Brian’s Reflection: Wednesday, October 19, 2011
I think one of the reasons this show has survived
is that it has a big heart at its center. Other cartoon
shows have people crap on each other and make
racist jokes. But I don't think people tune in for that.
I just don't think a show lasts for 10 years without a heart.
Trey Parker, producer, one of the creators, along with
Matt Stone, of “South Park”. He was born on this date, 1969.
I am an unabashed, proud, devoted fan! We own all the complete seasons on DVD ….. and we watch them frequently. I wear my South Park shorts most of the time at home, and for our daily walks. I treasure my Mr. Hanky baseball cap. Cartman is my Evil Twin – and I have a sticker of him on the back window of my car.
Why? Because South Park is uncompromisingly and fearlessly Real. And I am a huge fan of Reality. Especially since we are surrounded by so much Unreality in every area of Life ….. and especially in American Life. I have lived here for nearly 45 years; I’ve travelled extensively here and in the World at large. In my view, America wins the Oscar for fantasy and for refusing to acknowledge what Life and People are really like ….. though I must admit that in the last 10-15 years, a lot of the World is catching up!
So I thank God for Eric Cartman and Kenny and Stan and Kyle and Butters, their families, and all the characters of South Park. They are like prophets, speaking the truth to society. And while they are course to the max at times (in some peoples’ view), they are to me a modern version of Biblical parables. Granted the Parables are far more “subtle”. But both the Parable and the South Park gang explode the truth right in your face ….. if you have the courage and humility to listen. They fearlessly take on every prudery and hypocrisy and prejudice and stupidity and deceit and ignorance and self-righteousness.
In my view, South Park is a Gospel. Good News. And the Good News is what Trey calls the heart that has kept people watching for 10 years. Oh yes, lots of the worst of humanity is exposed. But almost always, at the end of the episode, usually Stan gets 30 seconds in which he calls us all to see and acknowledge what can be glorious about human beings at their best. Only once, that I can recall, has Cartman’s evil ever “won out” … but in his “winning” he condemned himself.
South Park ruthlessly unveils, as does the Gospel, the Reality that we would so prefer to hide about ourselves. But at the heart of both is a deep love and compassion for human beings and their struggles.
Kenny gets killed almost every episode ….. but he is always resurrected. Kenny’s a sign of hope for us all.