South Park and Society


One of my favorite shows for a long time has been South Park.  As many know, this is a satirical comedy focused around 4 young students in South Park Colorado.  What makes this show truly unique however is its ability to reflect (and ridicule) social issues.  This is possible due to the fact that each south park episode is made in under a week.  Trey Parker, and Matt Stone are the creators, and writers of the show.  Along with their staff, they go through the entire storyboarding, and writing process the week before the episode airs.  This makes their subject matter very relevant to current events.

For example in a recent episode entitled “Faith Hilling” south park tackles the Internet meme culture.  They show how people are willing to do seemingly stupid things to go along with trends, and fads.  In the show, the protagonists perform actions such as “Faith Hilling” where you pull your shirt away from your chest to resemble breasts, or “Taylor Swifting” where you drag your butt along the ground like a dog.  These of course are parodies of real Internet memes such as planking, and owling (taking pictures while laying like a plank, or perching like an owl respectively).

 

Another recent episode addresses college basketball players and the franchises that make money around them while providing no compensation.  They do this by having the protagonists create a “crack baby athletic association” and present it as parallel to college sports teams.  They say they are providing a service to the crack babies (entertainment, companionship) in the same way colleges provide an education to their athletes, which excuses them from providing any compensation to the athletes.  They go even further to propose that this treatment is comparable to slavery, which however ridiculous, maintains somewhat of a point.  Overall, each of these episodes manages to have an intelligent political commentary, while still being laced with crude, often shocking humor that appeals too much of today’s youth.

 

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5 responses to “South Park and Society

  1. I have watched a few episodes of South Park but have never been a huge fan. Personally, the content is too crude for me. However, I appreciate the story-line of each episode and the humor used to reflect social issues. I was not aware that the show was written and produced in one week. I think that is what makes the show so popular: the context is always relevant to current events. I have also heard that South Park does not hold back from publicizing societal unethical behavior, I think it is noble that they do not “skirt around” racy issues.

  2. I agree with Alexis in that I have only seen a few episodes and am not the biggest fan. However, from the episodes I have seen, the plot is always very relevant and poking fun at very realistic issues. I had no idea the show was produced in a week and this is definitely a major competitive edge for the show. I think the show’s ability to push the line on issues that are still prevalent in the viewers eyes, makes a much more powerful message.

  3. Like Alexis and Meghan, I’ve watched South Park before but have never personally been a big fan (must be a girl thing). Despite my opinion on the show, I think that the writers do a great job of bringing up relevant social issues on a week to week basis while presenting them in a way that resonates with today’s youth. It’s crude humor, but at least the show is trying to send a message about relevant topics each week, which is something that a lot of shows today are lacking.

  4. South Park has been and still is one of my favorite shows to this day and I think they do a great job at poking fun at subjects that frankly, in my opinion, should be made fun of. Not in the sense that they need to be humiliated, but because it brings certain political and societal issues into light in a much softer and comedic way when many people are too scared to speak up. This is right in line with the blog I posted about satirical news shows such as The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. There’s a reason these shows have been on air for so long and it’s not just because of their hilarious characters.

  5. There is an organization. It makes a profit- more revenue than costs. That profit is directly a result of the effort of a person. That person is not compensated. That person is not free to sell their effort to other organizations. That person is housed, fed, and given some other benefits. That person sacrifices some personal liberties to be not compensated. The greatest benefit to the person is a credential she or he receives after several years of participating in this system. The rules are controlled by a monopoly sanctioned by law and ethical custom.

    Is that slavery? No. But it is close to indentured servitude. And it all masquerades as “amateur athletics.”

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