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The Running Gag You Probably Didn't Notice In The Background Of South Park's Early Episodes

"South Park," created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, is one of the modern age's most beloved, long-running TV series. Following the adventures of foul-mouthed fourth graders Stan Marsh, Kyle Broflovski, Eric Cartman, and Kenny McCormick as they navigate their strange little fictional Colorado town, fans have loved picking apart every detail of the show over the years. The currently running show began airing on Comedy Central in 1997 and was made into one theatrical feature film entitled "South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut," as well as several made for Paramount+ movies. Fans may have missed one running gag involving aliens that populates many of the show's early episodes.

The aliens in "South Park" appeared in the very first episode of the show entitled "Cartman Gets An Anal Probe." In the episode, the boys must figure out who is abducting town residents, including Kyle's brother Ike, while Cartman is left with a probe inside his body. The boys eventually use that probe to communicate with and take down the aliens, saving Ike in the process.

Aliens appear in the background in a lot of episodes of the show

There's something of an urban legend in pop culture that an alien appears hidden in the background of every episode of "South Park." While this is not entirely true, aliens do appear in the background of a lot of episodes of the show, as well as the opening credits of some early seasons, as a bit of an Easter egg for eagle-eyed fans. The visitors, as they are referred to, according to a piece from HuffPost, appear in "over half" of the episodes of the show. The animators of the show do not keep track of the appearances, however, so they "don't have exact numbers."

The visitors are hidden in the background of primarily early episodes of the series. After those early seasons, the animators eventually dropped the running gag. The bit was revived in Season 12 of the show as Comedy Central held a contest to spot all the hidden aliens in the first seven episodes of that season, according to theĀ official "South Park" website. The blog, Alien-UFO-Research, has tried to document as many sightings as they could find throughout the show. Now fans have a reason to go back and rewatch early episodes of the iconic show to try to spot as many hidden visitors as they can.