South Park is known for taking on current events. In the past they have covered topics from the Royal Wedding to Saddam’s arrest. Considering it only takes 6 days to create an episode of South Park, it’s hardly any coincidence that an episode about the effects of “reverse immigration” should air the night before Latinos in Alabama no-showed work to highlight the economical impact their absence would create. Typically the show offers biting social commentary that is as accurate as it is absurd. However, with an issue as increasingly complex and polarizing as immigration, what could South Park do with it in 30 minutes?
After a failed game of Texans vs. Meeheecans, where Cartman plays a “yeehaw” spewing border patrol agent, “Mantequilla” (aka Butters) finds himself lost in the woods. Eventually he is rescued by a white couple who mistakenly believe he is an illegal Mexican immigrant. The duo show their new child love by assigning him manual labor jobs around the house (washing dishes, preparing food, cleaning pools, etc) and buying him toys, like a leaf blower. After a while, the couple realizes Mantequilla isn’t happy and decide to take him back to his homeland – the nearby Pollo Loco restaurant, where his Latino brethren work in the kitchen. So far, all stereotypes are being exploited fully.
What happens next brings up several questions. If all the Mexicans in the U.S. are tired of poor treatment, and the U.. economy is no longer a draw for people seeking a better way of life, what’s to keep them from leaving? Will we need laws to keep them from leaving the country and taking all their cheap labor? If they leave, will they make Mexico a better place to live than the U.S? Some of this territory has been covered before in the 2004 movie A Day Without A Mexican. I suppose the main difference is that movie was a reaction to immigration laws, and the South Park episode is a commentary on the downfall of the United States’ appeal – or as one border agent exclaimed: “When we asked Obama for help protecting our borders, we didn’t mean make the U.S. so shitty they wouldn’t wanna come here anymore!”
You can watch the episode in its entirety here.