'South Park' Coronavirus Episode Coming This Month, Will Be An Hour Long [Updated]

Update: Deadline reports that South Park's hour-long coronavirus episode, which airs tonight, will be simulcast on Comedy Central, MTV, and MTV2, marking the first time the show has been simulcast across ViacomCBS brands. It will be available to stream on HBO Max 24 hours after it debuts tonight. Our original story follows, along with a new behind-the-scenes video of how the production came together.South Park is embracing the COVID-19 era with a special episode that's all about the coronavirus and the havoc it wreaks on the small Colorado town. Check out the first trailer and get more details below.

Don't be surprised if you hear the phrase, "Oh my God, the coronavirus killed Kenny!", because South Park is leaning into the insanity of 2020 with a brand new special episode called "The Pandemic Special." Here's the official synopsis:

Randy comes to terms with his role in the COVID-19 outbreak as the on-going pandemic presents continued challenges to the citizens of South Park. The kids happily head back to school but nothing resembles the normal that they once knew; not their teachers, not their homeroom, not even Eric Cartman.

After being a fan of South Park for more than a decade, I finally gave up on this show last year. It had been going downhill for a while (arguably since they portrayed Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton as equally bad options during the 2016 presidential election), but I stuck with it as the show struggled to figure out how to stay relevant in the Trump era. But as soon as Randy Marsh bought a weed farm and the show became obsessed with his home-grown weed business at Tegridy Farms, its descent in quality snowballed so rapidly that Randy, one of my favorite characters, became so annoying and abrasive that he's now my least favorite character on the series.

So I understand and empathize with Sharon's frustration when Randy devises a "pandemic special" for his product. I understand that the show is skewering actual businesses that have done similar things, but frankly, anything involving Tegridy Farms has become so grating that I no longer trust that the execution will be funny – and when South Park loses its humor, it just sort of feels like a wandering, angry show that's a shadow of its former self. I'm sure the special will have its moments (the detective taking over as the kids' teacher admittedly coaxed a smile out of me), but it seems to me as if creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone have lost their step a little overall, and I'm not convinced that a super-sized episode addressing this topic is going to be what inspires the duo to get their collective groove back.

The South Park coronavirus episode debuts on Wednesday, September 30, 2020 on Comedy Central.