The top 13 reasons we won’t be able to live without South Park
|LISTS - TV LISTS|
Beneath the swearing, racism, sexism - all the ism's really - we do love them, and will miss them...
They started out as young, plain, paper cut outs, and just 15 seasons later they have become one of the most influential and popular set of kids of all time, with rude behaviour, fantastic parodies, and great underlying messages all playing a huge part within the show. However, after its phenomenal run - one that is now into its 14th year - rumours are suggesting that this iconic series is coming to an end within the next few years, so what better time to recap on our favourite moments; and, most importantly, the reasons we fell in love with that offensive town, nestled deep within Colorado.
13. Kenny’s deaths
Kenny’s ability to resurrect would make Jesus jealous, as every episode - for the first few seasons at least - Kenny died. His deaths were always unexplained, until one day its creators decided to educate us on Kenny's alter ego Mysterion. From here, we discovered that Kenny was unable to die due to his parents going to a death cult meeting before Kenny was born. Therefore, every time he gets killed - which, more often than not, was in an horrific way - he manages to respawn as a baby and be nine years old just a few seconds later.
However, after a couple of series of resurrections, the premise had become worn and even the creators were bored of killing him, so his deaths became occasional rather than regular. That said, his deaths still make the Saw movies look amateurish - he has been squashed by an elevator; turned in to a duckbilled platypus and then hunted; had a ball thrown at him from a member of the Chinese dodgeball team; blown up by a firecracker that he held for too long; and even had his head bit of by Ozzy Osborne...who knew there were so many different ways to kill a person?
12. Side plots
Although minor, these side plots provided much amusement for South Park fans; they didn't really need to be there, but were for our amusement. We have witnessed some interesting moments over the years, with an example of this being where the boys were being taught about tolerance towards Mr Garrison’s homosexuality. While this alone was both full-on and hilarious, we were also following the story of the class’s gerbil named Lemmiwinks, who was trying to escape the anus of Mr Garrison’s tastefully named boyfriend Mr Slave; strangely I wonder what story was more memorable.
Another great side plot was Randy Marsh’s fighting career alongside the boy’s baseball season and, even when the boys end up in Afghanistan, a great side plot - which saw the American army trying to save Stevie Nicks from the opposition, when in fact Stevie Nicks has been confused with a goat - we featuring alongside. The side plots will be sorely missed as there are not many places in the world where you can see a rodent escape an anus with the help of other creatures spirits, and all this with one extremely catchy song alongside it.
One thing you immediately notice when turning on an episode of South Park is the shoddy and unrealistic animation. However, it’s with this unusual animation that this great comedy was built upon. We fell in love with the simplicity of the cardboard cut outs - especially during a dramatic chase, as the legs of the characters didn’t actually move, instead bobbing up and down the road at quite a slow tempo - and, although it may have looked poor, it came at a fraction of the price of modern animation and gave the series a real distinction to its competitors.
Furthermore, if you consider Stewie Griffin from Family Guy to be a weird side-profile then just look at the school counsellor Mr Mackey from the side - he looks like a slightly detailed lollypop. Actually, actually looking at him from the front produces similar results, as his reputation as ‘that guy with the really big head’ is fully justified in the wonderfully simplistic world of of South Park animation.
In the world of South Park, every stereotype has been covered. Who won't miss SP's ability to ridicule an entire country or group by vastly exaggerating common, global insults? English people are posh with goofy teeth, Chinese people can’t pronunciate their l’s; Jewish people are good with money - all classics that the show has drawn upon. However, it is the shows portrayal of the Canadian’s - that they all look the same - that has had the strongest effect on its audience. Funnier still is the idea that the Canadians themselves are unaware of their similarities - even going to the point that they force a guy called Bob to where a bag over his head because of his ugliness, despite being identical to every other Canadian on the show - that makes it a great, recurring joke...sorry Canada.
9. The voices
While all are great, my personal favourite has to be Kenny’s. Despite 90-95% of his speech being incomprehensible, he still seems to be able to make you laugh with every remark he makes. However, Mr Mackey’s dull, negative, and groaning pitch is wonderfully hilarious too; yet another example of South Park's peculiar - yet oh so wonderful - voicing talents. He never sounds enthusiastic, but the way he talks could make the word death sound funny. The episode that epitomises his voice is in the ‘Mystery of the Urinal Deuce’, where he refers to human faeces in numerous set of ways - such as a ‘chocolate hotdog’ and a ‘fudge dragon’ - sending both the viewer and the students of South Park Elementary into a fit of laughter.
