For anyone who’s watched at least one episode of the animated series centered around four young boys from a small town in Colorado, there’s ribbing, then there’s South Park ribbing.
Created from the ingenious (some might argue insane) minds of Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the crudely animated show offers up an extreme – and that’s putting it mildly – take on current events and social issues transpiring around the globe. When I say current, I’m not kidding folks, thanks to the fact South Park is a simple 3D drawn cartoon generated by computers, it allows for an almost real-time injection of topics fresh in the news.
Case in point, the 20th season premiere which literally just aired within the last day or so, tackles (pun gracefully intended) the whole Colin Kaepernick National Anthem protest which took center stage with the media and social media only a few short weeks ago. God bless their souls, Parker and Stone even managed to fit in some digs at Paul Feig, the Ghostbusters reboot, along with most reboots in general. Where they come up with ideas for Member berries is beyond me. (And I thought my mind was out there.) Of course last minute inclusions into the story also make for some interesting plot bed fellows. If a storyline combining the topics of gentrification, Whole Foods, political correctness, ISIS, ninjas, and space aliens isn’t proof of that, I’m not entirely sure what is.
All of the above-mentioned absurdity, along with its pull-no-punches approach, has helped keep South Park not only popular, but relevant in an age of online streaming shows and do-it-yourself YouTube cartoonists. To be fair however, “pull-no-punches” may not have been the right choice of words. Something along the lines of “throw haymakers well after the body has been bloodied and dismembered” would be slightly more apropos.
Thanks in large part to Parker and Stone’s Libertarian political views, South Park leaves no politician unscathed, ripping venerable new ones into both Clintons, Trump, Obama and Bush to equal degree. Entertainers the likes of Paris Hilton, Ben Affleck, Barbara Streisand, Kaitlin Jenner and Brittany Spears are not safe from the wrath of South Park either. Many celebrities are often ridiculed mercilessly even after the proverbial coroner has deemed the animated bodies cold. Oddly enough, the take-no-prisoners attitude is what helps attract viewers from all walks of life and reminds us all to take ourselves a little bit more lightly.
Despite the extremely graphic nature of the writing and visuals, the series remembers to add heart at just the right moments so we inevitably care about the main set of protagonists the audience spends time with on a regular basis. My personal favorite has to be Butters Stotch, whom as the overly-innocent nice kid who simultaneously gets taken advantage of and scolded by his folks for pretty much everything but breathing; reminds me of me.
Don’t laugh, this actually made me tear up when I first watched this episode.
(Fine, you can laugh.)
As a die-hard fan of the series, there was no way I was going to leave San Diego Comic-Con without making my way through the mini-South Park setup Comedy Central erected in celebration of the show’s 20 year run. Check out the photos below to see how the Outlaw relived some of the series most memorable episodes.
“Screw you guys, I’m going to show you the photos now!”
The South Park 20th Anniversary Event – Outlaw Style: