The cast and crew of “South Park” had a tumultuous time making Season 20 last year, because the show returned around the time of the US Presidential election, purely by coincidence of that being the time of year they make the show, and they always make it the week that it’s on to ensure relevancy, and that production process sucked for them this time.

Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the creators of “South Park” who have been with the show through thick and thin, made an appearance on Bill Simmons’ podcast to discuss where they went with Season 20 last year and what lessons they’ve learned from it and where they’ll go differently when Season 21 rolls around later this year.

Season 20 got more Trump-focused that they wanted by circumstance

Parker and Stone told Simmons how Season 20 of “South Park” became a lot more Trump-centric than they would’ve liked. The story arc for the season was begun based around the idea that Hillary Clinton was going to win the Presidency, because it certainly looked that way, and there seemed no way in hell that Trump would win.

So, they built the Season 20 storyline around a “big boy-girl war” with the theme being gender because it seemed like “well, hooray, Hillary’s gonna be president,” and to them, “the most ironic, coolest thing to focus on” would be the fact that a Hillary Clinton Presidency would mean “Bill Clinton is the first gentleman.” The “South Park” episode due to air a day after the election was called “The First Gentleman” and it played heavily on this idea, and they spent the whole week writing and recording and animating an episode set to air a day after Hillary won the election – and then Trump beat her.

When Trump won, the whole storyline Parker and Stone had planned out “really got torn apart,” because “Garrison was supposed to come back and just start teaching again” (as he's done for years on "South Park") after losing the election in his Trump persona, but they’d dug themselves into a hole and gotten “locked into” having him be the President.

They had one day to make a completely new episode

Trump’s victory left Parker and Stone with one day to throw out “The First Gentleman” and write and record and animate a completely new episode, “Oh Jeez,” that would change the entire season arc and affect the whole storyline they were following and where they were going with their characters and themes.

They had one day to do this. They mulled over some options – “Go black” was one of them, which is something “South Park” does sometimes when they can’t get their shows done quite in time, and airing “The First Gentleman” with the Hillary victory despite its factual inaccuracy was another idea they had, as a kind of “document for history” of what could’ve been.

They called their boss Doug Herzog to tell him they might have to go dark for a week, and he told them he was at the offices of “The Daily Show” where people were “crying.” Stone said that “Everyone was coming to him saying, ‘We can’t do this tonight.’” Parker said they decided to do an episode in the end, for the “real die-hard “South Park” fans.” His thinking was that people were “shell-shocked” and panicking that “the world had changed,” so he wanted to assure them that while the election of Trump was a “horrible thing,” it’s okay because “”South Park’s” still on the air, the sun is still rising, water’s still clear.