|Created by|| Trey Parker|
|Voices of|| Trey Parker|
Isaac Hayes (1997-2006)
Mary Kay Bergman (1997-99)
Eliza Schneider (2000-03)
|Opening theme||"South Park Theme" by Primus/Colonel Les Claypool's Fearless Flying Frog Brigade|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||12|
|No. of episodes||168 (List of episodes)|
| Trey Parker|
|Running time||22 min approx.|
|Original channel||Comedy Central|
|Picture format||NTSC (480i)|
|Original run||August 13, 1997 – present|
South Park is an Emmy Award-winning, animated American television comedy series, created and written by Trey Parker and Matt Stone for Comedy Central. The show is set in the fictional town of South Park, Colorado. The series has been distributed and aired by Comedy Central since 1997. The show is well-known for its pop-culture parody, scatological humour, and satirical handling of current events.
Since its debut on August 13, 1997, the show has aired 168 episodes over 12 seasons. The twelfth season began airing on March 12, 2008. The show is contracted to produce new episodes through a fifteenth season, until late 2011.
- Main article: The Spirit of Christmas
South Park began around 1992 when Trey Parker and Matt Stone, at the time students at the University of Colorado, met in a film class and created an animated short called Jesus vs. Frosty. The low-budget crudely made film featured prototypes of the main characters of South Park, including a character resembling Cartman but named "Kenny", an unnamed character resembling what is today Kenny, and two near-identical unnamed characters who would resemble Stan and Kyle.
In 1995, FOX executive Brian Graden saw the film, and commissioned Parker and Stone to create a second short film that he could send to his friends as a video Christmas card. Titled Jesus vs. Santa, it resembled the style of the later series more closely, and featured a martial arts duel and subsequent truce between Jesus and Santa Claus over the true meaning of Christmas. This video was later featured in the episode "A Very Crappy Christmas" in which Stan, Kyle, Cartman, Kenny, and Mr. Hankey "save" Christmas for the town. The video was popular and was widely shared, both by duplication and over the Internet. This led to talks to create a series, first with FOX, then with Comedy Central, where the series debuted on August 13, 1997. During the first four seasons of South Park, clips of the shorts can be seen in the opening sequence within an old television and a billboard. South Park has been translated into many different languages.
South Park's early episodes tended to be shock value-oriented and featured more Pythonesque humor than later episodes. Although satire had been used on the show occasionally earlier on, it became more prevalent in later episodes. Episodes have parodied Michael Jackson ("The Jeffersons"), Paris Hilton ("Stupid Spoiled Whore Video Playset"), and The Passion of the Christ ("The Passion of the Jew"), as well as addressed serious political issues such as terrorism ("Cartoon Wars"), American immigration policy ("Goobacks"), Gay Marriage ("Follow that Egg"), and the Terri Schiavo case ("Best Friends Forever").The pilot episode, "Cartman Gets an Anal Probe" (nearly identical to the first official episode, which has the same name), required three months to produce using construction paper and traditional cut-out animation techniques. However, the version that aired was different from the original version. Current episodes duplicate the original, amateurish look using modern computer animation tools — first PowerAnimator and then Maya, which Parker and Stone described as "building a sandcastle with a bulldozer". This allows for a shorter production schedule, enabling the creators to respond quickly to current events. The December 17, 2003 episode "It's Christmas in Canada" depicted the capture of Saddam Hussein a mere three days after the actual event, even referring to the "spider hole" in which he was found. In this instance - as with the Elián González episode ("Quintuplets 2000") - the creators changed the production of an episode at the last minute to focus on the new world event.
In 2002, the episode "Free Hat" aired. In this episode - inspired by Kyle's comment on Ted Koppel's Nightline that changing E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial would be like changing Raiders of the Lost Ark - a fictional George Lucas and Steven Spielberg decide to alter the first Indiana Jones film. Soon after the episode aired, Lucas and Spielberg announced that contrary to rumors they would not be altering Raiders of the Lost Ark for DVD release. Parker and Stone jokingly suggested that the episode prevented any alterations from happening.
On August 26, 2007, Parker and Stone committed to three more seasons of South Park, so the show will run until at least 2011. They will continue to write, direct, and edit every episode of the show. 
In late 2007 Comedy Central made the announcement that it will be providing full South Park episodes online for free. Commentators on a media website suggest it is an effort to fight back against pirated versions of the show that have been made available online, and also to increase advertising revenue. 
