South Park

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 exploits in and around the titular Colorado town. Much like The Simpsons, South Park uses a very large ensemble cast of recurring characters. It 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. The latter became one of the first Internet viral videos, ultimately leading to South Park's production.

Since its debut on August 13, 1997, 297 episodes of South Park have been broadcast. It debuted 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. The show's twenty-second season premiered on September 26, 2018.

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]

South Park
South Park main characters
The main characters. Clockwise from the left: Cartman, Kenny, Kyle, and Stan.
GenreAnimated sitcom
Created by
Developed byBrian Graden
Voices of
Theme music composerPrimus
  • Adam Berry
  • Scott Nickoley
  • Jamie Dunlap
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons22
No. of episodes297 (list of episodes)
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
CBS Television Distribution (ad sales)
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 –
Preceded byThe Spirit of Christmas
External links


Setting and characters

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, Colorado.[6][7]

South Park
South Park title image which features the four main characters and most of the recurring, supporting characters in the background

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,[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 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]


Trey Parker and Matt Stone by Gage Skidmore
South Park creators Trey Parker (left) and Matt Stone continue to do most of the writing, directing and voice acting on the show.

Parker and Stone met in film class at the University of Colorado in 1992 and discovered a shared love of Monty Python, which they often cite as one of their primary inspirations.[42] They created an animated short entitled The Spirit of Christmas.[26] The film was created by animating construction paper cutouts with stop motion, and features prototypes of the main characters of South Park, including a character resembling Cartman but named "Kenny", an unnamed character resembling what is today Kenny, and two near-identical unnamed characters who resemble Stan and Kyle. Brian Graden, Fox Network executive and mutual friend, commissioned Parker and Stone to create a second short film as a video Christmas card. Created in 1995, the second The Spirit of Christmas short resembled the style of the later series more closely.[43] To differentiate between the two homonymous shorts, the first short is often referred to as Jesus vs. Frosty, and the second short as Jesus vs. Santa. Graden sent copies of the video to several of his friends, and from there it was copied and distributed, including on the internet, where it became one of the first viral videos.[26][44]

As Jesus vs. Santa became more popular, Parker and Stone began talks of developing the short into a television series. Fox refused to pick up the series, not wanting to air a show that included the character Mr. Hankey, a talking piece of feces.[45] The two then entered negotiations with both MTV and Comedy Central. Parker preferred the show be produced by Comedy Central, fearing that MTV would turn it into a kids show.[46] When Comedy Central executive Doug Herzog watched the short, he commissioned for it to be developed into a series.[26][47]

Parker and Stone assembled a small staff and spent three months creating the pilot episode "Cartman Gets an Anal Probe".[48] South Park was in danger of being canceled before it even aired when the show fared poorly with test audiences, particularly with women. However, the shorts were still gaining more popularity over the Internet, and Comedy Central agreed to order a run of six episodes.[35][46] South Park debuted with "Cartman Gets an Anal Probe" on August 13, 1997.[49]


Except for the pilot episode, which was produced using cutout animation, all episodes of South Park are created with the use of software, primarily Autodesk Maya. As opposed to the pilot, which took three months to complete,[50] and other animated sitcoms, which are traditionally hand-drawn by companies in South Korea in a process that takes roughly eight to nine months,[26][34] individual episodes of South Park take significantly less time to produce. Using computers as an animation method, the show's production staff were able to generate an episode in about three weeks during the first seasons.[51] Now, with a staff of about 70 people, episodes are typically completed in one week,[26][33][34] with some in as little as three to four days.[52][53][54] Nearly the entire production of an episode is accomplished within one set of offices, which were originally at a complex in Westwood, Los Angeles, California, and are now part of South Park Studios in Culver City, California.[47][50] Parker and Stone have been the show's executive producers throughout its entire history.[55] 20th Century Fox Senior Production Executive Debbie Liebling also served as an executive producer during the show's first five seasons, coordinating the show's production efforts between South Park Studios and Comedy Central's headquarters in New York City.[56][57]

The Border Patrol raid during the Elián González affair is referenced in "Quintuplets 2000", which aired within the same week the event occurred.

Scripts are not written before a season begins.[58] Production of an episode begins on a Thursday, with the show's writing consultants brainstorming with Parker and Stone. Former staff writers include Pam Brady, who has since written scripts for the films Hot Rod, Hamlet 2 and Team America: World Police (with Parker and Stone), and Nancy Pimental, who served as co-host of Win Ben Stein's Money and wrote the film The Sweetest Thing after her tenure with the show during its first three seasons.[59][60] Television producer and writer Norman Lear, an idol of both Parker and Stone, served as a guest writing consultant for the season seven (2003) episodes "Cancelled" and "I'm a Little Bit Country".[58][61][62] During the 12th and 13th seasons, Saturday Night Live actor and writer Bill Hader served as a creative consultant and co-producer.[63][64][65]

After exchanging ideas, Parker will write a script, and from there the entire team of animators, editors, technicians, and sound engineers will each typically work 100–120 hours in the ensuing week.[48] Since the show's fourth season (2000), Parker has assumed most of the show's directorial duties, while Stone relinquished his share of the directing to focus on handling the coordination and business aspects of the production.[26][66] On Wednesday, a completed episode is sent to Comedy Central's headquarters via satellite uplink, sometimes just a few hours before its air time of 10 PM Eastern Time.[26][67]

Parker and Stone state that subjecting themselves to a one-week deadline creates more spontaneity amongst themselves in the creative process, which they feel results in a funnier show.[26] The schedule also allows South Park to both stay more topical and respond more quickly to specific current events than other satiric animated shows.[8][68] One of the earliest examples of this was in the season four (2000) episode "Quintuplets 2000", which references the United States Border Patrol's raid of a house during the Elián González affair, an event which occurred only four days before the episode originally aired.[69] The season nine (2005) episode "Best Friends Forever" references the Terri Schiavo case,[24][33] and originally aired in the midst of the controversy and less than 12 hours before she died.[34][70] A scene in the season seven (2003) finale "It's Christmas in Canada" references the discovery of dictator Saddam Hussein in a "spider hole" and his subsequent capture, which happened a mere three days prior to the episode airing.[71] The season 12 (2008) episode "About Last Night..." revolves around Barack Obama's victory in the 2008 presidential election, and aired less than 24 hours after Obama was declared the winner, using segments of dialogue from Obama's real victory speech.[72]

On October 16, 2013, the show failed to meet their production deadline for the first time ever, after a power outage on October 15 at the production studio prevented the episode, season 17's "Goth Kids 3: Dawn of the Posers", from being finished in time. The episode was rescheduled to air a week later on October 23, 2013.[73] In July 2015, South Park was renewed through 2019; extending the show through season 23 with 307 episodes overall.[2][3][4]


South Park production comparison
The various stages of production (from top to bottom): the storyboard sketch, the CorelDRAW props with stock character models, and a frame from the fully rendered episode, "Super Fun Time".