The biggest thing we will miss, however, is without doubt the ‘mmmmkay’ from the school counsellor. This voice segment is so infectious that the dictionary should eliminate the word ‘okay’ and replace it with Mr Mackey’s unusual but brilliant version.
The Simpsons often invite celebrities into its programme to play there character in a humorous, light hearted fashion. South Park, on the other hand, goes for a different approach...they neither ask them to appear, nor request permission to feature them. It seems to be that if you are famous - and have a slightly annoying mannerism, or have even tried to take over the world - then you will be punished as South Park sees fit.
The show openly admits to poor voice-over’s, but it doesn’t seem to matter as you immediately know who is the latest victim; and the victims have been countless, ranging from wannabe celebrity Paris Hilton to every child’s hero Santa Claus. One thing for sure though is that when it finishes, the celebrity community will breath a huge sigh of relief...
When South Park disappears from our screens, we will also be losing a programme that pokes fun at the seriousness of some huge Hollywood blockbusters. Avatar, Silence of the Lambs, The Da Vinci Code and The Day After Tomorrow are just a few that have suffered at the hands of South Park. The brilliance of the parodies are that they can genuinely ruin movies for you, usually by demonstrating the stupidity of the story lines.
The Day After Tomorrow had a whole episode dedicated to it and, if you watch the South Park version, the original movie itself goes from being a very dramatic event to something better placed on an episode of Mr Bean. Not all the parodies are negative though, as recent culprit Inception delivered a good, dramatic episode of South Park whilst keeping the respect of Christopher Nolan’s critically acclaimed epic. However, it was the combination of Batman and Watchmen that created the most successful parody, spawning as many as four episodes where we were introduced to memorable characters such as Mysterion and The Coon.
6. The Generic Crowd
South Park is, quite simply, full of idiots. They always seem to be running round the streets in utter chaos as something minor has hit their town. When the internet stopped working, it had many of the residents travelling half way across America to get a mere 30 seconds of browsing time, and in that time they were ordering unneeded books online or attempting to click on ‘the pop-up kitty’ just because they could.
One of the most memorable moments of the crowds stupidity is when they hide away in the Community Centre for days, because they think the whole world is being affected by Global Warming. In fact, it is simply a flood caused by the collapse of a dam and, whilst doing this, the town reports that the floods death count has risen to ‘hundreds of millions'...despite the fact that South Park's population is a mere 8,000 people.
Another great overreaction is seen during a Mayoral address by Mayor McDaniel’s; with the crowd choosing to shout ‘rable, rable, rable’ over and over again. As a result, the Mayor can only roll her eyes whilst stating that they are all ‘idiots’. However, If ‘rable’ doesn’t quite grab the mayor’s attention, the crowd have commonly resorted to ‘we didn’t listen’, or ‘they took my job’, with the latter coming as an unsurprising response to the people from the future who...took their jobs. Furthermore, to really stick it to these futurists, the crowd decide to ‘get in a huddle and get gay’...nice.
5. Cartman’s Ridiculous behaviour
Eric Cartman is basically a younger, fatter version of Hitler who, coincidentally, he does state as one of his idols. He hates everything that isn’t him and isn’t afraid to show it. His mum is partly to blame for his behaviour, as she underrates his hatred and still views him as a sweet young boy, even going to the extent of merely grounding for ‘attempting to exterminate the Jews last week’.
Cartman's height of hatred though is focused specifically towards a boy who sells him fake pubic hair. Whilst understandably annoyed, Cartman decides to kill the boys parents, before tricking said guy into eating them as a meal; and yet he still remains prison-free.
During his time in South Park, Cartman has also made a mockery of the Special Olympics; signed both himself and his friends up to a paedophile group; and constantly bully’s the harmless Butters. Even though he shows a huge amount of intelligence at times, Cartman is still easily confused, especially when attempting one of his schemes. For example, in an attempt to make Butters look gay, he puts Butters’ penis in his own mouth and takes a picture. Yet, as you may have guessed, this backfires and ultimately makes himself look gay. Even though we won't miss his actual prejudices, it was with these prejudices that Trey Stone and Matt Parker shaped most the episodes, before becoming integral to the creation of South Park.