- Main article: South Park characters
Prior to season four, the main characters of the show were four third grade students (often called "the boys" when as a group for easier reference): Stanley "Stan" Marsh, Kyle Broflovski, Eric Theodore Cartman, and Kenneth "Kenny" McCormick. There are many recurring characters on the show, including the boys' families, school staff, and other students. These include Leopold "Butters" Stotch, Chef, Mr. Hankey, Towelie, Jesus, and Satan. There are also many other minor characters.
Matt Stone and Trey Parker voice most of the male South Park characters, while April Stewart and Mona Marshall (formerly Mary Kay Bergman and Eliza Schneider) voice most of the female characters such as Wendy Testaburger and Sheila Broflovski. Other voices are currently provided by Adrien Beard (Token Black), Vernon Chatman (Towelie), Jennifer Howell (Bebe Stevens), and John Hansen (Mr. Slave). Stan Marsh and Kyle Broflovski were initially designed to represent creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone respectively; however, both have admitted to ultimately identifying far more with Cartman.
- Main article: List of South Park episodes
South Park’s animation is designed to look like the cutout animation originally used in its pilot. Construction paper cutouts were used in the original pilot animation and in the first episode made for Comedy Central. Subsequent episodes have been produced by computer animation providing the same look as the originals. The appearance of characters and scenes has become less crude over time, largely in order to enhance the comedic effect. Special effects, such as prepackaged explosions, have replaced cardboard-style fires. Light shading has been used to highlight "sappy," movie-like moments as well as some of Cartman’s dramatic poses. Some episodes, such as Tweek vs. Craig and Mr. Garrison's Fancy New Vagina, have even incorporated sections of live action video. CorelDRAW is used to create the characters, which are animated using Maya, or in early episodes, PowerAnimator. The style of animation used for South Park was inspired by the paper cut-out cartoons made by Terry Gilliam for Monty Python's Flying Circus, of which Trey Parker and Matt Stone have been lifelong fans. For perspective, the average episode of The Simpsons takes six to eight months to produce, while episodes of South Park are usually completed in six days (although some, such as AWESOM-O or Woodland Critter Christmas have taken only three or four).
The show's original theme song was a musical score performed by the band Primus. The song has been remixed three times during the course of the series (as of season ten), and certain lines have been altered (see below). In the beginning of season 10 the title music was changed to the song "Whamola", performed by The Les Claypool Frog Brigade, from the album Purple Onion. (Les Claypool is the singer and bassist in both Primus and the Frog Brigade)
Kenny's lines in the song, like the rest of his speech in the show, are muffled by his parka hood, which covers his entire face except for his eyes. However, Kenny's lines have been revealed by South Park Studios. In seasons 1-2, he says "I love girls with big fat titties, I love girls with deep vaginas."  From seasons 3-5 he says "I have got a Template:Convert/LoffAoffDbSon penis, use your mouth if you want to clean it."  In season 6, Kenny had been written out of the show, having supposedly permanently died; in his absence, Timmy, who has a cognitive disability (early in the show Timmy was originally described as being "mentally retarded"), takes his place, singing "Timmy Timmy, Timmy Timmy, Timmy Timmy, Livin'a lie Timmy!" After returning to the show just before season 7, Kenny also returned to the theme song: From season 7 to the first half of season 10, Kenny says "Some day I'll be old enough to stick my dick in Britney's butt."  Starting with the second half of Season 10, Kenny's lines changed again; however, the current lines are not known. In the original unaired pilot episode of Cartman Gets An Anal Probe, in the rather different version of the opening, Kenny's lines are the same as they were in the first 2 seasons.
Popular songs such as "Kyle's Mom is a Big Fat Bitch" originated on the show, but the creators' musical abilities were not frequently used until the release of South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut. The film's soundtrack (co-written and produced by Grammy Award-winning composer-lyricist Marc Shaiman) featured songs like "Blame Canada" (nominated for an Oscar; see below), "I'm Super," "La Resistance Medley," "Hell Isn't Good," "Mountain Town," "Uncle Fucka" (won an MTV Movie Award for "Best Musical Performance"), "Up There," and "What Would Brian Boitano Do?." Several of the songs from the movie are satires of tunes from Disney cartoons. For instance, "Mountain Town" is highly similar to the song "Belle" from Beauty and the Beast. "Up There" is a take-off of two different Disney songs, "Out There" from The Hunchback of Notre Dame and "Part of Your World" from The Little Mermaid. "La Resistance Medley" spoofs both "One Day More" from the stage musical Les Miserables and "Tonight" from West Side Story.
Parker and Stone have, on occasion, performed these songs (and others) under the band name DVDA.
