September 26, 2013 at 10:40 PM EDT

South Park

TV Show
Current Status
In Season
Cartoons/Animation, Comedy

South Park. It’s the 17th season. And yet Wednesday night’s premiere delivered the animated comedy’s biggest rating in years.

The Comedy Central hit came back to 4.3 million viewers across three telecasts, with the first airing delivering the most viewers for the show since 2011 and the highest young male demo ratings since 2010.

The episode titled “Let Go, Let Gov” mocked the NSA’s mass surveillance scandal (clip below). In the episode, Cartman played the role of an Edward Snowden-style whistleblower who infiltrates the NSA and rants about privacy violations — yet can’t stop revealing his every thought online to anybody who will listen.

South Park fans had a longer-than-usual wait for new episodes this year, given that creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s decision to produce fewer episodes (10 per year). On Sunday, South Park also won its fifth Emmy for outstanding animated program.

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