The show's style of animation is inspired by the paper cut-out cartoons made by Terry Gilliam for Monty Python's Flying Circus, of which Parker and Stone have been lifelong fans.[46][74][75] Construction paper and traditional stop motion cutout animation techniques were used in the original animated shorts and in the pilot episode. Subsequent episodes have been produced by computer animation, providing a similar look to the originals while requiring a fraction of the time to produce. Before computer artists begin animating an episode, a series of animatics drawn in Toon Boom are provided by the show's storyboard artists.[48][76]

The characters and objects are composed of simple geometrical shapes and primary colors. Most child characters are the same size and shape, and are distinguished by their clothing, hair and skin colors, and headwear.[16] Characters are mostly presented two-dimensionally and from only one angle. Their movements are animated in an intentionally jerky fashion, as they are purposely not offered the same free range of motion associated with hand-drawn characters.[8][50][77] Occasionally, some non-fictional characters are depicted with photographic cutouts of their actual head and face in lieu of a face reminiscent of the show's traditional style. Canadians on the show are often portrayed in an even more minimalist fashion; they have simple beady eyes, and the top halves of their heads simply flap up and down when the characters speak.[37]

When the show began using computers, the cardboard cutouts were scanned and re-drawn with CorelDRAW, then imported into PowerAnimator, which was used with SGI workstations to animate the characters.[48][50] The workstations were linked to a 54-processor render farm that could render 10 to 15 shots an hour.[48] Beginning with season five, the animators began using Maya instead of PowerAnimator.[78] The studio now runs a 120-processor render farm that can produce 30 or more shots an hour.[48]

PowerAnimator and Maya are high-end programs mainly used for 3D computer graphics, while co-producer and former animation director Eric Stough notes that PowerAnimator was initially chosen because its features helped animators retain the show's "homemade" look.[50] PowerAnimator was also used for making some of the show's visual effects,[50] which are now created using Motion,[48] a newer graphics program created by Apple, Inc. for their Mac OS X operating system. The show's visual quality has improved in recent seasons,[8] though several other techniques are used to intentionally preserve the cheap cutout animation look.[26][51][79]

A few episodes feature sections of live-action footage, while others have incorporated other styles of animation. Portions of the season eight (2004) premiere "Good Times with Weapons" are done in anime style, while the season 10 episode "Make Love, Not Warcraft" is done partly in machinima.[80] The season 12 episode "Major Boobage", a homage to the 1981 animated film Heavy Metal, implements scenes accomplished with rotoscoping.[81]

Voice cast

Parker and Stone voice most of the male South Park characters.[7][8][82] Mary Kay Bergman voiced the majority of the female characters until her suicide on November 11, 1999. Mona Marshall and Eliza Schneider succeeded Bergman, with Schneider leaving the show after its seventh season (2003). She was replaced by April Stewart, who, along with Marshall, continues to voice most of the female characters. Bergman was originally listed in the credits under the alias Shannen Cassidy to protect her reputation as the voice of several Disney and other kid-friendly characters.[83] Stewart was originally credited under the name Gracie Lazar,[84] while Schneider was sometimes credited under her rock opera performance pseudonym Blue Girl.[85]

Other voice actors and members of South Park's production staff have voiced minor characters for various episodes, while a few staff members voice recurring characters; supervising producer Jennifer Howell voices student Bebe Stevens,[82] co-producer and storyboard artist Adrien Beard voices Token Black,[86] who was the school's only African-American student until the introduction of Nichole in "Cartman Finds Love", writing consultant Vernon Chatman voices an anthropomorphic towel named Towelie,[82] and production supervisor John Hansen voices Mr. Slave, the former gay lover of Mr. Garrison.[87] Throughout the show's run, the voices for toddler and kindergarten characters have been provided by various small children of the show's production staff.[88]

When voicing child characters, the voice actors speak within their normal vocal range while adding a childlike inflection. The recorded audio is then edited with Pro Tools, and the pitch is altered to make the voice sound more like that of a fourth grader.[67][89][90]

Isaac Hayes voiced the character of Chef, an African-American, soul-singing cafeteria worker who was one of the few adults the boys consistently trusted.[10][91] Hayes agreed to voice the character after being among Parker and Stone's ideal candidates which also included Lou Rawls and Barry White.[92] Hayes, who lived and hosted a radio show in New York during his tenure with South Park, would record his dialogue on a digital audio tape while a respective episode's director would give directions over the phone, then the tape would be shipped to the show's production studio in California.[50] After Hayes left the show in early 2006, the character of Chef was killed off in the season 10 (2006) premiere "The Return of Chef".

Guest stars

Celebrities who are depicted on the show are usually impersonated, though some celebrities do their own voices for the show. Celebrities who have voiced themselves include Michael Buffer,[93][94] Brent Musburger,[95] Jay Leno,[96] Robert Smith,[97] and the bands Radiohead and Korn.[98][99] Comedy team Cheech & Chong voiced characters representing their likenesses for the season four (2000) episode "Cherokee Hair Tampons", which was the duo's first collaborative effort in 20 years.[100] Malcolm McDowell appears in live-action sequences as the narrator of the season four episode "Pip".[101]

Jennifer Aniston,[102] Richard Belzer,[103] Natasha Henstridge,[97] Norman Lear,[104] and Peter Serafinowicz[105] have guest starred as other speaking characters. During South Park's earliest seasons, several high-profile celebrities inquired about guest-starring on the show. As a joke, Parker and Stone responded by offering low-profile, non-speaking roles, most of which were accepted; George Clooney provided the barks for Stan's dog Sparky in the season one (1997) episode "Big Gay Al's Big Gay Boat Ride",[106] Leno provided the meows for Cartman's cat in the season one finale "Cartman's Mom Is a Dirty Slut",[106] and Henry Winkler voiced the various growls and grunts of a kid-eating monster in the season two (1998) episode "City on the Edge of Forever".[107] Jerry Seinfeld offered to lend his voice for the Thanksgiving episode "Starvin' Marvin", but declined to appear when he was only offered a role as "Turkey #2".[108]


Chef would often sing in a style reminiscent of that of his voice actor, Isaac Hayes.

Parker says that the varying uses of music is of utmost importance to South Park.[109] Several characters often play or sing songs in order to change or influence a group's behavior, or to educate, motivate, or indoctrinate others. The show also frequently features scenes in which its characters have disapproving reactions to the performances of certain popular musicians.[109]

Adam Berry, the show's original score composer, used sound synthesis to simulate a small orchestra, and frequently alluded to existing famous pieces of music. Berry also used signature acoustic guitar and mandolin cues as leitmotifs for the show's establishing shots.[109][110] After Berry left in 2001, Jamie Dunlap and Scott Nickoley of the Los Angeles-based Mad City Production Studios provided the show's original music for the next seven seasons.[89] Since 2008, Dunlap has been credited as the show's sole score composer.[111] Dunlap's contributions to the show are one of the few that are not achieved at the show's own production offices. Dunlap reads a script, creates a score using digital audio software, and then e-mails the audio file to South Park Studios, where it is edited to fit with the completed episode.[89]

In addition to singing in an effort to explain something to the children, Chef would also sing about things relevant to what had transpired in the plot. These songs were original compositions written by Parker, and performed by Hayes in the same sexually suggestive R&B style he had utilized during his own music career. The band DVDA, which consists of Parker and Stone, along with show staff members Bruce Howell and D.A. Young, would perform the music for these compositions, and, until the character's death on the show, were listed as "Chef's Band" in the closing credits.[50]

Rick James, Elton John, Meat Loaf, Joe Strummer, Ozzy Osbourne, Primus, Rancid, and Ween all guest starred and briefly performed in the season two (1998) episode "Chef Aid". Korn debuted their single "Falling Away from Me" as guest stars on the season three (1999) episode "Korn's Groovy Pirate Ghost Mystery".[99]

Main theme

The show's theme song was a musical score performed by the band Primus, with the lyrics alternately sung by the band's lead singer, Les Claypool, and the show's four central characters during the opening title sequence. Kenny's muffled lines are altered after every few seasons. His lines are usually sexually explicit in nature, such as his original lines, "I like girls with big fat titties, I like girls with deep vaginas".[112]

The end credits music, which is an instrumental, slower tempo version of the opening theme song.

