SOUTH PARK is an American adult animated sitcom created by Trey
Matt Stone and developed by
Brian Graden for the Comedy
Central television network . The show revolves around four boys—Stan
Kyle Broflovski ,
Eric Cartman , and
Kenny McCormick —and
their bizarre adventures in and around the titular
Colorado town. Much
The Simpsons ,
South Park uses a very large ensemble cast of
recurring characters and became infamous for its profanity and dark ,
surreal humor that satirizes a wide range of topics towards a mature
Parker and Stone developed the show from The Spirit of Christmas ,
two consecutive animated shorts created in 1992 and 1995. The latter
became one of the first Internet viral videos , ultimately leading to
South Park's production. It debuted in August 1997 with great success,
consistently earning the highest ratings of any basic cable program.
Subsequent ratings have varied but it remains one of Comedy Central's
highest rated shows, and is slated to air in new episodes through
The pilot episode was produced using cutout animation , leading to
all subsequent episodes being produced with computer animation that
emulated the cutout technique. Parker and Stone perform most of the
voice acting for the show's male characters. Since 2000, each episode
has typically been written and produced in the week preceding its
broadcast, with Parker serving as the primary writer and director .
There have been a total of 277 episodes over the course of the show's
20 seasons. The show's twentieth season premiered on September 14,
2016. Season 21 is scheduled to premiere on September 13, 2017.
South Park has received numerous accolades, including five Primetime
Emmy Awards , a
Peabody Award , and numerous inclusions in various
publications' lists of greatest television shows. The show's
popularity resulted in a feature-length theatrical film, South Park:
Bigger, Longer ">
South Park creators
Trey Parker (left) and Matt
Stone continue to do most of the writing, directing and voice acting
on the show. Main article:
The Spirit of Christmas (short film)
Soon after meeting in film class at the University of
1992, Parker and Stone created an animated short entitled The Spirit
of Christmas . The film was created by animating construction paper
cutouts with stop motion , and features prototypes of the main
characters of South Park, including a character resembling Cartman but
named "Kenny", an unnamed character resembling what is today Kenny,
and two near-identical unnamed characters who resemble Stan and Kyle.
Brian Graden, Fox network executive and mutual friend, commissioned
Parker and Stone to create a second short film as a video Christmas
card. Created in 1995, the second The Spirit of Christmas short
resembled the style of the later series more closely. To
differentiate between the two homonymous shorts, the first short is
often referred to as
Jesus vs. Frosty, and the second short as Jesus
vs. Santa. Graden sent copies of the video to several of his friends,
and from there it was copied and distributed, including on the
internet, where it became one of the first viral videos .
Jesus vs. Santa became more popular, Parker and Stone began talks
of developing the short into a television series. Fox refused to pick
up the series, not wanting to air a show that included the character
Mr. Hankey , a talking piece of feces. The two then entered
negotiations with both
MTV and Comedy Central. Parker preferred the
show be produced by Comedy Central, fearing that
MTV would turn it
into a kids show. When
Comedy Central executive
Doug Herzog watched
the short, he commissioned for it to be developed into a series.
Parker and Stone assembled a small staff and spent three months
creating the pilot episode "
Cartman Gets an Anal Probe ". South Park
was in danger of being canceled before it even aired when the show
fared poorly with test audiences, particularly with women. However,
the shorts were still gaining more popularity over the Internet, and
Comedy Central agreed to order a run of six episodes. South Park
debuted with "Cartman Gets an Anal Probe" on August 13, 1997.
The Border Patrol raid during the
Elián González affair is
referenced in "
Quintuplets 2000 ", which aired within the same week
the event occurred.
Except for the pilot episode, which was produced using cutout
animation , all episodes of
South Park are created with the use of
software. As opposed to the pilot, which took three months to
complete, and other animated sitcoms, which are traditionally
hand-drawn by companies in
South Korea in a process that takes roughly
eight-to-nine months, individual episodes of
South Park take
significantly less time to produce. Using computers as an animation
method, the show's production staff were able to generate an episode
in about three weeks during the first seasons. Now, with a staff of
about 70 people, episodes are typically completed in one week, with
some in as little as three to four days. Nearly the entire
production of an episode is accomplished within one set of offices,
which were originally at a complex in Westwood, Los Angeles,
California , and are now part of
South Park Studios in Culver City,
California . Parker and Stone have been the show's executive
producers throughout its entire history.
