Subject matter in South Park

Subject matter in South Park

South Park has attempted to cover and satirize a large number of topics over the course of its run. In more recent years, the use of computer animation has made it possible to edit episodes in days, quickly commenting on recent events (Elián González, 2000 U.S. presidential election, the capture of Saddam Hussein, etc.) The creators also have engendered a mix of socially liberal and fiscally conservative viewpoints, espousing a libertarian ideology in both real life and on the show.

Abortion

Abortion is heavily lampooned in South Park. Whether this is meant to be a pro/con argument is speculative, except on a few occasions.
* "Cartman's Mom is Still a Dirty Slut": Cartman's Mom attempted to get her son a "42nd trimester" abortion, only to figure out later that she wanted him adopted instead.This episode can be seen as heavily promoting pro-life. When Mrs. Cartman wants to abort her 8 year old son, and finds out that such a late abortion is illegal, she says "Well, I think you need to keep your laws off of my body." Because this is a common slogan used by pro choice activists, this can be seen as pro-life. Later in the episode, Mrs Cartman says "I should've thought of raising a child before having sex."
* "Chef Goes Nanners" The substitute teacher shows that the class had participated in different debates, with one being "Pro-Choice vs. Cartman". Since Cartman is generally portrayed as a malevolent person, this can be seen as promoting pro-choice. However, there is also a "Pro-Gun Control vs. Cartman", and since Trey Parker owns guns, cite web| url= http://www.rollingstone.com/news/coverstory/south_park_still_sick_still_wrong/page/3| title= "Still Sick, Still Wrong"|author= Vanessa Grigoriadis| publisher= Rolling Stone Magazine| ] this is likely a gag portraying Cartman's conservatism.
* "Kenny Dies": Cartman attempts to get stem cell research (using aborted fetuses) legalized in a feigned attempt to save Kenny's life. It is revealed at the end of the episode he really wanted to use stem cells to clone his favorite pizza restaurant. Since Cartman is generally portrayed as a malevolent person, this can be seen as promoting pro-life.
* "A Ladder to Heaven": Upon realizing that Kenny's soul is inside his body, Cartman decides to go somewhere where they "remove living souls from inside" of him. He then proceeds to go to an abortion clinic where he gets into an argument with the lady at the counter, stating that he can't live this way and demanding that they just suck Kenny's soul out. Incidentily, at this point a couple walk in and upon hearing Cartman's rant, the girlfriend states that she "can't do this" and runs out. At that point, the visibly angry boyfriend throws a rock at Cartman.
* "Woodland Critter Christmas": The (mountain) lion cubs are taught at an abortion clinic how to stop the AntiChrist porcupine from being born. After they give Kyle an "abortion".
* "Mr. Garrison's Fancy New Vagina": The newly sex-changed Mrs. Garrison becomes convinced she is pregnant because she doesn't start having a period, only to find out at the abortion clinic that she has no uterus (which are not created in sex change operations) and therefore cannot get pregnant.
* "Eek! A Penis!": Cartman spends most of the episode teaching inner-city kids that it is okay to cheat. In counseling a pregnant teenager, he says that "Abortion isn't wrong...abortion is the ultimate form of cheating. You're cheating nature itself. Why do rich white girls get ahead in life? Because they get abortions when they're young. They get pregnant, but they still want to go to college, so, whatever, they just cheat. They cheat that little critter in their belly out of a chance at life." Viewed within context and with the normal assumption of Cartman's malevolence, this would seem to argue a pro-life position.

