Television

Why Libertarians (and Everyone Else) Love South Park

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In a world of constant war, endless "economic recoveries," and only two years left of Joe Biden gaffes, it's hard to be upbeat about the future. I mean, what kind of joyless world are we leaving for our children?

So thank Xenu—or Richard Dawkins—for South Park, which starts its 18th incredible season tonight at 10 p.m. eastern time on Comedy Central. What's more, original episodes of the show will continue through at least 2016, meaning the next presidential election will be covered the way it should be: with scabrous humor….

South Park is that rarest of birds: an envelope-pushing commercial success. In a new Daily Beast column, I argue that Trey Parker and Matt Stone's creation is qualitatively different that past TV standouts:

Classic TV shows such as I Love LucyThe Beverly HillbilliesCheers, and even the path-breaking Seinfeld all provoked laughs that made the world disappear for a half-hour. South Park is not just funnier than any of those shows—it refuses to let us escape the god-forsaken world in which we live. Indeed, episode after episode (glorious, full list here) rubs our noses in the ugliness of our world, whether it be caused by terrorists, legally elected politicians, insufferable atheists, ultra-pious and delusional businessmen, idiot celebrities, or our own love of fast food and video games.

Even better, South Park not only allows us to laugh at the darkness rising all around us—it also teaches us to navigate the endless slurry of bullshit firehosed at our faces in the so-called Information Age. God help us all, but South Park is more educational than all the endless hours of Sesame Street or Between the Lions that ever aired or will ever air on PBS. It teaches us all real media literacy, how to identify and spot phony philosophizing, moral panics, and self-interested crusades a mile way.

Read the whole thing.

NEXT: Windsor Mann: No Mercy for Macy's

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  1. They lost me round the fifth season. Meh.

    1. Do millenials watch South Park?

      1. Maybe someone should ask them. Nah, that’s crazy talk.

      2. They watch it. They just don’t understand it.

    2. I had honestly thought they’d gone off the air. Not that I bothered to try to seek them out. Their work is hit and miss – mostly miss.

    3. I think season 5 is when I fell in love with the show. Super Best Friends and Scott Tenorman must die.

  2. I guess we know what Nick does every Wednesday night…appointment TV. So very boomer 🙂

    1. One thing that Nick, like so many SP fans, forgot to mention: the show is totally gay. I mean, not that there’s anything wrong with that, particularly if you luv, luv, luv Brian Boitano jokes, but it totally is. Totally.

  3. As stupid as it is. That shows brought me to tears on more than one occasion. Christmas poo and Lemmy the hampster come to mind.

    1. This was the last clip I remember making me cry:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gCHQzk2okoc

      1. Christmas woodland critters was another one.

      2. The songs they come up with. Funny.

        Like the Kyles mom one… and the Mormon one. “dumb…dumb..dumb”

    2. When Ike joined the Canadian army for me.

  4. Yes, libertarians may like South Park, but what do Millennials think about it?!?

    1. Geddy f-in Lee!

    2. Thanks for the link. I wasn’t sure if the lead singer was a guy or a girl.

      I’ve never seen their faces before.

  5. Burn from the comments?

    They love Southpark because they match their maturity.

    1. No, it shows them a level of maturity they can only aspire to.

    2. Progtards, OTOH, hate South Park because it’s too advanced for them. They literally can’t fathom a show that doesn’t take anything seriously and are confused and enranged when SP mocks a conservative sacred cow one minute, and they’re laughing right along with it, and then turns around and mocks something they hold dear.

      FWIW, many conservatives can be just as bad about that sort of thing because both groups have to policicize every fucking thing all the time.

      1. progtards?? are you in the 4th grade?
        stop skipping school, child

  6. I love how they took shots at ‘Family Guy’.

    While it was a funny for a brief period, like, a long time ago, I don’t get the love it gets.

    1. I don’t get the love it gets.

      That’s because you’re Canadian.

    2. I like Family guy. But everything that people who hate it say about it is true.

      1. +1

        FG is a bunch of funny fart jokes.

        SP is a lot of insightful commentary hidden behind a bunch of funny fart jokes.

    3. That two parter was really great tv. They take a shallow pop culture item- getting the new xbox, work in not-so-subtle digs at the rival expected to unseat them, and on top of it worked in a commentary on religious dogma. (“How can you eat at tables when you have a perfectly good tummy!”)

      Sadly, my DVR was never able to get these episodes consistently for some reason…some sort of priority conflict I never bothered to troubleshoot. I’d periodically get old re-runs, but could never really get new episodes. Now that my kids are at an age where they can operate the DVR, we have stopped subscribing.

