the needs of transgender youth when it comes to bathroom access in schools. In an ironic twist, the episode featured the creation of a private toilet that soon became a battleground for numerous cisgender (nontrans) students who sought access.
Eric Cartman can be seen below pretending to be transgender so he can be reassigned to a different bathroom.
"It’s an embodiment of the transphobic fear that cis men may simply pretend to be trans in order to access women’s spaces, but over the course of the episode, Cartman is taken to task for his manipulation, proving the fear unfounded," wrote Michelle Ehrhardt in her Out magazine commentary on the episode.
"The Cissy" also introduced viewers to the word cisgender, used to describe people who identify with the gender they were assigned at birth, and took its title from that term, repurposing a slur often levied at gay men.
It's hard to know what to expect from South Park in this new episode, but from her ESPYs speech to her docu-series, Jenner has shown she has a sense of humor about herself, even to a point some find disturbing. She recently said that she had no problem with Halloween costumes that some say mock her gender identity, so whatever South Park may dish out, she is likely prepared to take it.