Celebrities

:"See also: List of celebrities on South Park."
* Barbra Streisand: in "Mecha-Streisand", she gains evil-powers and destroys the town as a MechaGodzilla-style creature; in "Spookyfish", different visages from her TV and movie work appear as "Spooky Streisand" sidebars. Her name also seems to be something of a curse word in the "South Park" universe, as in "" and "Osama Bin Laden Has Farty Pants." In the first season DVD commentary the creators claim that she is the only celebrity from the show that they truly hate.
* "Starvin' Marvin" and "Starvin' Marvin in Space" lampoon the charity efforts of Sally Struthers, who appears as a Jabba the Hutt figure in the latter episode.
* "Butters' Very Own Episode": the parents of Butters Stotch try to conceal his attempted murder with the help of Gary Condit, O.J. Simpson, and the parents of JonBenét Ramsey.
* In the episode "Fat Butt and Pancake Head", Cartman makes a Jennifer Lopez hand puppet, which suddenly develops a personality of its own and becomes a singing sensation. As a result, the real J-Lo is fired from her record label and Ben Affleck falls in love with the hand puppet.
* Affleck, prior to "Fat Butt and Pancake Head", also appears in "How to Eat with Your Butt", where it's revealed that he is the long-lost son of a couple suffering from a fictitious congenital condition called "torsonic polarity syndrome" (TPS), which causes victims to appear to have buttocks in place of their face.
* Rob Reiner is derided as a hypocritical activist (who overeats, but opposes smoking) in "Butt Out".
* John Edward's mentalist/medium practices are criticized in "The Biggest Douche in the Universe".
* Jared Fogle is satirized in "Jared Has Aides": a play on his use of personal trainers in the episode.
* Russell Crowe is playfully mocked for his "Gladiator" role and his violent fights in "The New Terrance and Phillip Movie Trailer".
* Mel Gibson is the subject of Cartman's fascination with "The Passion of the Christ", culminating in "The Passion of the Jew", wherein Gibson retaliates as a crazy "Braveheart" figure for Stan and Kenny taking back from him the $18 they spent on "The Passion".
* Paris Hilton is caricatured as a "skank" in "Stupid Spoiled Whore Video Playset". The episode implies (and in some cases explicitly states) that Paris Hilton is a stupid, spoiled drunk and whore who has done nothing to deserve her fame except being rich and spoiled. The episode also criticizes how she has become a role model for young girls (the girls of South Park, with the exception of Wendy Testaburger, quickly take up her supposedly promiscuous and mindless attitude towards life after the opening of the "Stupid spoiled whore" shop). She is essentially criticized in almost every possible way as a complete, worthless bitch.
* Tom Cruise and John Travolta are famously caricatured in "Trapped in the Closet" for their participation in Scientology. This episode resulted in the departure of Isaac Hayes as Chef in "The Return of Chef", where Chef is brainwashed into a made-up organization lampooning Scientology (of which Hayes is a member of, and claimed religious insult because of "Closet"). The title of the "Closet" episode references "Trapped in the Closet" by R. Kelly, who is also a participant in "Closet."
* Prior to "Trapped in the Closet", Travolta was featured in "The Entity", demonstrating Mr. Garrison's monowheel vehicle known as "IT."
* George Clooney is considered a source of "smug" in "Smug Alert!" for his speech giving Hollywood credit in the American Civil Rights Movement, and in the movie for the doctor.
* David Blaine is satirized in "Super Best Friends" as being the leader of a cult known as Blaintology.
* In the episode "Red Hot Catholic Love", Martha Stewart uses Cartman's method of digestion (which involves shoving food up the anus and defecating out the mouth) to eat a whole turkey.
* In the episode "Here Comes the Neighborhood", Token convinces rich African-American celebrities such as Will Smith, Oprah Winfrey, P Diddy and Bill Cosby (who is shown having an obsession with Jell-O pudding) to move to South Park. Oprah also makes an appearance on the episode "A Million Little Fibers", where she talks about selecting Towelie's memoirs as her book of the month.
* U.S. Army troops mistake a goat for Fleetwood Mac lead vocalist Stevie Nicks in the episode "Osama Bin Laden Has Farty Pants".
* In the episode "Tsst", Cesar Millan from the show "Dog Whisperer" is brought in to discipline Cartman after "Nanny 911" and "Super Nanny" fail.
* Al Gore is satirized in the episode "ManBearPig", where he warns the town of South Park about a terrible creature that is "half-man, half-bear and half-pig."
* In the episode "Ginger Kids", when Cartman presents his report about red-haired, pale-skin, freckled people, his slideshow displays pictures of Carrot Top and Ron Howard.
* The Fab Five from "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" are parodied as Crab People in the episode "South Park Is Gay!".
* In the episode "The Snuke", Hillary Clinton has a nuclear weapon in her vagina.
* In the episode "Britney's New Look Britney Spears' popularity is due to her being a sacrifice for corn Harvest.

