South Park: 10 Lessons Other TV Shows Can Learn From The Show
Ah, South Park. Colorado's own paradise. Okay, not so much. It follows a group of elementary school-aged kids, their parents, and fellow townsfolk as they become involved in usually outlandish and crazy situations. Hey, that's what we love about the show. South Park has been known to push the envelope from time to time, either with its deep-rooted insults or its excessive gore (for a cartoon) from time to time, but the show has many things we love about it. Nothing is off-limits, so no two episodes are the same. Given the amount of time the show has been on the air, it's covered a lot of subjects. That said, here are 10 lessons other TV shows can pick up from South Park.
10 Killing A Character As A Recurring Joke
Kenny isn't killed quite so often these days, but there was a time where his death was so frequent that it was almost unnoticeable. Not because no one was paying attention, but because it was the norm and expected. Kenny usually dies brutally and his friends usually have little to no reaction, which is pretty cruel. Perhaps the cruelty and nature of his deaths is what makes it so funny, but it's one of the most memorable jokes of the show among fans.
9 Poking Jokes At Celebrities
Anyone can be a target on South Park. Celebrities are definitely not off-limits. Some celebrities have voiced characters, such as Jennifer Aniston, while other celebrities like Tom Cruise, Mel Gibson, or Caitlyn Jenner have been granted their own plots.
It usually has something to do with the projects they've done or something about their personal lives or even poking fun at their personalities, almost like a roast in cartoon form. Sometimes how ridiculous things can get is the butt of the joke, but funny nonetheless.
8 Making Fun Of Their Own Characters
7 Creating Characters We Love To Hate
There are plenty of characters on South Park that are less than decent human beings, but Cartman is the worst of them all. Still, we love him. He makes us laugh with his many devious acts, and even though he's terrible to his friends, he still remains a part of their group. Most of the time.
South Park took the risk of creating a terrible character, who's only supposed to be in elementary school, and made something great out of it, despite the fact that some of Cartman's behavior is particularly controversial.
6 Testing The Maximum Amount Of Swear Words
South Park spent an entire episode testing how times sh** could be said uncensored. Considering there are audiences out there that don't care for profanities, this was a risky move, especially since South Park was still a relatively new show when this episode aired. This isn't a common practice among shows, especially cartoons, so it stands out in uniqueness.
5 Grown-Up Situations Happening To Children
They say children are resilient, but that's an understatement where the kids of South Park are concerned. If the death and adult situations these kids were presented with happened in reality, there would be all kinds of different reactions, none of them resembling those of the South Park children.
They take everything in stride, as the craziness of their parents, their peers, and their hometown altogether is just normalcy where these kids are concerned. Some things faze them from time to time, but for the most part, they usually get involved, and usually find the solution before the adults do.
4 Not Afraid To Bring Religion Or Politics Into The Loop
South Park has made fun of everything from Scientology to China. Politics and religion are obviously sore subjects for many people, as no two people and their views are the same. Therefore, it's pretty bold to bring these up as prominent subjects in all the episodes they did, let alone any single episode. South Park appears to have a formula that works for them, and it has served them well for the past two decades. The point is to not take things too seriously, and to take a step back and appreciate the humor in everything.
3 Pushing The Envelope On Social Situations
One of the first things that comes to mind is the portrayal of Caitlyn Jenner, specifically after her fatal car accident. The show takes the liberty of making fun of the incident, going as far as to make up a recurring joke of "Buckle up, buckaroo!" before Caitlyn runs over someone, creating a bloody mess in her wake.
It was a big hit among South Park fans, but it was still controversial considering the content they were deriving their storyline from. Still, sometimes things are so awful you have to create some kind of humor out of it to process.
2 Makes Storylines Incredibly Inappropriate
Honestly, sometimes South Park pushes its own limits. Usually it has to do with gore or taboo subjects. For instance, the fact that Saddam Hussein and Satan were gay. The two were so incredibly evil they certainly make an appropriate couple, but don't follow any particular agenda. Nothing is predictable, from Saddam singing about how he can change to Saddam murdering Satan's boyfriend. It can be a little out there sometimes, but the risk seems to pay off in a way only South Park can make it work.
1 Changing The Way We See Cartoons
There are plenty of adult cartoons out there, but few focus on a group of school-aged children encountering adult situations. The show has been a part of pop culture for two decades, and it's followed plenty of moments in pop culture, and history itself, and made fun of it in ways that were risky, original, and downright hilarious. South Park isn't afraid to test the waters and say the things that no one else will, hence building a platform for free thought and a unique sense of humor.