Monday, May 16, 2016

Update - My Scribbles

A Homage to South Park - Intelligent Comedy at its Best

When I was eleven I fell in love with a quiet mountain town called South Park.

At a first glance, South Park was seen as nothing more than a crudely drawn and crudely animated cartoon that used toilet humour and offensive language and subject matter to provoke shock laughs. This is somewhat of a half truth; Mat stone and Trey Parker are held in high esteem as writers today; their Broadway musicals, movies and TV shows have won awards and are critically acclaimed but they haven't wandered far from their roots. Behind the fart jokes and flamboyant characters, always lies a message. South Park would be a piece of intelligent creativity to truly shape who I would become.;

South Park was always at the forefront of topical issues and satire and boys were never afraid to push the boundaries, no matter who it offended. They weren't afraid to depict Muhammad as a super hero in an early episode, and even go further by pointing out that they had done so in a much later episode. They've tackled homophobia, anti Semitism, racism, gender equality, gender identity issue, Catholicism, Scientology, terrorism, the futility of war, consumerism, the Iraq war, the bush administration, the legalisation of cannabis, gun control, the console wars and social media, to name but a few. 

In one of my favourite early episodes, way back in 1997, George Clooney lends his voice to Stan's gay dog, Sparky. As homosexuality was rarely discussed openly during the early 90s, Mat and Trey were met with some serious tension because of the show's subject matter, however the boys stood their ground and the episode aired as it was written. Mat and Trey came at it with the same dark humour and used outrageous characters as always but behind it all, they were saying it's OK to be gay, I was only eleven but I understood the message at the time. 

Despite the quint 2D cut-out animation, the characters portrayed on the show are some of the most three dimensional characters that I have ever bared witness to. They so elegantly take a fragile topic such as breast cancer and use Cartman's crude sense of humour to wonderfully contrast with Principal Victoria's heartfelt and evoking speech to Wendy. Each character is unique and they stay true to their core beliefs throughout. 

I grew up with Stan, Kyle, Cartman and Kenny and they remain still, dear friends of mine. Their blunt, cynical humour reeks of authenticity and from day one, has always sent me on an internal journey of reflection. I wonder often, if I hadn't had access to satellite TV then, would I be the same person today? Going back to South Park, in another trademark speech, Kyle reminds us all how fictional characters like Harry Potter and Luke Skywalker have had more of an influence on us and our lives than a lot of real people ever could and they will be remembered long after we are all gone. 

Without any hesitation, I can sincerely say that South Park is my absolute favourite show and Mat Stone and Trey Parker are my favourite comedy writers. Their self made empire and their authentic nature combined with raw talent is a source of true inspiration. These two creative geniuses leave me in complete reverence.

Sarah O’Regan

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