20th Century Fox
20th Century Fox Senior
Debbie Liebling also served as an executive
producer during the show's first five seasons, coordinating the show's
production efforts between
South Park Studios and Comedy Central's
headquarters in New York City.
Scripts are not written before a season begins. Production of an
episode begins on a Thursday, with the show's writing consultants
brainstorming with Parker and Stone. Former staff writers include Pam
Brady , who has since written scripts for the films Hot Rod , Hamlet 2
and Team America: World Police (with Parker and Stone), and Nancy
Pimental , who served as co-host of Win Ben Stein\'s Money and wrote
The Sweetest Thing after her tenure with the show during its
first three seasons. Television producer and writer
Norman Lear , an
idol of both Parker and Stone, served as a guest writing consultant
for the season seven (2003) episodes "Cancelled " and "I\'m a Little
Bit Country ". During the 12th and 13th seasons, Saturday Night
Live actor and writer
Bill Hader served as a creative consultant and
After exchanging ideas, Parker will write a script, and from there
the entire team of animators, editors, technicians, and sound
engineers will each typically work 100–120 hours in the ensuing
week. Since the show's fourth season (2000), Parker has assumed most
of the show's directorial duties, while Stone relinquished his share
of the directing to focus on handling the coordination and business
aspects of the production. On Wednesday, a completed episode is sent
to Comedy Central's headquarters via satellite uplink, sometimes in
just a few hours before its air time of 10 PM Eastern Time .
Parker and Stone state that subjecting themselves to a one-week
deadline creates more spontaneity amongst themselves in the creative
process, which they feel results in a funnier show. The schedule also
South Park to both stay more topical and respond more quickly
to specific current events than other satiric animated shows. One of
the earliest examples of this was in the season four (2000) episode
Quintuplets 2000 ", which references the United States Border Patrol
's raid of a house during the
Elián González affair , an event which
occurred only four days before the episode originally aired. The
season nine (2005) episode "Best Friends Forever " references the
Terri Schiavo case , and originally aired in the midst of the
controversy and less than 12 hours before she died. A scene in the
season seven (2003) finale "It\'s Christmas in Canada " references the
discovery of dictator
Saddam Hussein in a "spider hole" and his
subsequent capture , which happened a mere three days prior to the
episode airing. The season 12 (2008) episode "About Last Night... "
Barack Obama 's victory in the 2008 presidential
election , and aired less than 24 hours after Obama was declared the
winner, using segments of dialogue from Obama's real victory speech.
On October 16, 2013, the show failed to meet their production
deadline for the first time ever, after a power outage on October 15
at the production studio prevented the episode, season 17's "Goth Kids
3: Dawn of the Posers ", from being finished in time. The episode was
rescheduled to air a week later on October 23, 2013. In July 2015,
South Park was renewed through 2019; extending the show through season
23 with 304 episodes overall.
The various stages of production (from top to bottom): the
storyboard sketch, the
CorelDRAW props with stock character models,
and a frame from the fully rendered episode,
Super Fun Time .
The show's style of animation is inspired by the paper cut-out
cartoons made by
Terry Gilliam for Monty Python\'s Flying Circus , of
which Parker and Stone have been lifelong fans. Construction paper
and traditional stop motion cutout animation techniques were used in
the original animated shorts and in the pilot episode. Subsequent
episodes have been produced by computer animation , providing a
similar look to the originals while requiring a fraction of the time
to produce. Before computer artists begin animating an episode, a
series of animatics drawn in
Toon Boom are provided by the show's
The characters and objects are composed of simple geometrical shapes
and primary colors . Most child characters are the same size and
shape, and are distinguished by their clothing, hair and skin colors,
and headwear. Characters are mostly presented two-dimensionally and
from only one angle. Their movements are animated in an intentionally
jerky fashion, as they are purposely not offered the same free range
of motion associated with hand-drawn characters. Occasionally, some
non-fictional characters are depicted with photographic cutouts of
their actual head and face in lieu of a face reminiscent of the show's
traditional style. Canadians on the show are often portrayed in an
even more minimalist fashion; they have simple beady eyes, and the top
halves of their heads simply flap up and down when the characters
When the show began using computers, the cardboard cutouts were
scanned and re-drawn with
CorelDRAW , then imported into PowerAnimator
, which was used with SGI workstations to animate the characters.
