Ah, South Park, one of the big three American animated sitcoms. Somehow, this is the best of the three, due to it not holding back even from the beginning, and the fact that it’s the most original. However, even South Park is way into its zombie years, and the effects have become all too obvious.
I’ve already ripped on Eric Cartman and how much worse he is in the new series, so this post is about the wider scope of South Park’s horrendous decline.
Back in the late 90’s when it first aired, South Park was simply outrageous, stirring a whole maelstrom of “moral panics”, and even being blamed for the Columbine massacre. Not even the most violent shows of the 90’s got that reputation. Also, it was artistically original, twisting the Charlie Brown schematic and using it to deconstruct the supposed innocence of children. The ideas for episodes were perfectly original, and it incorporated a number of interesting music tracks, eventually coming out with their own album.
The first four seasons were definitely the best. Seasons 5-9 were pretty good. After season 10, the show just got duller and dumber.
My first problem is how obvious the stupidity of the adults has become. The adults in South Park are always stupid, but in older episodes, this was limited to the townspeople of South Park (except Chef), and it was to convey a point. Nowadays, every adult imaginable depicted in the show is so unrealistically stupid that it’s actually painful to watch. It actually makes me angrier because it’s so obvious. It’s almost as obvious as Homer Simpson announcing that he has “enormous flaws that he doesn’t work on”.
Another problem is that the creators aren’t trying to be outrageous anymore, relying solely on cheap shock tactics and morbid gore, much like Family Guy. The plots aren’t even original at all now, and they only focus on portraying arbitrary aspects of society (iPad Facetime, Honey Boo Boo, “white trash”, etc).
The creators have also gotten quite hypocritical. They’ve done episodes about why it’s wrong to sell out, while simultaneously lending the South Park name to loads of merchandise, and about 5 crappy games so far (no, the Stick of Truth doesn’t count, yet). They suffer the same hypocrisy as their competitors: speaking against selling out, while whoring themselves for money. Even the creators once starred in a crappy movie (BASEketball), and made another one (Orgazmo), whose mild success was only because the people involved were the makers of South Park.
Basically, South Park was really funny in the past, but newer episodes are just absolutely painful to watch. Kyle’s become such a prude, Cartman’s become a mini-Hitler, Stan’s become an overpowered, cynical git, and Kenny isn’t taken seriously anymore. Seasons 11 & 12 have a few good episodes, but season 16 was entirely awful, and I have no faith in the upcoming season 17.
If you want my opinion, I hope South Park gets to rest in peace, quietly. I wish the same for the Simpsons and Family Guy, which both desperately need to be put to rest. All the big American animated sitcoms need to quit while there are no fresh ideas left. That would seriously be best for the American public.