'South Park' appears to apologize to Al Gore, admit it was wrong about global warming

'South Park' appears to apologize to Al Gore, admit it was wrong about global warming

Since premiering in 1999, South Park has savagely mocked everyone, from Republicans to Democrats to Barbara Streisand. However, in the 2006 episode Manbearpig, the target seemed off. In the episode, Al Gore visits town, and spreads apocalyptic warnings about an imaginary monster called ManBearPig, an allegory for global warming. Gore insists that he's sincere, or "super cereal," and acts like a lunatic, causing reckless damage in his quest to vanquish something that does exist.

However, man-made climate change does exist, according to an overwhelming majority of scientists. NASA states, "Ninety-seven percent of climate scientists agree that climate-warming trends over the past century are very likely due to human activities, and most of the leading scientific organizations worldwide have issued public statements endorsing this position." While it's funny to mock Al Gore, comparing these findings to a fictional 'ManBearPig' is pretty crazy - even for a show about Crab People, Underpants Gnomes, and a bully tricked into eating his own parents.

Al Gore and the South Park kids Credit: Comedy Central

On Wednesday's episode of South Park, "Time To Get Cereal," the show appeared to apologize to Al Gore, and admit it was wrong about global warming. In the episode, Stan sees one-armed Vietnam vet Ned Gerblansky captured and mauled by ManBearPig. That means the former Vice President turned climate change advocate was right all along. Stan and his friends track down Al Gore to get his help in destroying the malicious creature. However, the Inconvenient Truth filmmaker resents being ridiculed, and demands the boys apologize for making fun of him. And they better be "cereal!"

The scene feels like an apology to the real Al Gore from South Park creators Matt Parker and  Trey Stone. Not for making fun of him in general, of course, but for depicting man-made global warming as a ludicrous joke. Last March, the United Nations secretary general described climate change as "the most systemic threat to humankind." He encouraged world leaders to curb greenhouse gas emissions, or risk facing dire, irreversible consequences.

Yet President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the Paris agreement, making America the only country to join, and then withdraw. Trump claims to be a "conservative," but evidently that doesn't include conserving the environment, as he is undoing decades of environmentalism.  In 2012, he tweeted a particularly idiotic statement, "The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive."

Smug man ignoring ManBearPig on South Park Credit: Comedy Central

In the South Park's funniest scene, they roast a climate-change denier. At a restaurant, a smug, arrogant man insists that ManBearPig isn't real and the science isn't sound. Meanwhile, ManBearPig appears in the background and mauls various customers. When his wife points out the carnage, the man sighs with resignation. "Okay, ManBearPig is real. What are we going to do about now, huh?" he asks. "What are we going to do that's gonna make any difference, now Susan? ... Even if we do something about it, what about the Chinese?" And at this point, ManBearPig eats him.

Hopefully, we'll start taking climate change more "cereal" than that random diner took ManBearPig. (The global crisis could even ruin beer for everyone.)