Controversy In South Park Film Studies Essay

South Park is an icon of modern satire and humor in America.  This sitcom is a source of thousands of winged phrases culprit billion settlement on all sorts of topics covered in it. It ridicules many celebrities, religion, individual nations and a lot of things that are part of our lives.

Series «South Park» – is a cruel satire of American society produced by the “Comedy Central” over ten years. During this time the series had gained popularity, received awards, was on the verge of closing and again reborn.

 Anime as a genre, can reduce everything to a joke, and, even if it differs with black humor, violates ethical rules, ridicules the ideals of “decent Americans.” South Park mocks and parodies, drops and mixes with the mud all that is possible and all that is impossible.

To describe the series definitely – is quite a challenge: comments on it differ immensely from the exclamations of delight, to the requirements of the immediate closure. The basis of action is an exaggeration or an understatement of some events: sometimes of household trifles, sometimes of the world’s problems. This is a blow to the stereotyped thinking. The television is not taken to reflect on what is considered politically incorrect, especially about how the Americans think about Jews, Canadian, Russian, blacks, people of different faiths, but «South Park» ridicules almost all religions and nationalities.

In the “South Park”, that violates at the events of reality, can not appear so-called “guest stars”. Mostly they look like cartoon with a head carved out of this photo: in particular in the series satirically played on Ben Affleck, Russell Crowe, Mel Gibson, Paris Hilton, Jennifer Lopez.

«South Park» in 2006 won Peabody Award, a prestigious award for journalists, established by the University of Georgia. Jury awards noted “South Park” as “the most vivid, politically incorrect TV program”. (Mansour, 2005)

In its own way «South Park» is unique. Perhaps the main idea of the series is that we must be able to laugh at themselves, and perhaps to appreciate life. In any case, it is not so superficial and vulgar as it first seems, because of the rudeness and swearing discuss important issues. A conspicuous obscenity is a speaking out against censorship, in which TV is entangled.

“South Park” as a ridicule of American life

South Park” is an American animated television series created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone. The plot is based on adventures of four boys and their friends living in the small town of South Park, Colorado. Series ridicules the shortcomings of American culture and current world events, and criticized a lot of deep convictions and taboos, through parody and black humor.

The series always involves controversial subjects and all sorts of taboos. Obscene language is used to make fun of religion and cults, such issues as sexuality and global warming. The series covers and ridicules practically all topics and points of view, absolutely all things can become subject of jokes and ridicules. According to Tony Fox, one of the leaders of Comedy Central, creators of “South Park “make an attempt to make people laugh, not offend anyone.” ()

Main characters – are the portraits of certain people in the modern world, images of certain characters.The main heroes of the cartoon are five students of American elementary school. 

Eric Theodore Cartman – the prototype of this hero was Archie Bunker, a fictional character in the once popular U.S. comedy series “The whole family”. Eric is often the instigator of the conflict and asks a series of problems. He is vulgar, offensive, has an unhealthy sadistic, intolerant of anything alien, spoiled, rude, hostile and obese. He is a racist, so constantly insults Kyle and considers his idol Hitler, even his name is very similar to the name of best air ace of the Third Reich – Erich Hartmann. Sometimes he laughs on poverty. At the same time, his flashy and sociopathic behavior often play a trick on him, pitting him against the others. In many parts Cartman openly opposed to the other three characters. However, Cartman has repeatedly demonstrated his supernatural ability to conduct business and leadership: he can easily make money or incites others to action that helped him to achieve own goals. However, he has a lot of complexes: for example, Eric explains his overweight as “wide bones and a strong constitution”, because that is what my mother told him. Cartman is the only anti-hero of all four children, but he from the very first season is attracting more attention of the spectators than the remaining trio. Cartman entered the list of VH1 “greatest icons of pop culture”, the list of TV Guide “50 greatest cartoon characters”, and in 2005 was in the list of the channel Bravo “100 greatest TV characters”.()

Stanley (Stan) Marsh – good-natured and clear-headed man, who usually tries to get out of scandalous situations by finding a logical solution. Stan is a moralist, and often utters morality of the whole series, for his age he has a very profound views on many issues. Stan lives with his mom, dad, sister and grandfather, his family is often used as an example of the archetypal American family.

Kyle Broflovski – is a sensitive skeptic, at times self-satisfied and pliable, but always sincerely trying to learn. By origin he is a Jew. Like Stan, Kyle often provides a reasonable estimate of the abnormal behavior of the adults around them, but more emotional and subjective. Kyle, unlike Eric Cartman, always ponders over his actions, and tries to correct his mistakes, he is very careful to expensive to own people – friends, parents, brother. Perhaps it is a cartoonish character of a typical Jew.

