A Fan Says Happy Birthday to South Park
Twenty-five years ago this Saturday, a certain cartoon aired on an (admittedly) second-rate channel called Comedy Central. That cartoon, animated in the style of paper cutout stop-motion, went y the name of South Park. Despite being seen as nowhere near the likes of shows like Beavis and Butthead and The Simpsons, this crazy show about a group of foul-mouthed boys living in a crazy town in Colorado became a runaway hit. Flash-forward to the present day, and South Park is one of the greatest cartoons of all time. Twenty-five seasons, 300+ episodes and specials, a hit movie, and several video games, all of them spawning from the unapologetic show that is South Park. And now, they’re throwing two live concerts featuring the music spanning the show’s incredible history.
From Humble Beginnings, South Park Arose
Few could’ve expected that South Park would become the success that it was, but Matt Stone and Trey Parker proved so many people wrong. In the early 90s, Matt and Trey, then just college students, teamed up to make a hilarious parody of Frosty the Snowman, titled Jesus vs. Frosty. After a Fox Executive asked them to make a sequel to act as a video Christmas card, the duo’s creation went viral online. After that, they started pitching the show South Park to various networks. Comedy Central picked it up, and the rest was history. Foul-mouthed, disgusting, televised history.
Shows like The Simpsons and Beavis and Butthead had already paved the way for adult animation, but South Park set itself apart from its predecessors in the best way possible. South Park wasn’t afraid to speak its mind, no matter how sensitive or controversial the topic might be. Truthfully, Matt and Trey seem to thrive when they’re bashing controversial subjects. Nothing is too sacred for them; everything is fair game for South Park, and it’s made it into a massive success.
A Few Bumps in the Road
That isn’t to say that the show hasn’t done things that might not have been a good idea, though. In November, 2005, their episode “Trapped in the Closet” mocked the Church of Scientology. As a result, the Church hit back. Hard. They tried using their clout to get the episode pulled from reruns. Worse, they forced Isaac Hayes, the voice of Chef, to quit the show, While he was disabled from a stroke.
Then there was what happened with Donald Trump. After setting up their character Mr. Garrison as a stand-in for Trump, Matt and Trey planned to have him return to South Park when Trump lost the 2016 election. Instead, Trump won, and they had to spend the next four years with Mr. Garrison in the White House. By 2020, the two flat-out admitted that they couldn’t even find humor in Trump’s actions anymore. Their 2020 “Pandemic Special” all but begged people to vote Trump out of office.
More Powerful Than Ever
Like much of the world, COVID-19 hit South Park pretty hard. It wasn’t until earlier this year that the show was able to resume airing new episodes on TV. Despite this, the show became more successful than ever when Matt and Trey signed a deal with Paramount+ to produce South Park specials for the streaming service, helping them to adapt to the Post-COVID world quite well.
Now, twenty-five years after their show first aired, Matt and Trey are celebrating in the biggest way possible. In March, they announced that they would be putting on two live concerts at the Red Rock Amphitheatre in Colorado. The first one happened earlier this week, while the one on August 13th, the show’s 25th birthday, airs on Comedy Central at 10 pm EST. In addition, the concert will be added to Paramount Plus the following day. Now more than ever, it’s the perfect time to be a South Park fan.