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South Park Once Came Alarmingly Close To Ending

"South Park" recently celebrated its 25th anniversary of being on the air, and throughout that time, the show has remained incredibly popular and influential. It's hard to imagine modern television without "South Park," so it might be surprising for some to learn that the show once came close to ending. On the surface, it may seem like creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker have just been effortlessly churning out new episodes like clockwork for a quarter century, but behind the scenes, there have been various challenges. For example, when they first started, the "South Park" pilot took over three months to make because the animators had to painstakingly adjust each individual frame. 

As technology became more advanced and the show became more established and better funded, the creators had an easier time producing episodes of "South Park," for the most part. However, there was one time that "South Park" actually almost ended, and it was just a couple of years ago.

The pandemic almost ended South Park

In an August 2022 interview with the Los Angeles Times, Matt Stone and Trey Parker sat down to talk about "South Park" and the show's incredible journey throughout its 25-year existence. One question saw the creators asked about the closest they ever came to losing the now iconic animated comedy.

Trey Parker gave a very relatable answer. "It was the first few months of the pandemic, and it was the first time we were going, 'Oh wow, maybe that's just it.' Matt was the first one to say, 'This thing's gonna go on a long time. Let's just start figuring out how to do it from home.'" Parker continued, "I went to the office to start packing up my things because I was just kind of in shock."

"South Park" survived the pandemic, but not all of Stone and Parker's projects did. Parker added, "Not a lot of people know that we were a day away from starting production on the first feature movie we had done since 'Team America: World Police.' We were going to start shooting on the day that the pandemic shut everything down. It was months and months of getting ready for that movie, to just being like, 'Nope, it's over.'" Here, Parker is referring to the movie about Donald Trump that they never got to finish. 

Thankfully, not only did "South Park" end up surviving the pandemic, but the show was even able to make jokes about the situation through episodes like Season 24, Episode 1, "The Pandemic Special," and Episode 2, "The Vaccination Special," as well as the "South Park" features on Paramount+.