ChatGPT Helped Write the Latest ‘South Park’ Episode and It’s Surprisingly Meta
South Park writers have always been lauded for their on-point social parody and for good reason. After 26 seasons, TV series creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone have managed to cultivate a near-perfect ability to keep things relevant, but this time they’ve had a little help. Taking the social parody to gobsmacking levels, the writing duo have invited a sentient being into the writer’s room. Yep, like every failing student and tech-bro tosser, South Park has turned to ChatGPT. The writing credits for South Park‘s latest episode include OpenAI’s breakout chatbot star ChatGPT, alongside head honcho Trey Parker himself.
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Stan asks Clyde for dating advice, in an all-new episode of South Park, titled “Deep Learning” premiering TONIGHT at 10/9c on Comedy Central pic.twitter.com/2kQcGux9Em
— South Park (@SouthPark) March 8, 2023
Dubbed ‘Deep Learning,’ the fourth episode of season 26 is a sardonic take on AI chatbot’s growing craze and the controversies that come with it that’s written by both Parker and ChatGPT. The episode opens up in South Park Elementary, where fourth-grader Bebe Stevens shows off all the romantic texts sent by Clyde Donovan to her friends, leading Wendy to retrospect Stan Marsh’s cold replies which simply consist of a thumbs up. When Stan asks Clyde how he is able to whip up such romantic and thoughtful texts, Clyde simply responds, “ChatGPT, dude.”
He later explains the software to Stan, saying, “Yeah, dude, there’s a bunch of apps and programs you can subscribe to that use OpenAI to do all of your writing for you. People use them to write poems, write job applications, but what they’re really good for is dealing with chicks.” With the power of ChatGPT on their side, Stan, Butters, Clyde, and Cartman go from using ChatGPT for writing heartfelt messages to school papers.
Things suddenly start to go downhill for our boys when the school’s counsellor gets a whiff that students are using the generative AI tool for doing their homework and calls in a “technician” to help catch the mastermind. The so-called technician is far from your average geek and rather a voodoo guy who has a pet a falcon called Shadowbane and uses weird incantations. Instead of going after the real culprits, the warlock technician catches Wendy.
This episode ends with Stan coming to the rescue by enlisting the help of ChatGPT to come up with a solution to help him (and Wendy) get out of trouble, a conclusion that was penned by the generative chatbot AI itself. Stan’s day-saving final speech is also a major dig at all the giant tech firms that own the AI programmes, controlling all the aspects rather than making them openly available to the consumers.
Since its debut, OpenAI’s ChatGPT has met with phenomenal success and while many argue it to be a sure-shot replacement for humans, South Park creators have shown how the tech can be used to improve human creativity. So it won’t be surprising to see ChatGPT racking up credits for future episodes or popping up in other pop-culture mediums. South Park‘s Deep Learning episode is now available for free. You can watch the complete episode here or by clicking the link below.