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South Park - Animated American Life

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Mutant turkeys, the Loch Ness Monster, immigrants from the future and butt-probing aliens, these are just some of the outrageous visitors that come to the quiet little mountain town of South Park, Colorado. Created by Matt Stone and Trey Parker, the South Park franchise has been going strong for the past twenty years including twenty-one seasons of television, a movie and two video games. With its long history, it has been the epicenter of controversy and contention, as well racial and religious debate. The story of South Park begins in 1992. Creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker, who were college students at the time, created a short film named Jesus vs. Frosty. Three years later, a studio executive from FOX saw the video, and hired Stone and Parker to make another similar video.

Their next project was called The Spirit of Christmas. It was very successful and the creators began talking to FOX. They later went to Comedy Central, where they were asked to make a six episode season. This was the birth of South Park. The first episode debuted on August 13, 1997; it launched with huge success, and Comedy Central asked Stone and Parker to make seven more episodes. “The first season relied on shock-value, with rather weird and unusual plot lines such as the breeding of elephants and pigs and a giant mechanized Barbra Streisand”. The next seven seasons mostly consisted of episodes that revolved around the characters; then the episodes became more satirical, making fun of celebrities and current events.

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Most episodes are created during the week before they’re aired. While this does make it difficult everyone that works on the show, it allows them to respond quickly to big events. South Park has four main characters: Stan, Kyle, Cartman, and Kenny. They are 10 year old boys that attend South Park elementary The boys are dysfunctional, yet, they always seem to work well together. Stan is the the most normal boy in the group. He is often well-meaning and is generally seen as nice, but he goes along with whatever hijinks the group has planned. Whenever a girl he likes talks to him, he starts vomiting uncontrollably. Kyle is the smartest boy in the group and is very compassionate to others. While most of the town’s citizens are Roman Catholic, Kyle is an Orthodox Jew, which often brings him ridicule from Cartman. Cartman is a sociopathic, deceitful, impatient, evil child. He is intolerant of most races and religions. He hates Kyle for being a Jew, but can never seem to stop talking or thinking about him. He is spoiled by his mother, and can never understand that what he is doing is wrong. He once killed another boy’s parents and fed them to him in a chili because he had been deceived by him.

Kenny is a poor, trashy, silent character, yet he is seen as the smartest boy in the group. He is very vulgar and sexual. In the first few seasons, Kenny would be killed in outlandish ways every episode, only to come back miraculously the next episode as if nothing happened. For some reason, he is an immortal who, whenever he is killed, wakes up the next morning in his bed unscathed.

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