In the show, Eric Cartman will often burst into song to convey a false altruism or optimism that belies his baser motivations. In Red Sleigh Down, he sings Poo-Choo Train, an unnervingly cheery Christmas carol, in an obvious attempt to convince Mr. Hankey and Santa Claus that he is worthy of Christmas presents. In "I'm a Little Bit Country" Cartman sings Paula Cole's song "I Don't Want to Wait" while beating someone to death (Cartman also sings the song as an homage to his Dawson's Creek Trapper Keeper in the episode Trapper Keeper). In "The Death of Eric Cartman", Cartman sings "Make It Right" with Butters in a weak attempt to reconcile his sins. In "Roger Ebert Should Lay Off the Fatty Foods", Cartman sings the Donna Summer song "She Works Hard For The Money" during an audition for Cheesy Poofs. In the episode "Ginger Kids", he sings a song about tolerance once he realizes he's not one of the "Gingers" and that he just convinced every Ginger in town to exterminate non-Ginger people. Cartman also uses the song "Heat of the Moment" in episode 513 ("Kenny Dies") to convince the U.S. Senate to approve stem cell research. Cartman has a mental quirk that forces him to finish singing Styx's Come Sail Away whenever someone sings a few bars of the song. As soon as he learns this, Kyle, who has a strong and explicit hatred for Cartman, takes advantage of this and forces Cartman to finish the song so many times that Cartman becomes literally unintelligible. In episode 409 "Something You Can Do with Your Finger", the boys made their boy band, "Fingerbang".
Cartman was also the lead singer for "Faith + 1", a Christian band he formed with Butters and Token in the episode "Christian Rock Hard". He creates several "Christian" songs by taking sexually suggestive love songs and substituting romantic words such as "baby" and "darling" with "Jesus"; instead of the traditional "Christian Rock" lyrics singing about spiritual love for Jesus, Cartman sings about his desire to have actual, physical sex with Jesus. A few titles of these songs include "Body of Christ" and "Get Down on my Knees and Start Pleasing Jesus"
The band Korn appears in one of the Halloween episodes, where South Park is plagued by ghost pirates. It is the band's job to "solve the mystery" (this of course is a spoof of Scooby Doo). In the episodes climax, Korn plays "Falling Away from Me" in celebration of the solved mystery.
In "Fat Butt and Pancake Head", Cartman's hand puppet "Jennifer Lopez" (who pronounces her name as "Hennifer Lopez") recorded a hit single entitled "Taco Flavored Kisses", inciting the wrath of the "real" Jennifer Lopez character.
Additional musical contributions to the show come from the band Primus, which performed the original opening and ending themes for the show, and formerly from Isaac Hayes, who voiced Chef's singing of usually-sexual songs to explain certain adult themes to the boys. The Chef song Chocolate Salty Balls was released as a single in the UK in 1998 to support the Chef Aid album and became a number one hit. Many episodes also feature highly melodramatic musical scores to comically exaggerate the emotional content of the scene. For example, melancholy music plays in the background when Timmy sends away his beloved pet turkey, Gobbles, in the episode "Helen Keller! The Musical".
- Main article: South Park controversies
The show has faced numerous controversies. It often uses what many people find to be taboo subject matter, from its use of vulgarity ("It Hits the Fan") to its satire of subjects such as religion and cults (such as "Trapped in the Closet"), sexuality ("Proper Condom Use"), tolerance ("The Death Camp of Tolerance"), and natural disaster hysteria ("Two Days Before the Day After Tomorrow"). Stone and Parker are self-described "equal opportunity offenders" and episodes often lampoon all sides of a contentious issue, rather than taking a concrete position.
The show's provocative material quickly drew protest from various spokesmen, who deemed the program offensive. American conservative media watchdog group Parents Television Council has frequently criticized South Park for its content.
The show also frequently uses vulgarities. For example, in the episode "It Hits the Fan", the word shit was said a total of 162 times uncensored. A counter at the bottom of the screen recorded the number of times the expletive was spoken. Also, in the episode entitled "With Apologies to Jesse Jackson", the racial slur nigger was used throughout the entire episode for a total of 42 times.
The general unintelligibility of Kenny's lines has helped them avoid being censored by television networks on a number of occasions, but sometimes words can be heard. The gist can usually be understood. It is sometimes easy to comprehend the lines, given the context in which they are delivered and their intonation. The syndicated versions of the show usually do censor Kenny's vulgar lines.
In 2005, the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights protested the season finale episode, "Bloody Mary", for its depiction of a statue of the Virgin Mary bleeding from her vagina. The group claimed a victory when Comedy Central voluntarily canceled a scheduled airing of the episode which coincided with the Christian holiday season. In early 2006, Comedy Central denied that they were honoring the group's request to pull the episode from future repeats and DVD releases. Comedy Central has since run the episode more than once.
