South Park is an animated series created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone. Distributed by and airing on Comedy Central since 1997, it follows the surreal adventures of four young boys who live in the small town of South Park, Colorado. In relations to Comedy Central, it is easily their most popular show, or at least one of the most popular; its popularity early on made Comedy Central into a standard channel that was viewed by thousands of people every day. The show is infamous for its profanity and other controversial elements.
- South Park/Season 1
- South Park/Season 2
- South Park/Season 3
- South Park/Season 4
- South Park/Season 5
- South Park/Season 6
- South Park/Season 7
- South Park/Season 8
- South Park/Season 9
- South Park/Season 10
- South Park/Season 11
- South Park/Season 12
- South Park/Season 13
- South Park/Season 14
- South Park/Season 15
- South Park/Season 16
- South Park/Season 17
- South Park/Season 18
- South Park/Season 19
- South Park/Season 20
About South Park
- Dr. Evil: When did you start work on the series? Did you ever expect things to take off the way they did?
- Sean: I started in May of '97. We were all pretty much overwhelmed by the popularity of the show when it took off. I joined the show because it appealed to my own twisted sense of humor. I had no idea that so many people were as twisted as me. :)
- J. J.: I started at the very beginning of '98, and by that time it was already a given that things were taking off.
- Tim: While I was content to hang around the halls of NASA forever when Sean called me about a position opening up on the feature film, I could not deny the fact that I was a long way from making comparable money as a government employee. I came down immediately in July '98 and have pretty much rolled with the punches for the last year.
- Dr. Evil, "The Ars Technica South Park interview", Arstechnica.
- Eric Cartman, the trash-talking, anti-Semitic, youngster who is one of the four main characters of their show, is the “shitty part” of Matt and Trey according to them. “There’s a big part of me that’s Eric Cartman. He’s both of our dark sides, [he says] the things we’d never say,” Parker told me.
It’s hard to believe there’s anything these men don’t say. They’ve taken on everything from abortion to molestation to cat orgies over the past 13 years and have not been delicate about it. They’ve only been censored once and that was during the Muhammad cartoon uproar last year, when they tried to insert a picture of the Islamic holy figure into their show.
- They’ve also been attacked by every religious group possible, but never asked to back off before, even when they stabbed Jesus in the neck and made all Catholic priests pedophiles. They said despite all that the most vocal group about religion has been atheists. “We got calls from atheists friends a couple times saying, ‘What the fuck, we thought you were on our side?’ and we say, ‘We’re not on anybody’s fucking side and we’re not atheists.’”
- Both men were adamant that the show has no political affiliation. “I would never want the show to be a Democrat show or Republican show, because for us the show’s more important than that. It isn’t for everybody else in the world, but it is for us. We don’t want you to come to it thinking, ‘These guys are going to bash liberals,’” Matt explained.
“I look at it like this,” Trey added. “I have a cat, I love my cat and it’s like someone coming in and saying, ‘Hey, is that cat a Republican or a Democrat?’ He’s my fucking cat, leave him alone.”
- Alex Leo, “Matt Stone & Trey Parker Are Not Your Political Allies (No Matter What You Believe)”, Huffington Post, (04/27/2010).
- On whether they've changed over the 14 seasons
- Trey Parker: "I would love to say yes, but I don't think we've grown up. We're still basically doing fart jokes. Thanks for rubbing it in our face. It's just really funny when we look back at Seasons 3 and 4. We used to look back at Seasons 1 and 2 and just be like 'Oh. Oh my god. We had no idea what we were doing. That's not funny. That's not well-written.' Because it was really through the process of doing the movie — especially, like, the South Park Movie — and then doing other stuff like that where we learned really how to be writers. We didn't really know how to do that. We were just faking it. And also through the years, we got really into the writing side of it. Like, we never sit in our writers' room and crack jokes. We really sit there and try to think through stuff that is just cool over the whole 20 minutes. And we get into that stuff more now than we did when we were 26."
- Trey Parker in "South Park Celebrates 14 Years Of Fart Jokes", NPR, March 24, 2010.
- Perhaps South Park’s most refreshing element is its refusal to take itself too seriously—no matter how seriously its fans take it. The series has effectively lampooned everything from Scientology to rain-forest conservation to P.C. culture, but often manages to do so without any real agenda. The adults are crazy; the kids are profane and clueless; the situations they find themselves in are so ridiculous that one has to imagine their creators laughing at anyone looking too hard for a deeper meaning. Perhaps the show’s long-running textual introduction says it best: “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.”