The original unaired opening composition was originally slower and had a length of 40 seconds. It was deemed too long for the opening sequence. So Parker and Stone sped up it for the show's opening, having the band's lead singer Claypool re-record his vocals. The instrumental version of the original composition, though, is often played during the show's closing credits and is wordless.[113]

The opening song played in the first four seasons (and the end credits in all seasons) has a folk rock instrumentation with bass guitar, trumpets and rhythmic drums. Its beat is fast in the opening and leisurely in the closing credits. It is in the minor key and it features a tritone or a diminished fifth, creating a melodic dissonance, which captures the show's surrealistic nature. In the latter parts of season 4 and season 5, the opening tune has an electro funk arrangement with pop qualities. Seasons 6-9 have a sprightly bluegrass instrumentation with a usage of banjo and is set in the major key. For the later seasons, the arrangement is electro rock with a breakbeat influence, which feature electric guitars backed up by synthesized, groovy drumbeats.[89]

The opening theme song has been remixed three times during the course of the series, including a remix performed by Paul Robb.[114] In 2006, the theme music was remixed with the song "Whamola" by Colonel Les Claypool's Fearless Flying Frog Brigade, from the album Purple Onion.[115]



SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
113August 13, 1997February 25, 1998
218April 1, 1998January 20, 1999
317April 7, 1999January 12, 2000
417April 5, 2000December 20, 2000
514June 20, 2001December 12, 2001
617March 6, 2002December 11, 2002
715March 19, 2003December 17, 2003
814March 17, 2004December 15, 2004
914March 9, 2005December 7, 2005
1014March 22, 2006November 15, 2006
1114March 7, 2007November 14, 2007
1214March 12, 2008November 19, 2008
1314March 11, 2009November 18, 2009
1414March 17, 2010November 17, 2010
1514April 27, 2011November 16, 2011
1614March 14, 2012November 7, 2012
1710September 25, 2013December 11, 2013
1810September 24, 2014December 10, 2014
1910September 16, 2015December 9, 2015
2010September 14, 2016December 7, 2016
2110September 13, 2017December 6, 2017
2210September 26, 2018December 12, 2018


Internationally, South Park is broadcast in India,[116] New Zealand, and several countries throughout Europe and Latin America on channels that are divisions of Comedy Central and MTV Networks, both subsidiaries of Viacom.[26][117] In distribution deals with Comedy Central, other independent networks also broadcast the series in other international markets. In Australia, the show is broadcast on The Comedy Channel, Comedy Central and free-to-air channel SBS Viceland (before 2009, it was aired on SBS).[118] The series is broadcast uncensored in Canada in English on The Comedy Network[119] and, later, Much. South Park also airs in Irish on TG4 in Ireland,[120] STV in Scotland,[121] Comedy Central and MTV in the UK (previously on Channel 4 and Viva, with 5Star recently picking up where Viva left off), B92 in Serbia,[122] and on Game One and NRJ 12 in France.


Broadcast syndication rights to South Park were acquired by Debmar-Mercury and Tribune Entertainment in 2003 and 2004 respectively.[123][124] Episodes further edited for content began running in syndication on September 19, 2005, and are aired in the United States with the TV-14 rating.[124][125] 20th Television replaced Tribune as co-distributor in early 2008, The series is currently aired in syndication in 90 percent of the television markets across the U.S. and Canada, where it generates an estimated US$25 million a year in advertising revenue.[126][127] In 2019, CBS Television Distribution (the syndication arm of CBS Corporation, sister company to Comedy Central parent Viacom), took over the co-distribution rights following the acquisition of 21st Century Fox (parent of 20th Television) by The Walt Disney Company (who had employed Debmar-Mercury founder Mort Marcus as the head of their syndication division).[128]

Home media

Complete seasons of South Park have been regularly released on their entirety on DVD since 2002, with season twenty-one being the most recently released. Several other themed DVD compilations have been released by Rhino Entertainment and Comedy Central,[129] while the three-episode Imaginationland story arc was reissued straight-to-DVD as a full-length feature in 2008.[130][131][132] Blu-ray releases started in 2008 with the release of season twelve.[133] Subsequent seasons have been released in this format alongside the longer-running DVD releases. The first eleven seasons were released on Blu-ray for the first time in December 2017.[134][135]


In March 2008, Comedy Central made every episode of South Park available for free full-length on-demand legal streaming on the official South Park Studios website.[136] From March 2008 until December 2013 new episodes were added to the site the day following their debut, and an uncensored version was posted the following day. The episode stayed up for the remainder of the week, then taken down, and added to the site three weeks later.

Within a week, the site served more than a million streams of full episodes,[136] and the number grew to 55 million by October 2008.[137] Legal issues prevent the U.S. content from being accessible outside the U.S.,[138] so local servers have been set up in other countries.[139] In September 2009, a South Park Studios website with streaming episodes was launched in the UK and Ireland.[140] In Canada, episodes were available for streaming from The Comedy Network's website, though due to digital rights restrictions, they are no longer available.[141]

In July 2014 it was announced that Hulu had signed a three-year deal purchasing exclusive online streaming rights to the South Park for a reported 80 million dollars. Following the announcement every episode remained available for free on the South Park Studios website, using the Hulu player. As of September 2014, following the premiere of the eighteenth season, only 30 select episodes are featured for free viewing at a time on a rationing basis on the website, with new episodes being available for an entire month starting the day following their original airings. The entire series will be available for viewing on Hulu Plus.[142]

In April 2010, the season five episode "Super Best Friends" and the season fourteen episodes "200" and "201" were removed from the site; additionally, these episodes no longer air in reruns and are only available exclusively on DVD. These episodes remain unavailable following the 2014 purchase by Hulu.