The workstations were linked to a 54-processor render farm that could
render 10 to 15 shots an hour. Beginning with season five , the
animators began using Maya instead of PowerAnimator. The studio now
runs a 120-processor render farm that can produce 30 or more shots an
PowerAnimator and Maya are high-end programs mainly used for 3D
computer graphics , while co-producer and former animation director
Eric Stough notes that
PowerAnimator was initially chosen because its
features helped animators retain the show's "homemade" look.
PowerAnimator was also used for making some of the show's visual
effects, which are now created using Motion , a newer graphics
program created by
Apple, Inc. for their
Mac OS X
Mac OS X operating system .
The show's visual quality has improved in recent seasons, though
several other techniques are used to intentionally preserve the cheap
cutout animation look.
A few episodes feature sections of live-action footage, while others
have incorporated other styles of animation. Portions of the season
eight (2004) premiere "
Good Times with Weapons
Good Times with Weapons " are done in anime
style, while the season 10 episode "
Make Love, Not Warcraft " is done
partly in machinima . The season 12 episode "
Major Boobage ", a
homage to the 1981 animated film Heavy Metal , implements scenes
accomplished with rotoscoping .
Main article: List of
South Park cast members
Parker and Stone voice most of the male
South Park characters.
Mary Kay Bergman voiced the majority of the female characters until
her suicide on November 11, 1999.
Mona Marshall and Eliza Schneider
succeeded Bergman, with Schneider leaving the show after its seventh
season (2003). She was replaced by
April Stewart , who, along with
Marshall, continues to voice most of the female characters. Bergman
was originally listed in the credits under the alias Shannen Cassidy
to protect her reputation as the voice of several Disney and other
kid-friendly characters. Stewart was originally credited under the
name Gracie Lazar, while Schneider was sometimes credited under her
rock opera performance pseudonym Blue Girl.
Other voice actors and members of South Park's production staff have
voiced minor characters for various episodes, while a few staff
members voice recurring characters; supervising producer Jennifer
Howell voices student
Bebe Stevens , co-producer and storyboard
artist Adrien Beard voices
Token Black , who was the school's only
African-American student until the introduction of Nichole in Cartman
Finds Love , writing consultant
Vernon Chatman voices an
anthropomorphic towel named Towelie , and production supervisor John
Mr. Slave , the former gay lover of
Mr. Garrison .
Throughout the show's run, the voices for toddler and kindergarten
characters have been provided by various small children of the show's
When voicing child characters, the voice actors speak within their
normal vocal range while adding a childlike inflection. The recorded
audio is then edited with
Pro Tools , and the pitch is altered to make
the voice sound more like that of a fourth grader.
Isaac Hayes voiced the character of Chef , an African-American,
soul-singing cafeteria worker who was one of the few adults the boys
consistently trusted. Hayes agreed to voice the character after
being among Parker and Stone's ideal candidates which also included
Lou Rawls and
Barry White . Hayes, who lived and hosted a radio show
in New York during his tenure with South Park, would record his
dialogue on a digital audio tape while a respective episode's director
would give directions over the phone, then the tape would be shipped
to the show's production studio in California. After Hayes left the
show in early 2006, the character of Chef was killed off in the season
10 (2006) premiere "
The Return of Chef ".
Main article: List of
South Park guest stars
Celebrities who are depicted on the show are usually impersonated,
though some celebrities do their own voices for the show. Celebrities
who have voiced themselves include
Michael Buffer , Brent Musburger
Jay Leno , Robert Smith , and the bands
Comedy team Cheech
George Clooney provided the barks for Stan's dog
Sparky in the season one (1997) episode "Big Gay Al\'s Big Gay Boat
Ride ", Leno provided the meows for Cartman's cat in the season one
finale "Cartman\'s Mom Is a Dirty Slut ", and
Henry Winkler voiced
the various growls and grunts of a kid-eating monster in the season
two (1998) episode "
City on the Edge of Forever ". Jerry Seinfeld
offered to lend his voice for the Thanksgiving episode "Starvin\'
Marvin ", but declined to appear when he was only offered a role as
Chef would often sing in a style reminiscent of that of his
Isaac Hayes .
