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Recap / South Park S 21 E 9 "Super Hard PCness"

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PC Principal has his commitment to political correctness tested when a new vice principal is added to the school, who happens to be his Distaff Counterpart. Mr. Mackey isn't much help as he's just been introduced to the school's human resources manager, who also happens to be his Distaff Counterpart. Meanwhile, in a Call-Back to the movie, Kyle takes offense at the perceived effects Terrance and Phillip have on children and ends up getting Canada nuked.

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  • Age Lift: Terrance and Phillip are elderly now as part of the Take That! at Netflix.
  • Anachronism Stew: Kyle spearheading a group called "Millennials Against Canada". If Kyle is 10 in 2017, he's definitely too young to qualify as a Millennial.note 
  • Anti-Villain: Kyle becomes one of Type II and III during this episode. He believes that the reason Heidi turned into another Eric Cartman, the bullying he endured afterwards, and the overall meanness appearing in South Park were a result of the vulgarness of Terrance and Phillip and Canadian media in general and tries to cancel their shows so they can no longer corrupt the morals of people in other countries. It leads to Canada getting nuked by the President much to Kyle's horror.
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  • Bait-and-Switch: Kyle losing interest made it look like he was becoming cynical like Stan had a few seasons back. He was actually becoming a Spear Counterpart to his mother back in the movie.
  • Call-Back:
    • Mr Garrison still has a vendetta against Canadians and finally gets payback on them after 2 seasons.
    • A Broflovski takes issue with Terrance & Phillip, blaming all of Canada for their antics.
    • Mr Mackey finds himself attracted to a colleague.
    • Terrance & Phillip's old-people farts are considered too disgusting to be funny (to Kyle, anyway).
  • Cliffhanger: After almost an entire season of stand-alone, self-contained episodes, we finally get one that leads directly to the season finale.
  • Curb-Stomp Cushion: Played with. While the equally battered state of them implies they did an equal number on each other beforehand, we only see Cartman get in two punches against Heidi onscreen with Heidi otherwise smacking the shit out of him.
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  • Despair Event Horizon: After all the shit Kyle had to go through during the show, including learning that his dad was the infamous troll that caused all the chaos in season 20, Kyle seems to have finally crossed it when the girl he likes dumps him for Cartman and couldn't do anything but watch Cartman turns this sweet innocent girl into another version of himself. He mentions this to Garrison.
  • Distaff Counterpart:
    • Strong Woman is this to PC Principal (both are politically correct and willing to lecture others on their flaws), and Ms. Conduct to Mr. Mackey (larger than average heads, verbal tics).
    • Kyle's breakdown is fueled by the fact that Heidi has ended up becoming one to Cartman.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Cartman eventually fights back against Heidi.
  • Downer Ending: Canada gets nuked, and Kyle watches it on TV with a horrified expression that screams "My God, What Have I Done?."
  • Enemy Mine: Cartman gets Wendy of all people to cheer for him by giving Heidi a good beating, indicating that Wendy wants to beat up Heidi herself but she's holding back to avoid any more punishments from her parents and the school.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: Kyle starts up a political issue with Canada while Garrison in in office, and his antics end up getting him involved. He's only trying to censor Terrance and Philip, but he completely fails to realize that Garrison could and would make things escalate badly. He continues to be oblivious to what he's really setting in motion until the moment the nukes start flying.
  • Evil Is Petty: President Garrison finally lives up to his promise to "fuck Canada to death", all because of some offensive jokes.
  • Freudian Slip: During Kyle's angry Motive Rant to the President, he blurts out the real reason behind his actions; he couldn't stand seeing a girl he liked become another Eric Cartman.
  • His Name Really Is "Barkeep": Strong Woman's name is actually Strong Woman, with her door being labeled "Vice Principal S. Woman". Ms. Conduct's full name is actually Heather Conduct.
    • For that matter, PC Principal is referred to by his doctor as "Mr Principal".
  • History Repeats: Kyle ends up convincing America to go to war with Canada over Terrance and Phillip's mean-spirited humor, like his mother before him.
  • Hypocrite: The female students are just as amused by Heidi and Cartman's insults towards Kyle's mother as the males, even though last season they started a movement against the boys primarily due to their own mothers being insulted.
  • Important Haircut: Played for laughs; Kyle shaves most of his hair off and changes the Terrance and Philip T-shirt he wears under his jacket... only to put his hat and jacket back on, meaning he still looks the same.
  • Irony:
    • Kyle has officially turned into his own mother in the worst ways possible.
    • Kyle doubles down on becoming his mom after both Cartman and Heidi demean him for being similar to her and the rest of the kids laughing at the insults.
    • Mr. Mackey called for a human resources manager upon learning that PC Principal has feelings for the new vice principal, but he ended up falling in love with the newly-introduced manager in the process.
    • Two decades ago, it was Moral Guardian parents causing uproar over insensitive comedy. Now, it is their children, millennials embracing PC culture, that create moral panics.
    • Despite the gender war, the girls were rooting for Cartman to win the fight, and the boys were rooting for Heidi to win the fight. Doubly so for the girls as Cartman is something of a Memetic Loser for them, especially after his first No-Holds-Barred Beatdown.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Regardless of his reasons, Kyle's right that the school has a disturbingly sadistic sense of humor.
  • Left the Background Music On: PC Principal hears "Hold My Hand" by Hootie & the Blowfish when he starts falling in love with Vice Principal Strong Woman. Then Mr. Mackey interrupts the sequence asking if anyone else hears it faintly playing, which others confirm. PC Principal hastily exits the room, the music cutting off when he closes the door behind him. He gets an ear checkup at the doctor's who surmises it's playing from his head and heart, and in fact covering his ears dampens the sound.
