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Recap / South Park S 19 E 5 Safe Space

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After Cartman is upset by harsh fat-shaming comments on the internet, Butters is forced to filter his social media accounts for negativity along with many others.


Safe Space includes examples of:

  • An Aesop: With how Reality is killed for just speaking the truth, this essentially shows how they killed Free Speech just so people don't have to hear anything negative. Which is what people are often accusing what PC is doing to Free Speech.
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  • Brutal Honesty: Reality's job is this trope.
  • The Bully: The Whole Foods cashier humiliates Randy for not donating money to the store's supported charities. This becomes more and more elaborate and exaggerated to the point it is obvious he is just using his position to heckle him. He later breaks Vin Diesel and Stephen Seagal to tears with passive-aggressive fat jokes when they try to protect Randy.
  • Call-Back: Randy is seen purchasing gluten-free beer.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Demi thinks the starving kids are lucky to be able to be so thin.
  • Dastardly Whiplash: "Reality", a physical manifestation of the harshness of real life who wants to tear down the safe spaces of others.
  • Downer Ending: The #ShamelessAmerica movement decides to alleviate Butters' burden by forcing poor kids in third-world countries to filter their comments and Reality is publicly executed.
  • Hypocrite/Moral Myopia: Cartman takes offense to people making negative comments about his weight, yet has no problem saying (and doing) far worse things to other people, often on the basis of their race, religion, or gender.
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    • Everyone who uses Butters to filter their social media profiles. They claim that negative feedback is harmful, yet they're okay with piling all of it onto one emotionally fragile boy.
    • Reality claims that it was every insecure persons' fault the Butters tried to kill himself, even though he threatened to kill him.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Both Cartman and Demi Lovato believe that since the social media comments they read after going through Butters' filter don't contain any negative ones, everybody who sees their posts must like them and they're more popular.
    Kyle: There's more than two people on the internet.
  • Irony: If anyone in this episode needs a safe space, it's Butters.
  • It's All About Me: Randy makes a PSA about how wrong "charity shaming" is surrounded by the malnourished children he doesn't want to give money to. Then again, all he wanted to do was just say no to making a donation until the Whole Foods Cashier kept tormenting him for it.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Reality might be vicious and cruel and at one points attacks Butters because he thinks he's the one building safe spaces, but in the end is furious at others for driving a child insane because they're not tough enough to deal with it themselves.
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    • The Whole Foods Cashier repeatedly mocking and shaming Randy, but is doing so to coerce the man who comes into the store every day to buy expensive luxury foods into donating money to starving children.
  • Karma Houdini: The Whole Foods cashier who goes out of his way to publicly humiliate those who don't donate (or only donate a dollar) is never seen getting any sort of comeuppance for his behavior. Randy only manages to get around him in his last appearance by claiming his fundraiser will support getting hamsters through college.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: After seeing Butters hospitalized, PC Principal realized that he put Butters through more than he can handle and is openly regretful. Of course, he proceeds to create a solution that is far worse.
  • No Social Skills: The real problem of the safe space people is less that they can't take critic and more that they think posting their assholes, dick pics, or themselves in underwear in social media is not gonna attract negative reaction.
  • Paper Tiger: Despite being action film stars, Steven Segal and Vin Diesel turn out to be incredibly insecure and easy to drive into crying fits.
  • Prone to Tears: Deconstructed, #ShamelessAmerica is just a group of hypocrites who went to extreme lengths to exclude any form of negativities in their lives. They're arrogant enough to think they're better than everyone else, yet fragile enough to crumble like a house of cards once someone lightly criticises them. When Reality calls them out on this, they seemingly agree with him, until they decide to just execute Reality for making them feel bad.
  • Real After All: After seeing the "Safe Space" music video, you'd first believe Reality was a fictional character made exclusively for the video, but then he tries to attack Butters.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Reality delivers one to #ShamelessAmerica at their gala.
    Reality: What a lovely charity event, I bet you're feeling pretty good about yourselves hmm. What have you done? You have raised $300 by spending half-a-million on Filet Mignon and crystal glasses. Look at you, Vin Dipshit. You say fat-shaming is wrong so in response you show off your abs-YOU'RE THE ONE FAT-SHAMING, IDIOT! What's the matter? You're sad people are mean? Well, I'm sorry the world isn't one big Liberal Arts College Campus. We eat too much, we take our spoiled lives for granted; feel a little bad about it sometimes! No, you want to put all your shit up on the internet and have every person say "Hooray for you"-fuck you, you're all pricks.
  • Sanity Slippage: Being forced to weather through all sorts of online negativity takes a serious toll on Butters, to the point that he runs around school naked and jumps out a window.
  • Sunk Cost Fallacy: The #ShamelessAmerica banquet raised $300, after spending $500,000 on food and drinks. Reality being the way he is calls them out on this.
  • Take a Third Option: Butters is stuck between either helping pampered celebrities (and Cartman) feel good about themselves 24/7 or getting 2 weeks detention and a grounding. He tries to kill himself instead.
  • Take That!: To the concepts of Safe Spaces and thin-skinned celebrities who need their social media filtered to only receive positive comments.
  • Talking to Himself: While this is to be expected from this show in the song "Safe Space" with the exception of the chorus and Demi Lovato all the male singers (Cartman, Randy, Vin Diesal, Steven Segal, PC Principal, and Reality) are all done by Trey Parker.
  • Villain Song: "Safe Space", a song all about how people need to be sheltered due to their own insecurities and how they need to be protected from reality.
  • "World of Cardboard" Speech: Reality gives one to the attendees of the charity ball. People are always going to give negative feedback or make you suffer for no reason. You can always just ignore or delete the comment rather than use extreme methods to charity shame people or for your own self-gratification.
    Reality: What's the matter with you people?! You're sad that people are mean? Well I'm sorry, the world isn't one big liberal arts college campus! We eat too much; we take our spoiled lives for granted, feel a little bad about it sometimes! No, you wanna put up all your shit on the Internet and have every single person say "Hooray for you!" Fuck you. You're all pricks.
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