Parker says that the varying uses of music is of utmost importance to
South Park. Several characters often play or sing songs in order to
change or influence a group's behavior, or to educate, motivate, or
indoctrinate others. The show also frequently features scenes in which
its characters have disapproving reactions to the performances of
certain popular musicians.
Adam Berry , the show's original score composer, used sound synthesis
to simulate a small orchestra, and frequently alluded to existing
famous pieces of music. Berry also used signature acoustic guitar and
mandolin cues as leitmotifs for the show's establishing shots. After
Berry left in 2001, Jamie Dunlap and Scott Nickoley of the Los
Angeles-based Mad City Production Studios provided the show's original
music for the next seven seasons. Since 2008, Dunlap has been
credited as the show's sole score composer. Dunlap's contributions to
the show are one of the few that are not achieved at the show's own
production offices. Dunlap reads a script, creates a score using
digital audio software, and then e-mails the audio file to South Park
Studios, where it is edited to fit with the completed episode.
In addition to singing in an effort to explain something to the
children, Chef would also sing about things relevant to what had
transpired in the plot. These songs were original compositions written
by Parker, and performed by Hayes in the same sexually suggestive R">
The end credits music, which is the opening theme song with a
slower tempo .
The original, longer opening theme, which was first, and only,
Cartman Gets an Anal Probe (1997).
The show's theme song was a musical score performed by the band
Primus , with the lyrics alternately sung by the band's lead singer,
Les Claypool , and the show's four central characters during the
opening title sequence. Kenny's muffled lines are altered after every
few seasons. His lines are usually sexually explicit in nature, such
as his original lines being "I like girls with big fat titties, I like
girls with deep vaginas".
The original opening composition was originally slower and had a
length of 40 seconds. It was deemed too long for the opening sequence.
So Parker and Stone sped up it for the show's opening, having the
band's lead singer Claypool re-record his vocals. The instrumental
version of the original composition, though, is often played during
the show's closing credits and is wordless. The song's melody is
similar to the song "Coddingtown", on Primus's
Brown Album .
The opening song played in the first four seasons (and the end
credits in all seasons) has a folk rock instrumentation with bass
guitar , trumpets and rhythmic drums. Its beat is fast in the opening
and leisurely in the closing credits. It is in the minor key and it
features a tritone or a diminished fifth, creating a melodic
dissonance , which captures the show's surrealistic nature. In the
latter parts of season 4 and season 5, the opening tune has an electro
funk arrangement with pop qualities. Seasons 6-9 have a sprightly
bluegrass instrumentation with a usage of banjo and is set in the
major key . For the later seasons, the arrangement is electro rock
with a breakbeat influence, which feature electric guitars backed up
by synthesized , groovy drumbeats.
The opening theme song has been remixed three times during the course
of the series, including a remix performed by
Paul Robb . In 2006,
the theme music was remixed with the song "Whamola" by Colonel Les
Claypool\'s Fearless Flying Frog Brigade , from the album Purple Onion
List of South Park episodes
August 13, 1997 (1997-08-13)
February 25, 1998 (1998-02-25)
April 1, 1998 (1998-04-01)
January 20, 1999 (1999-01-20)
April 7, 1999 (1999-04-07)
January 12, 2000 (2000-01-12)
April 5, 2000 (2000-04-05)
December 20, 2000 (2000-12-20)
June 20, 2001 (2001-06-20)
December 12, 2001 (2001-12-12)
March 6, 2002 (2002-03-06)
December 11, 2002 (2002-12-11)
March 19, 2003 (2003-03-19)
December 17, 2003 (2003-12-17)
March 17, 2004 (2004-03-17)
December 15, 2004 (2004-12-15)
March 9, 2005 (2005-03-09)
December 7, 2005 (2005-12-07)
March 22, 2006 (2006-03-22)
November 15, 2006 (2006-11-15)
March 7, 2007 (2007-03-07)
November 14, 2007 (2007-11-14)
March 12, 2008 (2008-03-12)
November 19, 2008 (2008-11-19)
March 11, 2009 (2009-03-11)
November 18, 2009 (2009-11-18)
March 17, 2010 (2010-03-17)
November 17, 2010 (2010-11-17)
April 27, 2011 (2011-04-27)
November 16, 2011 (2011-11-16)
March 14, 2012 (2012-03-14)
November 7, 2012 (2012-11-07)
September 25, 2013 (2013-09-25)
December 11, 2013 (2013-12-11)
September 24, 2014 (2014-09-24)
December 10, 2014 (2014-12-10)
September 16, 2015 (2015-09-16)
December 9, 2015 (2015-12-09)
September 14, 2016 (2016-09-14)
December 7, 2016 (2016-12-07)
Wikinews has related news: SOUTH PARK EPISODES AVAILABLE FREE
South Park is broadcast in India, New Zealand, and
several countries throughout Europe and Latin America on channels that
are divisions of
Comedy Central and
MTV Networks , both subsidiaries
of Viacom. In distribution deals with Comedy Central, other
independent networks also broadcast the series in other international
markets. In Australia, the show is broadcast on
The Comedy Channel ,
SBS (Season 1–13 edited and 14–15 Uncut),
SBS Viceland (Season
16–19 Uncut) additionally, these episodes no longer air in reruns
and are only available exclusively on DVD. These episodes remain
unavailable following the 2014 purchase by Hulu.