As of July 1, 2015, all episodes of South Park are available for streaming in Canada on the service CraveTV, which first consisted of seasons 1–18. Subsequent seasons were released the following July.[143]

Re-rendered episodes

From its debut in 1997 to the season twelve finale in 2008 the series had been natively produced in 4:3 480i standard definition. In 2009 the series switched to being natively produced in 16:9 1080i high definition with the beginning of the thirteenth season.[144] Since this, all seasons originally produced in standard definition with 4:3 aspect ratio have been remastered by South Park Studios, being fully re-rendered in 1080i 16:9 high definition.[144] The re-rendered versions were also released on Blu-ray. Several of the re-rendered episodes from the earlier seasons have their original uncensored audio tracks; they had previously been released in censored form.[144][145][146][147]

The fifth-season episode "Super Best Friends", which was pulled from syndication and online streams following the controversy surrounding episode "201", was not released alongside the rest of the season when it was released in HD on iTunes in 2011. The episode was later re-rendered and made available for the Blu-ray release of the season that was released on December 5, 2017.[148] The episode is presented in its original presentation, without Muhammad's image being obscured as in later episodes of the series.[149]



When South Park debuted, it was a huge ratings success for Comedy Central and is seen as being largely responsible for the success of the channel, with Herzog crediting it for putting the network "on the map".[26][47][150]

The show's first episode, "Cartman Gets an Anal Probe", earned a Nielsen rating of 1.3 (980,000 viewers), at the time considered high for a cable program.[150] The show instantly generated buzz among television viewers, and mass viewing parties began assembling on college campuses.[14][20][22] By the time the eighth episode, "Starvin' Marvin", aired — three months after the show debuted — ratings and viewership had tripled, and South Park was already the most successful show in Comedy Central's history.[22] When the tenth episode "Damien" aired the following February, viewership increased another 33 percent. The episode earned a 6.4 rating, which at the time was over 10 times the average rating earned by a cable show aired in prime time.[20][150] The ratings peaked with the second episode of season two, "Cartman's Mom Is Still a Dirty Slut", which aired on April 22, 1998. The episode earned an 8.2 rating (6.2 million viewers) and, at the time, set a record as the highest-rated non-sports show in basic cable history.[28][36][150] During the spring of 1998, eight of the ten highest-rated shows on basic cable were South Park episodes.[21]

The success of South Park prompted more cable companies to carry Comedy Central and led it to its becoming one of the fastest-growing cable channels. The number of households that had Comedy Central jumped from 9.1 million in 1997 to 50 million in June 1998.[150] When the show debuted, the most Comedy Central had earned for a 30-second commercial was US$7,500.[20] Within a year, advertisers were paying an average of US$40,000 for 30 seconds of advertising time during airings of South Park in its second season, while some paid as much as US$80,000.[151]

By the third season (1999), the series' ratings began to decrease.[152] The third-season premiere episode drew 3.4 million viewers, a dramatic drop from the 5.5 million of the previous season's premiere.[150] Stone and Parker attributed this drop in the show's ratings to the media hype that surrounded the show in the previous year, adding that the third season ratings reflected the show's "true" fan base.[150] The show's ratings dropped further in its fourth season (2000), with episodes averaging just above 1.5 million viewers. The ratings eventually increased, and seasons five through nine consistently averaged about 3 million viewers per episode.[150] Though its viewership is lower than it was at the height of its popularity in its earliest seasons, South Park remains one of the highest-rated series on Comedy Central.[153] The season 14 (2010) premiere gained 3.7 million viewers, the show's highest-rated season premiere since 1998.[154] In 2016, a New York Times study of the 50 TV shows with the most Facebook Likes found that "perhaps unsurprisingly, South Park ... is most popular in Colorado".[155]

Recognitions and awards

In 2004, Channel 4 voted South Park the third-greatest cartoon of all time.[156] In 2007, Time magazine included the show on its list of the "100 Best TV Shows of All Time", proclaiming it as "America's best source of rapid-fire satire for [the past] decade".[157] The same year, Rolling Stone declared it to be the funniest show on television since its debut 10 years prior.[158] In 2008, South Park was named the 12th-greatest TV show of the past 25 years by Entertainment Weekly,[159] while AOL declared it as having the "most astute" characters of any show in history when naming it the 16th-best television comedy series of all time.[160] In 2011, South Park was voted number one in the 25 Greatest Animated TV Series poll by Entertainment Weekly.[161] The character of Cartman ranked 10th on TV Guide's 2002 list of the "Top 50 Greatest Cartoon Characters",[162] 198th on VH1's "200 Greatest Pop Culture Icons",[163] 19th on Bravo's "100 Greatest TV Characters" television special in 2004,[164] and second on MSNBC's 2005 list of TV's scariest characters behind Mr. Burns from The Simpsons.[165] In 2006, Comedy Central received a Peabody Award for South Park's "stringent social commentary" and "undeniably fearless lampooning of all that is self-important and hypocritical in American life".[26][40][166][167] In 2013, the Writers Guild of America ranked South Park at number 63 among the "101 Best-Written Shows Ever".[168] Also in 2013, TV Guide listed the show at number 10 among the "60 Greatest Cartoons of All Time".[169]

South Park won the CableACE Award for Best Animated Series in 1997, the last year the awards were given out.[170] In 1998, South Park was nominated for the Annie Award for Outstanding Achievement in an Animated Primetime or Late Night Television Program. It was also nominated for the 1998 GLAAD Award for Outstanding TV – Individual Episode for "Big Gay Al's Big Gay Boat Ride".[31]

South Park has been nominated for the Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program sixteen times (1998, 2000, 2002, 2004–2011, and 2013–2017). The show has won the award for Outstanding Animated Program (For Programming Less Than One Hour) four times, for the 2005 episode "Best Friends Forever",[166] the 2006 episode "Make Love, Not Warcraft",[171] the 2009 episode "Margaritaville", and the 2012 episode "Raising the Bar".[172] The "Imaginationland" trilogy of episodes won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program (For Programming One Hour or More) in 2008.[173]


The show's frequent depiction of taboo subject matter, general toilet humor, accessibility to younger viewers, disregard for conservative sensibilities, negative depiction of liberal causes, and portrayal of religion for comic effect have generated controversy and debate over the course of its run.[174]

As the series became popular, students in two schools were barred from wearing South Park-related T-shirts,[17][21][31] and the headmaster of a UK public school asked parents not to let their children watch the programme after eight- and nine-year-old children voted the South Park character Cartman as their favorite personality in a 1999 poll.[175] Parker and Stone assert that the show is not meant to be viewed by young children, and the show is certified with TV ratings that indicate its intention for mature audiences.[21]

Parents Television Council founder L. Brent Bozell III and Action for Children's Television founder Peggy Charren have both condemned the show, with the latter claiming it is "dangerous to the democracy".[17][151][176][177] Several other activist groups have protested the show's parodies of Christianity and portrayal of Jesus Christ.[17][178][179] Stone claims that parents who disapprove of South Park for its portrayal of how kids behave are upset because they "have an idyllic vision of what kids are like", adding "[kids] don't have any kind of social tact or etiquette, they're just complete little raging bastards".[31][175]


The show further lampooned the controversy surrounding its use of profanity, as well as the media attention surrounding the network show Chicago Hope's singular use of the word shit, with the season five premiere "It Hits the Fan",[180] in which the word shit is said 162 times without being bleeped for censorship purposes, while also appearing uncensored in written form.[36] In the days following the show's original airing, 5,000 disapproving e-mails were sent to Comedy Central.[46] Despite its 43 uncensored uses of the racial slur nigger, the season 11 episode "With Apologies to Jesse Jackson" generated relatively little controversy, as most in the black community and the NAACP praised the episode for its context and its comedic way of conveying other races' perceptions of how black people feel when hearing the word.[181][182]

Specific controversies regarding the show have included an April Fools' Day prank played on its viewers in 1998,[183] its depiction of the Virgin Mary in the season nine (2005) finale "Bloody Mary" which angered several Catholics,[34] its depiction of Steve Irwin with a stingray barb stuck in his chest in the episode "Hell on Earth 2006", which originally aired less than two months after Irwin was killed in the same fashion,[184][185] and Comedy Central's censorship of the depiction of Muhammad in the season 10 episode "Cartoon Wars Part II" in the wake of the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy.[178]

