South Park

This article is about the animated television series. For other uses go to South Park (disambiguation).

South Park is a bawdy, satirical, and sometimes crude comedy animated series, created by Matt Stone and Trey Parker. Originally presented on Comedy Central, it follows the surreal adventures of four eight-year-old boys who live in the small town of South Park, Colorado. South Park successfully satirizes many aspects of American life and culture as well as current events, while never passing up a chance to break a taboo and covering it all with a thick coat of aggressively scatological humor.

Table of contents
1 Characters
2 Music
3 Series history
4 Trivia
5 See also
6 External links

Characters

The characters and backgrounds of South Park are made to appear deliberately crude, as if they are simply made of cut out pieces of paper. Paper cutouts were indeed used in the original Parker/Stone animation, but almost all of the animation for the television series is produced by computer animation.

Major characters

The main characters are Eric Cartman, Stan Marsh, Kyle Broslofski and Kenny McCormick. The show's earliest well-known gimmick was that in every episode, Kenny would die in some horrible, unexpected way. After this Stan would say, "Oh my god, they killed Kenny!" and Kyle would add, "You bastards!" Kenny would be back in the next episode, the incident forgotten. For some time, Kenny had actually died "permanently", although his ghost occasionally reappeared. Recently he has come back to life and is now the same regular kid he was before. However, it seems that the creators have reverted to killing Kenny again, as Kenny was recently killed in the last episode of Season 7, in typical South Park Fashion.

Frequently recurring characters include Big Gay Al, Kyle's parents Sheila Broslofski and Gerald Broslofski, teachers Mr. Herbert Garrison, Mr. Mackey and Ms. Choksondik, Jerome "Chef" McElroy (played by Isaac Hayes), Leopold "Butters" Stotch, Tweek, and Token Williams, the only black kid in the class.

See also: Recurring South Park characters for details on some of the above.

Minor characters

Part of the show's surrealist nature derives from the minor characters who appear in the series. Notable appearances include God (who appears as a small creature resembling a hippo-rodent hybrid), Jesus (a recurring character, who owns a home in South Park), Satan and his lover Saddam Hussein, the alien Marklar race, the hilarious jackovasaur, and Death. Celebrities and the famous often appear; examples include Kathie Lee Gifford (who was nearly assassinated), Bill Clinton (who slept with Cartman's mother), O. J. Simpson (part of a support group for relatives of murder victims), the band Korn (who solved a Scooby Doo-type mystery), Brian Boitano (who is a superhero) and David Blaine (founder of the fictional Blainetology religion).

Music

Although South Park is widely acclaimed for its crude humor and shock-plots, viewers are also treated to an equally original musical score. Popular songs such as "Kyle's Mom Is a Bitch" saw the light of day on the show, but the creator's musical abilities were not frequently utilized until the release of Bigger, Longer, and Uncut which came with an ensemble to rival a Disney production. The film's soundtrack featured songs like "Mountain Town", "Uncle Fucka", "What Would Brian Boitano Do?" (Brian Boitano has been known to figure skate to this song), "I'm Super", and "Blame Canada!" (nominated for an Oscar, see below).

Trey Parker and Matt Stone have, on occasion, performed these and other songs (some unrelated to the show, such as "Dead Dead Dead"), under the band name DVDA.

Additional musical contribution to the show comes from ladies man Isaac Hayes, who voices the character Chef.

Series history

South Park got its start in 1991 when Parker and Stone, then film students at the University of Colorado, created an animated short called Jesus vs Frosty (also known as The Spirit of Christmas). The crudely-made film featured prototypical versions of the kids of South Park, including a character resembling Cartman but called "Kenny", bringing a murderous snowman to life with a magic hat. The baby Jesus then saves the day by decapitating the monster with a deftly-thrown halo.

Executives at the Fox network came upon the film and were amused, and in 1995 executive Brian Graden commissioned Parker and Stone to create a second short film to send to friends as a video Christmas card. Entitled The Spirit of Christmas, it closely resembled the style of the later series, and featured a martial arts duel (and subsequent truce) between Jesus and Santa Claus over the true meaning of Christmas. The video was a hit and was quickly shared, both by underground duplication and over the then-burgeoning Internet. This led to talks to create a series, first with Fox, then with Comedy Central, where the series premiered on August 13, 1997.

In Feburary 1998, one episode of South Park asked the question of who Eric Cartman's father was. The episode ended with the announcement that it would be revealed in four weeks' time. Four weeks later, the airing of an episode that was all about Terrance and Philip (two comedians the gang likes) prompted outrage, and also prompted Comedy Central to push the true season premiere up earlier than expected. It was apparently a well-planted April Fools Day gag, meant to poke fun at season-ending cliffhangers.

The following year, the highly acclaimed full-length animated feature film South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut was released to generally enthusiastic reviews. The film managed to satirize both itself and the reaction that it engendered from moral conservatives. It also presented a twisted but seemingly sincere tribute to the film musical with a number of clever songs, including "Uncle Fucka" and "Blame Canada", the latter being nominated for an Oscar and performed by Robin Williams during the awards show.

On November 11, 1999 shortly after the U.S theaterical release of South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut actress Mary Kay Bergman who provided all of the female voices on the South Park television series and in the full length movie committed suicide using a gun in her Suburban Los Angeles, California home. After her death it was revealed that she suffered from a severe form of depression. Her husband Dino Andrade founded the Mary Kay Bergman Memorial Fund at the Suicide Prevention Center of Greater Los Angeles in an effort to help and educate people with the same type of depression that his wife suffered from.

Trivia

The film Bowling for Columbine includes a brief interview with Matt Stone that suggests South Park was largely inspired by Parker and Stone's childhood experiences in Littleton, Colorado. Stone presents a vision of Littleton as painfully normal, and highly intolerant of non-conformist behavior. This may or may not explain some of the sorts of mockery in South Park. It has also been widely reported that the town of South Park is based on Fairplay, Colorado, where Trey Parker lived for a time.

A short tribute sketch for the 30th aniversary of Monty Python was shown. It parodied the "Dead Parrot Sketch". In this parody, it takes part in a Friends store, where Eric Cartman walks in and complains that this friend (Kenny) that he bought, is dead. Eventually an extremely ridiculous ending showing crude cut outs of Terry Gilliam, Venus de Milo and the Monty Python foot appear.

Not long after the airing of the 2002 episode Free Hat (about, among other things, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, prompted by Kyle's comment on Ted Koppel's Nightline that changing E.T would be like changing Raiders of the Lost Ark, doing just that), the real Lucas and Spielberg announced that they would not be altering the first Indiana Jones film for DVD release (contrary to rumors surrounding it). Stone and Parker then made the claim that they prevented any alterations from happening when they appeared on a VH1 special, Inside South Park.

See also

External links


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