Tuesday, March 29, 2016

South Park, Colorado

South Park has been a proud pleasure of mine ever since my parents stopped monitoring what I watched on television. At the ripe age of thirteen, I was introduced to this fantastic show that features the stories of four elementary school students who are growing up in South Park, Colorado. South Park has a unique perspective of addressing social, political, and economic issues that has doubtlessly never been popularized before. In the most recent season (the nineteenth season), the creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone tried to intersect excessive advertising in news mediums with political correctness and the current presidential election. The clip below can give you an idea of how South Park expresses its view, to put it lightly, in a very open and carefree way. Brace yourself, the video has mature language. 

The important thing to note here is that South Park's vulgar language and cartoon violence is not what makes it creative. Their ability to connect different issues in episodes and create characters that embody and contrast opinions is what I believe to be so creative about them. In the clip above, Reality is a character who has been trying to get people in South Park to realize Parker and Stone's view on society. Reality is used as a soap box for the creators of this show while asserting itself as the right opinion. Although I will not comment on whether I think they typically present the "right view" or not, it is important to notice that Parker and Stone use the juvenile and seemingly ignorant perspective of the four elementary school students (Stan, Kyle, Cartman, and Kenny) to establish what opinions might seem native to humans. By this, I mean that opinions held by these four are meant to establish a view and message that South Park wants people to consider, and it is powerful because it is coming from fourth-graders. Furthermore, the plots and adventures these boys go on are almost unthinkably wacky and creative.

 If Parker and Stone were to take a Gullford Alternative Use Task for a brick, they could probably tell you the history behind it and what its thoughts are on socioeconomic issues. If you do not believe me, I encourage you to watch the clip below or a full episode on the Comedy Central website. Note in this clip, Stan's dad joins a social fraternity that seeks to help people realize their privilege. The wacky part of this is that later on in season nineteen, spoiler alert, the president of this fraternity will battle an anthropomorphic advertisement and he will also attempt to censor a elementary school newspaper.

Trey Parker and Matt Stone are commonly known to be masterminds when it comes to comedy. They are also known for creating the puppet movie, Team America: World Police and the hit musical The Book of Mormon. This musical went on to be nominated for the "Best Original Score" and "Best Direction of a Musical" Tony Awards. Matt Stone and Trey Parker do the majority of vocals for South Park and have also made nearly every song heard on the show. South Park has also won various Emmy Awards and continues to have high ratings on Comedy Central. Overall, Parker and Stone are hyper-creatives who love to present their opinions in any medium possible.



  1. I found this very interesting because in all honesty I do not watch South Park because in my head it is simply a vulgar show. It is interesting to read of the ways the creators include relevant social issues. That is definitely a creative way to get one's opinions on a particular topic out in the open. You also made clear that these gentlemen are not one time creatives and even left their medium to create a musical.

  2. I haven't seen South Park in quite a while and this post took me back! Trey Parker and Matt Stone are creative geniuses without a doubt. I would be very interested to learn more about their creative process and they way the collaborate in order to develop a show. As I said, it has been a while since I've seen the show but I remember watching and thinking 'that came out of nowhere!' As the plot develops the wackiest twists unfold and I would be curious to find out which creative comes up with that stuff? Is it both? Since the show really is so political, I wonder if there are ever times they are not on the same page about a topic in the show.

  3. I was originally very anti-South Park, but after a few episodes on a binge I can say I was converted. In classes we have discussed the ability of satire to raise awareness about certain issues facing society, and how satire itself is an art that takes skill and creativity. Matt Stone and Trey Parker take this to an entirely new level. I like how you highlighted their tendencies to not pull punches, as well as how they regularly "step over" the line on a lot of sensitive topics. Their complete disregard for societal bounds (and others feelings) is somehow what makes them creative. Personally, I believe it is because they [just as you did while writing on them] did not truly take a side, but simply try to bring the topics of conversation to the front of their fans' minds. I loved how you discussed their lens of 4th graders as well! It emphasizes how they feel the majority of people handle things without maturity -- and yet still make an intelligent point. Their creativity is always in collaboration as well, as we discussed this week in lecture. Thank you for an interesting topic!

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  5. I initially strayed away from South Park because I leaned toward Family Guy and for whatever reason I felt I couldn't like both. That quickly changed after I roomed with a South Park fanatic and I fell in love with the show. You hit the nail on the head about their process and their purpose for creating the show. I love that they aren't afraid of addressing society's biggest problems and certainly aren't afraid of offending anyone in order to get their message across. I also think the use of 4th graders as the voice of reason in the show is a great way to show the right answer to a problem doesn't always lie in the majority and can be found where you least expect it (in a group of 4th graders). However, I didn't know that they voice most of the characters and write their own songs also. It's crazy to think that much creativity is bottled up in these two. Considering how much collaboration goes into their creative process I wonder if they ever have serious conflicts over the direction of the show.

  6. I did not watch South Park for some time, because it was always considered a "vulgar" show, and at first glance, filled with juvenile comedy. However once I started watching, I began to see that the show is so much more than a comedy television show. Like your post mentioned, Parker and Stone use their show as a medium to present their views on various societal issues. And it seems with every new episode they create, they always manage to relate it to current events. That alone is a great example of their creativity, and they continue to prove their creativity by expanding to new forms of media, such as the Book of Mormon. The musical also utilized a similar form of satire to create a message about the Mormon religion. Though it's masked in comedy, Parker and Stone's works are great examples of using satire to bring sensitive topics into the public sphere. It would be interesting to learn more about their collaborative process to see how they work together.

  7. I personally have not really watched South Park and have never gotten very interested. All I know about that show is that is very vulgar, has been around for quite some time, and is a favorite show of many of my friends. Additionally, I am somewhat aware that South Park attempts to bring current issues into their new seasons, thus making every new season fresh and exciting. In my opinion, the show is so creative because they are able to constantly bring new and fresh ideas and talking points into the show, while always keeping the crude humor that has continually been found in the show. Thanks for sharing another perspective on the show.

  8. As many people, I also did not like South Park in the beginning. I was more than shocked one day to find my younger brother watching the show and laughing every other second. After deliberation, I decided to give the show a try. Needless to say, I was hooked! Although college work and other obligations have detached me from television in general, I know South Park is a show I can go back to when I need to binge watch something. I find it funny, creative, and unique. The only other show I can think of with kids talking about mature content is Stewie from Family Guy but I do not think I can even compare these two shows since the approaches are different.

    What really caught me in this article is that you selected something that I had completely overlooked. Although I noticed the creativity, I was more captured by the humor in the show to really dissect the show. It is quite amazing to see the development the makers brought into South Park. It is so simple yet complex. It has serious contemporary issues within society but they made is relatable to each type of audience, whether they are educated or uneducated. Anyway, thank you for bring back the memories. I am thinking of watching the show again during summer time.


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