The season nine (2005) episode "Trapped in the Closet" denounces Scientology as nothing more than "a big fat global scam",[178] while freely divulging church information that Scientology normally only reveals to members who make significant monetary contributions to the church.[186] The episode also ambiguously parodies the rumors involving the sexual orientation of Scientologist Tom Cruise, who allegedly demanded any further reruns of the episode be canceled.[184][187] Isaac Hayes, a Scientologist, later quit South Park because of his objection to the episode.[188]

The season fourteen episodes "200" and "201" were mired in controversy for satirizing issues surrounding the depiction of the Islamic prophet, Muhammad. The website for the organization Revolution Muslim, a New York-based radical Muslim organization, posted an entry that included a warning to creators Parker and Stone that they risk violent retribution for their depictions of Muhammad. It said that they "will probably wind up like Theo van Gogh for airing this show". The posting provided the addresses to Comedy Central in New York and the production company in Los Angeles. The author of the post, Zachary Adam Chesser (who prefers to be called Abu Talhah al-Amrikee),[189] said it was meant to serve as a warning to Parker and Stone, not a threat, and that providing the addresses was meant to give people the opportunity to protest.[190][191]

Despite al-Amrikee's claims that the website entry was a warning, several media outlets and observers interpreted it as a threat.[192][193][194] Support for the episode has come in the form of Everybody Draw Mohammed Day, a movement started on Facebook that encourages people to draw Muhammad on May 20.[195] The "200" episode, which also depicted the Buddha snorting cocaine, prompted the government of Sri Lanka to ban the series outright.[196]

Influence and legacy


Commentary made in episodes has been interpreted as statements Parker and Stone are attempting to make to the viewing public,[197] and these opinions have been subject to much critical analysis in the media and literary world within the framework of popular philosophical, theological, social, and political concepts.[25][197][198] Since South Park debuted, college students have written term papers and doctoral theses analyzing the show,[52] while Brooklyn College offers a course called "South Park and Political Correctness".[199][200]

Soon after one of Kenny's trademark deaths on the show, other characters would typically shout "Oh my God, they killed Kenny!". The exclamation quickly became a popular catchphrase,[10] while the running gag of Kenny's recurring deaths are one of the more recognized hallmarks among viewers of modern television.[201][202] Cartman's exclamations of "Respect my authori-tah!" and "Screw you guys ...I'm going home!" became catchphrases as well, and during the show's earlier seasons, were highly popular in the lexicon of viewers.[203] Cartman's eccentric intonation of "Hey!" was included in the 2002 edition of The Oxford Dictionary of Catchphrases.[204]

In the season two episode "Chef Aid", attorney Johnnie Cochran uses what's called in the show the Chewbacca defense, which is a legal strategy that involves addressing plot holes related to Chewbacca in the film Return of the Jedi rather than discussing the trial at hand during a closing argument in a deliberate attempt to confuse jurors into thinking there is reasonable doubt. The term "Chewbacca defense" has been documented as being used by criminologists, forensic scientists, and political commentators in their various discussions of similar methods used in legal cases and public forums.[205][206]

Another season two episode, "Gnomes", revolves around a group of "underpants gnomes" who, as their name suggests, run a corporation stealing people's underpants. When asked about their business model, various gnomes reply that theirs is a three-step process: Phase 1 is "collect underpants". Phase 3 is "profit". However, the gnomes are unable to explain what is to occur between the first and final steps, and "Phase 2" is accompanied by a large question mark on their corporate flow chart. Using "????" and "PROFIT!" as the last two steps in a process (usually jokingly) has become a widely popular Internet meme because of this. Especially in the context of politics and economics, "underpants gnomes" has been used by some commentators to characterize a conspicuous gap of logic or planning.[207][208]

When Sophie Rutschmann of the University of Strasbourg discovered a mutated gene that causes an adult fruit fly to die within two days after it is infected with certain bacteria, she named the gene kep1 in honor of Kenny.[209][210][211]


While some conservatives have condemned the show for its vulgarity, a growing population of people who hold center-right political beliefs, including teenagers and young adults, have embraced the show for its tendency to mock liberal viewpoints and lampoon liberal celebrities and icons.[212] Political commentator Andrew Sullivan dubbed the group South Park Republicans, or South Park conservatives.[39][213][214] Sullivan averred that members of the group are "extremely skeptical of political correctness but also are socially liberal on many issues", though he says the phrase applied to them is meant to be more of a casual indication of beliefs than a strong partisan label.[15][39] Brian C. Anderson describes the group as "generally characterized by holding strong libertarian beliefs and rejecting more conservative social policy", and notes that although the show makes "wicked fun of conservatives", it is "at the forefront of a conservative revolt against liberal media."[212]

Parker and Stone reject the idea that the show has any underlying political position, and deny having a political agenda when creating an episode.[35][214][215] The two claim the show's higher proportion of instances lampooning liberal rather than conservative orthodoxies stems simply from their preference for making fun of liberals.[15][68] While Stone has been quoted saying, "I hate conservatives, but I really fucking hate liberals", Stone and Parker have explained that their drive to lampoon a given target comes first from the target's insistence on telling other people how to behave.[180] The duo explain that they regard liberals as having both delusions of entitlement to remain free from satire, and a propensity to enforce political correctness while patronizing the citizens of Middle America.[38][39] Parker and Stone are uncomfortable with the idea of themselves or South Park being assigned any kind of partisan classification.[35][214] Parker said he rejects the "South Park Republican" and "South Park conservative" labels, feeling that either tag implies that one only adheres to strictly conservative or liberal viewpoints.[34][212] Canadian columnist Jaime J. Weinman observes that the most die-hard conservatives who identified themselves as "South Park Republicans" began turning away from the label when the show ridiculed Republicans in the season nine (2005) episode "Best Friends Forever."[8]



In 1999, less than two years after the series first aired, a feature-length film was released. The film, a musical comedy, was directed by Parker, who co-wrote the script with Stone and Pam Brady. The film was generally well received by critics,[216] and earned a combined US$83.1 million at the domestic and foreign box office.[217] The film satirizes the controversy surrounding the show itself and gained a spot in the 2001 edition of Guinness World Records for "Most Swearing in an Animated Film".[218] The song "Blame Canada" from the film's soundtrack earned song co-writers Parker and Marc Shaiman an Academy Award nomination for Best Music, Original Song.[219]


As a tribute to the Dead Parrot sketch, a short that features Cartman attempting to return a dead Kenny to a shop run by Kyle aired during a 1999 BBC television special commemorating the 30th anniversary of Monty Python's Flying Circus.[220] South Park parodied Scientology in a short that aired as part of the 2000 MTV Movie Awards. The short was entitled "The Gauntlet" and also poked fun at John Travolta, a Scientologist.[221][222] The four main characters were featured in the documentary film The Aristocrats, listening to Cartman tell his version of the film's titular joke.[223] Short clips of Cartman introducing the starting lineup for the University of Colorado football team were featured during ABC's coverage of the 2007 matchup between the University of Colorado and the University of Nebraska.[224] In 2008, Parker, as Cartman, gave answers to a Proust Questionnaire conducted by Julie Rovner of NPR.[11] The Snakes & Arrows Tour for Rush in 2007 used an intro from Cartman, Stan, Kyle, and Kenny preceding "Tom Sawyer".[225] As Parker, Stone and producer Frank Agnone are Los Angeles Kings fans, special South Park pre-game videos have been featured at Kings home games at Staples Center,[226] and the club even sent the Stanley Cup to visit South Park Studios after winning the 2012 finals.[227] Parker and Stone have also created Denver Broncos and Denver Nuggets-themed shorts, featuring Cartman, for home games at Pepsi Center.


