» About South Park

Series History | Evolution Series | Controversy | Characters | Music

South Park is an American animated television series created, written and voiced by Trey Parker and Matt Stone. Distributed by and airing on Comedy Central since 1997, it follows the adventures of four grade school boys who live in the small town of South Park, Colorado. The show emulates stop motion construction paper animation which was the original form of animation for the show but has since been replaced by computers. South Park satirizes (sometimes surreally) many aspects of American culture and current events, and challenges deep-seated convictions and taboos, usually employing parody and black comedy.


The series is known for its characteristically blunt handling of current events and its merciless pop-culture parody. For example, the episode "Best Friends Forever" satirized both the PSP and the Terri Schiavo case as well as the movies Constantine and The Last Starfighter. The episode was produced one week after the PSP was released and, coincidentally, was originally aired the night of March 30, 2005, less than twelve hours before Schiavo died. South Park won an Emmy Award for that episode. On April 5, 2006, it was announced that the show had won a Peabody Award. This is the third Comedy Central show to win, following two awarded to The Daily Show for its 2000 and 2004 presidential election coverage and one given to Mystery Science Theater 3000 in 1994. Previously, South Park had also won an Efrén Award to the best animated series for their season aired on 2002.

The first half of South Park's tenth season ended on May 3, 2006. Since Season 4, each season has aired in roughly two parts (the first in Spring and the second in Autumn). Three more seasons of South Park are currently scheduled for production, allowing the series to run until at least 2009. This would make South Park the third longest running adult animated series in U.S. television history after The Simpsons and King of the Hill. In March 2005, South Park hit the number three spot in the 100 Greatest Cartoons, losing to Tom and Jerry at number two and The Simpsons at number one.

Series history  
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The creators of South Park, Matt Stone and Trey ParkerSouth Park began in 1992 when Parker and Stone, then film students at the University of Colorado, created an animated short called Jesus vs. Frosty. The crudely made film featured prototypical versions of the kids of South Park, including a character resembling Cartman but called "Kenny" and an unnamed character that resembles Kenny bringing a murderous snowman to life with a magic hat.

Executives at FOX saw the movie, and in 1995, executive Brian Graden commissioned Parker and Stone to create a second short film to send to friends as a video Christmas card. Titled The Spirit of Christmas, it closely resembled the style of the later series, and featured a martial arts duel and subsequent truce between Jesus and Santa Claus (two characters who have since been recurring characters in the series) over the true meaning of Christmas. This video was later featured in the episode A Very Crappy Christmas in which Stan, Kyle, Cartman, Kenny, Mr. Hankey and his family "save" Christmas. The video was a hit and was quickly shared, both by underground duplication and over the burgeoning Internet. This led to talks to create a series, first with FOX, then with Comedy Central, where the series premiered on August 13, 1997. A clip of the short can actually be seen in the opening sequence for the series contained within a billboard. The first short can also be seen during the opening sequence on an old television.

The satirical disclaimer that begins most episodes The show's provocative, frequently offensive, and adult-oriented material quickly drew protest from various spokespersons, and South Park merchandise (especially T-shirts) were banned from a number of public schools, day care centers, and other public places. This occurrence is similar in a manner to the prohibition of Bart Simpson T-shirts in the early 1990s after The Simpsons was accused of contributing to juvenile delinquency. Comedy Central defended South Park by noting that the show is given a "Mature Audiences" TV rating (TV-MA) and is not meant for children to watch. They also pointed out that it only airs the show during night-time hours and never during the day, when children may be more likely to see the show. In fact, at least for the earlier part of the show's run, advertisements for the series did not run until after seven PM.

In February 1998, one episode of South Park posed the question of who Eric Cartman's father was. The episode ended with the announcement that it would be revealed in four weeks' time. A month later, the airing of an episode about Terrance and Phillip (two fictional Canadian comedians who the main characters idolize) in place of the anticipated episode prompted outrage and caused Comedy Central to push the true season premiere up earlier than expected. It was apparently a well-planted April Fools gag, meant to poke fun at season-ending cliffhangers. The joke was repeated in Cartoon Wars Part II, which begins by teasing audiences about Comedy Central refusing to air the episode and then cutting into an introduction featuring Terrance and Phillip in a short film involving Muhammad (who is not shown). Alternatively, the joke was taken in an opposite direction at the end of Professor Chaos, where three questions were posed, supposedly to be answered in the following episode, except that they were answered immediately, following which, the credits ran.

In 1999 the full-length animated feature film South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut was released to generally enthusiastic reviews. The film managed to satirize both itself and the anticipated reaction that it engendered from moral conservatives. It also presented a twisted but seemingly sincere tribute to the film musical with a number of songs, including "Uncle Fucka," and "Blame Canada". The latter was nominated for an Oscar and was performed by Robin Williams during the awards show. It has been speculated that "Blame Canada" was chosen from other Oscar-worthy songs in the movie because it was the only one that could be performed on live TV with its lyrics relatively intact (as the song contains only two examples of profanity). While it is true that "Up There" by Satan contains no swear words at all, it would most likely have created far more controversy on religious grounds given its sympathetic portrayal of Satan and his justification of evil in the lyrics. Phil Collins won the Oscar, however, with his song "You'll Be In My Heart" from Disney's Tarzan, which prompted a number of Phil Collins jokes in a subsequent South Park episode. The film also got into the Guinness Book of World Records for most obscenities in an animated movie, with a count of 399.

On November 11, 1999 shortly after the U.S. theatrical release of South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, actress Mary Kay Bergman, who had provided all of the female voices on the South Park animated series and in the full-length movie, committed suicide in her suburban Los Angeles home. After her death, it was revealed that she suffered from a severe form of clinical depression. Her husband, Dino Andrade, founded the Mary Kay Bergman Memorial Fund at the Suicide Prevention Center of Greater Los Angeles in an effort to help and educate people with the same type of depression that his wife suffered.

In the episode "It Hits the Fan", South Park broke the swearing record by using the word "shit" a total of 162 times, uncensored. The 22-minute episode averages one "shit" every eight seconds, and there was a counter throughout the episode displaying the number of times it was said. A song by Mr. Garrison that consisted of, "Hey, there, shitty shitty fag fag, shitty shitty fag fag, how do you do?" (sung to the tune of the title song from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang) repeated for four verses provides an example of how "shit" was so abundantly used. This was meant as a satire of a NYPD Blue episode released shortly before this episode where one of the main characters said the phrase "shit happens" without being censored, and the American public discussed this for weeks. An additional gag in this episode allowed homosexual or bisexual characters to use the word "fag" freely, while heterosexual characters were bleeped when attempting to use the same word. (This episode suggested that Stan's uncle Jimbo was actually gay, as he was able to say "fag" without being bleeped.)

On September 9, 2005, Comedy Central struck a deal with Parker and Stone for three more seasons of the show. The network has committed to three more seasons of South Park over the next three years, 42 episodes (including those of the second half of Season 9), which means that the show will run until at least 2009. Parker and Stone will continue to write, direct, and edit every episode of the show. The order brings the series total to 182 episodes. The ninth season ended in early December. Slightly less "Questionable" versions of South Park episodes, with the TV-14 rating, began broadcasting in syndication on September 19, 2005 on various local channels around the US.

