3 Reasons All Kids Should be FORCED to Watch South Park!

One of the longest lived and most controversial TV shows of all time – South Park – is kicking off its 17th season.

Despite being a cartoon, South Park was the first weekly TV show to be given an MA rating, meaning it's intended for mature audiences. And it’s certainly packed with foul language, off-color humor, and adult situations.

But it’s also truly educational, especially for children. So here are three reasons why all parents should make their kids watch South Park.

1. Disrespect My Authoritah!

Virtually every episode points out the difference between legitimate authority and the abuse of power and scare-mongering. Whether it’s the show’s Jew-baiting jerk Eric Cartman going nuts as a traffic cop or former Vice President Al Gore trying to scare the boys into hysteria over ManBearPig, South Park always emphasizes thinking for yourself rather than blindly following what leaders say.

2. Respect True Diversitah!

Today’s kids are constantly force-fed hosannas to tolerance and diversity that ring hollow and false. But even when it’s brutally satirizing something like Mormonism, South Park actually fosters a true live-and-let-live ethos that’s sadly lacking in most K-12 curricula.

3. It Emphasizes Personal Responsibility

Among South Park’s core values is taking responsibility for one’s actions. In the episode where Stan’s father develops a drinking problem and seeks supernatural intervention for a cure, it’s the child who lays out the case for self-control and accountability.

The most enduring lesson of South Park isn’t found in any given episode but in the entire show’s run and the careers of its creators, Trey Parker and Matt Stone. The show grew out of early videos, including a 1995 one that pitted Santa vs. Jesus in a fight to the death over the true meaning in Christmas.

Now, almost 20 years later, Parker and Stone have created one of the greatest TV shows of all time, along with unforgettable movies such as the all-puppet action thriller Team America and the Broadway smash The Book of Mormon.

They’re no uncritical fans of Walt Disney but their careers are a testament to his belief that “If you can dream it, you can do it.”

In a way that’s virtually unmatched, Parker and Stone teach all our children that creativity and hard work – and an ability to laugh at everything life throws at you - eally do pay off in the long run.

About 3 minutes. Written by Nick Gillespie, who narrates, and produced by Jim Epstein. Scroll below for downloadable versions and subscribe to Reason.tv's YouTube channel to receive automatic notifications when new videos go live.

Related: "South Park Libertarians: Trey Parker and Matt Stone on liberals, conservatives, censorship, and religion," from the December 2006 issue of Reason magazine.

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  • cryptarchy||

    I may be chomping at the bit here, but come on Nick having parents force their kids to watch South Park? I understand that children are techinally property, but you can foster a love for the animation in other ways than force

  • SweatingGin||

    I've been doing it all wrong, I do need to introduce the Ginlets to South Park.

    I do so love that the video ends with yummy tears of unfathomable sadness.

  • Live Free or Diet||

    It brought less-yummy tears of LMAO to my eyes.

  • AlmightyJB||

    "I do so love that the video ends with yummy tears of unfathomable sadness."

    Yeah, that was the perfect way to end that.

  • Rhywun||

    I fell out of watching about 8 (!) seasons ago, but I happened to catch a new-ish episode the other day and damn if it wasn't as good as ever. I was worried it would pull a Simpsons and start sucking after a dozen seasons or so.

  • Certified Public Asskicker||

    If you missed the last 8 seasons then you must have missed the Medicinal Fried Chicken episode.

    Do yourself a favor and watch it online sometime.

  • Caleb Turberville||

    The first episode that truly grabbed a hold of my attention was the "I'm a Little Bit Country" episode where the adults debate the Iraq war and the meaning of dissent.

    The fact that the episode ends with the message that America is about "having your cake and eating it too" had me rolling on the floor laughing for the longest.

  • ||

    I would say the last 8 seasons have been the best. South Park doesn't just maintain, it somehow continually gets better.

    To do what they've done for as long as they've done it with that show, especially the way they do it each week, is unbelievable. One of the greatest achievements of the television age.

  • The Rt. Hon. Serious Man, Visc||

    It has an edge over all its competitors because it can go from storyboard to finished episode in like a week, meaning it can be topical whenever it wants.

  • Agammamon||

    Wait, competition? That's not fair to all the other mediocre sitcoms - how's New Girl supposed to make money if South Park has this unfair advantage.

    With such a short development timeline there's no telling what corners are cut to scape an extra few seconds off the time to air. This potentially negatively impacts views and I think we need a new federal level regulatory agency to assure the safety and quality of American tv shows.

  • Ebriosa||

    And people might work /overtime/ to finish episodes at the last minute!

  • Cytotoxic||

    I had heard that, at least a couple years ago, it wasn't so good but maybe it recovered. The most recent episode I've watched was Raising The Bar and it was pretty good. Of course being in Canada it's difficult for me to watch it online. Any way to mirror an IP address without a service like HMA?

