When one thinks of animated television shows, chances are that South Park will be one of the first to spring to mind. South Park recently returned to our screens with the launch of its seventeenth season, and I can’t help but feel that the masses seem to completely miss the main point of a show as brilliant as South Park.
Whenever the topic of South Park is brought up, no matter where you happen to be, someone (usually of the slightly older generation) will triumphantly pipe up that South Park is garbage, nothing more than four young boys who go around swearing and throwing up on one another. I would usually try to ignore these comments, knowing that to argue would simply be adding fuel to the already blazing fire, although lately, it seems that even the younger generations allow the brilliance of South Park to fly straight over their heads, making a whooshing sound as it passes.
The whole idea of a show such as South Park is to reflect on current events in an intelligently satirical way. If you sit down in front of a television and watch the boys growing unhealthily large and pimply while playing World of Warcraft, at face value you will probably feel like the episode was pointless, although you have just missed the socially relevant message the episode attempted to get across. Most people (even the South Park creators) seem to enjoy comparing South Park to Family Guy, although these two shows are significantly different. Family Guy takes you on a completely random twenty minute adventure filled with rather arbitrarily humorous scenes. South Park, on the other hand, expects you to look deeper than the literal scenes, looking at the episode within the episode, and going all South Parkception on the greater message.
For South Park to achieve this sort of controversial satire dealing with events as they happen, the creators don’t just gamble with ideas like on some mobile casino, instead, they have a rather intense schedule. An entire episode takes a week to complete, as opposed to other animated shows that have a much longer creation process. Due to this reason, it is possible for South Park to poke fun at events a few days after they happen, while they are still fresh and relevant. Take a look at their first episode of the latest season which references the NSA controversy that shook the United States. The episode sees Cartman filling the shoes of Edward Snowden, attempting to infiltrate the agency in an attempt to become a whistleblower. He makes use of the latest social networking application, called Shitter, which connects directly to your brain, and posts your every thought onto the internet, subtly poking fun at people overly concerned with online privacy who still post their every thought nonetheless.