Chef Aid: The South Park Album, a compilation of original songs from the show, characters performing cover songs, and tracks performed by guest artists was released in 1998,[228][229] while Mr. Hankey's Christmas Classics, a compilation of songs performed by the characters in the episode of the same name as well as other Christmas-themed songs was released in 1999,[230] as was the soundtrack to the feature film.[231] The song "Chocolate Salty Balls" (performed by Hayes as Chef) was released as a single in the UK in 1998 to support the Chef Aid: The South Park Album and became a number one hit.[232]


Merchandising related to the show is an industry which generates several million dollars a year.[233] In 1998, the top-selling specialty T-shirt in the United States was based on South Park, and US$30 million in T-shirt sales was reached during the show's first season.[20][31][44]

A South Park pinball machine was released in 1999 by Sega Pinball.[234] The companies Fun 4 All, Mezco Toyz, and Mirage have produced various South Park action figures, collectibles, and plush dolls.[233]

Comedy Central entered into an agreement with Frito-Lay to sell 1.5 million bags of Cheesy Poofs, Cartman's favorite snack from the show, at Walmart until the premiere of the second half of the fifteenth season on October 5, 2011.[235]


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Further reading

  • Anderson, Brian C. (2005). South Park Conservatives: The Revolt Against Liberal Media Bias. Regnery Publishing. ISBN 978-0-89526-019-2.
  • Arp, Robert (editor); Broman, Per F.; Jacoby, Henry (2006). South Park and Philosophy: You Know, I Learned Something Today. The Blackwell Philosophy & Pop Culture Series. Blackwell Publishing. ISBN 978-1-4051-6160-2.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  • Cogan, Brian, ed. (2011). Deconstructing South Park: Critical Examinations of Animated Transgression. Lexington Books. ISBN 978-0-7391-6745-8.
  • Hanley, Richard, ed. (2007). South Park and Philosophy: Bigger, Longer, and More Penetrating. Open Court. ISBN 978-0-8126-9613-4.
  • Johnson-Woods, Toni (2007). Blame Canada!: South Park and Popular Culture. Continuum. ISBN 978-0-8264-1731-2.
  • Mansour, David (2005). From Abba to Zoom: A Pop Culture Encyclopedia of the Late 20th Century. Kansas City, Missouri: Andrews McMeel Publishing, LLC. ISBN 0-7407-5118-2. OCLC 57316726.
  • Weinstock, Jeffrey Andrew (editor), Randall Fallows (2008). Taking South Park Seriously. SUNY Press. ISBN 978-0-7914-7566-9.

External links

Bill Hader

William Thomas Hader Jr. (born June 7, 1978) is an American comedian, actor, voice actor, producer, writer and director. He is known for his work as a cast member on Saturday Night Live (2005–2013), for which he has received four Emmy Award nominations, South Park (2008–present) and the parody series Documentary Now! (2015–present). He co-created and stars in the HBO series Barry, which began airing in March 2018 and earned Hader an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series and three other Emmy nominations for Outstanding Comedy Series, Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series and Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series in its first season.He is known for his supporting roles in Hot Rod (2007), Superbad (2007), Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008), Tropic Thunder (2008), Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (2009), Paul (2011), Men in Black 3 (2012), Maggie's Plan (2015) and It – Chapter Two (2019) and for his leading roles in the dramedy The Skeleton Twins (2014) and the romantic comedy Trainwreck (2015). He has also voiced characters in the Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs films (2009, 2013), Monsters University (2013), Turbo (2013), Inside Out (2015), the Angry Birds movies (2016, 2019) and Finding Dory (2016).

Chef (South Park)

Jerome "Chef" McElroy is a cartoon character on the Comedy Central series South Park who was voiced by Isaac Hayes. A cafeteria worker at the local elementary school in the town of South Park, Colorado, Chef is generally portrayed as more level-headed than the other adult residents of the town, and sympathetic to the children. His guidance is often sought by the show's core group of child protagonists — Eric Cartman, Stan Marsh, Kyle Broflovski, and Kenny McCormick — as he is usually the only adult whom they consistently trusted. To an inadvertent fault, he frequently gives inappropriate advice, usually in the non sequitur form of a lascivious soul song.

Chef was inspired by Hayes and other popular soul singers of the 1970s, as well as an actual dining hall worker encountered by series co-creator Trey Parker while he attended the University of Colorado. Chef played a less prominent role as the series progressed beyond its earlier seasons, and the character was retired at the beginning of the tenth season in "The Return of Chef" following the controversial departure of Hayes.

Eric Cartman

Eric Theodore Cartman, often referred to just by his surname, is a main character in the animated television series South Park, created by Matt Stone and Trey Parker, and voiced by Parker. Cartman is one of four central characters in South Park, along with Stan Marsh, Kyle Broflovski, and Kenny McCormick. Cartman first appeared, originally named Kenny, in prototypical form in a 1992 animated short Jesus vs. Frosty, and a 1995 animated short Jesus vs. Santa, and first appeared on television in the pilot episode of South Park, "Cartman Gets an Anal Probe", on August 13, 1997.

Cartman is an elementary school student who lives with his mother in the fictional town of South Park, Colorado, where he routinely has extraordinary experiences atypical of a small town. Cartman has been portrayed as aggressive, prejudiced, arrogant and narcissistic since his character's inception; Stone and Parker describe the character as "a little Archie Bunker". These traits are significantly augmented in later seasons as his character evolves and he begins to exhibit extremely psychopathic, sociopathic and manipulative behavior and also be depicted as highly intelligent, able to execute morally appalling plans and business ideas with success.

Cartman is considered to be the most popular and famous character on South Park. Parker and Stone state that he is their favorite character, and the one with whom they most identify. South Park has received both praise and criticism for Cartman's politically incorrect behavior. Prominent publications and television channels have included Cartman on their lists as one of the most iconic television and cartoon characters of all time.

Fairplay, Colorado

Fairplay is the statutory town that is the county seat and the most populous municipality of Park County, Colorado, United States. Fairplay is located in South Park at an elevation of 9,953 feet (3,034 m). The town is the fifth-highest incorporated place in the State of Colorado. The population was 679 at the U.S. Census 2010.

Isaac Hayes

Isaac Lee Hayes Jr. (August 20, 1942 – August 10, 2008) was an American singer, songwriter, actor, and producer. Hayes was one of the creative forces behind the Southern soul music label Stax Records, where he served both as an in-house songwriter and as a session musician and record producer, teaming with his partner David Porter during the mid-1960s. Hayes and Porter, along with Bill Withers, the Sherman Brothers, Steve Cropper, and John Fogerty were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2005 in recognition of writing scores of songs for themselves, the duo Sam & Dave, Carla Thomas, and others. In 2002, Hayes was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.The song "Soul Man", written by Hayes and Porter and first performed by Sam & Dave, has been recognized as one of the most influential songs of the past 50 years by the Grammy Hall of Fame. It was also honored by The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, by Rolling Stone magazine, and by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) as one of the Songs of the Century. During the late 1960s, Hayes also began a career as a recording artist. He had several successful soul albums such as Hot Buttered Soul (1969) and Black Moses (1971). In addition to his work in popular music, he worked as a composer of musical scores for motion pictures.