Censorship

The primary subject of "South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut", censorship is a repeatedly cited concern in multiple episodes. Notable episodes involving censorship include "Death", "It Hits the Fan", "Cartoon Wars Part I", and "Cartoon Wars Part II".

Drugs

* "Ike's Wee Wee": Mr. Mackey is forced out of his job for losing a marijuana joint in a drug-education class. Ironically, he goes through a cycle of experimentation (ending up in his adopting hippie ideology and happily marrying a woman he meets), before an enforced treatment (after being captured during his honeymoon in India by the A-Team, no less) and becoming a spokesman against drugs.
* "My Future Self n' Me": Stan and Butters' parents find an indirect and strange way to try to prevent their children from using drugs.
* "Towelie" and "A Million Little Fibers": Towlie is forced to confront his marijuana addiction in times of crisis.
* "Up the Down Steroid": Jimmy Vulmer is chronicled through his use of steroids; combines the subject of the current 2006 Baseball steroids investigation with a "" episode about steroid use.
* "Die, Hippie, Die": The hippies have their Jamfest in South Park to "Stop Corporations" and Kenny, Kyle and Stan join the hippies. In the end, the boys realize the hippies smoke way too much pot and are just as selfish as the corporations they complain about by trying to forget about their troubles when they don't have any.
*In the latest episode, "Major Boobage" kids across the nation, particularly Kenny, have found a new way to get high. The episode references the glue-sniffing, paint snorting, and marker sniffing epidemics.

Environmentalism and global warming

* "Rainforest Schmainforest" parodies environmental activism and portrays celebrity environmental activism as motivated by a desire to feel better about themselves.
* "Spontaneous Combustion" uses global warming as a source of trouble for the townspeople, caused by their own flatuence.
* "Two Days Before the Day After Tomorrow" and "ManBearPig" making fun of concerns over global warming. ManBearPig is also more specifically a mockery of Al Gore.
* "Smug Alert!": Hybrid automobiles, while praised, nonetheless have owners who are touted as a source of "smug"; San Francisco is considered as the "smug" capital, destroyed in a "smugstorm" à la "The Perfect Storm".
* In "" Earth Day people come to South Park. When Clyde says "My daddy is a geologist and he says there actually isn't any concrete evidence of global warming", they answer "That's not true, global warming is going to kill us all. The Republicans are responsible".


= Nazis =

* Hitler is seen multiple times and is Cartman's idol.
* In "Passion of the Jew", Cartman rallies a neo-Nazi Mel Gibson fan club.

Homosexuality and gay marriage

Big Gay Al is used in several episodes (and "") to promote tolerance and acceptance for homosexuals. Mr. Garrison later comes out as gay for several seasons, and lives with Mr. Slave until he undergoes a sex change operation. Big Gay Al and Mr. Slave are later married in "Follow That Egg!". A solution to the conflict regarding gay marriages is proposed by a character, who stated that although gay couples should be able to have the same legal benefits that marriage brings, their union should be called something else and treated differrently so as not to offend people who think marriage is a sacred union between man and woman. South Park parodies the real-life "civil union" compromise by proposing gay couples be allowed to have the same rights as married groups, but be called "Butt buddies."

The 2007 episode "Cartman Sucks" parodied and criticized the Ex Gay Movement, though it mostly focused on children whose parents force them to attend such "therapy".