4. Randy Marsh
Randy Marsh was simply Stan’s father for quite a substantial time, but this changed rapidly as he became the front of any sort of protest, and one of the most memorable characters in the programme. His ability to build up his own importance and scenarios in his head has been the forefront for many of the best South Park episodes, whilst allowing Randy to believe that he is more valuable to society than Jesus.
For example, his phase as the new ‘Rocky’ cost the South Park junior baseball team a place in nationals, due to him fighting every slightly vocal fan from the opposition team. He also suffers from serious hypochondria and relies on Stan a lot to avenge him when this hits in. A memorable moment was when ‘he got served’ (meaning he got out danced) and this somehow managed to hospitalise him until Stan 'served' the guy back, allowing Randy to make a full recovery.
His amazing ability to follow a fad has seen him become a Mormon, a member of a boy band and a keen member of the Barack Obama campaign rally; many of which end with him being very drunk. Yet, despite his regular spates of controversy, none were as edgy as his racial slur on live television. While I don't condone the use of the word, the clip epitomises just why Randy has become so popular:
While this was bad, Randy was no Eric Cartman, and this was simply an unfortunate mistake and lack of intelligence that made him do it. Whatever phase he is going through or emotional journey he has shaped in his head, he has given us years of entertainment, thus earning his position as one of the funniest characters South Park has ever created. After all, he may be stupid, but deep down, we know he has a good heart.
3. Leopold "Butters" Stotch
Whether he is being framed, grounded or getting into trouble, Butters is the innocent victim of the majority of Cartman’s pranks. It took a few seasons for us to really get to know the little blonde guy, but when he started to make more appearances on our screens, the world fell in love with his happy-go-lucky attitude and incredible talent to always get grounded...even when he's done nothing wrong.
During Butters’ peak, he became a worldwide popular author with the novel ‘Scrotie Mcboogerballs’, before becoming an overnight TV sensation when he stuck fake testicles on his chin; unsurprisingly, both of these personas were set up by Cartman to earn rewards. His alter ego, Professor Chaos, has also threatened - albeit extremely poorly - to take over the world that has shunned him, but the world...well...shunned him again.
Butters is the only character in the South Park line up that genuinely trusts everyone - and his kind ways match the heart of Springfield’s very own Ned Flanders...but in a much more likable way.
2. Stan’s Underlying Messages
Kyle gives some powerful, episode ending messages; sure, Cartman even tries, usually through some twisted - almost Nazi-esque - messages, but it is Stan who is the King of summing up the meaning of the episodes. He has a brilliant tendency to see sense in every situation - despite its peculiarity - and these messages are what put South Park in a higher division of cartoon than its closet rivalries.
Possibly the most honest and perfectly portrayed message they have achieved was in the recent episode ‘You’re Getting Old’, where we see the Marsh family struggling to stay together as they are getting bored of 'the same old s**t'. And, with Stan turning 10, he can’t understand why he has grown out of his friends and the stories of Colorado (the message could be a comparison to the dip in viewing figures and how the writers are getting tired of creating the same old stuff for so many years).
Stan has showed us the importance of equality, healthy eating, rejecting prejudices and how ridiculous the American government under Bush has actually been, but ultimately he has added a degree of philosophy to this otherwise two-dimensional cartoon.
1. Stan Marsh, Kyle Broflovski, Eric Cartman, Kenny McCormick
The famous quartet, no I am not talking about Lennon, McCartney, Harrison and Starr, I’m talking about the four original protagonists who made South Park the name it is today. In the later series Kenny was replaced by numerous other characters; the main ones being Tweak and Butters, but it was the original four that had to finish number one on the list. Each day they stand next to the bus stop in preparation for another out of the ordinary adventure that could literally lead them anywhere; possibly the most unusual moment being abducted by a taco that ‘craps’ ice cream. Kenny seemed slightly cooler than the rest of the bunch with his portrayal of Mysterion being the stand out moment of his many young lives, and Stan and Kyle were always the best of friends who stuck together through all the bizarre problems that would arise in Colorado, but it was the relationship between Cartman and Kyle that really produced the memorable moments. It’s hard to tell if they genuinely did have pure hatred for each other as in season 15 they seemed to be growing closer but regardless of being legitimate friends or not, they sure knew how to knock each other’s confidence with hilarious insults. The reasons why they appeared to hate each other stemmed from simply being Jewish to being a fat, over opinionated, human hater; I’ll let you guess who’s who. The famous four really have experienced everything together and we can only imagine what the future would hold for them.
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