The Unjustified South Park Backlash

I remember long ago when South Park first hit the air waves because everyone in my elementary school was talking about it. There were parents letting their kids watch this vulgar, downright offensive show, and I was jealous because I wasn’t allowed to.

I didn’t think about the show again until I stumbled upon it during my middle school days. I watched an episode and was immediately hooked forever. I still remember the episode that got me.

It was one titled “Osama bin Laden Has Farty Pants” from back in 2001. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect. My 12 year old mind was still trying to comprehend what had happened to the nation, then one Saturday night I saw the boys load onto a cargo plane for Afghanistan, and I just couldn’t stop laughing.

Since then I’ve been a hardcore fan of the show. I’ve watched every episode, bought a majority of the seasons on DVD, re-watched the movie dozens of times and to top it all off, I bought South Park-related clothing. That might give you some insight as to why I’ve become angry with my fellow South Park audience members as of late.

Over the last few weeks I’ve heard everything from “The show isn’t where it used to be,” to “That’s it. They’re through!” I think the complaints really took off after the controversy over the “Insheeption” episode where Parker and Stone  were accused of, then apologized for, unintentional plagiarism of a College Humor skit.

I’m not going to try and defend Parker and Stone’s actions. They were in the wrong, and they owned up to it which I have immense respect for. But what really pushed my buttons is the backlash from a once loyal audience.

The reason the backlash angers me is because this is the first time in the show’s history that a particular run of episodes hasn’t been that great. Some have been OK, like the Jersey Shore episode, but they aren’t at the level of quality they usually are. The reason this backlash angers me is because it seems that people have completely forgotten about the last 14 years of excellence that South Park has delivered to its audience.

People are viewing this run as the beginning of the end for the show. As if it’s impossible for the show to regain a former level of quality when they start again in March and continue again next October (which is the last season on the current contract).

It seemsdifficult for people to think beyond the two months the show is on the air during any given run. I will be the first to admit this run hasn’t been what we all would of hoped for, but after years, upon years of pure enjoyment, the audience is lashing out for a minor blip on the radar. Does anyone else see the insanity in that?

Especially after what happened in the last run with “200” and “201.” If anything, this run is just Parker and Stone working through a tough time against the studio. They were unjustly censored without any consideration given to their opinion. I understand that. I, and I’m sure the rest of us would be burned out as well after going through such an ordeal.

People have stated that Parker and Stone are just looking to run out their contract after what happened. If this is true, then so be it. But if it isn’t, and since we can’t know for sure, it’s important to take a step back for a moment and consider all that the show has given us.

If the latest episode is a sign of anything, it’s that the creators want to raise the show to a new level. South Park is constantly evolving, the difference this time being that the changes aren’t gradual. South Park has reached a new stage of existence in the last few years. A stage where the show is no longer confined to the current events of the week. Lately the show has proven its capability to create timeless stories. Stories like “Imaginationland,” “Pandemic” and “Go God Go.”

South Park will return to form. That’s the beauty of the its structure. All I ask, is that the good will the show has more than earned over the last 14 years be taken into consideration by the people who love the show so dearly. Don’t let a few episodes tarnish your faith in what is a usually reliable series of entertainment.

Above all else, haters will always hate, but don’t turn your back on something that has earned a rightful place in all our hearts.

What do you think?

From a young age, TV guru Merrill Barr has been obsessed with the small screen. And one day he decided to put that obsession to good use.

Read More from Merrill Barr
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