The world's best satirical show returns for its 20th season
September 08, 2016
In 1995, a video Christmas card showing Jesus beating the living daylights out of Santa Claus went viral. Yes, 1995, before 'going viral on the Internet' became 'a thing'.
VHS recordings of the clip soon spread around college campuses like wildfire, earning its two creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker a deal with Comedy Central. Little did anyone know (let alone Stone and Parker) the impact the budget, potty-mouthed show would have on pop-culture some twenty years later.
This coming week Stan, Kyle, Kenny and Cartman return for their 20th season of adventures - a feat rarely achieved by any TV show. Over the past two decades, South Park has evolved from a low-budget cartoon littered with crude humour, into one of the purest forms of satire on television. The five-time Emmy Award-winning show continues to ruthlessly push the boundaries of free speech by going after celebrities, religions, politicans, companies and cultural fads with reckless abandon. Here are some of our favourite satirical moments from the show:
Meeting Mr Jefferson
In the episode There goes the neighbourhood, Michael Jackson moves into town under an alias - before his untimely death. While is it easy to poke fun at Jackson, the episode instead focuses on highlighting racial prejudices of the police (who are unhappy about a 'black' man moving into South Park) and the issues of Jackson's reckless parent styles.
Make love not war(craft)
Few TV shows (if any) have been able to capture the sheer mania that comes with modern cultural fads quite like South Park. In this episode, the entire town become addicted to the video game World of Warcraft. To create the episode, the TV show teamed up with the games developer Blizzard to create the in-game graphics.
Medicinal Fried Chicken
One of the biggest revelations in the latter half of the series was the character of Stan's dad. Randy Marsh's role has become one to constantly the first person to whole heartedly misinterpret a notion, when certain US states took the major decision to decision to decriminalise marijuana the team decided to approach the subject from a different angle.
The past couple of years has seen the tension between police and the US public come to a boil. Shootings and protests have dominated the media and, naturally, South Park decided to add its own satirical spin on the situation. When one of the town's police officers shoots one of the boys, the newly gentrified town (yup, they now have a Whole Foods supermarket) rises up against the police force.
World War Zimmerman
Due to the quick time it takes to produce each episode (each episode is created within 6 days), the show has always managed to be super relevant to the current hot topics in the news cycle. When George Zimmerman acquited from charges of shooting African American Trayvon Martin, South Park released a masterpiece of an episode that satired the Stand Your Ground gun laws in the US.
Luckiest boy in America badge
In the episode Miss Teacher Bangs a Boy the show puts its atypical slant on the very serious issue of child molestation.
In Grounded Vindaloop, Cartman convinces the sweet naive Butters to walk around wearing goggles and headphones, believing he is in a virtual reality setting of his school. Meanwhile Stan gets caught in a neverending cycle of call centre referals, that we've all been subjected to at some point.
Kanye explains why Kim Kardashian is not a Hobbit
No stranger to poking fun at celebrity, one of the long running jokes is that Kanye West has no sense of humour and in a previous episode gained the nickname Aquaman. This episode in reaction to yet more outragous outburst from the most polarising man in music.
Game of Throne's weiner obession
More often than not the show is so on the pulse of po-culture that it simply puts into words exactly what what everyone is thinking...
Checking your privilege
Has everything gotten a bit too politiclly correct? That was the recurring theme of season 19. In the season, the creators introduce a new character 'PC Principal' who goes around 'checking the privilege' of anyone saying anything that can be deemed derogatory to anyone else. A not-so-well-hidden message from South Park to the world.