Template:Wikinews South Park has parodied Scientology in two episodes. The episode that caused the most controversy was "Trapped in the Closet", which caused what the media dubbed 'Closetgate'. The episode poked fun at the religion and its celebrity followers, including Tom Cruise. After Comedy Central pulled the episode from a scheduled repeat at the last minute, it was alleged that Cruise threatened Paramount with withdrawal from promotion of his latest film if the episode was re-broadcast (both Paramount and Comedy Central are owned by Viacom). This situation led to Isaac Hayes, who played Chef and is a Scientologist himself, to quit unexpectedly days before the spoof on Scientology was to re-air.
- Main article: South Park themes
Apart from the continuously "vulgar" presentation of issues, South Park implements several recurring themes that it frequently uses, including current events, disabilities, political issues, racism, gay rights, death, environment, censorship, political correctness, abortion, sex, and religion, many of which are widely viewed as controversial.
- South Park has been nominated for the Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program seven times (1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007). The show has now won twice, for the 2005 episode "Best Friends Forever" and the 2006 episode "Make Love, Not Warcraft".
- On April 5, 2006, it was announced that the show had won a Peabody Award.
- In 2007, Time magazine included the show on their list of the "100 Best TV Shows of All Time." 
- South Park was nominated for important awards such as the 1998 Annie Award for Outstanding Achievement in an Animated Primetime or Late Night Television Program. It was also nominated for the 1998 GLAAD Award for Outstanding TV - Individual Episode for "Big Gay Al's Big Gay Boat Ride". It also received an Image Award nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series (Isaac Hayes) in 1999. 
- South Park was nominated for a 2006 Teen Choice Award for "Best Animated Show", but lost to Family Guy.
- South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut was nominated for an Oscar for "Best Music, Original Song" for "Blame Canada". They lost to Phil Collins and made fun of him in two consecutive episodes in season 4 ("Cartman's Silly Hate Crime 2000" & "Timmy 2000"). Creator Trey Parker explained the reasoning for these barbs in the season 4 DVD commentary, saying "we were fully expecting to lose, just not to Phil Collins". "Blame Canada" was performed by Robin Williams during the televised award show, which was the first to carry a TV-14 parental advisory, in part because of the performance of that song, which contains some adult language.
- Another track from the movie, "Uncle Fucka", won an MTV Movie Award for Best Musical Performance; Trey Parker and Matt Stone accepted the award, and thanked the audience for "not nominating Phil Collins".
- South Park is the one of the very few actively-running television series that has won a CableACE Award. It won the award for Best Animated Series in 1997, the last year the awards were given out.
- ↑ http://www.tv.com/south-park/show/344/episode_listings.html?season=12
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/27/business/media/27south.html?_r=1&oref=slogin
- ↑ South Park Studios - Behind the Scenes - How It All Began
- ↑ http://www.animationmagazine.net/article.php?article_id=4447
- ↑ Rudolph, Ileane; Matt Webb Mitovich (2005-09-01). South Park Gets Cleaned Up. TV Guide. Retrieved on 2007-08-09.
- ↑ Peera, Iman. "Watch South Park Full Episodes Online Legally", Web TV Hub, 2007-12-01.
- ↑ "Goin' Down to South Park" documentary featured on the South Park Season 2 Boxset
- ↑ South Park Studios FAQ, April 2001. Retrieved on 2006-10-19.
- ↑ The Simpsons Archive: Mike Scully Interview, January 1999. Retrieved on 2007-06-10.
- ↑ South Park Studios FAQ, March 2004. Retrieved on 2006-10-19.
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 South Park Studios FAQ, September 2001. Retrieved on 2006-12-04.
- ↑ http://southpark.wikia.com/wiki/Timmy
- ↑ South Park Studios FAQ, December 2003. Retrieved on 2006-12-04.
- ↑ Hall, Sarah. "South Park" Parked by Complaints? - E!: December 29, 2005.
- ↑ 15.0 15.1 http://animatedtv.about.com/cs/news/a/awards_2.htm
- ↑ 
- ↑ http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1651341_1659196_1652729,00.html
- ↑ IMDB full list of awards won by "South Park"
- ↑ http://www.imdb.com/Sections/Awards/Teen_Choice_Awards/2006
- ↑ Basile, Nancy. South Park Awards. About.com. Last accessed August 15, 2007.
- Johnson-Woods, Toni (2007). Blame Canada!: South Park and Contemporary Culture. New York: Continuum International Publishing Group. ISBN 0826417302.