With the development of computers and animation techniques, cartoons have become
more and more popular on television. While most of the cartoons display science fiction and
therefore are purely for entertainment purposes, there are also cartoons, which try to convey
messages to the viewers. By including social, political, philosophical and religious aspects,
cartoons like South Park can be very beneficial and educating for the viewers. As a result
South Park is very successful in entertaining, while at the same time educating the audience.
South Park has a vision of the world: what it should look like, how people should behave and
treat one another, and how we can all function together harmoniously. Each episode starts of
by creating a controversy and ends with the message conveyed by one of the four protagonist:
Eric Cartman, Kyle Broslofski, Kenny Mccormick and Stan Marsh. The four young boys
must then cope with this controversy, solve the problem and summarize what they have
learned at the end of the day. Having aspects of a comedy show, as well as serious aspects, the
show is meant for an adult audience. It speaks about being a moral and good person and about
treating others with respect. Aaron Fortune, one of the authors of the book “South Park and
Philosophy, Bigger, Longer, and More Penetrating” says:
South Park differs from its contemporaries in that by having characters inside
the show get the point of the show, it can have a moral or social message,
whereas the others are limited by their form to what I would call social commentary.
A social message tells us what to do or be, whereas a social commentary just tells us
what not to do or be.
For example, in the fifth season episode “Cartmanland”, the little Jewish boy Kyle says, “All
my life I was raised to believe in Jehovah, to believe that we should all behave a certain way
and good things will come to us. I made mistakes, but every week I try to better myself.”
Most of the time these concluding messages are telling extremists to calm down, encourage
the society to live after their beliefs and to be a nice and moral human being. By ridiculing
these problems, South Park introduces a controversy in a funny, but at the same time serious
way. This method is very effective, because it entertains the viewers, as well as makes them
curious about how the characters will cope with the situation.
Using animation techniques, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the creators of South Park,
are allowed to exaggerate and create the most outrageous scenarios in order to
demonstrate the writers’ feelings on certain matters. On the one hand this format contributes
to the show’s comedy, since certain situations can be exaggerated. For example Kenny, one of
the four boys, dies in a cruel way in almost every...