"Sponsored Content" is the eighth episode of Season Nineteen, and the 265th overall episode of South Park. It aired on November 18, 2015.
Jimmy is sent to the principal’s office for using an inappropriate word in the school paper. His integrity as a newsman runs head on into PC Principal's ideology. Will Jimmy be the undoing of PC Principal?
The episode begins with PC Principal going on a tirade through the school to find out who is in charge of the school's newspaper Super School News, as an article in it contained the word "retarded" in reference to the school's lunch policy. After asking Kyle if it was him, and threatening to "break the legs" of whoever is responsible, PC Principal is shown that Jimmy is in charge of the newspaper. In his office, PC Principal explains to Jimmy, in a rather soft-spoken tone, that the use of the word retarded is bad. Jimmy retorts with an explanation of the article and that he would not censor the author's language. Jimmy calls him out, asking if he is "uncomfortable" around people with disabilities. PC Principal denies this, and rules that the school newspaper cannot be distributed on campus. Jimmy then delivers the news to the doors of everyone in town, including the PC Delta. PC Principal sees the headline, which reads "PC Principal's 'Retarded' Policy". He then speaks to his PC Bros on the situation, and he misinterprets Jimmy's actions as being an "Uncle Able", believing that Jimmy is merely sympathizing with his oppressors and allowing hurtful and derogatory slurs to be shown to the public.
Later that night, Stephen is reading the Super School News and comments on the amount of actual news, instead of ads. He then tells how he always felt like he was "chasing" the news when reading it online, and goes on to tell how it was ad after ad. He is trying to talk to Linda about it, but she is too immersed in her phone to even hear him.
At the school, PC Principal brings in Nathan to try and make Jimmy see the "effects" of using the word "retarded". Nathan puts on an act and says that it makes his heart "piss its pants". Jimmy questions PC Principal on this, asking if he's going to actually ask what Nathan means or if he's just pandering because he's uncomfortable around disabled people. PC Principal tries to rebuke this, but starts stammering and losing his confident tone. He calls on a spotter, and another PC Bro appears and tries to talk about the use of the word retarded. Jimmy confronts Nathan, and Nathan tells him that the changes to the town aren't coincidental and that a war is coming.
Channel 4 News interviews some citizens on Super School News and they tell how great it is since there are no ads, including Stephen. He goes on another frantic spiel about ads. Randy is watching the story online, and falls for another ad trick.
During the 2015 Presidential debates, Hillary Clinton is asked on her views of the Syrian Refugee crisis, but is cut off mid-sentence by Herbert Garrison. He calls all Syrian Refugees "terrorists", insults Hillary, and then finishes with his slogan, "Fuck them all to death!" as a solution to the crisis. Post debate, Mr. Garrison and Caitlyn Jenner are greeted by Principal Victoria, who says they need to talk.
At the PC Frat House, they throw an event for people with disabilities. But for the most part, the event was mostly about the PC Bros "scoring" with chicks instead of actually raising awareness. The next morning, as they are handing in their consent forms, PC Principal is shown the headline of that morning's school newspaper, which reads "'PC' stands for Pussy Crushing", causing the PC Bros to freak out.
A GEICO Insurance Salesman shows up at Jimmy's house and offers a deal of $26 million dollars for ad space in the school newspaper. When Jimmy refuses, he pulls a gun on him, talking about how ads are unstoppable. Before he finishes, he is shot by Barbrady, who instructs Jimmy to come with him.
Sharon confronts Randy on PC standing for "Pussy Crushing", and tells him that he can't go back over to the Frat House. Randy tells her he isn't cheating on her and that he's happy because of the changes to the town, referencing his help in getting Shi Tpa Town and the Whole Foods Market. Sharon tells Randy that he has changed, resorting to just "bullying" people and waiting for them to slip up. She refers to them as he/she, and Randy calls her a bigot.
The man shown at the end of Naughty Ninjas and a group of others inform Jimmy on the dangers of ads, and how ads have evolved to disguise themselves as news. These people believe Jimmy has the ability to tell the difference between the news and ads and is given a test on it. He passes the test with flying colors. He is then sent in to talk with Leslie Meyers.
The PC Bros hold a meeting to discuss how to deal with being labeled as "Pussy Crushers". Some of the Bros see this as an opportunity to "get puss", but PC Principal wants to actually do something about it.
Leslie and Jimmy talk inside a room while the group of men watch. Leslie says that she believes that they are ex news-men.
Mr. Garrison, Caitlyn Jenner, and Principal Victoria continue to talk about the plot to take down the town. There seem to be people who know about the plot, but have to stay quiet about it.
PC Principal opens up to Nathan, and makes him the editor of the school newspaper. One of the PC Bros comes into his office, and shows him an ad that causes him to freak out. At the same time, Jimmy realizes that Leslie is an ad as well. The photo of Leslie and PC Principal shown in the last episode pans out to show an ad for State Farm.
Mr. Garrison and Principal Victoria are on their way back to South Park, under caution that they can trust nobody. Caitlyn Jenner drives them there, and runs over more people after saying "Buckle up, Buckaroo."
AV Club gave "Sponsored Content" a "A-" rating saying: "So what are Parker and Stone’s exact feelings on the word? In the world of “Sponsored Content,” it doesn’t matter. They’re not endorsing rampant use of the term, only the paper’s right to say it. As Jimmy points out, the article in question is an op-ed written by a first-grader who found “retarded” to be the most accurate description (in his own limited vocabulary) when talking about the school’s lunch policy. Jimmy’s defense of the kid is more about free speech than specific words, a statement on the various college newspapers that have come under fire for supposedly intolerant content as of late. Whether or not the material is actually insensitive varies from paper to paper, not to mention reader to reader. South Park’s outlook on the matter is much simpler, perhaps even reductive in the eyes of some viewers: Free speech means being exposed to points of view you don’t always agree with, points of view you may even find hateful. Just as it’s everyone’s right to publish their opinion (especially in an op-ed piece), it’s everyone else’s right to speak out against it. But it’s no one’s right to silence it."
IGN gave "Sponsored Content" a "7.8" rating saying: "As a means to an end, South Park's "Sponsored Content" definitely ramped up the intrigue and made the interesting decision to put Jimmy at the forefront. Parts of this episode were really strong, like Jimmy fighting PC Principal with his school newspaper and PC Principal starting to crumble under the pressure. That said, while the "ads in news" element was amusing as a one-episode issue, it didn't really have the "epic tie-in" feel that it was going for within the larger PC storyline. But I suppose we'll see if it all comes together in these next two episodes."