  7. I don’t agree. I liked it at first and I thought the movie was hysterical but the last time I watched it it was nothing I really hadn’t seen before. The heavy-handed humor has a very limited shelf-life. Much like The Simpsons, it continues largely out of inertia

  8. I still think SP is funny and the satire still cuts quite deep. Sure it won’t be timeless due to its reliance on pop culture, but that has been a staple since the beginning. There are still some episodes that fall flat, but I think the track record is better than most TV comedies and especially better than the long running shows like the Simpsons and Family Guy.

  9. I was on an airline last year and amazingly Al Gore was on the same flight. We ended up shoulder to shoulder waiting to exit the plane, and I had a minute to say something to him. But all I could think of was ManBearPig, damn you South Park! I ended up saying nothing and just politely smiling.

    While I agree that the show can be hit or miss, what do you expect after 18 seasons? The show is basically still done by the same two guys, who can’t be expected to nail every single minute. I think they are geniuses (which can be seen by their success in so many arenas, especially The Book of Mormon.)

    From watching the show they are so obviously libertarians, it is so refreshing compared to so much else of the PC BS on television. HnR commentariat should be relishing what is still so great about this show rather than saying how “it’s not as good as it once was”. It’s definitely not like The Simpsons, who seem to have lost any semblance of good writing or writers (which is really what makes any of these types of cartoons worthwhile.)

    1. ManBearPig was a flat show, as far as humor goes, but I think it’s one of the best examples of biting satire in the last 20 years.

      When ever I see Gore anymore, thats all I hear.

    2. I would asked if he was on a trip to promote manbearpig awareness. His reaction would have been priceless.

  10. Southpark is just cool like that and we all know it.

    http://www.CryptAnon.tk

  11. I’ve watched a total of 10 shows. The show doesn’t offend me one whit. The subject matter seemed cool. The creators seem far more interesting to me than their show. Nothing against South Park- just don’t ‘love’ it enough to be entertained by it.

  12. only two years left of Joe Biden gaffes

    How can you be so sure?

    1. Something tells me there’s a cabinet post with his name on it in president Hillary’s administration (please let it be Sec. of State, for the lulz).

  13. I dunno – it’s still “can’t miss TV” for me. Loved the recent shows on the “posers” and can’t wait for the new season.

    Literally watched The Simpsons once and wasn’t into it – same with Family Guy. South Park hooked be from day 1. Still funny, still timely – good enough for me.

  14. Top episodes in my mind, for bashing liberal dogma:

    – The Day before the Day after Tomorrow.
    – this one was classic because everyone is confronted with a perfect day, but they insist the science is proving differently.

    – Smug Alert
    – ripping on Clooney when he was at his peak. Perfect.

    – The one where superman has to eat fetuses to walk again
    – I understand that this one probably hits some libertarians wrong, but I thought it had a good use of reducto ad absurdum

    1. “Global warming’s coming right for us!”

      The fleeing pedestrian who gets ‘caught’ by global warming, and starts spasming as if he was dying, always slays me.

  15. Imaginationland was utterly brilliant, everyone should watch those episodes. Season 11 or so.

  16. I am so thankful for the genius that is South Park and that I can watch every episode BUT ONE at their official website. The censored Mohammed episode is nowhere to be found there, but it’s on the net with a little digging. IMO, they are just as brilliant if not more so than ever and the last season was awesome. Go God Go is a brilliant skewering of dogmatic theists and dogmatic atheists alike and not since Cartman portrayed a Vietnamese prostitute has SP pushed the buttons it pushed with child ball sucking in Imaginationland. Christmas critters were awesome. The only misstep for me was mr hanky – lame – but towelie, the worst character ever made up for it. Long live south park

    1. Yes but Mr. Hanky the Christmas poo gave us one of the more memorable songs… “The Circle of Poo”….

      And who doesn’t like to hear Mr. Mackey say “You’re addicted to mooky-stinks, Kyle!”

      1. My job has taken me to the only state “blue” enough to make Nancy Pelosi’s district seem like 1956 Mississippi. I refer, of course, to Hawaii. The episode last year where the “Native Hawaiian” Buttters must return to his state for his manhood ceremony left me in stitches. It is by far the most popular episode out here. The use of “in house” references, local issues, (eg. what makes a native)and local t-shirts, saying, mores is incredible. I have seen this in several other classic episodes. Many find an particular episode funny but those who see the in house gags find the episode absolutely memorable.

  17. Well *I* don’t like South Park.

    No really, it’s a big world. Some of us like Deadliest Catch.

    1. and some people like Lassie and Brady Bunch reruns lol.

  18. I tried to watch South Park – I really did. . .

    But. . . it’s just too moronic. Perfect for the low-information voter, I suppose.

  19. “I argue that Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s creation is qualitatively different that past TV standouts:”

    There it is again.

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