The first of 14 hour-long specials/movies from South Park, this one titled South Park: Post COVID, premiered on Paramount+ today (something immediately ridiculed by the show itself with a title card denoting it as a Paramount+ movie that is "not a movie, it's a made for TV movie.") and with it came a surprising look into the future of South Park. Set decades in the future, in a world after the COVID-19 pandemic has ended, the special sees the main four kids of the series as adults reuniting for the first time in years. For those curious in what happens we'll recap some of it below along with the biggest revelations about the character's future. Full spoilers for South Park: Post Covid below!
The inciting incident of the reunion of the kids is something you might expect, the death of Kenny McCormick, who dies under mysterious circumstances and whose funeral brings back Stan Marsh to South Park. Stan, now an an "online whiskey consultant" whose girlfriend is Alexa (in the first of many Blade Runner 2049 parodies), reunites with Kyle who is suspicious of Kenny's death. Other characters that appear are Jimmy, who is now the host of Late Night; Token, who is a South Park police officer; plus Wendy, Tweek, Craig, Scott Malkinson (now a priest), PC Principal; and notably Cartman, who has converted to Judaism and is now a rabbi with a family (and a wife named Yentl), all of which drives Kyle nuts as he assumes it's a ruse.
Upon his death a mysterious message from Kenny notes that his closest friend from childhood will know where he's hidden something for them to find. It becomes clear that he was after the source of COVID-19, something that fans of the series know was caused by Randy, and the bulk of the special is the boys looking for answers. Kenny was revealed to have been plotting a travel back in time to discover the truth, only to return to the future having contracted a new strand of COVID and bringing it back into the Post COVID world. The new variant, the COVID Delta+ Rewards Program variant, sends the entire town into a frenzy of toilet paper buying, mask wearing, and forcing kids into remote learning. Naturally this also forces the entire town into a quarantine, where it's revealed that one person in the entire town is unvaccinated causing speculation and testing all around town.
Stan goes to see his father in the Shady Acres Retirement Community, now a tower with hundreds of thousands of residents, including Randy Marsh, Mr. Garrison, Mr. Mackey, Jimbo, and others. The animosity between Stan and Randy is revealed as having started right after COVID, when Sharon was intending to divorce Randy. When he wouldn't allow it because of his weed business, Stan decided to burn down the Tegridy Farms building, which Shelly was inside of when it went up. Shelly apparently died and Sharon took her own life afterward. It's heavy but handled in the hilarious kind of way that South Park is notable for.
For the sake of not ruining punchlines in the least interesting way possible, we'll just note that the episode doesn't tie everything up in the end (a major revelation about "what caused all this" is the show's writing at its best) but it does set up the next special for the series which is already confirmed to debut in December. Notably the episode ends with Randy discovering the tiniest weed plant growing on the Tegridy Farm, after the ghosts of Sharon and Shelly tell him that Stan is a d-ck; and also teases where Butters has been this whole time, he's locked up, having had his Professor Chaos persona take over.
You can watch South Park: Post COVID on Paramount+ with a subscription.