Tuesday, October 8, 2013

South Park spoofs George Zimmerman

Token and Eric "Zimmerman" Cartman

On Wednesday, October 9, South Park will air episode #1703, "World War Zimmerman," about a vigilante-minded Eric Cartman who runs amok amid the town of South Park in search of Token, the sole African American male resident, who he sees as a threat to all humanity. The story is a parody of the George Zimmernan trial, with Eric Cartman apparently portraying a Zimmerman-like character. 

George Zimmerman, as you recall, was a 28-year old Hispanic white man who was charged with murdering 17-year old African American Trayvon Martin after he spotted him walking through his condo complex one rainy night on February 26, 2012 in Sanford, FL, just north of Orlando. Zimmerman mistook Martin for one of the teenagers who had burglarized the neighborhood. Martin was wearing a hoodie (a hooded sweatshirt) and carrying only a pack of Skittles and an Arizona Watermelon Tea. The trial took place this summer. Zimmerman plead self defense and was found not-guilty on June 14, 2013, much to the dismay of those who felt he panicked and should have at least been charged with manslaughter. 

Here in Central Florida, we have a uniquely personal relationship with the Martin/Zimmerman case. We joke about the "Stand Your Ground" (SYG) Florida law which was not utilized in this trial, but was considered by the defense as a possible way to defend Zimmerman.  "Stand Your Ground" allows a person to injure or kill someone who they view to be a threat. In many states, prior violence must be clearly proven, and unless someone is inside your house or car, you can be charged with murder. Locals joke about murdering unpopular politicians who they find to be particularly offensive and wondering if the SYG law would stick. Criminals have been successful using the law as an excuse to shoot and kill someone, even when they are the aggressors and went looking for a fight. (interesting chart on SYG law cases) The law is very controversial since the victim, now deceased, cannot tell their side of the story. 

Since Zimmerman has been released, he has managed to stay in the media spotlight. On July 31, 2013, Zimmerman was pulled over for speeding on U.S. 80 near Dallas, TX. Displaying a gun to the officer, he got off with only a warning after letting the police officer know who he was. On September 9, police were called to the Zimmerman home over a domestic dispute between George, his estranged wife Shellie (who had just filed for divorce), and Shellie's father.  Shellie had said in an ABC interview a few days earlier that her husband "believes he is 'invincible' after being found not guilty." 

Locals joke about watching out for Zimmerman while visiting Sanford, since he seems to be able to shoot random innocent people at will. There are even "Zimmerman" sightings, like Big Foot. 

I'm sure that South Park will reveal a moral lesson in this episode, that people cannot be judged as evil merely based on the color of their skin. Perhaps the show will take a poke at Florida's inane laws.

One local TV critic, Hal Boedeker of the Orlando Sentinel, has theorized that Zimmerman himself will make a guest appearance on the show (Article dated Oct. 7, 2013). Since South Park is animated, only Zimmerman's voice would be used.

The episode will debut at 10:00 p.m. on the Comedy Channel (66 or 1292HD on Brighthouse Cable in Orlando). The half hour show will replay several times this week:

Wednesday October 9 -- 10:00 p.m.
Thursday October 10 -- 12:01 a.m.
Thursday October 10 -- 3:45 a.m.
Thursday October 10 -- 10:30 p.m.
Friday October 11 -- 11:30 p.m.
Monday October 14 -- 2:00 a.m.
Wednesday October 9 -- 9:30 p.m.