Evolution of the series 
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South Park's early episodes tended to be shock value-oriented, but even then poked some fun at current events. In the episode "Death", for example, Stan asks people whether he should kill his grandfather at the old man's request, only to find that no one wants to discuss it (not even Jesus does). As the show has progressed the satire/parody element has been brought to the fore (including several satirizations of themselves). This was very evident in Season 8; events in this season include Michael Jackson visiting South Park ("The Jeffersons"), the boys seeing The Passion of the Christ ("The Passion of the Jew"), blue-collar workers in South Park losing their jobs to immigrants from the future ("Goobacks"), and an episode featuring a "Paris Hilton" toy video camera ("Stupid Spoiled Whore Video Playset"). Season 9 premiered with the episode "Mr. Garrison's Fancy New Vagina," which incorporated graphic, uncensored footage of a farm animal being neutered.

The pilot episode, "Cartman Gets an Anal Probe", was produced using construction paper and traditional cut-out animation techniques, but current episodes duplicate the original, amateurish look using modern computer animation tools (first PowerAnimator, then Maya, which South Park creators have described as "building a sandcastle with a bulldozer"). This allows for a short production schedule that enables the creators to respond quickly to current events. For instance, the December 17, 2003 episode ("It's Christmas in Canada") depicts the capture of Saddam Hussein a mere three days after his capture by U.S. forces, even referring to the "spider hole" where he was found. In the case of this and the Elián González episode ("Quintuplets 2000"), the creators stopped and changed production of an episode to focus on these events. Another example is the "Trapper Keeper" episode which originally aired just eight days after the 2000 Election and featured a kindergarten class president election being delayed by, among other things, an undecided girl named "Flora", a reasonably obvious reference to the undecided vote-count in the state of Florida.

In the audio commentary on the Season 4 DVD set, Parker and Stone remarked that beginning with episode 408, "Chef Goes Nanners", they began to consistently make episodes centering on a single issue, rather than multiple subplots.

In 2002, the episode "Free Hat" was aired. In this episode, prompted by Kyle's comment on Ted Koppel's Nightline that changing E.T. would be like changing Raiders of the Lost Ark, the South Park depictions of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg decide to alter the first Indiana Jones film. Soon after "Free Hat" aired, the real Lucas and Spielberg announced that they would not be altering Raiders of the Lost Ark for DVD release contrary to rumors. Stone and Parker later claimed that their episode prevented any alterations from happening when they appeared on a VH1 special, Inside South Park.

Controversy 
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Controversial episodes


Throughout its run on television, South Park has drawn an enormous amount of controversy from episodes focusing mainly on political satire and current events. Here is a list of some infamous episodes that have been followed by controversy:

Terrance and Phillip in Not Without My Anus (An "April Fools" joke infamous for its enormous backlash of disgust from sad fans awaiting the answer to who was the father of Eric Cartman.)
Trapped in the Closet (Parodied Tom Cruise & John Travolta's involvement in the church of Scientology. Resulted in the resignation of Isaac Hayes, the voice of Chef and an active Scientologist.)
It Hits the Fan (While it didn't strike much controversy, the episode stretched the limits of censorship by airing, uncensored, the word "shit" a record 162 times)
Cartoon Wars Part I/Cartoon Wars Part II (Attacked Family Guy, the Muhammad cartoon controversy, was itself censored from airing an image of Muhammad, and climaxed with Parker and Stone satirizing the hypocrisy of the entire ordeal with "al-Qaeda's Retaliation" – a crude cartoon featuring Jesus Christ defecating on President Bush and the American Flag.) But there was an earlier episode in season 5 called "The Super Best Friends" that shows the image of Muhammad.
Bloody Mary (Made fun of purported sightings of the Virgin Mary and Alcoholics Anonymous)
Jared Has Aides (Made jokes related to the disease AIDS by playing off its homophone, "aides." The ending, which involved Butters being physically abused by his parents, has caused it to be pulled.)
Red Hot Catholic Love (Made jokes related to Catholicism, specifically, recent controversey concerning pedophilia amongst the priesthood. Also discussed the controversial topic of the phrase "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance in the course of lampooning hardcore church-state separation advocates.)
Scott Tenorman Must Die (Cartman arranges for a rival's parents to be murdered, then tricks their son into eating their remains.)

Christian Rock Hard (Cartman writes songs with sexual innuendo related to Jesus and says "Fuck Jesus" at the episode's end when he finds out he can't win a platinum album with a Christian rock group. Cartman also makes several racist comments towards Token throughout the episode.)
Here Comes the Neighborhood (Made fun of many popular African-American actors, sports stars, and artists, calling them "Richers". It is clear throughout the episode, however, that the wealth is a metaphor for race in the episode. Mr. Garrison says "Yeah, but at least we got rid of all those damn Ni---" as the episode ends.)

Censorship

What little censorship South Park has is usually done by way of bleeping out certain words, like Drawn Together and other shows on Comedy Central. However, South Park is not limitless. The episode "Jared Has Aides" was never aired again on Comedy Central because it showed extreme child abuse towards Butters from his parents and making light of AIDS (though it has been aired in syndication on local stations), though some have claimed the reason for the banning of the episode was from a press release by Subway. The words "asshole", "goddamn", "bastard", and "bitch" always go uncensored. The word "shit" is left uncensored only in two episodes. The word "fuck" is censored in all episodes but not within the South Park movie, which Comedy Central has aired uncensored several times after midnight. The word "cock" is occasionally beeped, while other times left uncensored, as evidenced in the episode "It Hits the Fan". Some local networks choose to bleep out words that are not censored in the original cartoons. In 2005, South Park began airing on U.S. broadcast stations, and the syndicated distributor, Mort Marcus, a former Disney executive (in conjunction with Tribune Entertainment), worked with a panel of representatives from stations purchasing the show to make it acceptable for broadcast. Some episodes may not air at all, if the creators of the show do not approve of the changes.

In December 2005, the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights protested the season finale episode, "Bloody Mary", for its depiction of a statue of the Virgin Mary menstruating from its vagina. In early 2006, Comedy Central denied that they were bowing to that group's request to pull the episode from future repeats and DVD releases. In New Zealand, C4 pushed the airing date for the episode forward after much publicity and outcries from Catholic bishops who urged a boycott of the station and its advertisers. The protest backfired as viewer numbers increased by 600% during the controversial episode. It has since been rebroadcast on Comedy Central. SBS in Australia has "deferred" the episode possibly due to their recent problems with the "Trapped in the Closet" episode.

In February 2006 in the Philippines, authorities threatened to ban the showing of South Park on television as it offends the sensibilities of a number of religious Roman Catholic conservatives. South Park is still shown in the Philippines with 1-hour double episodes.


Muhammad as depicted in "Super Best Friends".Most recently South Park has indirectly attacked the rising censorship in its April 5, 2006 episode "Cartoon Wars Part I", which ended with the statement that the second part of the two-parter episode, will only be shown if Comedy Central does not "puss out".

