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South Park is a comedy show airing on the trendy television network Comedy Central. It is created by Matt Stone and Trey Parker. The creators of the show target a mature audience. Though, for the period the show has been in the system, it has grown to be popular even among the young people. The show is a black comedy genre with a sumptuous use of spoof and dreamlike humor. Launched in August 1997, the show started on a high note and the creators boast of developing and airing a total of 224 episodes by this time. For this reason, the show remains the longest ever to have been run on Comedy Central. The popularity of the show is fuelled by its use of rudimentary language, which the characters employ in different episodes covering various subjects. The show covers subjects ranging from race to religion and sexuality. The show is an ongoing sequence of events that revolve around four youngsters and their extraordinary adventures in and just about the ostensible Colorado Township.

In the contemporary world, the media has been responsible for addressing miscellaneous matters through television shows and South Park is one of those shows. In this study paper, we analyze the show-South Park by carrying out a thorough investigation of the show’s creators. The paper will provide in-depth information regarding the creators of the show and matters concerning how they use the cartoon to portray their personal opinions on religion, race, and sexuality. In addition, the paper will show how the comic program negatively impacts the American youth. The ideology that the show has a negative impact comes not only from the fact that the creators use their show to look into the deep-seeded analytical humor, but also because the show portrays opinions verbatim. The paper will make use of examples from different episodes to support the information provided.

Discussion

Creators of the Show – Trey Parker and Matt Stone. Originally, Trey Parker studied music at the prestigious Berklee School of Music.  Later on, Parker made a move to Colorado University where he studied cinema. The move to Colorado was instrumental in the establishment of his twisted brainchild ‘Alferd Packer: The Musical’. Parker was the director, producer, and main actor of the three-minute fake trailer. The trailer received a positive response from the audience with people asking about the real show. At this point Parker, with his friend  Matt Stone (the second current creator) and other students, came together to raise funds that would see the development of the Alferd Packer. This was through the production company the students formed – Avenging Conscience Inc. At the age of 23, the pair was already employing other students to take up roles in the show as cast members. In the show South Park, the character Stan Marsh largely revolves around Parker’s life (Hanley p. 32 2011).

Matt Stone is the other creator of the South Park show as well as the movie and other media. In addition to being the creator of the show, Matt dubs voice for different characters – Kyle, Butters, and Kenny in the show. The Jewish character of Kyle Broflovski is largely based on him. Born in Houston, Texas, Matt is a child of a Jewish and Irish Catholic mother and father respectively. The background of Matt’s parents helped develop the storyline around Gerald Broflovski and Sheila Broflovski characters in the show. Matt grew up in Littleton, Colorado, where he attended Heritage High School. Matt has several degrees in animation and film art, which is responsible for his distinguished career in the field (Hanley p. 25 2011).

South Park on Race. South Park show has several approaches to the theme of race, and this is through originality and viciousness. Matt Stone and Trey Parker, creators of the show, are particularly vociferous in addressing matters of race, and the irreverent duo deftly establishes episodes around the subject. For instance, ‘With Apologies to Jesse Jackson’ is an ethnically charged episode. The episode offers viewers a multifaceted point of view on race affiliations in America. The major theme of the episode is how Americans misunderstand the individual differences they portray. This is a rather different approach to the issue of race, and the use of role reversal makes the subject interesting. The two creators believe in Americans identifying and recognizing their individual differences depending on their ethnic background. For instance, Matt’s parents come from different cultures, and through the show, Matt can express his opinion regarding ethnicity. In the episode ‘With Apologies to Jesse Jackson’, the creators take the exceptionally thought that all differences and concerns that exist because of race can be painstakingly resolved. Americans cannot evade the fact that there are intrinsic differences between individuals and races simply because of past background.  As teenagers, most Americans fail to understand some issues especially when it comes to ethnicity, and the moral of the episode advises people not to try to dig for what they cannot realize (Gallagher p. 58 2007). This is the opinion of the creators on the matter of race, and they offer the solution to racial concerns – Americans must realize that there are some matters, which they will never comprehend.

South Park on Religion. The main creators of the show have varied religious backgrounds.  Matt’s religious environment is especially notable. Born in the family of Jewish and Catholic parents, Matt could have easily been a victim of not so defined religious background. Religion is notably the most sensitive issue in South Park show as it involves passions. According to the various episodes in the show, it is almost certain that the two creators are atheists, as they seem to bash anything related to religion. It also becomes evident that the two creators believe in secular liberalism. Just as it is hard to know the political standings of Matt and Parker, their religious standings are not so indefinite. The show portrays religion as a praiseworthy thing which involves all people (Gabbay p. 78 2010). The best episode in the show that tackles the religion issue is ‘Trapped in the Closet’. The episode revolves around the actor Tom Cruise who is a strong follower of scientology. The religious theme in the episode states that a scientological church is a rip-off as the actors try to explore the foundation system of beliefs in the religion. Matt and Parker use this episode to show their non-belief in any powers as they claim that scientologists believe in aliens and ghosts. To the creators, scientology religion is a rip-off that takes financial advantage of its followers, including Tom Cruise.

South Park on Sexuality and Women. In regards to the various episodes and subjects on women, the show seems to carry a negative impact on female viewers. In most cases, there are statements, actions, and subjects, which can be annoying to women. The show seems to be stereotypic in femininity and masculinity, which can lead to varied interpretations from male and female viewers. The perfect example of an episode that will receive varied interpretations from the members of both genders is ‘Towelie’. The episode begins with one of the characters finding a used tampon, which can be disgusting to female viewers. However, the male viewers can find this to be funny and fully entertaining. The outstanding views in this show are that it portrays women as victims of persecution and not infliction. With such materials getting much airplay on the show, it certainly implies that the show captivates the male audience more as the creators seem to neglect the women’s feelings and emotions (Cott p. 32 1992).

CONCLUSION

The show makes use of animations, which attracts teenagers and young viewers. The recent information from the media criticizes the show and its content, which may negatively affect the young viewers. The major impact of the TV show on young people comes in terms of the violence scenes and statements, depicted in some episodes. This is a culture that is present in South Park show. The use of vulgar and crude language in the comic show seems to be having a negative impact on the youth. In as much as the creators defend the use of crude language as aimed at the adult viewers, the show airs at times when children are able to watch it. South Park episodes mostly end with one character meeting violence and then re-appearing in the next episode. The crucial question is whether the young viewers can distinguish between fiction and actual violence. According to statistics, children have no ability to differentiate between fiction in the shows and the actual life. There have been several cases of violence among children, which can be related to the shows and the material they get exposed to through the media. The scenes in the show have a negative impact as they seem to be too explicit for the youth. On the other hand, Parker and Matt insist that the target audience for the show is adults, and they have taken all measures to alert the public on this. The negative depiction of liberal causes is also rampant in the show, a theme that has been condemned by parents and activist groups.

Code: Sample20

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