Friday, June 3, 2011

The Obscenity of "South Park": Vulgarity for Humor

Recently the Comedy Central show “South Park” has taken a turn for the worse. For those unfamiliar with this popular television show, one must understand the unique audience that this show attracts, namely high schoolers and drunk, stoned or procrastinating college students. The show follows several 4th grade kids in their adventures. “South Park” can be described in many ways including immature and obscene, but can it really be considered a constructive social critic?

In the past I have enjoyed “South Park” because I believe it balanced humor and immaturity with a genuine point of view of two average American citizens, the creators of the show, Trey Stone and Matt Packer. These two individuals air a show every Wednesday night during the season and begin working on the next week’s production every Thursday morning. Therefore, each show is supposed to be very relevant for the audience in sharing their perspective on contemporary world events.

However, in the current season I have seen a falling out of the balancing condition the show had previously captured. The lack of creativity and loss of a real message for each episode has been replaced by obscenity. For instance, in the show that aired on April 27, titled “HumancentIPad,” I was astonished by the amount of truly indecent and vulgar scenes and discussion taking place in the episode. This particular episode made me question the new priorities of its writers. It was the first time that I was concerned about young people watching this show. I also felt a pang of guilt that there were most likely middle school students and other young kids watching this show. I realized that with the easily accessible episodes available online, these episodes could be watched by virtually anyone with a computer regardless of age or parent censorship.

The most recent “South Park” episode dealt with racial stereotypes and multiple personality disorder. I did not find it funny, entertaining or contributing anything more than giving me an avenue for procrastination from the stress of finals. I believe the only times “South Park” has a comical effect is when it comments on a current topic that is relevant to the common American viewer. I believe “HumancentIpad” was a failure because those unfamiliar with the movie titled “Humancentipede” would not understand and therefore think that Trey Stone and Matt Packer just have the most distorted and morbid sense of humor imaginable. I would recommend Packer and Stone stop trading humor and creativity for vulgarity. They need to reevaluate their choice of topics and revert back to their roots: making these cartoon characters act completely irreverently and obscenely in order to create humor, not just to criticize a point.

-Nolan Pura

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