The animated comedy South Park premiered on Comedy Central in 1997 and immediately became one of the most controversial programs in television (see entry under 1940s—TV and Radio in volume 3) history. Created by Trey Parker (1969–) and Matt Stone (1971–), the series depicts the raunchy and bizarre adventures of a group of third graders living in South Park, Colorado. The main characters (all voiced by Stone and Parker) include Stan Marsh, Kyle Broslovski, Kenny McCormick, and Eric Cartman. The youngsters swear constantly, delight in coarse behavior, and disrespect adult authority. The program's profane humor is contrasted by its simplistic animation style that resembles paper cutouts.
South Park was a huge hit with teens, "twentysomethings," and even children. Many parents criticized the series for encouraging profanity and raunchiness in their kids. Despite vocal opposition, the series remained enormously popular and spawned a mountain of merchandise. Its memorable catch-phrase "They killed Kenny! You bastards!" was repeated often when the mumbling Kenny met a grisly end in every episode. In 1999, the characters moved to the silver screen to appear in South Park: Bigger, Longer, Uncut, a musical that was even more profanity-filled than the series. Parker and Stone continued the vulgar humor they popularized in South Park in a live-actionsitcom (situation comedy; see entry under 1950s—TV and Radio in volume 3) titled That's My Bush! (2001), which featured the wacky antics of President George W. Bush (1946–).
For More Information
Gegax, T. Trent, et al. "South Park: The Rude Tube." Newsweek (March 23, 1998): pp. 56–62.
Parker, Trey, and Matt Stone. South Park: A Stickyforms Adventure. New York: Pocket Books, 1998.
SouthParkStudios.com.http://www.southparkstudios.com (accessed April 4, 2002).