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Satire is the use of irony, exaggeration,or humor to criticize the stupidity of society, usually in the regards of politics and other immense topics relevant to society. One of , if not the best television shows to poke fun at the more serious issues of society is South Park. South Park is a show created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the plot revolving around four boys, Kyle Broflovski, Stan Marsh, Eric Cartman, and Kenny McCormick, in the small town of South Park, Colorado. In the town of South Park, lies many misadventures for the main characters to delve into, usually related to American pop culture and American politics. South Park does not leave any race, taboo, political/social issue, or religion out of their jokes and humor. South Park’s use of satire and critique of American society is prevalent through three characters: Mr. Garrison, PC Principal, and Eric Cartman.
Mr. Garrison’s initial role in the series of South Park is serving as the main character’s unhinged, Third Grade teacher and is, for the most part, based upon America’s LGBT issues. Mr. Garrison is also related to America’s more racist and political issues. Mr. Garrison had sexual identity problems with the insistence that he was heterosexual, but expressed his homosexual tendencies through his hand puppet, Mr.Hat. He does not want to be open about his true sexuality since he was afraid of what people would think of him. Eventually, Mr. Garrison comes to terms with his repressed homosexuality. Along with sexual identity issues, he also had gender identity issues. In fact, Mr. Garrison had two sex change procedures, one to transition to a female, and another to turn back into a male. These sexual and gender identity issues are a blow to the current LGBT issues facing America. American society, being a predominantly Christian society, is not very accepting of homosexuals, which caused an excessive amount of repressed homosexuality due to fear of being an outcast of society. Although America has progressed on the issue of LGBT rights, there are still communities in America that condemn homosexuality through judgement.
PC Principal, one of the newer characters first appearing in Season Nineteen (1) and the new principal of South Park Elementary, is focused on creating a more politically correct environment in the school. PC Principal firmly believes in equality for everyone, and will become hostile if anyone attempts to set against his beliefs. For example, PC Principal gives a teacher detention for referring to a student as “black,” rather than the more socially acceptable term, “African American.” PC Principal’s inception into the series of South Park is connected to the new era of social justice and political correctness in American society. This new “PC Movement” (2) motives are an attempt to censor speech in a way that will not offend others. For example, instead of saying the word “fat,” the more appropriate word would be “overweight.” While this is not such an extreme, some of the PC Movement followers take this to another level, such as calling someone racist for not being attracted to someone of a different race.South Park is having a jab at the more extreme followers of the PC movement.
Eric Cartman, one of the four main characters of the series, is the complete opposite of PC Principal in terms of personality. He is bad-mouthed, racist, anti-semitic, and many more characteristics that would fit an evil person. At the fair age of nine years old, Cartman has an astounding criminal record with the likes of “hate crimes,” to “attempted genocide of the Jews.” (3) Eric Cartman represents the entirety of racism, stereotypes, narcissism, and many other traits that are seen as negative in American society. While many of the citizens of American society like to think that they are great people, and that America has the most progressive, positive society, South Park’s creators push that thought to the curb with the creation of Eric Cartman to show the true nature of Americans.
South Park’s reflection of American society and use of satirical content is best used by the use of three characters: Mr. Garrison, PC Principle, and Eric Cartman. South Park makes the connection to American society with their use of satire and comedic relief; leaving no race, social stigma, taboo, religion, South Park and it’s creators refuse to stray away from their over the top, but critical, humor. Whether American society progresses, regresses, or continues to take itself way too seriously, South Park will be there to poke fun at it and knock America down a peg.
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