So was anyone else wondering how in god’s name did Trey Parker and Matt Stone pull off an Obama themed episode centered around his winning the election just 24 hours later? Including his acceptance speech. South Park has always been timely, but this seemed preposterously timely. IGN got the scoop.
IGN TV: First and foremost, I want to ask you: how did you get this episode finished in time?
Matt Stone: We talked about doing an election episode for a couple of months. Usually we start talking about these things when we start talking about the whole run, about a month ago. So we started talking about what episodes we’d like to do. When we started talking about the election, we were like “That’s on a Tuesday. Wednesday is the next day… We could have a whole episode!”
So we started talking about stories that would be neutral to who won. And that’s when we came up with the whole diamond heist thing. We were going to produce a couple of different shows, but we don’t do the show that far in advance. So as it got closer, in the last few weeks – it was so obvious that Obama was going to win that we just produced the Obama show. We just did it and assumed the polls would be right.
IGN: Is it three weeks that is your typical turnaround?
Stone: Well, really it’s about a week.
IGN: Okay, wow.
Stone: So we didn’t really start in earnest on this show until one week ago. For the speeches we had a blank space in there, with the acceptance and concession speeches in there. That only takes us a couple hours to do. It’s a very easy animation. The main thing was waiting until they gave the speeches so we could get the backdrops and see what it looked like. Then we copied down the speech and put it in there.
What was funny is that we’d written placeholder crap and put it in there. It was “I want to thank my fellow Americans and blah blah blah” and “Change is going to come..” We just wrote some junk to put in there as temp, and it was amazing how much the temporary stuff matched the boilerplate in there. We then took a few things that people would remember, like Obama promising his kids the dog. We copied the words and put that in, but that was easy for us because we do the show so quick. We were here all night, but we usually are on Tuesday finishing the show.
IGN: So you didn’t deliver it late to the network?
Stone: Well, we always deliver it late. [Laughs] We can’t get any later than we do! We’re delivering it right up against the wire every single week. We can’t do it any later or it won’t make the air. Trey and I got home at 10:30 yesterday morning. We’re there for 24 hours. It sucks, I f***ing hate it! It’s physically a challenge and kind of a torment, but it’s really the only way we know how to do the show.