South Park – the grotesque reflection of ourselves

South Park is a little village in Colorado, USA which a lot of -at first sight- strange people call their hometown. The most important characters of this fantastic, correspondenting succession are the small, and in fact really cute, seven and eight years old boys Kenny McCormick, Kyle Broflovski, Stan Marsh and fat Eric Cartman.  

It is one of the most popular and famous series in the USA and so it is in other Western countries, too. Trey Parker and Matt Stone already produced 15 seasons and one movie. They started to broadcast the animated and homorous television series in 1997. Since that date fans of South Park cannot imagine television without this fabulous and mordant criticism of society. Eyery episode and also any character is well-defined by stereotypes and prejudices which are well-known all over the world. So it is just normal that there is, for example, a gay teacher, a Jewish boy who is always been picked of being Jewish, a fat boy who is not recognizing his fatness, a young guy out of a poor family, a dude with emotional issues and a big black chef who is often complaining about being a victim of racism. The guest parts of some celebrities or just the stories told about them are most of the time overacted but there is no gag without some truth behind it. Furthermore all the grotesque things which happen seem to be just a reflection of what is going on in reality. Of course there is no successful series in television without overacting gags and characters but some of the people who are laughing on one hand about a stupid joke about Adolf Hitler and the Jews or about the whole “Jesus-is-one-of-us-thing” do not recognize on the other hand that these jokes just can be made because of them. It is clever of the producers just to observe what is going on in society to make a favorable series out of it. There is then just an inserting of some hyperboles needed to have a hit on television. And the most funniest thing about this strategy is people do not recognize that actually they are the ones other folks laugh about. It is a great circle of the stereotyped human beings with all of their good and bad qualities.

Moreover it is also very interesting how interested people are in the mechanisms of human body. They love watching some orifices of the body and what actually comes out them. The whole body and its functions therefore seems to be a spectacle. No one in society would ever burp, fart, poop, or puke in public and if someone does so, there is not anyone who starts laughing or applauding(only the embarrassed “burper” or a disrespectful person to embarrass the “farter” even more). In South Park everything that is given into the body or comes out of it again is worth it to be shown and to make fun of it.

In a nutshell comparing South Park to society in “real life” does not lead to a big difference between the acting and the behaviour of the characters in South Park and the people in reality except of the exaggerated exposure of the series on TV.   

Just one great example; the Robo-Streisand:



One Response to South Park – the grotesque reflection of ourselves

  1. David Saia says:

    Underlining the point you stated in your post I would want to add two things:

    South Park is always highly current in its topics. The best example to me is the trilogy they made about the oil crisis in the Gulf of Mexico, caused by BP. They deal with this in a highly cynical, funny thus smart and striking way. The trilogy consists of season 14 episodes 11 (Coon 2: Hindsight), 12 (Mysterion Rises) & 13 (Coon vs. Coon and Friends). I really enjoyed watching this, not only because they reveal there, why Kenny cannot die.

    The groteque achieved through body and the products of digestion and the processes happening in each and every one of us, is a huge part of the humor of South Park. The best example there in my opinion is episode 8 of season 6 called “Red Hot Catholic Love”. Not only do they make fun of the sex scandals in the catholic church, but Cartman has the idea, that if he puts his food in his ass, he will poop out of his mouth. Kyle has the opinion that this will never work, but surprise: It does. And it becomes a new trend and everyone starts to do it. “Eat, Pray, Queef.” is another episode that is examplary for this aspect of the show.

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