South Park is a televised animation series that attempts to cover and simultaneously satirize various topics throughout its run. It endeavors to bring various topics of discussion to the attention of the viewers varying from abortion issues to politics. The producers of the show utilize computer animation resources to edit the episodes to suit the theme they wish to convey to the world. Thus, their production is quick which allows the people to provide comments fast on recent events. For instance, there are episodes that depict recent occurrences such as the election of President Obama as the first black president of the United States of America and even the capture of the notorious Saddam Hussein. The show is a good way of creating awareness of the happenings in the world. The essay endeavors to find the truth in the statement above.
The most interesting aspect of this show is the fact that the creators have come up with a way to engender a concussion of fiscally conservative and socially liberal viewpoints. These viewpoints espouse a libertarian ideology that is applicable both on the show and in real life situations. The themes that they convey in the show are tailored for a specific happening in life. For instance, on the issue of abortion, the episode called, “Cartman’s Mom is Still a Dirty Slut” portrays the theme adequately and objectively. It involves the mom to Cartman attempting to get a ‘42nd tri-semester’ abortion for her son only to learn that such a late abortion was illegal. However, the creators of the show normally consider themselves ‘equal opportunity offenders.’ The meaning of this is that they feel they are not following any consistent ideological agenda in the show as people are thinking of themselves (Hu, 2008).
Stuart W. Bedford considers the show to be one that sharply observes satirical sentiments buried deep beneath in what he defines as ‘poop humor.’ The poop humor is ‘the blood in the stool.’ According to Stuart, the show was not meant to work out, which it did not for many. The traditional South Park animation was so crude, basic and cheap so much so that writing back then was a puerile effort. However, for the children, it was still a cartoon. The cartoon was filthy and childish making it something the parents of a child would not enjoy watching. South Park began with “fart” jokes that were a funny thing to any child especially those just starting their teenage years. Parents, being people that were ‘ancient,’ may not have had an appreciation for the humor in the “fart” jokes and that could explain the reason that they never enjoyed the show (Nagy, 2010).
The show ‘matured’ through the years so that today, the humor it brings out are no longer childish. It brings up issues that are pertinent to the matters affecting the world. The ‘filthiness’ aspect is still there only that it has taken a new turn on that matter. In fact, according to Stuart, it is by far worse. The only positive difference is that the show has increased in its output such that as much as it is an offensive show, it posits intelligent output making it enjoyable for the fans. Therefore, it has led to the fans growing from not only the children that once were but even adults can find that these jokes are funny. Its fan base has grown so wide that it can compare with famous sitcoms such as the Simpsons. Stuart identifies that the most revered quality of South Park is the boldness it accentuates concerning its social satire. The creators of the show will say anything without fear of repercussion backing themselves with the notion that either everything is funny, or nothing is funny.
Another article that assesses the origin of success of South Park is one written by Professor Candice Calles and Maria Gelyn called the ‘Rhetorical Analysis: South Park.’ The thesis of the article is that the power and success that South Park now has is bent on the rich parody, mockery and satire that the creators of the show have. The creators utilize these tools to aim contemporary values and cultures in the world today. The authors identify the start of the show in 1997 as any other offensive cartoon while at the same time staying within the acceptable limits of television (Ndlovu, 2013). The show was infamous at the time not for anything other than the crude humor that the show had. The show looked as if it would take the route other shows before it already took in that after a while of gaining reputation; it suddenly loses its viewership.
Surprisingly the show took a new turn and had a large fan base compared to most shows its major rival being the Simpsons. These authors believe that this show owes its greatness to the satire and freedom of expression that the creators of the show embrace. These authors believe that the show is a political show because it aims to point out the political issues that trouble the US politics. Take for instance; Saddam Hussein was a menace to the United States for a long time. The US government was committed to putting him behind bars; they had little success. Once he was finally caught, South Park used the situation to create a great situational comedy that interested may people. Through the use of major political issues, they attained relevance so that they have wider fan base not just children (Schulzke, 2012).
Both of these articles have valid truths and pointers in that they have supporting evidence. The first article, however, is one that I find at par with my ideologies. The fact that the show was initially crude with only children as its fans is very true. As a child, I remember watching it countless times. The fact that parents disliked the show is true because I could see the disgust on my parents’ faces especially during the “fart” jokes. They always felt the show encouraged bad habits to an extent that I had to watch the show secretly. The second article is not wrong because the show is indeed based on satire as its base of comedy and also, it utilizes situations to create humor for the public. The disputing fact, on my part, is the fact that the show is not entirely a political show. It is bent on other themes such as abortions as illustrated above.
The show is one good way of creating awareness because of the fact that there is nothing that they hide. Any political scams are showing and brought to light for the public to see. Even though it is not direct, it is in a form that people can laugh about it and at the same time criticize the acts. Furthermore, the show brings to light socially pressing issues that the world needs to know about and address them. The show is also a good accentuation of the freedom of the media because they are not harassed by the government for the shows that they air.
Hu Pegues, J. (2008). Miss Cylon: Empire and Adoption in “Battlestar Galactica.”. Melus, 33(4), 189-209.
NAGY, V. (2010). Motherhood, Stereotypes, and South Park. Women’s Studies, 39(1), 1-17. doi:10.1080/00497870903368948
Ndlovu, T. (2013). FIXING FAMILIES THROUGH TELEVISION?. Cultural Studies, 27(3), 379-403. doi:10.1080/09502386.2013.769152
Schulzke, M. (2012). Contentious Language: South Park and the Transformation of Meaning. Journal Of Popular Film & Television, 40(1), 22-31. doi:10.1080/01956051.2011.624136