South Park

South Park
South Park.png
The current title card, which features the four main characters. On the roof from the left: Stan, Kyle, Kenny and Cartman.
GenreAnimated sitcom
Created by
Developed byBrian Graden
Voices of
Theme music composerPrimus
Composer(s)
  • Adam Berry
  • Scott Nickoley
  • Jamie Dunlap
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons21
No. of episodes287 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)
Producer(s)Vernon Chatman
Running time22 minutes[1]
Production company(s)
  • Celluloid Studios (1997)
  • Braniff Productions (1997–2006)
  • Parker-Stone Productions (2006–2007)
  • South Park Studios (2007–present)
  • Comedy Partners
DistributorViacom Media Networks
Debmar-Mercury
20th Television (ad sales)
Release
Original networkComedy Central
Picture formatOriginal broadcasts:
480i (4:3 SDTV) (1997–2008)
1080i (16:9 HDTV) (2009–present)
Re-rendered episodes:
1080i (16:9 HDTV) (Seasons 1–12)
Audio formatDolby Surround 2.0 (Seasons 1-11)
Dolby Digital 5.1 (Seasons 12-present)
Original releaseAugust 13, 1997 (1997-08-13) – present
Chronology
Preceded byThe Spirit of Christmas
External links
Website

South Park is an American adult animated sitcom created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone and developed by Brian Graden for the Comedy Central television network. The show revolves around four boys—Stan Marsh, Kyle Broflovski, Eric Cartman, and Kenny McCormick—and their bizarre adventures in and around the titular Colorado town. Much like 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 audience. 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 2019.[2][3][4]

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 287 episodes over the course of the show's 21 seasons. The show's twenty-first season premiered 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 & Uncut which was released in June 1999, less than two years after the show's premiere, and became a commercial and critical success, even garnering a nomination for an Academy Award. In 2013, TV Guide ranked South Park the tenth Greatest TV Cartoon of All Time.[5]

Premise

Setting and characters

The town sign of South Park serves as the show's logo.

The show follows the exploits of four boys, Stan Marsh, Kyle Broflovski, Eric Cartman and Kenny McCormick. The boys live in the fictional small town of South Park, located within the real-life South Park basin in the Rocky Mountains of central Colorado.[6] The town is also home to an assortment of frequent characters such as students, families, elementary school staff, and other various residents, who tend to regard South Park as a bland, quiet place to live.[7] Prominent settings on the show include the local elementary school, bus stop, various neighborhoods and the surrounding snowy landscape, actual Colorado landmarks, and the shops and businesses along the town's main street, all of which are based on the appearance of similar locations in Fairplay.[6][7]

Stan is portrayed as the everyman of the group,[8] as the show's website describes him as an "average, American 4th grader".[9] Kyle is the lone Jew among the group, and his portrayal in this role is often dealt with satirically.[8] Stan is modeled after Parker, while Kyle is modeled after Stone. They are best friends, and their friendship, symbolically intended to reflect Parker and Stone's friendship,[10] is a common topic throughout the series. Eric Cartman (usually nicknamed by his surname only) is loud, obnoxious, and amoral, often portrayed as an antagonist. His anti-Semitic attitude has resulted in a progressive rivalry with Kyle, although the deeper reason is the strong clash between Kyle's strong morality and Cartman's complete lack of such.[8][11] Kenny, who comes from a poor family, wears his parka hood so tightly that it covers most of his face and muffles his speech. During the show's first five seasons, Kenny would die in nearly every episode before returning in the next with little-to-no definitive explanation given. He was written out of the show's sixth season in 2002, re-appearing in the season finale. Since then, Kenny's death has been seldom used by the show's creators. During the show's first 58 episodes, the boys were in the third grade. In the season four episode "4th Grade" (2000), they entered the fourth grade, but have remained there ever since.[12][13]

Plots are often set in motion by events, ranging from the fairly typical to the supernatural and extraordinary, which frequently happen in the town.[14] The boys often act as the voice of reason when these events cause panic or incongruous behavior among the adult populace, who are customarily depicted as irrational, gullible, and prone to vociferation.[6][15] The boys are also frequently confused by the contradictory and hypocritical behavior of their parents and other adults, and often perceive them as having distorted views on morality and society.[7][16]