  • Anomalous||

    Of course being in Canada it's difficult for me to watch it online.

    Sure, BLAME CANADA!

  • BakedPenguin||

    It's just hard for him to watch because he has dots for eyes.

  • ||

  • ||

    Ike joining the Canadian army was epic.

  • Generic Stranger||

    It's not even a real country anyway.

  • ||

    Bend over I'll show you how real I am.

    Eh?

  • MJGreen||

    I think it took a bit of a dip in quality several years ago, or maybe I just got bored with it, but it has come back in force the last few years. I still have the "Jackin it in San Diego" song stuck in my head.

  • Certified Public Asskicker||

    Hmmm...

    3 Reasons All Kids Should be Forced to Watch South Park!

  • Certified Public Asskicker||

    Oh sure, add the * later on in the day.

  • ToddE||

    I think the "forced to" bit is tongue-in-cheek.

    My son is almost 5. How young is 'too young' to introduce him to the delights of "Crack Baby Athletic Association", "Two Days Before the Day After Tomorrow" and "Margaretville"?

  • SweatingGin||

    Scott Tennerman!

    The Ginlets will be screaming "I made you eat your parents! I made you eat your parents!" at classmates.

  • some guy||

    I'm sure he can already appreciate a lot of the potty humor. The more sophisticated stuff will start to make sense in time. The great thing about South Park is that you are never too young or too old to appreciate it on some level.

  • The Rt. Hon. Serious Man, Visc||

    You can't expect him to understand the jokes themselves, but the messages are certainly applicable to all ages.

  • The Rt. Hon. Serious Man, Visc||

    You can't expect him to understand the jokes themselves, but the messages are certainly applicable to all ages.

  • ||

    My wife (a school teacher with a foul sense of humor) and I are huge cartoon fans and South Park is no exception. However, tongue in cheek or not, good messages or not, it's simply not for children. We don't let our eight year-old daughter watch it. As much as I would love it she simply won't get the references.

    And I got to see that in action while in Provincetown this past summer.

    Erm, whooosh! Right over her head.

    Does Nick have kids?

  • MJGreen||

    "Two Days Before the Day After Tomorrow" is appropriate for all ages.

    The global warming's coming right for us!

  • The Rt. Hon. Serious Man, Visc||

    George Bush doesn't care about beavers!

  • Wizard4169||

    I broke the dam!

  • ||

    5 is not too young. When my boy was 5 and in nursery school, I got a frantic call from a clearly upset teacher.

    "Is this Dr. Famie?"
    "Yes."
    "We have a... problem."
    "What's wrong?"
    "Jimmy called one of his classmates a fat-assed Jew."

    After I could breathe again from laughing hysterically and dropping the phone, the teacher replied very stiffly that she saw nothing funny about this and how could I teach this poor innocent baby words like that? I expected a visit from CPS, but at least that didn't happen.

  • BiMonSciFiCon||

    All of my knowledge as a lawyer comes from South Park.

    If Chewbacca lives on Endor, you must acquit! Works every time.

  • ||

    Not Lionel Hutz?

    "No! Money down!"

  • BiMonSciFiCon||

    Just legal knowledge. I model my personal life on Mr. Hutz.

    Care to join me in a blt of scotch?

    Say hello to Miguel Sanchez!

  • Archduke von Pantsfan||

    South Park may be one of the few forms of comedy that doesn't work for me.

  • Certified Public Asskicker||

    *Blinks several times*

    What do you find funny?

  • waffles||

    silly titles probably

  • MJGreen||

    or silly titties

  • pmains||

    Foreign flicks.

  • Marc F Cheney||

    Laugh-In.

  • seguin||

    Chip Bok

  • ||

    Two Broke Girls or Whitney or Perfect Strangers.

    How those sitcoms get picked up is beyond me.

  • seguin||

    How did Two Broke Girls get picked up? I don't have a clue.

  • ||

    What do you find funny?

    I do hope pantsfan answers this...

    Though it will probably just be standard stuff like Luise CK and internet inspirational memes...there is the hope that he could come up with a real zinger.

  • waffles||

    Not anymore, buzzkill.

  • Agammamon||

    Saturday Night Live reruns from 2000-2010.

  • Live Free or Diet||

    SNL is one of those phenomena I never found quite as funny as those around me.
    And The Office? Sorry, don't get it. People have tried. Nothing. Blame Canada.

  • mrvco||

    My bet would be "Family Guy".

  • ||

    South Park mocking Family Guy is classic.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Please turn in your decoder ring.

  • The Rt. Hon. Serious Man, Visc||

    Get out of the closet Pantsfan!

  • some guy||

    Can you at least appreciate the cleverness of the plots and the way the writers seamlessly intertwine diverse themes?