- Parker: I think our biggest strength is that we have a show that we completely make in one building in six days, and then we’re on to the next one. And there is a momentum to that. We don’t want to tie our hands and be like, “Well, no, we know we have got to go here on episode three.”
- Stone: Comedy’s changed, and I thought last season was really inspired by honest conversations. P.C. Principal embodies a new kind of a new political correctness, some of the stuff that we [have] talked about with comedians: “My jokes don’t play in college,” and “Some of the young people don’t like the same jokes.” And it’s like, “Well, are we old?” Do you know what I mean? It’s like, “Is this political correctness gone wild, or are we just old?” And it’s kind of both.
- Stone: I think one of the secrets of South Park—we literally just figured this out at some point last year—we noticed we don’t have teenagers, and we don’t have college kids in our show, really. There’s kids and there’s adults. And those two sides of humanity. And we don’t have any representation of actually current, cool kids, because we have no idea [what they’re like].
- Stone: When we started, [it was] Beavis and Butthead, and us, and in some ways The Simpsons, and Married with Children,—shit like that. It was before the Internet, which is a crazy thing. It’s before cellphones, much less social media, Facebook, and all that stuff. Before DVDs. Thats how long we’ve been on the air. And in the very beginning, we were a reaction not against the political correctness we saw in our lives, but just, like, TV was so bland. We grew up watching shitty sitcoms that were just so lifeless. And so it was definitely a lot of reaction against that. It’s interesting to live long enough and be working long enough to see a new wave.
- Stone: No matter how much of a punk rocker you think you are—some kind of rebel—you know when you get old, the kids are going to come try to eat your lunch. It’s just what they’re going to do. They’re coming for you. It’s actually fun to wrestle with. I find the subject interesting, and it’s fun to wrestle with it within our show instead of try[ing] to answer it. Because there is no answer. It’s just a dynamic between young people and old people.
- Matt Stone and Trey Parker, in “20 Seasons In, Matt Stone and Trey Parker Reveal the Secret to Keeping South Park Cool” by Laura Bradley, (September 9, 2016).
- Stone We shot the pilot ["Cartman Gets an Anal Probe"] for 60 or 70 days in Colorado. Every day we would be in Celluloid Studios in Denver — it was a slow time there. It was summer, so they just gave us the keys and we camped out there.
- Parker: We slept there sometimes.
- Graden: It was an arduous process because every time there was a note from the network, that meant Matt and Trey had to cut out more construction paper and reanimate five minutes of video, which can take five days.
- Stone: That was an entire summer. Like, that's all we did that summer — us just sitting there in the dark. Now a [computer-generated] episode takes six days.
- Graden: Eventually we got the pilot [about alien visitors] done and went to the focus group. It was the worst focus group I'd ever seen in my life: There were a lot of twos out of 10, and I remember three women crying because they said children should never say these inappropriate things.
- Stone: Yeah, the women did not like it.
- Herzog: We wanted to take a chance. But at the same time there was also a little bit of, "Well this is going to get attention one way or another — hopefully the right kind of attention."
- Graden: There wasn't any marketing [for the August 1997 debut] because it was a tiny channel, so I figured if we were lucky, maybe 200,000 people would tune in and we could kind of hold the baseline rating, which was tiny. But the premiere had [889,000] viewers. [It would reach as many as 5.6 million viewers as that season progressed.] We sort of pieced together that all the colleges were just starting to get T1 internet lines, so it actually had gone viral. But we had no idea. I know Comedy Central had no idea about this either.
- Parker: It was such a big hit that they were like, "We need more."
- Herzog: There were times, rare times, going back to the old days when we were still kind of in it script by script. I remember in the first season a script shows up called "When an Elephant F—s a Pig," and I went, "We can't call it that … or maybe we could." And it was a lot of how far can you push it and how far were you willing to go to defend it. And the truth is, I think we were overly careful in the beginning.
- Matt Stone, Trey Parker, Doug Herzog, Brian Graden in “Holy Shit, 'South Park' Is 20! Trey Parker, Matt Stone on Censors, Tom Cruise and Scientology's Role in Isaac Hayes Quitting” by Ryan Parker, (September 14, 2016).
- Trey Parker - Stan Marsh/Eric Cartman/Kyle Broflovski/Kenny McCormick