South Park Takes on Photoshop in Season Finale Episode

Editors note: Be advised, the video below contains some strong language that might not be to the liking of all our readers.

There have been a lot of viral attacks on the retouching industry lately — from these striking ads created by a student to this funny tongue-in-cheek version of another viral anti-retouching video — but the cherry on top of the Photoshop-hate sundae came in the form of the South Park Season 17 finale.

Full disclosure is warranted here: I’m a big South Park fan. Though they’re sometimes crude to a fault, Trey Parker and Matt Stone know how to tickle my funny bone, so you can imagine my reaction when I pulled up my DVR’d copy of last week’s season finale to see that an episode entitled “The Hobbit” was actually making fun of Photoshop and the retouching industry as a whole.



We won’t go into specifics since you can view the whole episode here if you so wish, but the general idea is that, when Wendy points out how a person can be made to look “hot” entirely in Photoshop, all of the girls in school begin to Photoshop themselves and believe that that is really how they look.

In an attempt to spread awareness about the perils of Photoshop, she accidentally does the exact opposite until, at the end of the episode, a tearful Wendy gives up the good fight and Photoshops herself.

If you like this sort of humor, the whole episode is worth checking out. But even if you don’t, and you’re just the kind of person who advocates for no more Photoshop on magazine covers, this should be a good sign. South Park is, on some level, a great mirror of what is most important in pop culture at the moment; if enough people are putting pressure on the retouching industry, it might just start getting better… whatever ‘better’ means for you.

  • Vlad Dusil

    F*** you guys, I do what I want.

  • Michael

    You’ve got to be kidding me. I guess us photographers should just leave the pimples, flyaway hairs, and temporary facial blemishes immortalized in their photos for “ethics” or whatever. God forbid a photo is flattering in any way for fear that we’ll cause overemotional teen girls to kill themselves or something.


    I’m pretty sure what you just described is not the type of editing that the controversy is about. It’s about the reshaping of the face and body beyond general “clean up” to the level where it is actually distorting the models body and face.

  • cock

    this only pokes fun at the OTT stuff so stop crying about your pimples and blemishes you massive pleb.

  • James de Luna

    you’re either a photographer, or someone who uses a camera to make photoshop pictures …
    thats the way i see it :) i’d rather aspire to be a good photographer

  • Becca Gulliver

    Episode not available until 01.11.2014… :(

  • David Vaughn

    Here’s the point.

    Here’s your head.

  • tomdavidsonjr

    Another sad case of SOOC disease… It’s OK, James. When you wake up from your delusional SOOC coma, the rest of us will still be here, using the tools available to us to craft our art. If you’re nice, some of us might even show you how you too can use some of these tools to enhance your photography.

  • Jake

    “God forbid a photo is flattering in any way.”

    Yeah, because real people in real life with pimples and blemishes are so freaking ugly!

  • fastish cubnt

    ”We won’t go into specifics since you can view the whole episode here” followed by ”We won’t go into specifics since you can view the whole episode here” – 9 year old writer is 9 years old. idiot

  • Jenn

    I’m a graphic designer and I say your comment orders on the moronic. Little edits here and there enhance the beauty of a person. What the media does (and now I assume you as well) is completely change the facial structure of a person. Brightening up skin is not the same as changing someone jaw line… come on now