Themes and style

Each episode opens with a tongue-in-cheek all persons fictitious disclaimer: "All characters and events in this show—even those based on real people—are entirely fictional. All celebrity voices are impersonated.....poorly. The following program contains coarse language and due to its content it should not be viewed by anyone."[17][18]

South Park was the first weekly program to be rated TV-MA rating,[19] and is generally intended for adult audiences.[20][21][22] The boys and most other child characters use strong profanity, with only the most taboo words being bleeped during a typical broadcast.[7] According to Parker and Stone, when little boys are alone, that's how they really talk.[23][24]

South Park commonly makes use of carnivalesque and absurdist techniques,[25] numerous running gags,[26][27] violence,[27][28] sexual content,[29][30] offhand pop-cultural references, and satirical portrayal of celebrities.[31]

Early episodes tended to be shock value-oriented and featured more slapstick-style humor.[32] While social satire had been used on the show occasionally earlier on, it became more prevalent as the series progressed, with the show retaining some of its focus on the boys' fondness of scatological humor in an attempt to remind adult viewers "what it was like to be eight years old."[8] Parker and Stone also began further developing other characters by giving them larger roles in certain storylines,[8] and began writing plots as parables based on religion, politics, and numerous other topics.[7] This provided the opportunity for the show to spoof both extreme sides of contentious issues,[33] while lampooning both liberal and conservative points of view.[7][15][34] Parker and Stone describe themselves as "equal opportunity offenders",[14] whose main purpose is to "be funny" and "make people laugh",[35][36] while stating that no particular topic or group of people be exempt from mockery and satire.[15][31][37][38][39]

Parker and Stone insist that the show is still more about "kids being kids" and "what it's like to be in [elementary school] in America",[40] stating that the introduction of a more satirical element to the series was the result of the two adding more of a "moral center" to the show so that it would rely less on simply being crude and shocking in an attempt to maintain an audience.[35][36] While profane, Parker notes that there is still an "underlying sweetness" aspect to the child characters,[33] and Time described the boys as "sometimes cruel but with a core of innocence."[10] Usually, the boys and/or other characters ponder over what has transpired during an episode and convey the important lesson taken from it with a short monologue. During earlier seasons, this speech would commonly begin with a variation of the phrase "You know, I've learned something today...".[41]

Other Languages
العربية: ساوث بارك
azərbaycanca: Cənubi Park
Bân-lâm-gú: South Park
беларуская: South Park
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: South Park
български: Саут Парк
Boarisch: South Park
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català: South Park
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dansk: South Park
Deutsch: South Park
eesti: South Park
Ελληνικά: South Park
español: South Park
Esperanto: South Park
فارسی: ساوت پارک
føroyskt: South Park
français: South Park
Frysk: South Park
Gaeilge: South Park
galego: South Park
ગુજરાતી: સાઉથ પાર્ક
한국어: 사우스 파크
हिन्दी: साउथ पार्क
hrvatski: South Park
Bahasa Indonesia: South Park
interlingua: South Park
íslenska: South Park
italiano: South Park
עברית: סאות' פארק
Kreyòl ayisyen: South Park
Кыргызча: Түштүк парк
Latina: South Park
latviešu: Dienvidparks
lietuvių: Pietų parkas
magyar: South Park
македонски: South Park
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Bahasa Melayu: South Park
монгол: South Park
Nederlands: South Park
norsk: South Park
norsk nynorsk: South Park
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: South Park
Plattdüütsch: South Park
português: South Park
română: South Park
rumantsch: Southpark
Runa Simi: South Park
русский: Южный Парк
саха тыла: South Park
Scots: South Park
shqip: South Park
Simple English: South Park
slovenščina: South Park
српски / srpski: Саут Парк
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: South Park
suomi: South Park
svenska: South Park
Tagalog: South Park
Türkçe: South Park
удмурт: South Park
українська: Південний парк
Tiếng Việt: South Park
ייִדיש: סאוט פארק
粵語: 衰仔樂園
žemaitėška: South Park
中文: 南方公園