Kenneth (Kenny) McCormick: during the first five seasons Kenny serves as a perpetual victim is killed in many ways. This is because the series in the series, with few exceptions, accompanied by remarks obychnosmert Kenny Stan: Oh my God! They killed Kenny! – “You Bustards!”. Cause permanent resurrections Kenny revealed in one of the series – his parents give birth to every episode of a new son, absolutely indistinguishable from the dead last. At the end of the fifth season of Kenny dies “for real”, so for 6 seasons friends must search for his replacement.

The basis of character, as a rule, is a typical “template” – a primitive-drawn body, a circle for a head, big eyes. If a character is a prototype of a real life, sometimes instead of a drawing or photograph a person using a few, so you can change facial expressions. Sometimes, for extra comic effect a more complex animation is used. Instead of fire, cut from colored paper, is now using realistic graphics bombings, against the backdrop of primitive graphics core landscape creates an additional humorous effect.

Sometimes with the help of special effects certain films, series, or whole genres are parodied. For example, a series called “Good Times with Weapons” was made in style of anime, “Make Love, Not Warcraft” contains numerous videos from “Warcraft”; in addition there are a lot of episodes in the parody style of animation of “Scooby-Doo”, “The Simpsons”, “Family Guy “, cartoon ” Heavy Metal “. Also there are fragments with documentary footage, for example – in a series of “Tweek vs. Craig”, “Cat Orgy” and “New Trend Snatch Mr. Garrison.” (South Park Studios FAQ, 2001)

The primitive style of animation in the “South Park” – is completely on purpose, the use for such animation editors Maya and Corel Draw Parker and Stone describe as “an example of self-irony”. (Jones, 2008)

“South Park” very often shows business and media stars, although only few of them (in particular, «Radiohead», «Korn», Robert Smith of «The Cure») voiced themselves. In most cases the ratio of creators to the characters of celebrities is extremely humiliating, all their negative traits are maximized, sometimes even mockery has no real motive.

Paris Hilton. In episode 812 she opens in South Park a shop “Dull spoiled whore”, she also used obscene language. In the comments creators emphasized that usually do not make fun of a particular celebrity, but the idea of “celebrity” in principle, and in this case they had quite specific desire – to show that girls must not become such as Peris is.

Barbara Streisand. Creators of the series really hate Barbra Streisand for her self-love and is constantly laughing at her: in the episode “Mecha-Streisand” she tries to take over the world in the form of a huge robot dinosaur, in the episode “terrible fish” her face is always on the screen to the viewer was terrible. And in the movie “South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut” her name is used as a curse, but in the episode “Osama Bin Laden Has Farty Pants” plaque with her picture represents an extreme degree of stupidity.

Ben Affleck. In episode 510, he is the son of people with ass instead of head, and all are aware that Ben Affleck is quite obvious also sick of this disease. In the 705th episode, Ben Affleck falls in love with Cartman’s hand, imagines himself the new Jennifer Lopez. This infuriates the real Jennifer Lopez, who arranges for Cartman’s hand, hunting for what eventually sentenced to occupational therapy.

Sally Struthers. She is a well-known on television stout woman, engaged in charity, so in episode 109 she eats cupcakes and is intended for humanitarian aid. In episode 311 she is shown in the image of a giant worm Jabba the Hutt from “Star Wars”.

 Russell Crowe. In episode 604, Russell Crowe is shown as idiot, who leads his own show on beating people around the world. In particular, Russell Crowe beat the Chinese, children and cancer patients.

Mel Gibson. In episode 804, when Stan and Kenny come to the Gibson home, he is shown as a lunatic, who paints his face like his hero in the movie “Braveheart” and the chase in his shorts for boys, laughing, mad, and cries of “torture me!” Until the South Park. At the end of the episode, Kyle, which is developing a complex about the film “The Passion of the Christ”, says “I am that all this time agonizes over this movie nerd?” (Jones, 2008)

Typically, a celebrity does not react to ridicule in the “South Park”. Nevertheless, we know that Bob Saget, David Blaine, Tina Yozers and Patrick Duffy commended their “appearance” in the series, considering it was funny. But there are a lot of counter-examples: as sharply responded negatively about the series Barbra Streisand. Also in one of the most controversial episodes called “Trapped in the Closet” Tom Cruise is for a long time trying to “come out the closet”, which is a typical expression meaning “to confess to his own homosexuality”. Although Cruz said that he didn’t care about these jokes. (Jones, 2008)

