Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Real Reason South Park's Pilot Took Over 3 Months To Make

"South Park" is the kind of once-in-a-generation hit that networks dream of. The satirical comedy series premiered all the way back in 1997 and is still going strong today. Not only that, the cache of the series is more valuable than ever, as creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone showed when they inked a deal with ViacomCBS in the ballpark of $900 million.

The story behind "South Park" and the viral videotape that led to its inception is practically the stuff of Hollywood legend by now, but the 25 seasons of the show that have passed since are almost even more mythical, mainly because the show hasn't seen the same kind of quality drop that most series that go on for so long almost inevitably do.

While the process behind making episodes of the Comedy Central hit has sped up considerably since the early days of "South Park," making even a single episode of the beloved comedy series was once an endeavor that could easily eat up months of intensive labor behind the scenes.

The motion capture was time-intensive for the small team

After Comedy Central greenlit the pilot for "South Park," Trey Parker and Matt Stone had to go through the time-consuming process of actually shooting the first episode, which was shockingly titled "Cartman Gets an Anal Probe." Animation director Eric Stough, as well as a few assistants, helped the duo put together the series premiere. However, even with their help, the episode still took around three months to make (via WatchMojo).

This is due to the crude style of "South Park" and the fact that it wasn't a proven commodity quite yet. As such, the pilot had to be painstakingly put together, with all characters and backgrounds created out of cut-out construction paper and shot in a stop-motion style similar to movies like "The Nightmare Before Christmas."

Essentially, this means that every movement of the characters is a single picture taken (via Film Lifestyle). Then the construction paper creations of "South Park" are shifted around slightly, and another picture is taken. When the frames of each individual picture are combined, you have something akin to a high-quality flipbook, only without the flipping.

Subsequent episodes of "South Park" have been created with computers for a much faster turnaround allowing the show to tackle current events in a way that few other shows can. This factor has allowed the show to stay relevant even after 25 years on the air, an achievement that very few shows can boast. Still, the series came from some pretty humble beginnings.