South Park: Effective Social Commentary

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Running head: EFFECTIVE SOCIAL COMMENTARY

South Park: Effective Social Commentary

Abstract
This paper will explore whether the animated show South Park is an effective use of social commentary. We will explore the controversial topics covered by the show and the reactions to those shows from both a liberal and conservative viewpoint. In addition, we will look at how topics covered in a humorous, cartoon format may be able to more effectively discuss taboo subjects and why this show should be taken seriously in its social commentary.

South Park: Effective Social Commentary

Is the show South Park an effective use of social commentary? We will explore this question throughout this paper. From religion, to politics, to sex and gender issues it seems that there is no subject too taboo for the biting guerrilla-style satirical writings of the show’s creators, Trey Parker and Matt Stone.
The basis of the show is on four children that live in a small fictitious Colorado town called South Park. The central characters are four eight-year-old boys that hang around the town in a manner reminiscent of the central characters in the play Waiting for Godot [1], only crasser. The boys are thrust into situations that usually revolve around current news events that are popular in the media. It is the shocking, and usually inappropriate, reactions of the boys and the adults around them to these situations that are the cornerstone of this ideological show.
To dismiss this show as a crude cartoon is miss the point of the show entirely, for there must be something substantial enough to garner this show eight Emmy awards, a Peabody award and numerous other awards. Roger Ebert, a well-known movie critic, first panned the South Park movie, but even he recognized its importance in the same review by stating that is was 'the most slashing political commentary of the year'[2]. However, with jaw dropping exchanges such as these, it is no

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