The main topics of mockeries in the “South Park”

One of the most characteristic features of the plot of “South park” is the presence of many series of parodic debriefing and moralization, when heroes Stan and Kyle speak to other characters: ” I learnt something today”. In different series it can be portrayed in different ways: sometimes with the help of the rotation (at least in those cases when, after a standard phrase uttered truly significant word) actually supplied some kind of morality and suggests that belong to Parker and Stone . In other cases, however, it serves as a simply humorous admission, when the heroes have to make some of their goals or get rid of those they harm.  (Broman,,2007)

A characteristic feature of the series, which can be observed in many series, is the constant mockery of all kinds of stereotypes of our modern life. The set of characters and situations are hyperbolizing in series to limit expressions of certain stereotypes prevailing in America or around the world. On the other hand, often in the “South Park” primitive stereotypes unexpectedly found to be completely accurate. The complex, ironic play around stereotypes, by which to know the plot twist is practically impossible, is a striking feature of the series. (Heffernan, 2005)

The most common stereotypes are about nationalities and their characters, about modern society and modern style of life.

For example, there are a lot of mockeries about Canadians. All Canadians on the show, since appearing in episode 101 of Ike, are shown much coarser than the American characters: they have small eyes, the upper half of the head twitches during a conversation. Primitivity of image of Canadians is emphasized: for example, a person with an ugly face is depicted in the same way as any other. Deliberate ugliness of Canadians, compared with the usual characters, is a clear mockery of the American stereotypes of Canadians as inferior human beings. In the FAQ on the official website of the series was told that Stone and Parker are trying to “portray the most realistic of Canadians. (Johnson-Woods, 2007) 

 In the song «Blame Canada» and anticanadian campaign in the movie “South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut” also a mockery of American stereotypes about their neighbors are marked.  However, in 2005 Matt Stone made clear that the characteristic for the series image of Canadians is no more than a satire. (Johnson-Woods, 2007)

Also the “South park” has a lot of jokes about the Japanese. American stereotype of spirituality and “machining process” of Japanese is reflected in episode 904, when one of the archangels of Heaven resembles another that ” the Japanese have no souls”. The stereotype of the Japanese as enemies of America is ridiculed in a series 310, when the Emperor of Japan with his assistants hipnotizes children again to attack Pearl Harbor.

It is necessary to mention also certain jokes about the Chinese. In a series 611 Chinese restaurant owner Tuong Lu Kim’s is requested to build the city wall, as he is the only Chinese in the city, but the Chinese do have the ability to build the wall. Chinese outraged, but nevertheless built a huge wall, quite comparable to the Great Chinese Wall, and later he tried to defend it from Mongols who tried to destroy it. Also in the series “The China Probrem” Cartman decides that the Chinese want to conquer the world, and they along with Butters depict the Chinese to learn from one of the Chinese families about plans to seize the world.

Speaking about the topics of jokes and mockeries it is necessary to point out the questions of religions: Islam, Catholicism and Sсientology.

For example a series “Trapped in the Closet” is ridiculing the Church of Scientology and its famous followers, Tom Cruise and John Travolta. In this episode, Scientologists declare Stan’s new incarnation of L. Ron Hubbard , and Tom Cruise is locked in a closet because Stan did not praise his acting skills. Also, Scientology is parodied in the series “Super Best Friends” and “Return of Chef”, but just the name of religion is not called. In “Super Best Friends” appear fictional cult of “Bleyntology”, that is taking money from the faithful, who claims to tax benefits and compels ordinary people consider themselves unhappy, and in” The Return of Chef “author returns to the events surrounding the” Trapped in the Closet. “( Jones, 2008)

The “South Park” has repeatedly derided Judaism and Mormonism. Kyle is a Jew, Cartman is an anti-Semite, so that attacks on Judaism are frequent phenomenon for “South Park”, while these jokes are mostly from negative characters. Series «The Passion of the Jew» illuminates the contradictions surrounding the movie by Mel Gibson’s “Passion of the Christ”: Kyle, a Jew, after viewing the film decides that his nation is truly blamed for the sufferings of Christ, and tries to make the synagogue in South Park to bring apologies. However, to the final series it turns out that Gibson is an insane fanatic weirdo, and even Cartman is disappointed in him, though “The Passion of the Christ” is one of the pillars of his anti-Semitism. (Heffernan, 2004)