As of July 2017, all episodes of
South Park are available for
streaming in Canada on the service CraveTV.
From its debut in 1997 until the season twelve finale in 2008 the
series had been natively produced in 4:3
480i standard definition . In
2009 the series switched to being natively produced in 16:9
definition with the beginning of the thirteenth season .
All seasons originally produced in standard definition have been
remastered by being completely re-rendered scene-by-scene and
South Park Studios from their original resolution to
1080i high definition. Additionally, the original 4:3 aspect
ratio has been converted to 16:9 as well. The re-rendering process
South Park Studios several years, and resulted in the picture
quality being in true HD as opposed to being up-converted . Several
of the re-rendered episodes from the earlier seasons also feature
their original uncensored audio tracks, which were previously released
in censored form.
South Park debuted, it was a huge ratings success for Comedy
Central and is seen as being largely responsible for the success of
the channel, with Herzog crediting it for putting the network "on the
The show's first episode, "
Cartman Gets an Anal Probe ", earned a
Nielsen rating of 1.3 (980,000 viewers), at the time considered high
for a cable program . The show instantly generated buzz among
television viewers, and mass viewing parties began assembling on
college campuses. By the time the eighth episode, "Starvin\' Marvin
", aired — three months after the show debuted — ratings and
viewership had tripled, and
South Park was already the most successful
show in Comedy Central's history. When the tenth episode "Damien "
aired the following February, viewership increased another 33 percent.
The episode earned a 6.4 rating, which at the time was over 10 times
the average rating earned by a cable show aired in prime time . The
ratings peaked with the second episode of season two , "Cartman\'s Mom
Is Still a Dirty Slut ", which aired on April 22, 1998. The episode
earned an 8.2 rating (6.2 million viewers) and, at the time, set a
record as the highest-rated non-sports show in basic cable history.
During the spring of 1998, eight of the ten highest-rated shows on
basic cable were
South Park episodes.
The success of
South Park prompted more cable companies to carry
Comedy Central and led it to its becoming one of the fastest-growing
cable channels. The number of households that had Comedy Central
jumped from 9.1 million in 1997 to 50 million in June 1998. When the
show debuted, the most
Comedy Central had earned for a 30-second
commercial was US$7,500. Within a year, advertisers were paying an
average of US$40,000 for 30 seconds of advertising time during airings
South Park in its second season, while some paid as much as
By the third season (1999), the series' ratings began to decrease.
The third-season premiere episode drew 3.4 million viewers, a dramatic
drop from the 5.5 million of the previous season's premiere. Stone
and Parker attributed this drop in the show's ratings to the media
hype that surrounded the show in the previous year, adding that the
third season ratings reflected the show's "true" fan base. The show's
ratings dropped further in its fourth season (2000), with episodes
averaging just above 1.5 million viewers. The ratings eventually
increased, and seasons five through nine consistently averaged about 3
million viewers per episode. Though its viewership is lower than it
was at the height of its popularity in its earliest seasons, South
Park remains one of the highest-rated series on Comedy Central. The
season 14 (2010) premiere gained 3.7 million viewers, the show's
highest-rated season premiere since 1998. In 2016, a New York Times
study of the 50 TV shows with the most Facebook Likes found that
South Park ... is most popular in Colorado".