The following episode "Cartoon Wars Part II" that aired April 12, 2006, replaced the scene of Muhammed on Family Guy with a message stating that Comedy Central had refused to show a depiction of Muhammed on their network, thereby "pussing out". With the episode, the South Park boys make an impassioned, anti-censorship plea to a network exec named Doug, a reference to Comedy Central president Doug Hertzog. This comes months after the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy in Denmark, in which a editorial cartoon depicted Muhammed also in a satyrical way. However, he can in fact be seen in the season 10 opening credits from the episode "Smug Alert!" onwards and was featured in the Super Best Friends episode, which aired on July 4, 2001, though at the time there was no pre-existing controversy over depicting Muhammed.

It has come out via AP television writer David Bauder that Comedy Central did in fact, citing safety concerns, opt to censor the image of Muhammad, a situation that was satirized in "Cartoon Wars Part II". Furthermore, instead of showing an image of Muhammad, Comedy Central opted not to censor images of Christ, Bush and the American flag being defecated upon. Stone and Parker's choice has drawn fire from frequent "South Park" critic William Donohue of the anti-defamation group Catholic League. Donohue has called on Parker and Stone to resign out of principle, and was quoted as saying, "The ultimate hypocrite is not Comedy Central — that's their decision not to show the image of Muhammad or not — it's Parker and Stone". It should be noted though, that Stone and Parker made the choice to mock Christ to illustrate the hypocrisy in censoring one religion and not another, echoing their similar stance on Scientology.

Scientology scuffle

Origins

Isaac Hayes quits South Park over Scientology episode
Tom Cruise, as depicted in "Trapped in the Closet".In November 2005, South Park satirized the Church of Scientology and its celebrity followers, including actors Tom Cruise and John Travolta, in a top-rated episode called "Trapped in the Closet". In the episode, Stan is hailed as a reluctant savior by Scientology leaders, while a cartoon Cruise locks himself in a closet and will not come out. Dubbed 'Closetgate' by the Los Angeles Times, the controversy continued as Comedy Central pulled the "Trapped in the Closet" episode at the last minute from a scheduled repeat on March 15, 2006. It was alleged that Tom Cruise threatened Paramount with withdrawal from promotion of his latest film Mission: Impossible III if the episode were broadcast. Both Paramount and Comedy Central are owned by Viacom. Though Paramount and Cruise's representatives deny any threats, The Independent reports that "no one believes a word of it". In typical satirical form, Parker and Stone issued the following statement: "So, Scientology, you may have won THIS battle, but the million-year war for Earth has just begun! Temporarily anozinizing our episode will NOT stop us from keeping Thetans forever trapped in your pitiful man-bodies. Curses and drat! You have obstructed us for now, but your feeble bid to save humanity will fail! Hail Xenu!!!" The Los Angeles Times reported that, "For Stone and Parker, Closetgate will be the gift that keeps on giving".  While the episode has yet to be re-broadcast on Comedy Central, it has been shown as recently as May 12 in Canada on The Comedy Network and on February 20 on SBS in Australia.

Response

In very South Park-like fashion, Stone and Parker place extremely current events into the show with little mercy. In response to Isaac Hayes quitting the show, South Park used its 10th season premiere to lambast Scientology again, as well as kill off Isaac's character, yet still remind the audience to overlook the current problems and remember the joy that Chef brought to the show. In the episode, entitled "The Return of Chef", Chef returns from a three month long stay with the Super Adventure Club (SAC), an organization full of Colonel Mustard-type adventurers that seemingly scour the world for excitement and danger. The club is also a clear parody of Scientology. Though Chef returns, he is in a zombie-like state and his dialogue is blatantly patched together from recordings of past episodes, obviously intended as part of the joke. Eventually, all Chef begins to talk about is child molestation. For example, he puts together two of his favourite sayings: the song "I'm gonna make love to ya woman" and the phrase "Hello there, children!" He says, in a clearly edited way:

"I'm gonna make love to ya... children!"

There are other similar examples of Chef's new strangeness later in the episode: the boys then visit the Super Adventure Club in an effort to learn what is wrong with Chef, and they learn the true nature of the club. Eventually the boys free Chef from the club's thrall, but he ultimately decides to return to it and dies later in the episode - already on fire, he falls down a cliff and onto a jagged rock and is eventually eaten by a mountain lion and a grizzly bear, finally voiding his bowels as "proof" that he is really, really dead. Kyle delivers a eulogy at Chef's funeral, urging the town to remember the good times with Chef and to forgive him for his recent defection. After this, Chef is resurrected in a "Darth Vader" style scene high reminscent of Revenge of the Sith, and the "lightsaber" he holds at the end is a glowing red spatula.

Note: It has been reported that Isaac Hayes quit the show not because of the Scientology episode, but because he suffered a stroke before the season. The scientology reports came from the head of the church and not from Isaac Hayes himself. This also reportedly has damaged Hayes' relation with the Church of Scientology.

Spoilers end here.

Political issues
In simplest terms, the politics of South Park seem to have a very independent slant, generally libertarian but occasionally quite conservative and even more occasionally quite liberal. Political figures, personalities, and politically active liberal celebrities (such as in the recent episode "Smug Alert" with the "smug" from George Clooney's Academy Awards acceptance speech) have been ridiculed as well. They have sometimes been categorized as "libertarian conservative", and a small movement has sprung up of youngish, South Park Conservatives who hold ideas from extreme ends of the political spectrum, believing, for instance, that global warming is a myth at the same they are for gay rights.

Stone and Parker spend a great amount of time on current events and issues of the day, more so in recent years than they used to, which some fans have complained about. The stance that the show takes reflects the beliefs of the creators, which fluctuates between left- and right-leaning from issue to issue. Both creators have at one time or another described themselves as libertarians.

In an interview with the two in Time Magazine (March 13, 2006) the two have stated that the only reason people might peg them for conservatives is that they are willing to mock anti-smoking laws and hippies. They also stated that the show could just as easily be pegged as a show supporting liberal ideologies. The interview ended with Trey quipping "We still believe that all people are born bad and are made good by society, rather than the opposite," and Matt adding "Actually, I think that's where we're conservative."

Recurring themes

Child abuse and neglect

Child sexual abuse and child neglect are recurring thematic elements in South Park. For example, Butters' emotional abuse by his parents is usually depicted in episodes in which he appears. Cartman is shown several times as a target of actual or attempted sexual abuse, such as when he gets involved with NAMBLA. There is other evidence where he has been sexually abused in the episode Simpsons Already Did It where after getting semen ('sea-men') from a sperm bank, he is filling up a fish tank for his "sea people" and tells his friends that he got the rest of the semen from a guy in a alley who told him to "close his eyes and suck it out of a hose." Shelley is depicted as physically abusing her younger brother Stan and other major characters in earlier episodes. Kenny's parents are depicted and referred to as dysfunctional alcoholics, and his brothers appear to be neglected (although Kenny himself is not shown to be similarly affected).