He was well known for his musical score for the film Shaft (1971). For the "Theme from Shaft", he was awarded the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1972. He became the third African-American, after Sidney Poitier and Hattie McDaniel, to win an Academy Award in any competitive field covered by Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He also won two Grammy Awards for that same year. Later, he was given his third Grammy for his music album Black Moses.

In 1992 Hayes was crowned honorary king of the Ada region of Ghana in recognition of his humanitarian work there. He acted in motion pictures and television, such as in the movies Truck Turner and I'm Gonna Git You Sucka, and as Gandolf "Gandy" Fitch in the TV series The Rockford Files (1974–1980). He voiced the character Chef from the animated Comedy Central series South Park from its debut in 1997 until 2005. His influences were Percy Mayfield, Big Joe Turner, James Brown, Jerry Butler, Sam Cooke, Fats Domino, Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding, and psychedelic soul groups like The Chambers Brothers and Sly and the Family Stone.

On August 5, 2003, Hayes was honored as a BMI Icon at the 2003 BMI Urban Awards for his enduring influence on generations of music makers. Throughout his songwriting career, Hayes received five BMI R&B Awards, two BMI Pop Awards, two BMI Urban Awards and six Million-Air citations. As of 2008, his songs generated more than 12 million performances.

Kenny McCormick

Kenneth "Kenny" McCormick is a main character in the adult animated television series South Park, along with Stan Marsh, Kyle Broflovski, and Eric Cartman. His oft-muffled and indiscernible speech—the result of his parka hood covering his mouth—is provided by co-creator Matt Stone. He debuted on television when South Park first aired on August 13, 1997, after having first appeared in The Spirit of Christmas shorts created by Stone and long-time collaborator Trey Parker in 1992 (Jesus vs. Frosty) and 1995 (Jesus vs. Santa).

Kenny is a third, later fourth-grade student who commonly has extraordinary experiences not typical of conventional small-town life in his hometown of South Park, Colorado, where he lives with his poverty-stricken family. Kenny is animated by computer to look as he did in the show's original method of cutout animation. He also appears in the 1999 full-length feature film South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, in which his true appearance and voice was first revealed, and various South Park merchandise.

In a running gag most prevalent during the first five seasons of the series, Kenny would suffer an excruciating death before returning alive and well in the next episode with little or no explanation given. Stan would frequently use the catchphrase "Oh, my God! They killed Kenny!", followed by Kyle exclaiming "...You bastards!" Since the show began its sixth season in 2002, the practice of killing Kenny has been seldom used by the show's creators. Various episodes have set up the gag, sometimes presenting a number of explanations for Kenny's unacknowledged reappearances.

Kyle Broflovski

Kyle Broflovski is a main character in the animated television series South Park. He is voiced by and loosely based on co-creator Matt Stone. Kyle is one of the show's four central characters, along with his friends Stan Marsh, Kenny McCormick, and Eric Cartman. He debuted on television when South Park first aired on August 13, 1997, after having first appeared in The Spirit of Christmas shorts created by Stone and long-time collaborator Trey Parker in 1992 (Jesus vs. Frosty) and 1995 (Jesus vs. Santa).

Kyle is an elementary school student who commonly has extraordinary experiences not typical of conventional small-town life in his fictional hometown of South Park, Colorado. Kyle is distinctive as one of the few Jewish children on the show, and because of this, he often feels like an outsider amongst the core group of characters. His portrayal in this role is often dealt with satirically, and has elicited both praise and criticism from Jewish viewers.

Like the other South Park characters, Kyle is animated by computer in a way to emulate the show's original method of cutout animation. He also appears in the 1999 full-length feature film South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, as well as South Park-related media and merchandise. While Parker and Stone portray Kyle as having common childlike tendencies, his dialogue is often intended to reflect stances and views on more adult-oriented issues, and has been cited in numerous publications by experts in the fields of politics, religion, popular culture, and philosophy.

List of South Park episodes

South Park is an American animated television sitcom created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone for Comedy Central that debuted on August 13, 1997. The series originated from a pair of animated shorts titled The Spirit of Christmas, and the first episode of South Park originally aired on August 13, 1997 on Comedy Central. Intended for mature audiences, the show has become infamous for its crude language and dark, surreal humor that lampoons a wide range of topics. The story revolves around four boys—Stan Marsh, Kyle Broflovski, Eric Cartman, and Kenny McCormick—and their bizarre adventures in and around the eponymous Colorado town.

Episodes of South Park have been nominated for a variety of different awards, including 3 Annie Awards (with one win), 2 Critics' Choice Television Award (with no wins), 17 Emmy Awards (with five wins), 3 TCA Awards (with no wins), and received a Peabody Award. Several compilation DVDs have been released. In addition, the first twenty seasons have been released on DVD and Blu-ray.The show remains Comedy Central's highest rated program and second-longest-running, behind The Daily Show. A feature film, South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, was released on June 30, 1999. Comedy Central has renewed South Park through 2019, which will bring the show to 23 seasons. Parker and Stone have expressed interest in continuing the series until Comedy Central cancels it. The twenty-second season, consisting of 10 episodes, premiered on September 26, 2018. As of December 12, 2018, 297 episodes of South Park have aired, concluding the twenty-second season.

List of South Park families

The following are fictional characters in the American animated television series South Park.

List of recurring South Park characters

The following is a list of recurring characters in the animated television series South Park. This does not include the school children, family members or the school staff.

List of students at South Park Elementary

Various student characters attend the fictional school South Park Elementary in the animated television show South Park. The school is one of the most prominent settings on the show, the narrative of which revolves mostly around the students.

While there have been a few characters from varying grades have been depicted in recurring minor roles, the students in the fourth grade—including central characters Stan Marsh, Kyle Broflovski, Kenny McCormick, and Eric Cartman—receive the primary focus of the series. The fourth grade class is taught throughout most of the series by Mr. Garrison, with a hiatus between seasons 4 and 6 when he is replaced by Ms. Choksondik. These students also attended class under Mr. Garrison during their previous time as third graders during South Park's first three-and-a-half seasons.

In tradition with the show's cutout animation style, all characters listed below are composed of simple geometrical shapes and bright colors. Ever since the show's third episode, "Weight Gain 4000" (season one, 1997), all characters on South Park have been animated with computer software, though they are portrayed to give the impression that the show still utilizes the method of animating construction paper composition cutouts through the use of stop motion, which was the technique used in creating the show's first episode, "Cartman Gets an Anal Probe".In addition to the main characters, other students below will sometimes give a brief monologue as a means of expressing the lessons they have attained during the course of an episode. Most of the characters are foul-mouthed as a means for series creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone to display how they claim young children really talk when they are alone. Most of the male students are amused by bodily functions and toilet humor, and their favorite television personalities are Terrance and Phillip, a Canadian duo whose comedy routines on their show-within-the-show revolve substantially around the usage of fart jokes. In response to the focus on elements of satire in South Park, Parker has said that the main goal of the show is to portray the students as "kids just being kids" as a means of accurately showcasing "what it's like to be in third grade in America".

