Home Cartoons Forgotten Childhood: South Park
Forgotten Childhood: South Park

Forgotten Childhood: South Park


Anyone who knows me now could probably tell you that I barely get out two sentences without saying something offensive or laden with expletives, but you probably wouldn’t guess that I didn’t discover the true majesty that is cursing until I was about 15 years old. In fact, my mother was (and still is, in some ways) very strict about anything considered to be too crude for a respectable young girl such as myself. Therefore, I was not allowed to watch shows like South Park as a child… Or at the very least I wasn’t allowed to let her catch me.

Despite her best efforts, I had a TV in my room and access to MTV after 11 o’clock, which meant indulging in the crudest of classics like Drawn Together, Happy Tree Friends  and of course, South Park were a guilty pleasure of mine.
Only to be enjoyed in the dead of night, with the volume turned down low so no one would hear Cartman saying anything offensive about every thing. I have a sneaking suspicion my parents still knew what I watched, but thankfully they never mentioned it unless they specifically caught me red-handed.

So here we have this young girl, about 12 or 13 at the time, watching a show forbidden by her parents, not even allowed to swear, and too young to notice the underlying satirical messages of the episodes. One has to ask what was the appeal for me? In truth, it was probably fart jokes. RawNRude_06_0602But also, one has to ask if such an adult show was in fact my downfall, and the reason behind why I drop more F-bombs than a war bomber.

Well, lets see. Back in the day, I remember some amazing episodes, examples including ‘Goobacks’where people from the future come back in time to find work and end up taking people’s jobs (read as; They took er jerbs!), ‘Awesom-o’ wherein Cartman dresses up in a cardboard robot costume to play a trick on Butters only to find out he has an incriminating video of Cartman dressed as Britney Spears and making out with a cardboard cut out of Justin Timberlake,.

‘The Jeffersons’, the episode that parodied the late Michael Jackson by having “Michael Jefferson” move to South Park with his son Blanket. Never get me wrong on this, these are all fantastic episodes, each with their own sarcastic jabs towards public opinion and pop culture. However, as a kid, I wouldn’t have registered any of this! I thought Blanket accidentally ripping off Michael Jacksons nose was creepy but hilarious at the same time, not registering that it was a joke about how much plastic surgery he’d had until after the fact. In fact, I even thought the name Blanket was a joke until I googled it. I also remember giggling at the catchphrase from ‘Goobacks, just thinking it was a funny pronunciation (which it still is!) and not a reference towards redneck outcries over immigration.

Upon further reflection I might even credit South Park with introducing me to more geek culture, because their anime episode, ‘Good Times With Weapons’ where the kids get their hands on ninja weaponry and turn the entire episode into a ninja fight sequence and end up throwing a star into Butter’s eye was one of my favourites when I was younger, and it even had a special anime theme song to go with it! What’s more, the one thing that convinced me to try World of Warcraft was seeing it in ‘Make Love, Not Warcraft’.

I quickly figured out that the episode wasn’t entirely true to life, which was terribly disappointing but honestly was probably a godsend since I hadn’t a hope in hell of sustaining a WoW subscription at 14.

So let’s fast forward to today, where I’ve been watching the most recent South Park episodes, and laughing my ass off. The show has finally found some continuity and not only does it stick to season long story arc’s, they even managed to canonically explain why Kenny died so much and just came back to life every time (see ‘Mysterion Rises’) . The storylines are not only still relevant and deliver a biting wit but they also tie together beautifully from episode to episode, something the older episodes never quite achieved for more than an episode or two.

The only differences between now and then is that I can now watch it out in the open because I’m a responsible adult who doesn’t need to hide her fart jokes, and I can appreciate the political and social commentary going on in the background of said fart jokes. Thinking on it logically, with the wisdom I’ve gained over the years, I can’t possibly blame this show for corrupting me or making me curse as a child, if South Park had that much influence on me I’d have packed with article in with about 10 more jokes about the Jews. No, the reason I curse so much isn’t because of a TV show or a game, or any other form of media. in the end, the only reason I curse so much was because I attended a North Dublin school.