Created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, South Park is an adult animated sitcom revolving around four boys – Stan Marsh, Kyle Broflovski, Eric Cartman, and Kenny McCormick. Now going into its 21th season, South Park has won Emmy Awards, Peabody Awards, and even inspired a feature length film that was nominated for an Academy Award.
So let’s go on down to South Park and meet some facts of mine.
46. Born in a Manger
The “Spirit of Christmas” was the name of two profanity laden short films made by Trek Parker and Matt Stone that were the precursors to South Park, the television show.
45. Corncob Pipe, Button Nose, and Murderous Tentacles
The first film “Spirit of Christmas” film was labeled by fans as “Jesus vs. Frosty” and involved the boys bringing a snowman to life only to find that it’s evil and deranged. It ends up killing one of the boys leading to the utterance, “Oh my god! Frosty killed Kenny!”
44. The Gift that Keeps on Giving
The second film, “Jesus vs. Santa,” came about after a Fox executive saw “Jesus vs. Frosty” and paid Stone and Parker a $1,000 to make a Christmas card video for him to send to friends. The film made the rounds in Hollywood eventually catching the attention of Comedy Central who hired the duo to make South Park.
43. It’s In the Game
The Electronic Arts videogame “Tiger Woods 99” had to be recalled from shelves because someone hid a video file of South Park’s “The Spirit of Christmas” on the discs and EA considered it both “unauthorized” and “objectionable,” which describes South Park to a tee.
42. Avenge Me!
“Jesus vs. Frosty” was made under the production company Avenging Conscience, which was launched by Parker and Stone and two other students at the University of Colorado. Avenging Conscience also produced Cannibal! The Musical, Jesus vs. Santa, Orgazmo, and the Book of Orgazmo.
41. And So it Begins
The very first episode of South Park, titled “Cartman Gets an Anal Probe,” took three and a half months to complete and cost $300,000.
The first episode was made using the paper cutout stop motion technique of the “Spirit of Christmas” short films. It remains the only South Park episode animated without the use of computers, much to the relief of trees everywhere.
39. Who’s Laughing Now?
The first episode got poor reviews and South Park was compared unfavorably with more complex and nuanced shows such as Beavis and Butt-Head and The Simpsons.
38. Paranormal Activity
The town of South Park is based on a real Colorado area of the same name where there are lots of reports of UFO sightings, cattle mutilations, and Bigfoot sightings.
37. Close Encounters
Parker and Stone originally wanted to have a lot of aliens make appearances throughout the series but decided against it so that they didn’t seem like a parody of The X-Files. Instead, the crew started hiding aliens in the background of many episodes.
The evil lord Xenu (as depicted by South Park)
36. Sh*t Fit
Comedy Central agreed to let Stone and Parker use the word “sh*t” uncensored in the episode “It Hits the Fan” only if they used the word an absurdly high number of times. They decided to include a counter how many times the word was said in the episode. It had 200 total sh*ts. 162 spoken. 38 written. It was a statement. So it was okay. Censorship is weird.
35. Teach Them Well and Let Them Lead the Way
Jenna Miscavige Hill, the niece of Scientology chairman David Miscavige, first heard the story of Xenu from the South Park scientology episode.
34. Barely Legal
In order to ask Tom Cruise to “come out of the closet” without legal repercussions, Trey Parker wrote a scene of Cruise was literally locking himself in a closet.
33. The Smiths
Everyone who worked on the Scientology episode was listed as either “John Smith” or “Jane Smith” in the credits because of the church’s history of suing people they didn’t like.
The Tourette Syndrome Association complimented South Park on being “well researched” and was an accurate source of information to the public.
31. Will the Real Kenny Please Stand Up?
Kenny is based on a real childhood friend of Trey Parker’s. The real Kenny was the poorest kid in town, wore a parka, and frequently skipped school, inspiring the running joke that he had died.
30. Good Old Fashioned Values
After South Park aired its anti-Family Guy episode, they received flowers from The Simpsons and a call from King of the Hill saying they’re “doing God’s work.” Not everyone thinks it’s lucky there’s a Family Guy.
29. Strong Counsel
Mr. Mackey is based on Trey Parker’s old high school counselor Mr. Lackey. He used to use the phrase “m’kay” quite a bit and that became Mackey’s signature flourish at the end of his sentences.
28. Just Desserts
Chef’s song “Chocolate Salty Balls,” reached No. 1 on the UK Singles Charts, which we believe is really a testament to British cuisine.
27. Imma Let You Finish But…
After the 2009 MTV Music Awards where Kanye West interrupted Taylor Swift on the podium, which was basically the equivalent of stepping on a kitten, Comedy Central aired the South Park episode “Fishsticks” on repeat for two hours.
26. It’ll Get Worse Before It Gets Better
The South Park movie Bigger, Longer, and Uncut was originally given an NC-17 rating and, according to Stone and Parker, they added something even more offensive every time they resubmitted it to the MPAA. It eventually ended up with an R rating.
25. The First Answer is Usually the Right One
After the release of the film, the president of the MPAA, Jack Valenti, said that he regretted not rating it NC-17.
24. I’d take that course
McDaniel College in Maryland that offers a course in which students study South Park and the real world issues the show tackles.