The treatment of this theme ranges from realistic to cartoonish. For example, Butters' clearly has some psycholgical issues as a result of his treatment by his parents -- he is incontinent, has low self-esteem, and wrings his hands. (Although, strangely, Butters is also an unfailingly optimistic character and is one of the few genuinely nice people in the whole town, which often makes him a target of ridicule and abuse.) However, his parents' emotional manipulation of him is shown as completely "over-the-top"; at one point, they try to sell Butters to Paris Hilton. Butters also reveals that he has received annilingus from his uncle when detectives are questioning the children whether Chef has molested them. Tweek's constant state of tension has both comic elements (his parents, owners of a small coffee shop, keep him dosed on coffee for no obvious reason), and more serious and realistic ones (his problems, caused by his family, are misdiagnosed as ADD, and it is implied that he has a therapist who treats his problems as purely personal and ignores the role of his parents).

In the episode "Jared Has Aides", which has never been rerun on Comedy Central, Butters is subject to extreme physical abuse by his parents.

Animal sexuality
Another recurring theme includes animal sexuality, whether masturbation ("Proper Condom Use", in which older boys teach Cartman and Kenny to manually pleasure a dog, telling them it's the same as milking a cow), animal breeding ("An Elephant Makes Love to a Pig"), a pony simulating oral sex by sucking on a hot dog ("Scott Tenorman Must Die"), or simply that an animal is discovered to enjoy gay sex ("Big Gay Al's Big Gay Boat Ride"). In the episode "Douche and Turd", South Park satirizes PETA, the animal rights organization, when Stan discovers that the PETA members in their forest encampment have grown physically close with their animals to the point of bestiality. Other episodes containing this theme include "Woodland Critter Christmas", in which a group of talking satanic animals engage in a "blood orgy".

Religion
Episodes that debunk the more literal tenets of religions such as Mormonism, Islam, Judaism, and fundamentalist Christianity, and Scientology (though believed to be a cult by the creators), and Catholicism further cement the leanings of the show's core belief system. Multiple episodes have tackled the shaky logical foundations of cults, religious leaders who exploit worshippers for money, and the general problems with following religion too literally. Perhaps most indicative of the blasé notion towards over-fervent worship, the show's depiction of God in physical form is a strange hybrid of many animals, including a snake, hippo, and a platypus. Further deepening the satire is God's claim to be a Buddhist. The show suggested at one point that heaven is full of Mormons who spend eternity cheerfully singing songs and making craft projects.

In addition Jesus has been shown multiple times, apparently living in South Park and hosting a public access call in talk show, though also fighting Satan. In a third season episode, "Jewbilee," at a Jew Scouts camp, Moses appears in the form of the Master Control Program from Tron.

The criticism of anti-religion is also apparent in South Park. In "All About Mormons," Stan ridicules the Mormons for believing a story that offers no proof. However, at the very end, a Mormon named Gary delivers his side of the story by pointing out Stan is acting "high and mighty". South Park hints that religious members may be illogical and that atheists are overly arrogant (as in "Red Hot Catholic Love").

Similarly non-religious cults of personality which cross over into a religious-like structure are caricatured, such as the episode where a cult of 'Blaintologists' (named for charismatic illusionist David Blaine) forms, and progresses to ritualistic mass cult suicide unless they obtain their tax-exempt status.

Satan also appears regularly, portrayed as a fairly normal homosexual man.

Environment

South Park satires Al Gore's global warming viewsThe episode "Smug Alert" mocked global warming and the use of hybrid vehicles (which cause "smug" instead of "smog");the hybrids have a close resemblance to the Toyota Prius, but is called a Pious in the show. The other hybrid in the episode is the Honda Insight, called a Hindsight. Although in the end, Kyle does say that people should still drive hybrid cars, just don't be so smug about it.

Another recent episode has also mocked Al Gore and his outspokenness about the danger of global warming. The show implies that the global warming threat is exaggerated. In the 1999 episode "Rainforest Schmainforest," an environmental activist, voiced by Jennifer Aniston, made a harrowing trip to the rainforest of Costa Rica with the children, and the experience caused her to conclude that the rainforest "sucks ass."

Characters 
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Stan, Kyle, Cartman and Kenny drawn as real life children in the episode "Free Willzyx."The characters and backgrounds of South Park are crude; in fact, paper cut-outs were used in the original pilot Parker/Stone animation and in the very first Comedy Central episode. Every subsequent episode aired on TV has been produced by computer animation that provides the same look, though the animation has arguably become less crude over time. The style of animation used for South Park was inspired by the paper cut-out cartoons made by Terry Gilliam for Monty Python's Flying Circus, of which Trey Parker and Matt Stone are lifelong fans. For perspective, the average episode of The Simpsons takes eight weeks to create, while episodes of South Park have been completed in as little as three days (which explains why current events that occur mere days before episode airdates are often included, such as the capture of Saddam Hussein). Some episodes contain sections of regular film as well (e.g., "Tweek vs. Craig" and "Cat Orgy").

Matt Stone is the voice of many of the characters including Butters, Kenny, Kyle, Gerald Broflovski, Stuart McCormick, Jimbo Kern, Jesus, Saddam Hussein, Pip, Terrance, Tweek, and many others. Parker is the voice of Cartman, Stan, Randy Marsh, Grandpa Marsh, Big Gay Al, Craig, Dr. Alphonse Mephesto, Mr. Garrison, Mr. Hankey, Mr. Mackey, Miss Choksondik, Phillip, Timmy, Jimmy, Satan, Officer Barbrady and many others. Others voices are provided by April Stewart (Liane Cartman, Sharon Marsh, Mrs. McCormick, Shelley Marsh, The Mayor, Principal Victoria, Mrs. Crabtree, Wendy Testaburger, others), Adrien Beard (Token), and formerly, Isaac Hayes (Chef) and Mary Kay Bergman (Sheila Broflovski, Sharon Marsh, Mrs. McCormick, Wendy Testaburger). Eliza Schneider, AKA "Blue Girl", voiced most of the town's female inhabitants from 1999-2003. Eric Stough, the animation director, is the inspiration for the character of Butters.