Mormons are subjects of a series “All about the Mormons”, in which their religion is ridiculed in every way and is provided as very silly and controversial. Repeatedly in the series it was shown that only Mormons will appear in Heavens – and thus illustrated the absurdity of the problem of choosing between different versions of Christianity. Nevertheless, in the episode “All About Mormons” the boy-Mormon Gary said he felt that “if people who believe in something, are happy, the intelligent man should be capable to understand and respect it.” (Heffernan, 2004)

“South Park” demonstrates the support of advocates for the rights of sexual minorities and is criticizing their opponents in the standard for “South Park” grotesque style. The irony is that the chief opponent of gays in the series – Mr. Harrison- is an open homosexual, and then – a transsexual by the name Mrs. Harrison. Eventually, Mrs. Harrison becomes a lesbian, and then, after understanding the impossibility to bear children – again a man. In “Watch the eggs!” the same-sex marriages are declared as “too offensive”, but the school experiment proves that same-sex couples can raise children, despite all the efforts of Mrs. Harrison. As a result, according to the plot of the cartoon, a single-sex marriage is allowed in Colorado. In the episode “Cripple Fight” states that Boy Scouts of America did not have to hire homosexuals, but also did not have to try to dismiss homosexuals.

“South Park” is regularly referred to or making fun of different political ideas, political figures. In it has repeatedly appeared the U.S. Presidents: twice it was Bill Clinton, eight times – George W. Bush, and single episode (“About Last Night”) was devoted to America’s presidential election in 2008, which also parodied the main contenders for the post, including the current president – Barack Obama. 

In a series of “Free Willzyx” the second president of Russia Vladimir Putin was parodied, and the members of the Russian government of that time. In the episode “Mandombe” Queen Elizabeth II was shown, and in the final of the series she killed herself after an unsuccessful attempt to capture the U.S. with the help of the British Navy. Also many world leaders have been parodied in a series of “Derby pine forest”. (Heffernan, 2004)

One more topic that is criticized is the hype around the issue of global warming. For example, in a series of 1999 activist-environmentalist, who is voiced by Jennifer Aniston, falls into the jungle and finds out that she did not like nature at all. In a series of 2001 “Terrance and Phillip: Behind the” group of ecologists are trying to wash people’s brains, so that they began to care about the environment. They take Kenni in hostage and begin to chop off pieces of him to make friends to organize a speech at the festival in support of the environment.

In a series of 2005, “Two days before the day after tomorrow” the assumption that the cause of hurricanes is global warming is ridiculed. The entire series is a parody of the movie “The Day After Tomorrow “. In a series of 2006 “The threat of complacency!” Owners of hybrid cars are so proud of themselves, that a result they themselves begin to exude dangerous fumes. Nevertheless, in the series was noted the importance of using hybrid cars. The episode “ManBearPig” is dedicated to Albert Gore and his fight against global warming. Gore is shown as insane rogue, trying to catch the imaginary ManBearPig to attract attention to himself. South (Park Studios FAQ, 2001)

Also in the cartoon repeatedly appears Humane Society of PETA. In the episode “Douche and Turd” members of the organization are represented as natural freaks who marry animals (a hybrid of man and the ostrich is moaning “Kill me”) and contemptuous of their fellows.


During its existence, the “South Park” has become not only a successful show, but a kind of pop-culture phenomenon, and its characters like Cartman, Kenny, Timmy, as well as many phrases, parts and fragments of the episodes have become an essential part of pop culture. 

Effect of “South Park”, according to assistant of show producer Mike McMahon, “one can often see in things that have no relationship to pop culture or animation”. (South Park Studios FAQ, 2001)

In 1999 came a full-length animated film “South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut”. The film combines the elements of a musical (the film is actively parodying the Disney musicals), political satire and dark, obscene and wicked humor, it has a “hard R” rating due to the large amount of violence, obscene language and obscenity . The film revolves around the ban by parents of Terrance and Phillip movie, and the growth of hatred of Americans to Canada, and around the attempts of Satan and Saddam Hussein to capture the world.

The film has achieved considerable critical success, both qualitative and interesting example of political satire.

In the whole both series and film ridicule the shortcomings of American culture and current world events, and criticized a lot of deep convictions and taboos, through parody and black humor.

“South Park” ridicules modern celebrities, religious ideas, modern stereotypes and views about nations and nationalities, and a lot of things that are part of today’s life in America. So all this make “South Park” a modern icon of satire and humor in America.

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