RECOGNITIONS AND AWARDS
Channel 4 voted
South Park the third-greatest cartoon of all
time. In 2007, Time magazine included the show on its list of the
"100 Best TV Shows of All Time", proclaiming it as "America's best
source of rapid-fire satire for decade". The same year, Rolling
Stone declared it to be the funniest show on television since its
debut 10 years prior. In 2008,
South Park was named the 12th-greatest
TV show of the past 25 years by
Entertainment Weekly , while AOL
declared it as having the "most astute" characters of any show in
history when naming it the 16th-best television comedy series of all
time. In 2011,
South Park was voted number one in the 25 Greatest
Animated TV Series poll by Entertainment Weekly. The character of
Cartman ranked 10th on
TV Guide 's 2002 list of the "Top 50 Greatest
Cartoon Characters", 198th on
VH1 's "200 Greatest Pop Culture
Icons", 19th on Bravo 's "100 Greatest TV Characters" television
special in 2004, and second on
MSNBC 's 2005 list of TV's scariest
Mr. Burns from The Simpsons. In 2006, Comedy
Central received a
Peabody Award for South Park's "stringent social
commentary" and "undeniably fearless lampooning of all that is
self-important and hypocritical in American life". In 2013, the
Writers Guild of America ranked
South Park at number 63 among the "101
Best-Written Shows Ever". Also in 2013,
TV Guide listed the show at
number 10 among the "60 Greatest Cartoons of All Time".
South Park won the
CableACE Award for Best Animated Series in 1997,
the last year the awards were given out. In 1998,
South Park was
nominated for the
Annie Award for Outstanding Achievement in an
Animated Primetime or Late Night Television Program. It was also
nominated for the 1998 GLAAD Award for Outstanding TV – Individual
Episode for "Big Gay Al\'s Big Gay Boat Ride ".
South Park has been nominated for the Emmy Award for Outstanding
Animated Program fifteen times (1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006 ,
2007 , 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016). The show has
won the award for Outstanding Animated Program (For Programming Less
Than One Hour) four times, for the 2005 episode "Best Friends Forever
", the 2006 episode "
Make Love, Not Warcraft ", the 2009 episode
"Margaritaville ", and the 2012 episode "Raising the Bar ". The
Imaginationland " trilogy of episodes won the Emmy Award for
Outstanding Animated Program (For Programming One Hour or More) in
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The show's frequent depiction of taboo subject matter, general toilet
humor, accessibility to younger viewers, disregard for conservative
sensibilities, negative depiction of liberal causes, and portrayal of
religion for comic effect have generated controversy and debate over
the course of its run.
As the series became popular, students in two schools were barred
from wearing South Park-related T-shirts, while several parent
councils in the United Kingdom expressed concern when eight- and
nine-year-old children voted the
South Park character Cartman as their
favorite personality in a 1999 poll. Parker and Stone assert that the
show is not meant to be viewed by young children, and the show is
certified with TV ratings that indicate its intention for mature
Parents Television Council founder
L. Brent Bozell III and Action for
Children\'s Television founder
Peggy Charren have both condemned the
show, with the latter claiming it is "dangerous to the democracy".
Several other activist groups have protested the show's parodies of
Christianity and portrayal of
Jesus Christ . Stone claims that
parents who disapprove of
South Park for its portrayal of how kids
behave are upset because they "have an idyllic vision of what kids are
like", adding " don't have any kind of social tact or etiquette,
they're just complete little raging bastards".
South Park controversies
The show further lampooned the controversy surrounding its use of
profanity, as well as the media attention surrounding the network show
Chicago Hope 's singular use of the word shit , with the season five
It Hits the Fan ", in which the word shit is said 162 times
without being bleeped for censorship purposes, while also appearing
uncensored in written form. In the days following the show's original
airing, 5,000 disapproving e-mails were sent to Comedy Central.