Major characters
The main characters of the show are four elementary school students (often called "the boys" when as a group for easier reference):

Stanley "Stan" Marsh
Often the "straight man" of the group. Generally good natured and clear-thinking, Stan usually tries to come up with logical solutions to their outrageous situations. Designed as the alter-ego for co-creator Trey Parker, Stan often summarizes the message or moral of the episode. He is best friends with Kyle and their relationship is central to a couple of episodes.
Kyle Broflovski
High-strung, Jewish, skeptical, intelligent, at times self-righteous, and often more easily influenced than Stan. Kyle is effectively the alter-ego of co-creator Matt Stone. Along with Stan, Kyle often provides a reasonable perspective on the crazy behavior of the adult world around them. Kyle is often depicted as the most moral member of the four.
Eric Theodore Cartman
Loosely inspired by Archie Bunker, and frequently the catalyst for the plot, Cartman is campy, aggressive, racist, sadistic, bigoted, spoiled, overweight, rude, manipulative. He regularly insults Kyle for being Jewish and Kenny for being poor. His pretentious and sociopathic ways often cause him to be disdained by the other boys, who don't quite know why they put up with him. Cartman commonly acts in a manner directly opposed to, or against, that of the other boys. He also demonstrates an uncanny ability as a businessman and leader, and is sometimes seen dressed in a way that mimics Adolf Hitler, whom it is thought Cartman idolizes to some extent because of his anti-Semitic views. Cartman also occasionally serves as a mouthpiece for some of Parker and Stone's more extreme, conservative commentary, and has a rabid dislike for hippies. Every episode in which he appears to be doing something good ends with his true motives being revealed. This is particularly evident in the two part episode Do the Handicapped Go to Hell?.
Kenneth "Kenny" McCormick
Kenny is the misunderstood kid who comes from a poverty-stricken family. He is the most perverted of the four boys and is often sought out for answers when the other boys encounter a sexual term they have never heard before. His speech is difficult to understand due to the fact that his hood is closed around his face, although all of his lines are real dialogue that are always understood by Stan, Kyle and Eric; however in some episodes, Kenny's dialogue is visible by closed captioning. During the first five seasons, Kenny served as the eternal victim; routinely killed in a number of grotesque ways meant to entertain during each episode, only to inexplicably reappear alive in the next episode. Parker and Stone let Kenny live in only one episode from the first season ("Mr. Hankey, the Christmas Poo"). At the end of Season 5, Kenny was more permanently killed off. Parker and Stone explained at the time that this was due to their feeling creatively boxed in by the requirement to kill Kenny in each episode. In season 6 he is replaced by Butters and Tweek as the boys' "fourth friend". However, due to Kenny's lasting popularity, they brought him back for the seventh season (so Kenny went one season without appearing), and now he no longer dies (except on the very occasional episode).
The show's oldest gimmick is Stan shouting, "Oh my God, they killed Kenny!" followed by Kyle responding, "You bastards!" whenever Kenny is killed. This is parodied in "The Return of Chef". When Chef is killed, Stan screams "Oh my god, they killed Chef!" followed by Kyle who yells, "You bastards, you BASTARDS!" Since Kenny has stopped dying, this is scarcely used now.
Leopold "Butters" Stotch
(Appeared in earlier seasons but replaced Kenny as a main character during the first part of the Season 6. Though Kenny was brought back for the 7th season, Butters has remained prominent)
Butters is nervous, naive, easily manipulated, and repressed — while at the same time remains ironically optimistic, and sometimes insightful. He is often callously punished by his overbearing and oppressive parents, and is meanwhile blatantly vilified, taken advantage of and/or disregarded by Cartman, Stan, and Kyle. Adding to the tragic nature of his character, his birthday is September 11th. When Kenny seemed to permanently dead the boys tried Butters out as their fourth friend for a while, and when it didn't work out a spurned Butters adopted the alter ego of Professor Chaos, whose costume is clearly inspired by that of Doctor Doom, and has a sidekick called General Disarray. Butters tried various schemes to take over the world, but his niceness and general ineptitude doomed all of his efforts. His character is based on Director of Animation Eric Stough.
Tweek
(replaced Butters during the second part of the Season 6 but appeared in season 2):
Spastic and neurotic, Tweek generally wants to be left alone. He also suffers from ADHD (referred to as its accepted variant ADD in the show). His problems are often glossed over by his very docile, Hallmark commercial-esque coffee-shop-owning parents (whose constant supply of coffee, along with gnomes stealing his underpants, is most likely the source of their son's jittery behavior). Although initially touted as one of the leading supporting characters, Tweek has since been upstaged by the more viewer-popular Butters and has returned to playing a minor role.
Timmy
A schoolmate who uses a wheelchair due to a disability. He has a limited vocabulary, usually consisting of his name and assorted gibberish, though on occasion, he has also managed to say Jimmy's name, his pet turkey's name, "Gobbles", "Go", "Livin' a lie", "Please help me", "The Lords of the Underworld," and "Shit" (said only in the episode It Hits the Fan). As a standing joke, he was misdiagnosed with ADD. He was featured in the 4th grade beginning theme which replaced the original theme during the 4th season. He also replaced Kenny in the theme song in season 6. Although disabled, Timmy is treated as an equal by his classmates and tags along on many of their adventures. Timmy also changed the show's tag line from "They killed Kenny, you bastards!" to "Timmay!", which is how Timmy says his own name. Timmy generally appears very spastic and unaware, although he is capable of surprising ambition, cunning and emotional attachment.

