South Park is an animated series created by Matt Stone and Trey Parker. Distributed by and airing on Comedy Central since 1997, it follows the surreal adventures of four young boys who live in the small town of South Park, Colorado. more...
South Park satirizes many aspects of American culture and current events, and challenges deepset convictions and taboos, usually using parody and black humor.
The show is noted for its characteristically blunt handling of current events. For example, an episode involving the repatriation of Romanian quintuplets aired during the Elián González issue, and depicted Janet Reno, then U.S. Attorney General, as a murderous Easter Bunny. An episode that aired after the September 11, 2001 attacks had the boys stow away on a military transport to Afghanistan, where they encounter Osama bin Laden. More recently, the episode "Best Friends Forever" satirized both the PSP and the Terri Schiavo case as well as the movie Constantine. The episode was recorded one week after the PSP was released and, coincidentally, was originally aired the night of March 30, 2005, less than twelve hours before Schiavo died. South Park won its first Emmy Award for that episode.
South Park finished its ninth season in early December. The show's seasons are usually aired in two parts, often described by Matt and Trey as "runs". This is partly done because the episodes are usually completed in less than a week, and very close to air time. Three more seasons of South Park are currently scheduled for production, allowing the series to run until at least 2008.
South Park began in 1992 when Parker and Stone, then film students at the University of Colorado, created an animated short called Jesus vs. Frosty. The crudely made film featured prototypical versions of the kids of South Park, including a character resembling Cartman but called "Kenny", bringing a murderous snowman to life with a magic hat. The baby Jesus then saves the day by decapitating the monster with a halo.
Executives at Fox saw the movie, and in 1995, executive Brian Graden commissioned Parker and Stone to create a second short film to send to friends as a video Christmas card. Entitled The Spirit of Christmas, it closely resembled the style of the later series, and featured a martial arts duel and subsequent truce between Jesus and Santa Claus over the true meaning of Christmas. This video was later featured in the episode A Very Crappy Christmas of South Park in which Stan, Kyle, Cartman, Kenny, Mr. Hankey and his family "save" Christmas. The video was a hit and was quickly shared, both by underground duplication and over the then burgeoning Internet. This led to talks to create a series, first with Fox, then with Comedy Central, where the series premiered on August 13, 1997.
The show's provocative, frequently offensive, and adult-oriented material quickly drew protest from various spokespersons, and South Park merchandise (especially T-shirts) were banned from a number of public schools, day care centers, and other public places. This occurrence is similar in a manner to the prohibition of Bart Simpson T-shirts in the early 1990s after The Simpsons was accused of contributing to juvenile delinquency. Comedy Central defended South Park by noting that the show is given a "Mature Audiences" TV rating (TV-MA) and that it only airs the show during nighttime hours and never during the day, when children may be more likely to see the show.
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