Despite its 43 uncensored uses of the racial slur nigger , the season
11 episode "
With Apologies to Jesse Jackson " generated relatively
little controversy, as most in the black community and the NAACP
praised the episode for its context and its comedic way of conveying
other races' perceptions of how black people feel when hearing the
Specific controversies regarding the show have included an April
Fools\' Day prank played on its viewers in 1998, its depiction of the
Virgin Mary in the season nine (2005) finale "Bloody Mary " which
angered several Catholics , its depiction of
Steve Irwin with a
stingray barb stuck in his chest in the episode "
Hell on Earth 2006 ",
which originally aired less than two months after Irwin was killed in
the same fashion, and Comedy Central's censorship of the depiction
Muhammad in the season 10 episode "
Cartoon Wars Part II " in the
wake of the Jyllands-Posten
Muhammad cartoons controversy .
The season nine (2005) episode "Trapped in the Closet " denounces
Scientology as nothing more than "a big fat global scam", while
freely divulging church information that
Scientology normally only
reveals to members who make significant monetary contributions to the
church. The episode also ambiguously parodies the rumors involving
the sexual orientation of Scientologist
Tom Cruise , who allegedly
demanded any further reruns of the episode be canceled. Isaac Hayes,
a Scientologist, later quit
South Park because of his objection to the
The season fourteen episodes "200 " and "201 " were mired in
controversy for satirizing issues surrounding the depiction of the
Muhammad . The website for the organization
Revolution Muslim , a New York-based radical Muslim organization,
posted an entry that included a warning to creators Parker and Stone
that they risk violent retribution for their depictions of
It said that they "will probably wind up like Theo van Gogh for airing
this show". The posting provided the addresses to
Comedy Central in
New York and the production company in Los Angeles. The author of the
Zachary Adam Chesser (who prefers to be called Abu Talhah
al-Amrikee), said it was meant to serve as a warning to Parker and
Stone, not a threat, and that providing the addresses was meant to
give people the opportunity to protest.
Despite al-Amrikee's claims that the website entry was a warning,
several media outlets and observers interpreted it as a threat.
Support for the episode has come in the form of Everybody Draw
Mohammed Day , a movement started on Facebook that encourages people
Muhammad on May 20. The "200" episode, which also depicted
the Buddha snorting cocaine , prompted the government of
Sri Lanka to
ban the series outright.
Commentary made in episodes has been interpreted as statements Parker
and Stone are attempting to make to the viewing public, and these
opinions have been subject to much critical analysis in the media and
literary world within the framework of popular philosophical,
theological, social, and political concepts. Since South Park
debuted, college students have written term papers and doctoral theses
analyzing the show, while
Brooklyn College offers a course called
South Park and Political Correctness".
Soon after one of Kenny's trademark deaths on the show, other
characters would typically shout "Oh my God, they killed Kenny!". The
exclamation quickly became a popular catchphrase, while the running
gag of Kenny's recurring deaths are one of the more recognized
hallmarks among viewers of modern television. Cartman's exclamations
of "Respect my authori-tah!" and "Screw you guys ...I'm going home!"
became catchphrases as well, and during the show's earlier seasons,
were highly popular in the lexicon of viewers. Cartman's eccentric
intonation of "Hey!" was included in the 2002 edition of The Oxford
Dictionary of Catchphrases.
In the season two episode "
Chef Aid ", attorney
Johnnie Cochran uses
what's called in the show the
Chewbacca defense , which is a legal
strategy that involves addressing plot holes related to
Return of the Jedi rather than discussing the trial at hand
during a closing argument in a deliberate attempt to confuse jurors
into thinking there is reasonable doubt . The term "
has been documented as being used by criminologists, forensic
scientists, and political commentators in their various discussions of
similar methods used in legal cases and public forums.
Another season two episode, "Gnomes ", revolves around a group of
"underpants gnomes " who, as their name suggests, run a corporation
stealing people's underpants. When asked about their business model,
various gnomes reply that theirs is a three-step process: Phase 1 is
"collect underpants". Phase 3 is "profit". However, the gnomes are
unable to explain what is to occur between the first and final steps,
and "Phase 2" is accompanied by a large question mark on their
corporate flow chart. Using "????" and "PROFIT!" as the last two steps
in a process (usually jokingly) has become a widely popular Internet
meme because of this. Especially in the context of politics and
economics, "underpants gnomes" has been used by some commentators to
characterize a conspicuous gap of logic or planning.
When Sophie Rutschmann of the
University of Strasbourg discovered a
mutated gene that causes an adult fruit fly to die within two days
after it is infected with certain bacteria, she named the gene kep1 in
honor of Kenny.
