South Park's 22nd season opens its first episode, Dead Kids, with the sound of gun shots ringing throughout the show's primary setting of an elementary school. The teachers and students carry on as if it's completely normal because, in America, it is. It's only Stan's mum Sharon who is deeply horrified by it all, slowly losing her mind as everyone else in the town seems to hold the reoccurring massacres in the same regard as a failed maths test. "What's up Stan's mum's ass?" asks a bemused Cartman.
This is, of course, creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone's satirical takedown of gun violence in the US, highlighting the absurd truth that school shootings have now become commonplace. But even for the famously controversial South Park this seems like a particularly daring subject to make light of. 'How has this show not been cancelled?' is the sort of question someone who's never seen South Park might ask. And in fairness, it is genuinely quite surprising that it's managing to survive in 2018, a time where making a joke about something horrible is now deemed nearly as bad as the horrible thing itself.