Religion

* "Starvin' Marvin in Space": Christian missionaries and Pat Robertson attempt to cajole Starvin Marvin's people and the Marklar into accepting their faith. This episode in general portrays Christianity in a rather unfavorable manner, as when the missionary character attempts to get the Africans to read the Bible. "Remember, reading the Bible plus accepting Jesus equals FOOD", suggesting that the Christians would have let the emaciated Africans starve if they did not convert.
* "Are You There God? It's Me, Jesus" addresses the Year 2000 hype/hysteria and introduces God (in a non-stereotypical visage) to the series.
* "Super Best Friends" has the key members of the world's faiths join together to fight a cult.
* Christian rock music is the subject of "Christian Rock Hard": Cartman attempts to start a Christian Rock band as a scheme to get an award.
* "Red Hot Catholic Love" parodies the Catholic sex abuse scandal (the town's pastor is seen trying to convert other Catholic priests from molestation) and the Separation of Church & State as demanded by atheists
* "All About Mormons" chronicles the arrival of a Mormon family in South Park, and lampoons the story of Joseph Smith.
* "Bloody Mary" was criticized for its portrayal of a Virgin Mary statue as bleeding from her anus (later found out to be from her vagina, as declared by Pope Benedict XVI in the episode). It also addressed the religious origins of Alcoholics Anonymous.
* "Do the Handicapped Go to Hell?" and "Probably" depicts Stan, Cartman, and Kenny being frightened by the town Priest's descriptions of hell and those who are headed there. Determined to save their souls and those of their friends, including Kyle, a Jew and Timmy, who is mentally handicapped, they seek out advice from the local clergy. When the boys find the priest having sex in the confessional, they decide to make their own church aimed at salvation. They continue this course until it is revealed that Cartman, in an obvious nod to televangelism, only did it to make ten million dollars, and Jesus shows up to shoot down the views of fire and brimstone preaching.
* Scientology is the subject of "Trapped in the Closet" where Stan is declared the reincarnation of L. Ron Hubbard
* Radical atheism is also shown be equal to radical religion in the episode "Go God Go" and sequel, "Go God Go XII". In the future, all religion has been destroyed by Richard Dawkins and Mrs. Garrison and everyone is atheist in hopes that reason will prevent war. However, fanaticism nonetheless grows and there are several warring factions trying to decide whose logic is correct in determining their name. They also use 'Science' as an alternative to 'God' as a curse, e.g. 'Science Damn You', 'Science H Logic!'.
* In "Fantastic Easter Special", the episode suggested (lampooning The Da Vinci Code) that Saint Peter was a rabbit and that God wanted all the popes to be rabbits so they'd keep their mouths shut.

Politics

* "Trapper Keeper": the kindergarten class votes for Class President; satire on the 2000 U.S. presidential election.
* "Douche and Turd": the school votes for a new mascot, and P. Diddy terrorizes the cast into voting; satire on the 2004 U.S. Presidential Election. This episode essentially depicts the Democratic Party and the Republican Party and being not particularly desirable (a douche and a turd). When Stan points out that there isn't any point in voting if the only options are a douche and a turd, at the end it is pointed out that most elections that will ever occur will be between a douche and a turd.
* The concept of political correctness is criticized in "Mr. Hankey, the Christmas Poo", "Chef Goes Nanners", "Cartman's Silly Hate Crime 2000", and other episodes.

Saddam Hussein, the War on Terror, and the Iraq War

* In "Terrance and Phillip in Not Without My Anus" and onward, Saddam tries to take over Canada, becomes Satan's lover in "South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut", in future episodes is caught trying to manufacture weapons of mass destruction in Heaven, and is eventually captured in "It's Christmas in Canada" (after the real life one was captured in Iraq).
* The U.S. invasion of Afghanistan and September 11, 2001 are used as backgrounds for "Osama Bin Laden Has Farty Pants".
* The Iraq War is also premised or discussed in "Red Sleigh Down" and "I'm a Little Bit Country".
* Mystery of the Urinal Deuce discusses and parodies many of the 9/11 conspiracy theories.

Other

* "Conjoined Fetus Lady" and "Timmy 2000" address the acceptance of people with disabilities.
* "Proper Condom Use" addresses the teaching of sexual education in schools.
* "Sexual Harassment Panda" addresses frivolous lawsuits especially those against public institutions, because the publics money is your money.
* "Underpants Gnomes" addresses corporate take over of small businesses, and teaches that America was founded on free enterprise and capitalism.

References


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