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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 animated comedy series, created by Matt Stone[?] and Trey Parker[?] and originally screened on Comedy Central, following the surreal adventures of four eight-year-old boys who live in the small town of South Park, Colorado. Deliberately crudely drawn and animated (originally paper cut-outs at the start of the first season but now computer generated in the style of paper cut-outs), and featuring some of the most scatological humor[?] ever shown on American television, it nevertheless successfully satirised many aspects of American life and culture.

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 says, "Oh my god, they killed Kenny!" and Kyle adds, "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 he was before.

Minor characters include Big Gay Al, Kyle's mom Sheila Broslofski[?], Mr. Garrison[?], Ms. Choksondick[?], Butters, and Token[?] Black, the only black kid in the class.

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 1999, the highly acclaimed full-length animated feature film South Park: Bigger, Longer, And Uncut was released. The film managed to satirise 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-Fucker" and "Blame Canada", the latter being nominated for an Oscar and performed by Robin Williams during the awards show.

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.

See also: List of South Park episodes



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