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Recap / South Park S 22 E 01 Dead Kids

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Sharon is overreacting to everything these days and Randy can’t cope. Randy is desperate to help Sharon get her emotions under control and Cartman unexpectedly fails his math test.


Tropes:

  • Adult Fear: Sharon is terrified of her beloved son Stan getting shot throughout most of the episode and doesn't understand why the other parents don't fear for their children's lives.
  • A-Team Firing: No one except for one of the women bringing Sharon to the school gets hit in the hail of bullets when Randy's singing to her. Even then, she's only lightly wounded, with a bandaged-up arm, and is nonchalant about it.
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  • Bait-and-Switch: When Randy is complaining about Sharon’s supposedly being on her period and acting irrationally, Stephen sternly asks if Randy had ever considered if what’s going on is more serious than a period... menopause.
  • Call-Back:
    • The kids having access to guns could be a reference to the Season 19 episode "PC Principal Final Justice".
    • Cartman asking Nichole why she broke up with Token could also be reference to the girls school-wide breakup in Season 20's episode "Skank Hunt".
  • Cliffhanger: Stan gets shot at the end.
  • Conditioned to Accept Horror: School shootings have become so commonplace that everyone except Sharon barely acknowledge them. Even Sharon ends up just as desensitized to the point that Stan getting shot gets little to no reaction from her.
  • Continuity Nod: It is revealed that the Gender War is largely over, and the couples are slowly but surely getting back together.
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  • Dissonant Serenity: With the exception of Sharon, everyone seems to be indifferent to the common school shootings.
  • Downer Ending: The end of the episode sees Sharon apologize to Randy and become just as desensitized to the horror of school shootings as everyone else has. Cue her getting a call that Stan has been shot, much to the indifference of her and Randy.
  • Foreshadowing: Sharon mentions that she's deep down just anxiously waiting for the day she gets a call that Stan or Shelly has been shot. She gets that call at the end of the episode.
  • Gaslighting: The entire town ends up successfully (if unknowingly) doing this to Sharon, convincing her that her very reasonable reaction (that is to say, reacting at all) to multiple incidents of gun violence at South Park Elementary School are unhinged and crazy.
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  • Only Sane Man: Sharon is the only one of the parents who has not become desensitized to school shootings and wants to do something to prevent them in the future.
  • Playing the Victim Card: Randy acts as if he's the victim of Sharon's emotional outbursts, ignoring Sharon's concerns that their children could get shot up in school. The entire town agrees with him.
  • Reality Ensues: Given how horrible a school in South Park is (with the gender war, frequent bullying, occasional appearance by Satan, riots, monster/robot attacks, a former teacher becoming the quasi-dictator of America etc.), is it really a surprise a school shooting occurred there?
  • Shout-Out: Cartman’s leather jacket ensemble and Private Detective work is one to Jessica Jones.
  • Skewed Priorities: Because of the frequency of school shootings, both Stan and Randy care more about Stan failing his math test than the fact that someone shot up the school. To what little credit that can be given, Randy at least checks to make sure Stan wasn't shot, or was the shooter.
  • Swapped Roles: Subverted. While Sharon is the more unhinged one and Randy the calmer one this time around, Sharon's extreme reactions come from the multiple school shootings occurring within a short period of time, while nobody else cares.
  • Take That!
    • While not referred to by name, the main plot of the episode calls out the "thoughts and prayers" mentality of people who don't react accordingly to mass shootings and simply wait for those who do to get over it, allowing the situation to repeat itself.
    • Cartman makes numerous stabs towards the Black Panther movie and tries to decide on whether or not Token saw it.
  • They Killed Kenny Again: Surprisingly averted. Despite the school having numerous shooters and his notoriously bad luck, Kenny is not a victim at any point. It's Stan that gets shot.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: There are three school shootings in South Park in this episode. According to Butters, the entire Glee club is behind the third one.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: The students and faculty of South Park Elementary barely even notice or care when their school gets shot up on three separate occasions. Most of the parents besides Sharon don't think it's a big deal either. In fact, everyone treats school shootings as a minor inconvenience like it were rain.
  • Wham Line: "Stan's been shot."
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Heidi Turner is not seen or mentioned throughout the episode.

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