  • Loser Son of Loser Dad: Or mom, in this case. Kyle becomes stigmatized by his peers for his actions emulating that of his mother.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": The South Park Elementary kids during the military alert.
  • Mike Nelson, Destroyer of Worlds: Kyle never meant for his actions to lead to the President nuking Canada.
  • Misplaced Retribution: Kyle takes out all his frustrations of losing Heidi to Cartman, on the Canadian show, Terrance & Philip, rather than find out himself why Heidi got back together with him in the first place. note 
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Kyle's face screams this after he gets Garrison to nuke Canada in a fit of anger.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Kyle telling Garrison that Canada is problematic, when he should know by now that the president has been looking for a reason to nuke Canada.
  • Not Good with Rejection: It turns out that Kyle's moral crusade was fueled by the fact Heidi rejected him and became a female Cartman.
  • Nuke 'em: Garrison nukes Canada after hearing Kyle's rant.
  • Oh, Crap!: Tweek is flat out terrified when he sees the direction Kyle's activism has gone, knowing that with "you know who" in the White House, things could escalate in the worst possible way.
  • Only Sane Man: Inverted. EVERYONE from Stan to Tweek to Cartman to Strong Woman can see that Kyle's crusade against Terrance and Phillip (and Canada in general) is a crazy bad idea. Even President Garrison points out his actions (which by this point have caused the US and Canada to come close to another war) have escalated things too far and he needs to back down. He changes his mind on this once Kyle's furious Motive Rant inspires him to flat out nuke Canada. It's implied this is because he found the idea arousing.
  • Playing the Victim Card: Kyle, of all people, gets affected by this trope, using it to get Terrance & Philip cancelled as a way to vent out his frustrations of Heidi dumping him and becoming another Eric Cartman. He eventually realizes the consequences of doing this when he watches Canada getting nuked because of his actions.
  • Political Correctness Gone Mad: Subverted.
    • Strong Woman turns out to be calm and understanding, pointing out micro-aggressions but not making a big deal about them.
    • Kyle's beef with Terrance & Phillip started when he saw them demeaning ethnic groups. At first he just wanted them to act more progressive, but he gradually got more and more defensive until he found himself partially responsible for their genocide.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Occurs throughout the episode.
    • Nobody bothers to converse with Kyle beyond insultingly comparing him to his mother, causing him to double down on his beliefs and resort to more drastic measures, feeling that no one is taking him seriously.
    • President Garrison and the Canadian Minister of Streaming fail to have a civilized conversation regarding the embargo on the Terrance & Phillip Show, resulting in a threat of war being declared.
    • When Garrison calls Kyle to tell him to call off the embargo, Kyle, in a fit of rage and frustration, tells him that everything the Canadians have done "needs to be erased from the Earth". Garrison takes this literally and nukes Canada.
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  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Strong Woman turns out to be this, despite her name and first couple scenes implying she'll be a comedic buffoon similar to PC Principal. She genuinely wants to make the school a safer plus for all students, and when Kyle tries to get her on his quest against Terrance and Phillip, she simply notes that pointing fingers at TV for kids' antics is illogical and usually leads to a slippery slope of Moral Guardians crusades. Lampshaded when Kyle expresses shock at this reaction.
    Kyle: I thought at least you'd be on my side.
  • Running Gag: Everybody telling Kyle that he is sounding and acting like a "Jewish mother".
  • Sincerity Mode: Throughout the episode people make fun of Kyle and tell him he's acting like his mom. After Kyle goes on TV trying to get Terrance & Phillip cancelled and starts blaming Canada for everyone acting like jerks, Stan calls him and tells him that he really is starting to act like his mom.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: Cartman and Heidi's fight.
  • Straw Feminist: Averted. Strong Woman wants to make the school environment better for the female students, but she doesn't hate men and is willing to listen to their concerns; when Kyle came to her office, she actually listened to his suggestion and even though she turned it down, she explained why.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: "Hold My Hand" by Hootie & the Blowfish plays every time PC Principal thinks about Strong Woman, even during the nuking of Canada.
  • Take That!:
    • To Netflix (and television outlets in general) for reviving several old series and giving comedians who are long past their Glory Days stand up specials despite the shows/comedians' material not being as fresh as it was during the height of their popularity.
    • Given how Terrance and Phillip have long been used as a caricature of South Park and its creators before, this could also be a Take That, Us aimed at Trey and Matt for their continued reliance on juvenile humour.
    • Strong Woman is one to self-proclaimed "strong women" who try to find sexism in everything such as how when she first introduces herself to the faculty she assumes they would treat her differently if she was a guy. Downplayed as she's still a pretty reasonable person who listens to everyone's problems regardless of gender, unlike how PC Principal was a caricature of PC culture for almost the entirety of his debut season.
    • Kyle repeating his mom's actions from the movie could be ones towards millennials who have the same ideology as Moral Guardians (trying to ban something for the message it's sending) while trying to insist they're different from them.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: The entire student body does this, actively encouraging Cartman and Heidi beating each other up as a form of catharsis and then mocking Kyle for his social concerns.
  • Tragic Mistake: Kyle causing Garrison to nuke Canada.
  • Wham Episode: Kyle's actions leads to Garrison nuking Canada.
  • With Friends Like These...: Kyle Jumping Off the Slippery Slope is set off by the rest of the student body, including his friends, collectively mocking him for emulating his mother.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Kyle's actions that led to Garrison nuking Canada are a result of getting dumped by Heidi and being mistreated by everyone.
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