The Meaning of South Park

I think it's probably up there with stuff like GTA in terms of shaping the culture. I haven't watched a full episode in years, but it seems to still be going strong, stronger than The Simpsons is anyway. Inevitable really, The Simpsons was always more self-contained.

Adam Curtis thinks it's the best explanation of contemporary (Western) life currently going,
But the true genius is South Park. Every week they report on the world in a really original way. Their recent shows have been all about social media and internet trolling – and it is just wonderful. They make you realise how strange and absurd that world is. But the show I would nominate is the three-parter they did called Imaginationland. It is about how terrorists take over all of our imaginations – and then our imaginations run out of control with dark horror. So the US government decide to nuke our imaginations. But Kyle from South Park confronts the government and makes an epic speech about how what we imagine inside our heads is more real, and has had more effect on the world throughout history than us as just physical beings.

The whole story is a wonderful attack on the narrow rational utilitarianism of our age that both left and right have bought into. It’s saying: you can make the world anything you want it to be. At its heart, South Park has a touching faith in human beings. That despite their absurdities and flaws, people have the capacity to create a better world.
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
I must say I never really got anything out of South Park besides finding it glorious silly and funny.

Not to say that it isn't a clever show with things to say because it is but I'd struggle to think of an episode of it that made me question my beliefs. I've not watched it for a long time though so perhaps I'm not thinking hard enough.

Or maybe cos I haven't got any beliefs? The perfect child of South Park.
 
The one where Stan gets ostracised for refusing to vote because the choice is between a giant douche and a turd sandwich made an impression when I was a young teenager.
 
I must say I never really got anything out of South Park besides finding it glorious silly and funny.

Not to say that it isn't a clever show with things to say because it is but I'd struggle to think of an episode of it that made me question my beliefs. I've not watched it for a long time though so perhaps I'm not thinking hard enough.

Or maybe cos I haven't got any beliefs? The perfect child of South Park.
Its sense of humour was really what I was referring to when I was talking about shaping the culture. Another one like The Office with a clear before and after.

I think it was either luka or yyaldrin who made the South Park - 4chan, alt-right connection in another thread. It's surely part of the foundation of internet humour.
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
I remember it sweeping through my school. Carman and Kenny t shirts.

I hated it on principle as a Simpsons stan. And then I finally saw it and couldn't maintain my stance. This was before it became all clever, though. It was purely peurile.
 
They made a couple of games fairly recently which were like interactive episodes, the art style translates perfectly.

 
I remember it sweeping through my school. Carman and Kenny t shirts.
I remember Clinton Cards selling plush South Park characters and a house I used to walk past on my way to school that had one of Cartman in the living room window.
 
@Mr. Tea and I spoke about the nihilism at the core of this show in the journey to the alt-right thread
Interesting to pit that against Adam Curtis' contention,

"At its heart, South Park has a touching faith in human beings. That despite their absurdities and flaws, people have the capacity to create a better world."
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
There was a whole fungal cluster of articles about how South Park destroyed civilisation a little while back. Probably prompted by Trumps election.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
I remember Clinton Cards selling plush South Park characters and a house I used to walk past on my way to school that had one of Cartman in the living room window.
My girlfriend has a big Cartman one... and an enormous Butters one. Butters is surely one of the greatest comedy characters of all time (and Cartman not far behind).... who took that mixture of cuteness and evil that South Park do sell well to its logical extreme.
The Loo loo loo song vs the one where he becomes a pimp.



I remember a lot of hype when it was coming out. It was never that controversial in the UK - obviously it sailed close to the wind - I feel although it was already getting in trouble elsewhere.

"At its heart, South Park has a touching faith in human beings. That despite their absurdities and flaws, people have the capacity to create a better world."
I broadly agree with that, for me the way that, say, Jimmy and Timmy act is somehow very human despite the piss-taking, much more so than characters in many more supposedly socially aware shows. Of course though some of South Park is morally questionable, I don't think that they have a real consistent position. The recent-ish ManBearPig issue was a kind of apology for their previous stance on Climate Change (though it still ripped the piss out of Al Gore) - how many shows would do that?
 
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They decided to make Randy, Stan's dad, a major character somewhere along the line and he ended up being the funniest one in it, imo.

 

IdleRich

IdleRich
Very useful quote that "I thought this was America" one.
Randy is also great.... not so keen on the Tegridy Farms story line though. Quite funny when he went to China, killed Winnie the Pooh and invents covid by bumming a bat and a pangolin.


And then he's getting beaten up by right-on rednecks.... "looks like we got ourselves a n***** guy".
 
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