Recurring characters

There are many other frequently recurring characters, besides the boys and their families. Mr. Garrison/"Mrs. Garrison": Mr. Herbert Garrison is the children's primary school teacher throughout the course of the show's run, aside from his brief replacement by Mrs. Choksondik. Early on Mr. Garrison was almost always seen wearing a puppet over his right hand, dubbed Mr. Hat. Early on Mr. Hat was commonly viewed by the other citizens of South Park to simply be Garrison's gay outlet. However, Mr. Garrison always relates to him as an independent person no different from anyone else, and in some episodes he inexplicably performs deeds that no hand puppet ordinarly could. Over the first few seasons, Mr. Garrison was a chronic homophobe, vehemently denying his sometimes overt displays of homosexuality, even going out of his way to disparage gays. After writing a romance novel that is considered one of the best homoerotic novels ever, Mr. Garrison snaps and hides in the mountains. In an episode entitled "4th Grade," just a few after Garrison's disappearence, the new 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Choksondik, seeks out Garrison, looking for support in handling a situation with her unruly students. In turn she teaches Mr. Garrison to come to terms with his homosexuality, after which he blissfully returns to South Park. Much later in the series run, in Episode 901, "Mr. Garrison's Fancy New Vagina," Mr. Garrison has a sex-change operation, thus becoming "Mrs. Garrison," a status which she still maintains.
Jerome "Chef" McElroy (voiced by Isaac Hayes 1997 – 2006): Known simply as "Chef," he is the lusty, African-American school cafeteria worker from whom the South Park boys frequently seek advice. For the first 9 years of the series, Chef was portrayed as a positive role model and the personal hero of the boys. Early in the series, he was featured in almost every episode, but has been seen less frequently in recent seasons. On March 13, 2006, Hayes officially resigned from the show, citing an increasing dissatisfaction with the show's treatment of religious faiths, most notably his own, Scientology. In early 2006, Hayes suffered a stroke, and some speculate that he may no longer be in a position to make major decisions for himself. In the first episode of Season 10, The Return of Chef, Chef was officially killed off. Although Hayes' voice is heard throughout the episode, his lines were stitched together by sampling his voice from previous episodes. While this sample editing enabled the show to contend with Hayes' departure, it was also exaggerated to maximize its comic effect.
Terrance and Phillip: A famous Canadian comedic duo, their TV show is the favorite of the kids of South Park. They were initially created by Parker and Stone as a satirical response to the criticism of South Park being "all fart jokes and poor animation,"[citation needed] by introducing a duo famous for their fart humor, often emitting loud farts with uncontrollable laughter, and heavy Canadian accents. Once assumed to be cartoons, they are later revealed to be real-life people in the South Park universe; all Canadians on South Park (including Kyle's adopted brother Ike) feature flapping heads similar to Terrance and Philip's. They once starred in a full-length South Park episode Not Without My Anus, aired as an April Fool's joke for viewers who tuned in to find out who Cartman's father was. Not Without My Anus featured the adventures of Terrance and Phillip as they farted their way across the World to find Terrance's daughter and save Canada from the clutches of Saddam Hussein.
Ms. Choksondik (pronounced "chokes-on-dick"): One of the boys' school teachers. They often make fun of her name, such as calling her "Ms. Makes-me-sick", not realizing how funny her name is on its own. She has very, very droopy breasts and a lazy eye, and she is voiced by Trey Parker. She dies in Season 6 (coincidentally, semen is found in her stomach. The semen belonged to Mr. Mackey, but as one of the remaining mysteries of the series, the cause of her death has never been explained. It is possible her name contains a clue to her fate.)
Big Gay Al: Present since the first season, he runs "Big Gay Al's Big Gay Animal Sanctuary," teaching the people of South Park how to accept and love their gay pets. He also appears in the feature film, and is generally around to speak up for gay rights. When asked how he's doing, he invariably replies, "I'm THUPER, thankth for athking!"
Mr. Slave, Mr. Garrison's flamboyantly gay live-in lover until his sex change in Episode 901 (replacement for Garrison's beloved puppet companion, Mr. Hat). Mr. Slave is now married to Big Gay Al. His catchphrase is a lisped "Jesus Christ!" His anus was briefly the home of Lemmiwinks before the gerbil escaped, and Paris Hilton spent some time there as well, although her eventual fate is unknown.
Satan, portrayed as the insecure and overly-sensitive former lover of Saddam Hussein. His personality flip-flops from assertive and demanding to soft-hearted and generally kind; in some episodes he is depicted as traditionally satanic, while in others he is more neurotic and gentle.
Jesus and Santa Claus, who have been depicted as gun-toting heroes. Jesus also has his own public access show, called "Jesus and Pals" which is a reference to the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN). Although he is occasionally violent, the Jesus of South Park is generally a gentle and rather hapless fellow who struggles to get people to pay attention to his preachings. While his show apparently isn't very popular, he resists attempts to make it more edgy and confrontational. He was killed off a few seasons back, and so far has yet to return.
Mr. Mackey, the school counselor who often adds "M'kay?" to the end of his sentences and was born with a very large head and very tiny hands, something which he tells Mrs. Choksondik made growing up difficult (although another episode suggests his large head apparently deflates if his tie is loosened.) He is based off of Trey Parker's actual school counselor.
Officer Barbrady, the incompetent, mentally deficient town police officer. He is approximately as intelligent as a toddler, and was illiterate until being ordered to learn to read by the Mayor ("Chickenlover"). He hasn't appeared much in recent seasons.
Wendy Testaburger, a schoolmate and Stan's girlfriend until Episode 714 ("Raisins"). She is extremely politically informed and is usually portrayed as one of the more mature girls in South Park. For much of their courtship, Wendy made Stan so nervous that the mere sight of her made him vomit.
Jimmy Valmer (previously Swanson), a physically-disabled schoolmate with crutches and a speech impediment. Famous at South Park Elementary for his stand-up comedy (even though he isn't very good). He took steroids to win the Special Olympics and became very aggressive as a result. Timmy was jealous of Jimmy initially, which culminated in a spectacular fist fight between the two in the episode Cripple Fight. The fist fight scene was a tribute to the Rowdy Roddy Piper/Keith David fight in John Carpenter's They Live, including some identical dialogue and "camera" shots.
Token Black (previously Williams), a classmate who occasionally accompanies the boys on their adventures; his name is intended as irony: being one of four African-American people in town (the others being Chef and Token's parents), he is indeed the "token black". Token is also a frequent target of Cartman's racism. His surname was at one point Williams but was changed, forgotten or "black" is his stage name. One of the recurring jokes is that Token lives in the largest house of any of the characters in South Park. While Kyle, Stan and Cartman all live in houses of similar size (and Kenny lives in a small, dilapidated house), Token's house is clearly larger and nicer than anyone else's.
Starvin' Marvin, originally appearing in Episode 109. When Stan, Kyle, Cartman, and Kenny donate 5 dollars to an Ethiopian fund for starving children (led by Sally Struthers) in order to earn a Teiko sports watch, they are accidentally sent a small Ethiopian boy they call Starvin' Marvin. When two agents appear to return Starvin' Marvin back to his home country, they accidentally take Cartman instead. Though the episode is set in East African Ethiopia, Starvin' Marvin speaks a language with click consonants, which are more often found in Khoisan languages such as those of the Xhosa people of South Africa. He later appears in episode 311 along with the alien Marklar race.
Towelie: a "super towel" created by the government; while being studied, he smoked marijuana and "just sort of wandered off". Towelie offers advice on towel usage and is frequently high. He has only appeared in 6 episodes: Episode 508, Towelie, where he is introduced; Episode 509, Osama Bin Laden Has Farty Pants, in which he only has two lines; Episode 606 Professor Chaos, where he is a contestant in the contest for a new fourth friend; and Episode 701, I'm a Little Bit Country, and Episode 707 Red Man's Greed, where he is only seen in the background and has no lines. Towelie has been referred to by Cartman as "the worst character ever", and Parker and Stone created him as a parody of lame characters dreamt up purely for marketing reasons. Episode 1005 A Million Little Fibers, parodying the book "A Million Little Pieces" features Towelie again, this time as the main character.
The goth kids, including Henrietta, Dylan (who flips his hair), and Ethan (the "leader" of the group) originally featured in Episode 714 ("Raisins"). They can be viewed as a literal example of a social group looking to escape the majority held views and constraints, only to find themselves constrained in other ways, or a more broad metaphor for hypocrisy. "If you want to be one of the nonconformists all you have to do is dress just like us, and listen to the same music we do." - says one of the goth kids. Parker and Stone are major fans of The Cure (in one episode they declared the band's "Disintegration" to be "the best album ever!"), suggesting that they were once goth kids to some degree themselves.
Tuong Lu Kim, the owner of the local chinese restaurant and airline, who appears in several of the episodes and takes on a main role in the episode "Child Abduction is Not Funny." In this episode the citizens of South Park, due to the fact that he is Chinese, ask him to build a wall around the town to protect it from child predators. He builds the wall, only to have it destroyed by a horde of Mongolians. He has a stereotypical chinese accent, which causes him to pronounce the name of his restaurant "Shitty Walk" instead of "City Wok." He also runs his own ("shitty") airline, and his wife is a lovely singer but a very poor boxer.

Minor characters and celebrities

Part of the show's surrealist nature derives from the minor characters who appear in the series. Notable appearances include God (who appears as a small creature resembling a hippo-rodent hybrid), Jesus (who owns a home and hosts a public-access television talk show in South Park (Jesus and Pals), Satan (with or without his lover Saddam Hussein), Chris (for whom Satan leaves Saddam), Moses (who appears exactly as the Master Control Program (MCP) does in the Disney film Tron and demands pictures made of macaroni glued to paper plates from his faithful), the alien Marklar race; the Jakovasaurs; Death; and Mr. Hankey "the Christmas poo" (who adds to the holiday festivities in much the same spirit as the 1960s Rankin-Bass cartoons).