Matt Stone

Matthew Richard Stone (born May 26, 1971) is an American animator, producer, screenwriter, actor, and composer. He is known for co-creating South Park (1997–present) as well as co-writing the Tony Award-winning musical The Book of Mormon (2011) with his creative partner Trey Parker. Stone was interested in film and music as a child, and attended the University of Colorado, Boulder following high school, where he met Parker. The two collaborated on various short films, and starred in a feature-length musical, titled Cannibal! The Musical (1993).

Stone and Parker moved to Los Angeles and wrote their second film, Orgazmo (1997). Before the premiere of the movie, South Park premiered on Comedy Central in August 1997. The duo, who possess full creative control of the show, have since produced music and video games based on the show, which continues to run. They worked on a feature film titled South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (1999), which received acclaim from both critics and fans. Alongside Parker, he has also produced various feature films and television series, including Team America: World Police (2004). After several years of development, The Book of Mormon, a musical co-written by Stone, Parker, and composer Robert Lopez, premiered on Broadway and became immensely successful. In 2013, he and Parker established their own production studio, Important Studios.

Stone has been the recipient of various awards over the course of his career, including five Primetime Emmy Awards for his work on South Park, as well as three Tony Awards and one Grammy Award for The Book of Mormon.

South Park (season 22)

The twenty-second season of South Park, an American animated sitcom created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, premiered on Comedy Central on September 26, 2018, and concluded on December 12, 2018; after 10 episodes aired. This season once again had planned "dark weeks" (weeks during which no new episodes would air) after episode four and episode seven.

On September 13, 2018, the series began teasing a set of commercials about a mock-cancellation by Comedy Central by using the hashtag #cancelsouthpark. Similar to the previous season, the season features continuing elements and recurring storylines without adhering to a linear story arc; while lampooning several phenomena such as school shootings in the United States, modern political correctness, climate change denial, and the working conditions and monopolistic tactics of Amazon, several characters in the show also express disdain and exasperation with South Park's constant attraction to controversy and surreal occurrences.

South Park Mexican

Carlos Coy (born October 5, 1970), better known by his stage name South Park Mexican, is an American rapper, founder of Dope House Records, and convicted sex offender. His stage name is derived from the South Park neighborhood in Houston, Texas where he was raised.

Coy, his brother Arthur, and a friend founded Dope House Records in 1995; Coy debuted as South Park Mexican that same year with the album Hillwood under the label. His fourth album, The 3rd Wish: To Rock the World, generated the hit single, "High So High".

In 2002, Coy was convicted of aggravated sexual assault of a child and sentenced to 45 years incarceration, and is currently serving his sentence at the Ramsey Unit in Rosharon, Texas. While incarcerated, he has continued to record music.

Stan Marsh

Stanley "Stan" Marsh is a main character of the animated television series South Park. He is voiced by and loosely based on series co-creator Trey Parker. Stan is one of the show's four central characters, along with Kyle Broflovski, Kenny McCormick, and Eric Cartman. He debuted on television when South Park first aired on August 13, 1997, after having first appeared in The Spirit of Christmas shorts created by Parker and long-time collaborator Matt Stone in 1992 (Jesus vs. Frosty) and 1995 (Jesus vs. Santa).

Stan is an elementary school student who commonly has extraordinary experiences not typical of conventional small-town life in his fictional hometown of South Park, Colorado. Stan is generally depicted as kind-hearted, intelligent, trustworthy and patient (if somewhat arrogant). He is outspoken in expressing his distinct lack of esteem for adults and their influences, as adult South Park residents rarely make use of their critical faculties.

Like the other South Park characters, Stan is animated by computer in a way to emulate the show's original method of cutout animation. He also appears in the full-length feature film South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (1999), as well as South Park-related media and merchandise. While Parker and Stone portray Stan as having common childlike tendencies, his dialogue is often intended to reflect stances and views on more adult-oriented issues and has been frequently cited in numerous publications by experts in the fields of politics, religion, popular culture and philosophy.

Trapped in the Closet (South Park)

"Trapped in the Closet" is the twelfth episode in the ninth season of the American animated television series South Park. The 137th episode of the series overall, it originally aired on Comedy Central in the United States on November 16, 2005. In the episode, Stan joins Scientology in an attempt to find something "fun and free". After the discovery of his surprisingly high "thetan levels", he is recognized as the reincarnation of L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of the church. The episode was written and directed by series co-creator Trey Parker. The title is a reference to the R. Kelly serialized song of the same name and a satirized version of R. Kelly appears in the episode.

"Trapped in the Closet" generated significant controversy. Tom Cruise, who is portrayed in the episode, reportedly threatened to back out of his promotional obligations for the Paramount Pictures film Mission: Impossible III if Viacom, the owner of both Comedy Central and Paramount, allowed a repeat airing of the episode. A publicist of Cruise denied this, saying "Tom had nothing to do with this matter. He's been promoting Mission: Impossible III for the last six months. We have no clue where this came from." Though the episode was originally scheduled for rebroadcast on March 15, 2006, the episode "Chef's Chocolate Salty Balls" was shown instead. Comedy Central representatives stated this change was made as a tribute to Isaac Hayes, but South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone thought otherwise; they issued a satirical statement saying they (Parker and Stone) were "servants of the dark lord Xenu". Hayes, the voice of staple character Chef, asked to be released from his contract shortly before the start of the tenth season. The reason for his departure, as reported by Stone, was due to his membership in Scientology and this episode, which Hayes—despite initially supporting the show's satirical take on several talk shows—claimed was very offensive. The episode has since been rebroadcast on Comedy Central multiple times.

"Trapped in the Closet" was nominated for an Emmy Award in July 2006, in the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program (for Programming Less Than One Hour) category. The episode was featured among Comedy Central's list of "10 South Parks That Changed The World", spoofed by Conan O'Brien in the opening segment of the 58th Primetime Emmy Awards, and mentioned in the Scientology critique film The Bridge. TV Guide ranked the episode #17 on its list of "TV's Top 100 Episodes of All Time".

Trey Parker

Randolph Severn "Trey" Parker III (born October 19, 1969) is an American animator, director, producer, screenwriter, actor, and composer. He is known for co-creating South Park (1997–) and co-developing the Tony Award-winning musical The Book of Mormon (2011) with his creative partner Matt Stone. Parker was interested in film and music as a child and at high school, and attended the University of Colorado, Boulder, where he met Stone. The two collaborated on various short films, and starred in the feature-length musical Cannibal! The Musical (1993).

Parker and Stone moved to Los Angeles and wrote their second film, Orgazmo (1997). Before the premiere of the film, South Park premiered on Comedy Central in August 1997. The duo possess full creative control of the show, and have produced music and video games based on it. A film based on South Park, South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (1999), received good reviews from both critics and fans. Parker went on to direct the satirical action film Team America: World Police (2004), and, after several years of development, The Book of Mormon premiered on Broadway to good reviews. In 2013, Parker and Stone established their own production studio, Important Studios.

Parker has been the recipient of various awards over the course of his career, including five Primetime Emmy Awards for his work on South Park, as well as four Tony Awards and a Grammy Award for The Book of Mormon.

South Park (franchise)
Media releases
Studio albums
Video games
See also
Feature films
Video games
See also

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