  • albo||

    I you can't laugh at a talking poop, who can you laugh at? Hail Satan!

  • ||

    You have no soul.

  • albo||

    I learned something today.

  • The Rt. Hon. Serious Man, Visc||

    The show itself is a solid example of free expression standing firm in the face of censorship and political correctness, that alone is an important message to give to kids.

  • Ann N||

    uh they actually caved on defiling islam's founder.

    when they make so many and such profound points its a little bit of a let down to have them cave, but its certainly not worth dying over. I wouldn't ask them to take one for the team over something as silly as that.

  • Whahappan?||

    If I'm not mistaken, it was Comedy Central that caved on that episode, not Parker and Stone.

  • ||

    Considering they had already shown Mohammad twice before and he was in the opening montage for like 8 seasons, I seriously doubt it was Matt & Trey that censored the episodes.

  • Marc F Cheney||

    I let my six-year old watch IASIP with me for some reason. I had to draw the line at South Park though, after we watched the one where Mr. Garrison designs that new form of transportation. And if you know what I'm referring to, you should be wondering why I didn't reflexively pluck her eyes out.

  • tarran||

    It's still better than dealing with the airline companies.

  • Live Free or Diet||

    It reminds me of the TSA.

  • Caleb Turberville||

    If I had to choose an episode as my "favorite" it would have to be the "Cartmanland" episode where Cartman buys a theme park so he can have it all to himself but slowly grows to realize that in order to maintain his prized possession, he must allow in patrons.

    I'd like to show that episode to any left-wing derp who comes up to me and says that capitalism is all about selfishness.

    In terms of my other favorites, I'd have to go with "Free Hat", "I'm a Little Bit Country", "Up the Down Steroid", "Woodland Critter Christmas", "The Losing Edge", "Medicinal Fried Chicken", and an episode from last season, "A Nightmare on Facetime."

  • wingnutx||

    "Goodnight, government!"

    That right there should be all you need to convince a libertarian.

  • paris1||

    But Nick, why would I want my kid (or myself!) to sit through all that potty-mouth humor and crappy animation to get to those lessons? Sorry buddy, can't go along with you on this one. There are more palatable ways to attain wisdom!

  • Jesus H. Christ||

    You're such a fat fuck, Pantsfan, when you walk down the street people go "Goddamnit, that Pantsfan's a big fat fuck!".

  • Isaac Baranoff||

    I'll stick with "Fritz the Cat", thank you very much.

  • ||

    Ah man. Nothing beats the time when I rented it back in the 1980s. I was 13 or something and my future brother in law told my sister, "your mother doesn't regulate television intake does she?" as I laughed and giggled to myself.

  • RyanXXX||

    I see they're going to be doing one about the NSA/Snowden. I'm betting they'll be anti-surveillance, but Matt and Trey have burned me a few times despite their libertarian leanings

  • amyebrinton||

    my buddy's half-sister makes ,$77, every hour on the computer. She has been unemployed for 8 months but last month her income was ,$21889, just working on the computer for a few hours. Check Out Your URL....

    http://www.Works23.com

  • Mr Whipple||

    I'd force them to watch Absolutely Fabulous

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PxJUPK11JDI

  • ||

    I give the premiere "Let Go, Let Gov" two of Alex Baldwin's thumbs up.

  • sidoneyhassler||

    my best friend's half-sister makes $63 hourly on the internet. She has been out of work for 10 months but last month her pay was $21312 just working on the internet for a few hours. read this post here

    http://www.Works23.com

  • Barry Fagin||

    But of course, Nick, you knew all this 13 years ago :-):

    http://reason.com/archives/200.....south-park

  • Anthony Husher||

    One of my favourite TV shows.But think that South Park's humour is more for adults, than for kids.

  • John S.||

    One of my favorite episodes is when Starbucks comes to South Park. It's one of the best pro-capitalism shows ever:

    http://www.southparkstudios.co.....e17-gnomes

  • ||

    Here is the other cartoon all children should watch: http://analysisismagic.thingobjectentity.net The most libertarian show for children right now. I'd recommend everybody here go to YouTube and acquaint themselves with the show if you haven't yet.

  • trig||

    A cartoon with unicorns about sadomasochism sexual experimentation.. sounds great.

  • Assaf Koss||

    Trig, are you criticizing unicorns?! Or sadomasochism as a sexuality?! 'Cause that'd be just wrong!

    www.AssafKoss.com

  • trig||

    Started going downhill season 12.. 13-current is pretty crappy. Pretty much everything from season 5-12 was great though.

  • Assaf Koss||

    You have my respect. South Park has kept my perspective in-check for over a decade, since I was a teenage kid. It's amazing that it ever ran on air, and it's amazing that it's the only show to actually criticize society, so well.

    Go watch the new season, people! It's lots of fun!

    www.AssafKoss.com

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