Most celebrities who make appearances on South Park are usually "impersonated.....poorly" by the staff or others. See partial list below:

Patrick Duffy is present in the episode "Volcano" as the mountain monster Scuzzlebutt's left leg.
Yoko Ono is present in the episode "Worldwide Recorder Concert" as the director of the '4,000,000 Children Blow Concert.'
Kenny G is also in "Worldwide Recorder Concert", acting as a prostitute of sorts when Mr. Garrison's father refuses to have sex with Mr. Garrison, despite his wishes. Kenny G. is hired to do the action to deceive Mr. Garrison.
Barbra Streisand, is transformed by a mystical artifact Cartman found while digging and became Mecha-Streisand, a Mechagodzilla-like creature.
Kathie Lee Gifford, is nearly assassinated by Mr. Garrison in the episode "Weight Gain 4000".
O. J. Simpson, is a member of a support group for relatives of murder victims in "Butters' Very Own Episode".
George W. Bush, has been shown numerous times, most notably under the influence of Satan's advisor (a Wormtongue lookalike, who probably represented Karl Rove) fought against removing a feeding tube from Kenny in the episode "Best Friends Forever". Also seen trying to handle the mass suicide situation in the episode "Super Best Friends" and trying to bomb Saddam Hussein in Heaven in A Ladder to Heaven. Parker and Stone have made remarkably few jokes at Bush's expense, although in one episode they did liken him to a "turd sandwich" (while they likened John Kerry to a "giant douche".)
The 1980s band Toto.
Brian Boitano, a figure skater who is a kind of superhero to the children of South Park, first appeared in "The Spirit of Christmas" and then again in the South Park movie, "Bigger, Longer, Uncut."
Russell Crowe, star of the TV show Russell Crowe: Fightin' Around the World, in which he travels the world in a cartoon tugboat and picks fights with random strangers based on perceived insults. His singing drives his sentient boat, Tugger, to suicide.
James Taylor, American folk singer, joins Chef in a song about prostitutes in "Fat Camp." When Principal Victoria catches Chef singing this song, Chef blames Taylor (and then the children) for tricking him into singing about inappropriate topics in school.
Madonna is ridiculed in the episode "Kenny Dies." On his death bed, Make a Wish foundation brings Madonna to cheer him up. Kenny says she's an anorexic whore who wore out her welcome year long time ago and now pretends to be a British bitch to get attention.
David Blaine, founder of the fictional, suicide-cult-like "Blainetology" religion in the episode "Super Best Friends".
Sally Struthers is portrayed as a Hutt (as in Jabba the Hutt from Star Wars) hoarding food while pretending to save "Starvin' Marvin" and his people. In real life Struthers of course is an advocate for the starving people of the world while also being rather heavy.
Michael Jackson appears as a new neighbor named "Mr. Jefferson" who moves to South Park with his young son Blanket to escape accusations of child molestation (such as those that were made against Jackson in late 2003). Unlike most recent satires, South Park was uniquely favorable and non-accusing of Jackson, yet was nonetheless critical about his actual personality, his extensive plastic surgeries and parenting skills. In the episode, the children of South Park all go to Michael "Jefferson's" house and play with toys and games all day long.
Paris Hilton as spokeswoman for the Stupid Spoiled Whore clothing store chain. Hilton was depicted as such a vile character that her dogs are constantly killing themsleves to be free of her.
Will Smith moves to South Park along with Kobe Bryant, and Snoop Dogg in the episode "Here Comes the Neighborhood". Oprah Winfrey and Bill Cosby are also seen in the episode.
Christina Aguilera is portrayed as a hideous creature; a hallucination of Cartman's when he starts ingesting Ritalin
Jennifer López, who appeared in "Fat Butt and Pancake Head", where Cartman drew a face on his hand and pretended that it was J. Lo (although there was some ambiguity whether Cartman's hand had somehow achieved sentience or if he was faking the whole thing). She attempted to destroy Cartman's hand because it was ruining her career. Jennifer López also appears in "Cartmanland" and "Proper Condom Use", where Kyle and Stan are burning an action figure version of her with a firecracker and magnifying glass, respectively.
Mel Gibson: In the acclaimed "The Passion of the Jew" episode, Kenny and Stan, after seeing "The Passion of the Christ" and hating it (calling it a snuff film), go to Gibson's home to ask for their money back. They find that Gibson is a complete and utter lunatic who begs to be tortured and chases them all the way to South Park where the debate over his movie is about to break into a fight between the Jews and the Christians. When both groups see what a gibbering freak Gibson is, they give up their fight.
Alanis Morissette is lampooned in Chef Aid.
Tom Cruise, depicted as a follower of the Church of Scientology in episode 912 "Trapped in the Closet". He locks himself in Stan's closet after Stan tells him, "You're not Gene Hackman or that guy who played Napoleon Dynamite, but you're okay". He then refuses repeated requests by Stan, Stan's family, and other celebrities to 'come out of the closet'.
John Travolta tries to get Tom Cruise to come out of the closet but eventually goes in with him. Also appears in a commercial promoting Mr. Garrison's new invention, IT, in an earlier episode "The Entity" (episode - 511).
R Kelly also tries to get Tom out of the closet, but ends up going in.
Nicole Kidman is another one trying to get Tom out of the closet.
Ben Affleck, who is shown as Jennifer Lopez's boyfriend only to later dump her for a puppet painted on Cartman's hand, who is also named Jennifer Lopez. This episode depicts Cartman apparently giving a hand job to Ben Affleck, although this caused remarkably little controversy. Affleck also appears in the episode where he turns out to be the son of a couple who have a disease that make them have their "asses where their face should be".
John Edward appears in The Biggest Douche in the Universe (episode 615), the title of the episode refers to Stan telling Edward he is a douche and is "nominating him for the biggest douche in the universe" after Kyle is seriously affected by Edward telling him his dead grandmother is watching him and then refusing to talk to Kyle and tell him his "talking to the dead" is just an act. Edward is depicted (without directly saying so) as an obvious fake that gets jealous of Stan after he tries to explain people that Edward doesn't actually talk to the dead through a demonstration, which only causes people to think Stan can talk to the dead.
Brett Favre is part of a sexual fantasy of Mr. Garrison in the episode "Summer Sucks" where he says that Mr. Hat dreams of being in a sauna with Favre and a bottle of thousand island salad dressing.
Oprah and Geraldo Rivera appear in the episode A Million Little Fibers. In this episode, Oprah's "minge" and her anus, Gary, are revealed to be sentient and resentful of the way Oprah neglects them.
Al Gore is shown as "attention craving" and trying to get back into the spotlight in the episode Manbearpig. While generally depcited as a well-meaning person, the episode shows Gore as something of an idiot and repeatedly states that he has no friends.
Celebrities who have provided voice work:

Robert Smith of the British post punk band The Cure, who transformed into a moth creature (a parody of Mothra) to battle Mecha-Streisand. (According to Smith, he was completely unaware of the plot of the episode when he recorded his lines, and was understandably quite confused.)
The band KoЯn, solved a Scooby Doo-type mystery in the Halloween episode, "Korn's Groovy Pirate Ghost Mystery".
The band Radiohead, appear in, and are a subject of the episode "Scott Tenorman Must Die."
George Clooney portrays an emergency room doctor, named Dr. Doctor, similar to his character Doug Ross in the TV series ER in the South Park Movie, "Bigger, Longer, Uncut." Clooney also appeared as a voice actor for Sparky, Stan's homosexual dog, in the episode "Big Gay Al's Big Gay Boat Ride", his only line being "Woof!".
Brent Spiner portrays Conan O'Brien in the South Park Movie, "Bigger, Longer, Uncut."
Jennifer Aniston plays a choir teacher in the episode, "Rainforest Schmainforest".
Eric Idle plays Dr. Vosknocker in "South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut."
Jay Leno plays Cartman's cat on episode 113, "Cartman's Mom is a Dirty Slut".
Cheech and Chong, drawn to resemble themselves in the Up in Smoke days but never referred to as Cheech and Chong, play Mexicans who pretend to be Native Americans to sell holistic medicine in "Cherokee Hair Tampons."
Natasha Henstridge, billed as "The Chick from Species", plays a substitute teacher in Tom's Rhinoplasty.
Elton John sings the song "Wake Up Wendy (Smell The Coffee)."
Ozzy Osbourne sings in the episode "Chef Aid".

Music 
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The show's opening theme song is an original musical score performed by alternative rockers Primus. The song has been remixed twice in the course of the series, and certain lines have been altered.

Kenny's lines in the song, like the rest of his speech in the show (with the exception of two lines in Episode 807, "The Jeffersons"), are muffled by his parka hood, which covers his entire face except for his eyes. The general unintelligibility of Kenny's lines has helped them avoid being censored by the network on a number of occasions, although the gist of can usually be understood . It is sometimes easy to comprehend the lines, given the context in which they are delivered.

Regarding his lines in the theme song one of the rumors is that Kenny's original line says "I like women with fat titties,/I like women with big titties." Another interpretation that is common is, "I like girls with big fat titties,/I like girls with big fat titties." Another variation states that he sings, "I like girls with big fat titties,/I like girls with big [or sometimes 'deep'] vaginas." A transcribed guitar tabulation for the South Park theme published in Guitar World magazine listed the lyric as "I like girls with big fat titties,/I like girls with big vaginas," although they noted that this was their own interpretation and listed "Mmrph mmrph mmrph" as Comedy Central's "official" lyrics.

Another rumor states that Kenny's lines in the opening song were changed at the start of the 3rd season and were used until the end of the 5th season. These lines are supposedly "I have got a 10 inch penis/Use your mouth if you want to clean it." Timmy took over Kenny's place in the 6th season, during which Kenny was 'killed-off'. Timmy's lines are "Timmah Timmah Timmah Timmah, Timmah, Timmy, live a lie, Timmah!"

Kenny's line in the theme song changed yet again at the start of the seventh season. It was promised that the line would be revealed a year after the change. When the time had passed, the creators admitted they had forgotten exactly what the line was, but were "95% sure" that it was: "Someday I'll be old enough/to stick my dick in Britney's butt."

According to the official FAQ on southparkstudios.com,the official translations are:

Seasons 1-2 - I love girls with big fat titties, I love girls with deep vaginas!
Seasons 3-5 - I have got a ten inch penis, use your mouth if you want to clean it!
Season 6 - Timmah Timmah Timmah Timmah, Timmah, Timmah, Live a lie, Timmah!
Seasons 7-10/syndication - Someday I’ll be old enough to stick my dick in Britney’s butt!

The style of the introduction has changed several times:

Original - This tune (without lyrics) was never released and is now the closing theme.
Season 1-4 - This oldest theme accompanied with the montage of activity as the kids ride the bus.
Season 4-5 - In the first episode in which the boys entered fourth grade, the opening was changed, beginning with an explosion revealing a spinning object reading "Fourth Grade" and including a much busier opening which incorporated some live-action footage.
Season 6-present - This is the newest theme. It has dropped the "4th grade" visual theme and reverted to a faster theme that accompanies animators putting together the characters over clips from previous episodes. The voices of the boys singing also have been re-recorded, with Cartman's sounding less "squeaky"; as in the earlier seasons and Stan and Kyle being higher-pitched. Timmy sings in Season 6, Kenny from Season 7.
Syndication - An updated version of the season 1-4 opening, with added characters and background scenery, and the season 6-present music.

Popular songs such as "Kyle's Mom is a Bitch" originated on the show, but the creators' musical abilities were not frequently used until the release of South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut. The film's soundtrack featured songs like "Mountain Town", "La Resistance Medley," "Uncle Fucka", "What Would Brian Boitano Do?" (a song to which Brian Boitano has been known to figure skate), "I'm Super", and "Blame Canada" (nominated for an Oscar, see below). Several of the songs from the movie were satires of tunes from Disney cartoons. For instance, "Mountain Town" is highly similar to "Belle" from Beauty and the Beast. "Up There" is a take-off of two different Disney songs, "Out There" from The Hunchback of Notre Dame and "Part of Your World" from The Little Mermaid. "La Resistance Medley" spoofs "One Day More" from the stage musical Les Miserables.

Trey Parker and Matt Stone have, on occasion, performed these and other songs (some unrelated to the show, such as "Dead Dead Dead"), under the band name DVDA.

In the show, Eric Cartman will often burst into song to convey a false altruism or optimism that belies his baser motivations. In "Red Sleigh Down", he sings "Poo-Choo Train", an unnervingly cheery Christmas carol, in an obvious attempt to convince Mr. Hankey and Santa Claus that he is worthy of Christmas presents. In "The Death of Eric Cartman", Cartman sings "Make It Right" with Butters in a weak attempt to reconcile his sins. In Roger Ebert Should Lay Off the Fatty Foods, Cartman sings She Works Hard For The Money during an audition for Cheesy Poofs. In the episode, "Simpsons Already Did It" Cartman sings about how the sea people will "take me away from this damn planet full of hippies." In the episode "Ginger Kids" he sings a song about tolerance once he realizes he's not one of the "Gingers" and that he just convinced every "Ginger" in town to exterminate non-Ginger people. Cartman also uses the song "Heat of the Moment" in Episode 513 (Kenny Dies) to convince the U.S. Senate to approve stem cell research. And, of course, there's Cartman's mental quirk that forces him to finish singing Styx's "Come Sail Away" whenever someone sings a few bars of the song.

Additional musical contributions to the show come from the band Primus, which performed the original opening and ending themes for the show and formerly from Isaac Hayes, who voiced Chef. Another high point of the series is its dramatic score. It often dramatizes common and deep parts with a very heartwarming, melancholic, or mysterious soundtrack.

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