By Andrew Husband
South Park‘s 20th season premiere episode, “Member Berries,” was rife with great moments lampooning recent things like Colin Kaepernick’s national anthem protest and pretty much anything said or done by Donald Trump. Which shouldn’t be all that surprising, as creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker have always enjoyed ridiculing the latest controversies peddled by the news media — especially since they literally wait until the last minute to write and produce most episodes. As demonstrated by New York Times writer Dave Itzkoff’s recent write-up of the pair, the behind-the-scenes struggle to finish “Member Berries” was no different.
When Itzkoff visited South Park Studios on Monday, September 12 — just two days before South Park was set to air on Comedy Central — Parker and Stone only had 12-and-a-half minutes of what was supposed to be a 22-minute episode. During the next 48 hours, the team filled in the remaining nine-and-a-half minutes, but not before a series of last-minute mishaps nearly sank their efforts:
“Member Berries” was broadcast at 10 p.m. on Sept. 14, but hardly without last-minute incident. That morning, South Park Studios suffered a system crash, and the episode’s audio went missing for an hour and a half.
When the episode was transmitted to Comedy Central, it had a mystery six-frame sync problem that was finally fixed and delivered one hour before airtime.
The 20th season premiere episode wasn’t completed, technically, until the final hour before it aired. As executive producer Anne Garefino put it, “Trey’s like, ‘I think from now, we should think about getting the show in earlier.‘” She apparently responded to Parker’s quip with an appropriate remark, but Itzkoff concludes, “South Park would have to bleep out” what the 19-year veteran of the show said to her boss.
(Via New York Times)