An Analysis of South Park's Controversial Episodes

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  • Topic: South Park, Eric Cartman, Comedy Central
  • Pages : 11 (3609 words )
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  • Published : December 4, 2012
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Abstract
In this research essay, I will be examining the conversation surrounding the effects the animated television series South Park has on its younger viewers. South Park is a comedy show that takes on a variety of themes in nearly all of its episodes, including various political and social issues. Although mostly every single episode of South Park is controversial or offense in some way, I will analyze what I believe to be the ten most controversial episodes of South Park, which will explore several themes and issues.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction……………..
Background………………….
Purpose………………………
Chapter 2: Overview/Review/Method……………..
South Park in Popular Culture…………….
Criticisms/Controversies……………………
Parodies……………………………………...
Methodology…………………………………
Chapter 3: Analysis
Episode (1)………………………………….
Episode (2)………………………………….
Episode (3)………………………………….
Episode (4)………………………………….
Episode (5)………………………………….
Episode (6)………………………………….
Episode (7)………………………………….
Episode (8)………………………………….
Episode (9)………………………………….
Episode (10)………………………………..
Episode (11)………………………………..
Chapter 4: Discussion & Conclusion
Further Readings/Research
Additional/Unanswered Questions
References/Works Cited

Chapter 1

South Park is about the closest television has come to accurately depicting hell on earth. Nearly all of its inhabitants are imprudent, thoughtless, and unscrupulous. Its depiction of religion, government, global and social issues for comic effect has sparked debate and controversy throughout the world over the course of its sixteen seasons. South Park has been used by its creators, Matt Stone and Trey Parker, to lampoon a wide variety of topics including gay marriage, fashion trends and 9/11. With its balls-out humor and frequent depiction of taboo subject matter it has been the center of heated debate, bombarded with several criticisms ever since its August 1997 debut; with a tongue-in-cheek disclaimer which states that its contents “should not be viewed by anyone” it’s bound to be. The show’s portrayal of children as foul-mouthed, violent, and disrespectful has made it the target of many organizations like the Parents Television Council and the Action for Children’s Television organization who have condemned the show with the latter claiming that it’s “dangerous for democracy”. These organizations—consisting of mostly parents—feel that South Park doesn’t expand the minds of our youth, but instead fills it with “vile trash”. Over the years many concerned parents have spoken out against South Park, asserting that it’s harmful to children. While many organizations and alarmed parents were hoping to get rid the show, it turned out that many people were actually entertained by watching poorly drawn third graders swear and spew social commentary beyond their years. More contributors to this debate are several of South Park’s loyal viewers ranging from elementary to college age students who have been supportive of the show through its seemingly never-ending influx of criticisms, some describing it as “lowbrow humor with insightful commentary”. This chapter will give background info on the show, its place in popular culture along with the rationale that motivated this research project and present the research questions driving this study of the discussion surrounding South Park’s effect on our youth.

Background

“Dangerous,” “insightful,” “offensive,” and “genius” are some words that have been used when describing one of the most controversial television shows of all time, South Park. Over its span of sixteen seasons South Park has tackled an array of controversial topics and social issues like racism, political correctness, terrorism, abortion, immigration, voting, stem cell research, same-sex marriage, catholic molestations, and the evolution/creation debate. South Park is a very large part of pop culture, which makes it a worthy subject to study.

In each episode the...
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