South Park Republican
While some conservatives have condemned the show for its vulgarity, a
growing population of people who hold center-right political beliefs,
including teenagers and young adults, have embraced the show for its
tendency to mock liberal viewpoints and lampoon liberal celebrities
and icons. Political commentator
Andrew Sullivan dubbed the group
South Park Republicans , or
South Park conservatives. Sullivan
averred that members of the group are "extremely skeptical of
political correctness but also are socially liberal on many issues",
though he says the phrase applied to them is meant to be more of a
casual indication of beliefs than a strong partisan label. Brian C.
Anderson describes the group as "generally characterized by holding
strong libertarian beliefs and rejecting more conservative social
policy", and notes that although the show makes "wicked fun of
conservatives", it is "at the forefront of a conservative revolt
against liberal media."
Parker and Stone reject the idea that the show has any underlying
political position, and deny having a political agenda when creating
an episode. The two claim the show's higher proportion of instances
lampooning liberal rather than conservative orthodoxies stems simply
from their preference for making fun of liberals. While Stone has
been quoted saying, "I hate conservatives, but I really fucking hate
liberals", Stone and Parker have explained that their drive to lampoon
a given target comes first from the target's insistence on telling
other people how to behave. The duo explain that they regard liberals
as having both delusions of entitlement to remain free from satire,
and a propensity to enforce political correctness while patronizing
the citizens of Middle America . Parker and Stone are uncomfortable
with the idea of themselves or
South Park being assigned any kind of
partisan classification. Parker said he rejects the "South Park
Republican" and "
South Park conservative" labels, feeling that either
tag implies that one only adheres to strictly conservative or liberal
viewpoints. Canadian columnist Jaime J. Weinman observes that the
most die-hard conservatives who identified themselves as "South Park
Republicans" began turning away from the label when the show ridiculed
Republicans in the season nine (2005) episode "Best Friends Forever ."
Main article: South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut
In 1999, less than two years after the series first aired, a
feature-length film was released. The film, a musical comedy, was
directed by Parker, who co-wrote the script with Stone and
Pam Brady .
The film was generally well received by critics, and earned a
combined US$83.1 million at the domestic and foreign box office. The
film satirizes the controversy surrounding the show itself and gained
a spot in the 2001 edition of
Guinness World Records for "Most
Swearing in an Animated Film". The song "
Blame Canada " from the
film\'s soundtrack earned song co-writers Parker and
Marc Shaiman an
Academy Award nomination for Best Music, Original Song .
Parker and Stone said in a 2008 interview that a theatrically
released sequel would most likely be what concludes the series. In
2011, when asked on the official
South Park website whether a sequel
would be made, they said "the first
South Park movie was so potent,
we're all still recovering from the blow. Unfortunately, at the
current moment, there are no plans for a second
South Park movie. But
you never know what the future may bring, crazier things have
happened..." In 2011, Time called South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut
the sixth greatest animated feature of all-time. In 2013, Warner
Bros. Entertainment relinquished to
Paramount Pictures its rights to
co-finance a potential future
South Park film during their
negotiations to co-finance the
Christopher Nolan science fiction film
Interstellar . Previous efforts to create a second
South Park film
were complicated due to both studios retaining certain rights to the
MEDIA AND MERCHANDISE
South Park DVDs
As a tribute to the
Dead Parrot sketch , a short that features
Cartman attempting to return a dead Kenny to a shop run by Kyle aired
during a 1999 BBC television special commemorating the 30th
anniversary of Monty Python\'s Flying Circus .
South Park parodied
Scientology in a short that aired as part of the 2000
MTV Movie Awards
. The short was entitled "The Gauntlet" and also poked fun at John
Travolta , a Scientologist. The four main characters were featured
in the documentary film The Aristocrats , listening to Cartman tell
his version of the film's titular joke. Short clips of Cartman
introducing the starting lineup for the University of Colorado
football team were featured during ABC 's coverage of the 2007 matchup
between the University of
Colorado and the University of Nebraska .
In 2008, Parker, as Cartman, gave answers to a Proust Questionnaire
conducted by Julie Rovner of NPR . The Snakes ">
South Park portal
* Television in the United States portal
* Comedy portal
* Animation portal
* 1990s portal
* 2000s portal
* 2010s portal
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