“Shablagoo.” Five months ago, that word would have been complete and utter nonsense to me. Now I know that it simply means that Mint and Berry came together to deliver full flavor and intense crunch. Five months ago, Mint Berry Crunch would have been an unknown name to me as would Mr. Hanky, Clyde, Mr. Garrison, Feegan the Vegan, the Coon and countless other residents of South Park, Colorado. This gaping hole in my pop culture knowledge had grown to a festering wound due to some self inflicted, misconstrued idea that I hated South Park. How I worked that idea into my head I’ll never know but over the past couple of months my college friends (rainbowchair especially) my high school friends, a thirst for well written television and an awareness of the topical messages South Park packs into nearly every episode, has turned my least favorite show on television into my newest television obsession.
If I asked you to describe South Park in three words and all three words are synonymous with disgusting, I know exactly how you feel. I spent years trying to understand why all of my friends were so obsessed with such a disgusting show. The problem with that statement is that though the show can be gross and raunchy, it is consistently brilliant. The show is littered with statements about society and humanity, attacking anything and everything. Ripe with parodies, nothing is safe when it comes to South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker. Every boundary has been or will be pushed. What some people don’t seem to understand, something I didn’t understand, is that South Park is not gross just to be gross (most of the time at least). The majority of their episodes and jokes are crafted to make a point. This truth permeates the basic plotlines and main characters of each episode and bleeds to all aspects of the show. Side characters, side plots, environments and backgrounds all weave together to help the writers make their point. The depths of the shows intelligence is unlimited and I will go on record in saying that for years now it has been one of the smartest, most poignant shows on television.
Like a fine wine or Ron Howard, the show has only gotten better with age. The South Park creators were asked to rank their 15 favorite episodes and their 53 least favorite episodes of all time in the October 76th, 2011 issue of Entertainment Weekly. Trey Parker said that his least favorite episodes were seasons 1-3. “Really? We thought that was funny? We thought that was well-written? Oh my God, this is terrible.” I agree and disagree with this statement. In my opinion, South Park was making some very heavy handed statements in their first couple of seasons, like they are doing now and have in all seasons. The first three seasons however were much more crude. Stone and Parker had not developed the finesse and with that they so deftly wield in their current episodes. The creativity is still there but each new season of South Park proves that Stone and Parker are only getting better at what they do.
In a short amount of time, South Park has proven over and over again that I have missed out on sixteen season of brilliant television. Every line of every episode seems well placed and well written and even the songs they put in their episodes are full blown musical numbers. Hopefully this post will save some nay-sayers from wasting years refusing to watch South Park. If you’re still sitting there stubbornly with your arms crossed, refusing to give the show a chance then I can tell you from experience that you have no idea what you’re missing.