Set in a Colorado mountain town that gets destroyed on a regular basis and is populated by the dumbest, most vulgar characters imaginable, South Park
is an anarchic animated sitcom that owes more to the spirit of Monty Python than to its comparatively tame predecessor The Simpsons
. The show's origins go back to a 1995 Christmas video "postcard" called The Spirit of Christmas
that a Fox Studios executive had commissioned at the previous Sundance Film Festival for 2000 dollars after seeing the work of filmmakers Trey Parker and Matt Stone (Cannibal: The Musical
). The adventures of Stan, Kyle, Cartman and Kenny became an instant ratings and merchandising smash, and the foul-mouthed eight-year-olds have expanded to the cinema screen (Bigger, Longer and Uncut
), the MTV Movie Awards and allowed the show creators/(song) writers/voice-artists to pursue equally anarchic comedy at the cinema with Baseketball
. Constantly pursued by a censorship outcry, the series has survived several copycat cartoon threats and even the death of its lead female vocal artist during its third season. Perhaps the show's biggest controversy has always been that--despite a disclaimer before every episode--under-aged kids still see it. But lured by a universe full of Cheesy Poofs and Cookie Dings, where no-one's afraid to badmouth school bus driver Miss Crabtree, and where it's OK to vomit from being in love, it's no wonder that kids of all ages can't help but love it.
Season Three We finally meet Craig, the kid who's always sat outside Counsellor (M'kay) Mackey's office this year. In "Tweek vs Craig" the series makes the most extended and surreal use of live-action scenes so far. More tinkerings with format reassure the show can still surprise such as a three-part segment mid-way which sees the events of one night from three different perspectives. Some inspired homages and spoofs make this the best year for pop-culture references: there's a great rip on the obsessive fad of Pokémon in "Chinpokomon"; Scooby Doo is fondly parodied in "Korn's Groovy Pirate Ghost Mystery"; eggs are thrown at The Phantom Menace for the horror of Jar-Jar Binks in "Jakovasaurs". But to balance things out there's a far kinder wink to Star Wars (and Star Trek) that showcases the creators' fascination with Chewbacca and Endor in "Starvin' Marvin in Space!" which links back to season one and takes us to planet Marklar. The year's best star cameo is Jennifer Aniston as Miss Stevens the Choir Teacher in the love/hate of Green issues in "Rainforest Schmainforest". --Paul Tonks
Entire third season of the popular animated comedy. In 'Rainforest Schmainforest', Cartman, Stan, Kyle and Kenny visit the rainforests of Costa Rica on the 'Getting Gay with Kids' choir tour (listen out for a guest appearance by 'Friends' star Jennifer Aniston). 'Spontaneous Combustion' sees Stan's dad struggling to find a solution to the spontaneous combustion being experienced by people who hold their farts in out of politeness. In 'Succubus', the boys attempt to save Chef from a life of bliss with a life-draining succubus in female form. 'Tweek vs Craig' sees the boys splitting into rival camps in a playground debate over who is the hardest - Tweek or Craig? In 'Jakovasaurs', the town becomes over-run by incredibly stupid and annoying prehistoric creatures who breed at an exponential rate. A plan is hatched to get rid of the visitors, with Cartman's voice the only one raised in protest (he likes them, you see). In 'Sexual Harassment Panda', an encounter with an educational panda results in a spate of sexual harrasment lawsuits being filed in the town of South Park. 'Cat Orgy' sees Cartman left to the mercy of Stan's older sister Shelly when she babysits for him... and just what is wrong with Cartman's cat? In 'Two Guys Naked in a Hot Tub', Mr Mackey's 'Meteor Shower Party' sees Stan and Kyle's fathers indulging their homo-erotic fantasies in the hot tub. 'Jewbilee' shows how Kyle and Kenny help thwart a plan to destroy the mighty prophet Moses at the Jewish scout camp. In 'Chinpoko Mon', Cartman, Stan, Kyle and Kenny fall prey to the latest Japanese craze. 'Starvin' Marvin in Space' sees the boys reunited with their Ethiopian friend Marvin, who is looking for a new home. In 'Korn's Groovy Pirate Ghost Mystery', South Park receives a Halloween visit from rock band Korn in an episode strangely reminiscent of 'Scooby-Doo!'. 'Hooked on Monkey-Fonics' sees the boys' attempts to win the Spelling Bee put in the shade when the contest is won by a pair of home-schoolers. All of which gives Cartman a really cool idea; 'Screw you guys - I'm going home-school.' In 'The Red Badge of Gayness', Cartman takes over a Civil War reconstruction in order to ensure that this time round the South wins. 'Mr Hankey's Christmas Classics' sees everyone's favourite piece of excrement hosting a festive musical special. In 'Are You There God? It's Jesus', Christ decides to put on a special Millennium show for his straying flock. But will anyone really be impressed by wheelchair-bound rocker Rod Stewart repeatedly poohing his pants live on stage? 'The Brown Noise' sees Cartman, Stan, Kyle and Kenny hatching a plot to gain revenge on some cool New York rivals at the world's biggest ever recorder concert, while Mr Garrison visits his estranged to father to discover why he was never sexually abused as a child.