Episode 03 - South Park

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Animated television series used to be made for kids. Then came Beavis and Butthead who appealed to a much broader audience with their sharp comments and often ridiculously violent humor. Back in the day there was a lot of controversy surrounding the series specifically due to the violence of the humor (not to mention the "Fire! Fire!" controversy). All that was NOTHING compared to the absurd levels of violence and controversial humor seen in the ingenious series called South Park, and that's precisely why we love it so much!

South Park launched in 1997 with its debut episode "Cartman gets an anal probe", and if you think the title refers to large bowel endoscopy, you have obviously never seen a single episode of South Park. The episode starts out innocently enough with four kids (Cartman, Kenny, Stan, and Kyle, the lead characters) talking in the bus stop while waiting for the schoolbus, but soon it becomes clear that this is no kids' programme as the four protagonists (and the rest of the characters) constantly swear if they feel like it, the aforementioned anal probe turns out to be a gigantic device implanted by aliens (naturally), the bus driver screams at the kids while they call her a "fat bitch" behind her back, their teacher uses a hand puppet in class and tells Cartman to "go to Hell and die", the school cook always has his mind on women, the aliens conclude that cows are the most intelligent lifeforms on earth, and Kenny dies a violent death half way through the episode which is depicted in great detail extremely graphically (including getting eaten by rats after his death). The climax of the episode features Cartman with an 80-foot satellite dish sticking out of his ass.

That was just a brief summary of the highlights of the first episode. Later on, we got to see much more extreme things, such as:

- a talking piece of turd appearing in several christmas specials
- Cartman tasting, and eventually, mixing into milk and drinking Kenny's ashes after he was cremated, all the while thinking that it's chocolate powder
- a group of cute forest animals that worship the devil and rape people
- one of the characters getting a sex-change operation only to have it reversed several Seasons later
- an episode with an on-screen counter that keeps track of the number of times the word "shit" is uttered during the 20-minute episode, and eventually goes into 3-digit territory
- one of the kids becoming a pimp
- Santa Claus getting tortured by electrocution to the balls
- Stan's father breaking the Guinness World Record of biggest turd ever crapped out of a human's back passage
- the entire planet collectively agreeing to blow up Finland in order to keep a planetary lie from being discovered by the intergalactic police
- Cartman making chilli out of a kid's parents (whose accidental death at the hands of a shotgun toting farmer Cartman orchestrated himself) and tricking the kid into eating it, then revealing the whole thing to him and licking the tears off his face...

...and many many more. In other words, fans of dark humor are more then certain to find something tremendously entertaining in every episode.

One of the best things about South Park is that nobody's safe from them. Absolutely nobody. The show has ridiculed just about everybody from Barbra Streisand to Tom Cruise, from George Lucas to Mel Gibson, from Inception to Avatar (and the latter REALLY deserved it), from World of Warcraft to Guitar Hero, from zombie flicks to Watchmen, from elections to KFC, from Christian Bale's Batman voice to Mickey Mouse, and the list goes on and on. The show plays no favorites and pokes fun of just about anything, which guarantees that anyone with a decent sense of humor will enjoy this show. Even when the show insults something dear to the viewers' hearts, they find solace in the certainty that the show also ridicules everything they hate. South Park is so notorious for picking on anybody and anything that it's no exaggeration to assume that if Matt Stone and Trey Parker (South Park's creators) knew about this website, they'd make fun of it. In fact, if they knew your deepest, darkest secret, they'd make fun of that, too.

One of the recurring themes of South Park for the first several seasons was the death of Kenny He got killed in every episode in an inventive, gruesome, and hilarious fashion. The response of Stan and Kyle to this has become one of the most iconic quotes from South Park. Furthermore, Kenny returned in the following episode as if nothing had happened, only to die another gruesome death. The creators did get bored with it after a while, although maybe they just ran out of ideas on how to kill Kenny in new ways, so eventually the entirety of Season 6 was spent on establishing the fact that Kenny is dead and not coming back to life. Until the final episode of the Season that is, at which point Kenny showed up again as if nothing had happened. Starting with Season 7 Kenny survived the vast majority of the South Park episodes, but every once in a while he got wasted when you least expected it. This old running gag is one of the most surreal features of the show, and the creators exploited that in Season 14 when they established a link between Kenny's constant resurrection and Cthulhu. Yes, THE Cthulhu. (If you don't know who Chtuhlu is, you're probably too young for this website...)

The show also features a wide ensemble of memorable characters, from the kids' cynical teacher Mr. Garrison through the Brando-lookalike Dr. Moreau-esque scientist Dr. Mephisto to the Canadian fart-joke comedians Terrance and Phillip. There's really far too many of them to list here. Special mention needs to go to one of the lead characters, Cartman, who is quite frankly one of the most entertaining characters on the show. Given that he's a mean-spirited, immature, racist, lazy spoiled brat, he often serves as the antagonist of the show. He has been called the 2nd scariest TV character by MSNBC. However, he's really more of a rebellious anti-hero than a villain, which earned him his status as the most popular television personality of kids in the UK in 1999 . As far as we're concerned, Cartman is pure awesomeness, and our favorite episodes are the ones where he comes out on top. Such as the one with the aforementioned chilli eating scene.

South Park has been on the air for over 14 years and though some would argue that the show has lost some of its touch over the years, recent brilliant episodes such as the debut episode of Season 15 prove that even after all these years South Park is going strong and here to stay as one of the most popular animated shows in the world. It's also great that in many countries the show is available for free online at the website of South Park Studios (http://www.southparkstudios.com), so if you need to catch up, that's the place to do it. As always, feel free to discuss the show at our facebook page. Until next time, good evening!

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