For nearly two decades now, South Park has filled our lives with fart jokes, topical quips and some downright demented story-lines.
Those four boys from Colorado have taught us countless things over the years – some more valuable than others. Frankie Torok picks out nine key things to take away from all 18 seasons. Use this knowledge wisely.
1. Believe in yourself, and you can be anyone you want to be
Over the years, the show has seen plenty of dreams come true: Randy led a double-life as pop sensation Lorde, Kenny lived out his dreams as an opera singer, Cartman’s hand dressed up as Jennifer Lopez and achieved celebrity status, and the boys became a pop band of epic proportions. Called Fingerbang.
Anything is possible if you beliiiiiieve.
2. Worcestershire Sauce could cause the zombie apocalypse (and swearing will bring back the plague)
South Park debunked the cause and antidote for the zombie apocalypse way back in Season 1.
When Kenny got squashed to death by a space probe, some Worcestershire Sauce got accidentally mixed in with the embalming fluid, and Kenny was brought back from the dead as a flesh eating zombie. It turned out all it takes to stop the apocalypse (revealed by the Worcestershire Sauce Emergency Hotline lady) is to kill the original zombie. Unfortunately though, it seems the Black Death’s return – caused by too much swearing – is more likely to wipe out the human race. Damnit.
3. Mum and dad don’t always know best
On a weekly basis we’re reminded of the stupidity of grown-ups, especially Randy Marsh. And it could be said that the kids behaviour in general proves parents don’t always do the right thing.
But there’s been a few occasions that have proven when parents do something they think is going to be beneficial to their kids, it can backfire dramatically. Like when the boys’ mums decided they should intentionally spread Chickenpox, as it’s easier to deal with when you’re young. That plan failed miserably when all the boys ended up in hospital and it caused (one of) Kenny’s (many) death(s).
Oh, and how about another parenting fail: hiring actors to pose as the boys’ future selves to stop them doing drugs? This just resulted in an amputated arm and crap-covered walls.
Mr Mackey has told them enough times…
4. Confidence is the key to a good business plan
For a group of pre-teens, Stan, Kyle, Kenny and Cartman have seen their fair share of business success and failures, from their Kickstarter campaign run on the model of ‘Start up, Cash in, Sell out, Bro down’; to Cartman’s KFC gravy cartel.
And they’ve shown that the key to success (but also sadly, ultimately, failure), stands with the confidence to believe your business can work. And maybe a touch of ruthlessness.
Maybe the Underpants Gnomes would have been more successful if they’d just had more faith in themselves. And a Phase 2.
5. Hemorrhoids can cause atheism
The show also uncovered the main cause of atheist and agnostic beliefs – hemorrhoids. How could a God be so cruel as to inflict a small child with such a thing as an infected hemorrhoid, while giving another boy – an evil, conniving boy – one million dollars and his own theme park?
If anything can make you question your faith, this emotional and hard-hitting story-line, which holds a powerful euphemism, will.
6. Be happy in the skin you’re in
Mr/Mrs Garrison has shown us over the years that going under the knife simply won’t make you happy. His/her sex change only lasted 3 seasons, and his simple nose job in Season 1 gave him unwanted attention.
Even Gerald’s dream-come-true dolphinoplasty didn’t help him find inner peace.
The shows feminist schoolgirl Wendy Testaburger summed it up perfectly while revealing Kim Kardashian to be a hobbit, and addressing the damage of Photoshopped images in the media:
“People should be okay with the way they look. Watching what Photoshop is doing to society… Little girls are aspiring to have bodies they can’t possibly have. We have to put a stop to it.”
7. Everything starts to suck when you get older
It’s a sad reality, but when you start to get older, things start to turn to shit.
Music doesn’t sound as good as it used to, movies aren’t as good as you remember them, and things you enjoyed just don’t seem fun anymore.
One small consolation though. At least things don’t literally turn to shit like they do in South Park.
8. Never, EVER, go ziplining
Especially accompanied by a small boy with a weak stomach filled with mexican food and fizzy drinks.
9. The bar of human decency has sunk to the bottom of the ocean
With scandals plastered across the papers, and people doing anything – no matter how degrading – to achieve celebrity status through reality TV, there’s no denying the bar of human decency and standards has dropped.
Thank God (if he exists!), we have people like James Cameron (he definitely exists) to heroically raise the bar and stay humble.
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