23. Barking up the Wrong Tree
George Clooney asked to guest star on South Park and he was offered the role of Stan’s dog, Sparky. He gladly accepted and has produced a variety of awesome barks for the role.
22. What’s the Deal With…
Jerry Seinfeld expressed interest in being on the show and was offered the part of “Turkey #2” on their Thanksgiving episode. An unamused Seinfeld declined.
21. Chin Up
On the other hand, Jay Leno was more than happy to come into the studio to provide the meows for Cartman’s cat.
The South Park parody of Pokemon was titled “Chinpokomon” which is Japanese for “small penis monsters.”
19. Die Fly Die!
Sophie Rutschmann of the University of Strasbourg discovered a gene mutation that causes fruit flies to die in 2 days when infected by specific bacteria. She named the gene Kenny, after Kenny McCormick from South Park because of his death in every episode.
18. A Near Unnatural Disaster
The South Park creators got a hold of the script for The Day After Tomorrow and wanted to make a shot-for-shot remake using puppets and release it on the same day. Their lawyers wisely talked them out of it.
17. Ignorance is Bliss
South Park is the show that coined the word “Derp.”
The character Mr. Derp
16. I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butters
Kyle was originally going to be killed off in Season 5 because he was too similar to Stan. Additionally, Stone and Parker wanted to make Butters a regular character. Cartman would have been happy.
15. Those Bastards!
Stone and Parker changed their mind about Kyle, but decided instead to permanently kill Kenny because they were tired of having him die every week.
Kenny in the hospital in the episode ‘Kenny Dies’
14. A Cheeto by Any Other Name
As an homage to South Park, Frito-Lays briefly sold “Cheesy Poofs,” Cartman’s signature snack.
When Kenny dies in each episode and Stan or Kyle exclaim “They killed Kenny! You bastards!” the “they” and “bastards” in question are actually Stone and Parker themselves, who are considered omnipresent within the show’s universe.
Matt Stone (Left) and Trey Parker (Right)
12. And On the Seventh Day
Each episode of South Park is made in a week, more specifically the six days prior to the episode’s air date. They have missed the deadline only once when South Park studios suffered a power outage. There’s no proof, but we think the culprits were Family Guy. Their documentary Six Days to Air is worth the watch for any South Park fan.
11. If You Say So…
Due to the frantic production schedule, there was a period (around the time when the feature film was in the works) where Stone and Parker were so delirious that they created an episode, “Sexual Harassment Panda,” that they have no recollection of making.
10. Profile Pic
For seven seasons, Chef was only ever seen from the front because the artists never bothered to draw Chef from the side view. Even when chef was shown walking on and off the frame, it was always from the front.
9. For Azeroth!
The making of the Warcraft episode was aided significantly by Blizzard Entertainment who, despite the episode making fun of its players, provided the South Park creators with character models and a private server. The episode was titled, “Make Love, Not Warcraft.” We guess Blizzard decided to do both.
8. Passive Aggressiveness
Interestingly enough, the Warcraft episode was about a player going around killing everyone and, while filming on their “private” server, a player came in and started killing random people. Maybe Blizzard wasn’t as supportive as they appeared to be.
7. Garden State
The South Park parody of Game of Thrones mocked the frequency of conversations that took place while the characters walked through a garden. The GoT show runners took this to heart and did less of those scenes. In fact, in Season 4, one of the GoT characters says, “If I have to take one more leisurely stroll through the gardens, I’ll fling myself from the cliffs.”
6. Step 4: Prophet
Not wanting to enrage fundamentalist Muslims, South Park was banned from showing an image of Muhammad. However, for years afterwards, they put an uncensored image of Muhammad in the opening credits of every syndicated episode.
5. The Terrorists Won
After receiving many death threats before airing an episode featuring Muhammad, Comedy Central censored every instance of the word Muhammad and Kyle’s final speech explaining the moral of the story. The episode was then removed from Comedy Central’s website and never broadcast again. When an uncensored version was finally released, it was revealed that Kyle’s speech was about how you can stop people from making fun of you by terrorizing them. Oh, the irony.
4. Yes We Can
During the 2008 election, Stone and Parker were so confident that Obama would beat McCain, they only produced one version of the show where Obama wins the election. They said that, had McCain won, they would have aired the episode as written, but with drunken commentary to reflect reality.
3. Oh No He Didn’t
Unfortunately, Stone and Parker’s powers of political prognostication failed when Trump won the election in 2016. In anticipation of a Clinton victory, the episode was originally named “The Very First Gentleman.” After the shocking results and with less than 24 hours’ notice, Parker and Stone rewrote the episode and changed the title to “Oh, Jeez.” The episode opened with puking voters.
2. Reality Trumps Comedy
Stone and Parker have said that they’re giving up on satirizing Trump “because satire has become reality.” Based on reviews of South Park’s 20th season, critics felt that Stone and Parker were a little lost, and didn’t know what to do about America’s new president.
1. I Spy, With My Little Eye…
The Church of Scientology hired people to spy on Matt Parker and Trey Stone to try and find some dirt on them to punish them for their episode on Scientology. After months of digging they found out that Parker and Stone are surprisingly normal and do not have any skeletons in the closet to bring to light forcing them to close the investigation. Members of the church say this is standard practice which certainly helps prove that the Church of Scientology is not a creepy cult built on blackmail and intimidation tactics.
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