• #1 comedy in all of television among men 18-24.
• #1 entertainment (non-sports) program on Wednesday nights in all of television among men 18-24.
• #1 entertainment (non-sports) program on Wednesday nights in cable among men 18-34.
In 1999 the show engendered a feature-length musical cartoon, South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, which was nominated for an Academy Award.
The show revels in controversy and taboo subjects and often parodies celebrities and public figures. Much of its humour relies on pop-culture references, slapstick, shock value, and scatological jokes, as exemplified by the episode in which the boys befriend a singing, dancing piece of fecal matter named Mr. Hankey the Christmas Poo.
South Park was a huge success, consistently earning the highest ratings of any basic cable program. Parker and Stone perform most of the voice acting, with Parker doing the majority of writing and directing.
Created for adult viewers generally, much of the humor of South Park would be lost on younger viewers, such as the references to other material, political satire, and lampooning of various famous figures.
Critics came around eventually, and South Park has earned four Emmys over its 15-year run, as of 2012.
Stan, Kyle, Cartman, and Kenny respond to most situations by belching, vomiting, or swearing. Kenny is killed in nearly every episode to the refrain: "They killed Kenny! You bastards!" The show is wildly popular among children, teens, and twenty-somethings.
Its unflinching look at how sweet and innocent most children really are when left to themselves takes the portrait of childhood offered by such popular comics as Peanuts and Calvin and Hobbes several steps further. In a town where Jesus has his own cable access show, Parker and Stone have created an environment where nothing is sacred and everything is fodder for their satire.
The animated comedy South Park premiered on Comedy Central in 1997 and immediately became one of the most controversial programs in television (see entry under 1940s—TV and Radio in volume 3) history. Created by Trey Parker (1969–) and Matt Stone (1971–), the series depicts the raunchy and bizarre adventures of a group of third graders living in South Park, Colorado.
The youngsters swear constantly, delight in coarse behavior, and disrespect adult authority. The program's profane humor is contrasted by its simplistic animation style that resembles paper cutouts.