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South Park's Creators Aren't Sure If They're Old Or If Being PC Is Different

Throughout the early seasons of Comedy Central's "South Park," creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker gained a reputation for pushing boundaries and going where most writers wouldn't dare. From Alana "Honey Boo Boo" Thompson getting a pig heart to Mickey Mouse beating up the Jonas Brothers, no celebrity was safe from a less-than-ideal portrayal on the adult cartoon.

Stone and Parker also had no problem including the grossest, raunchiest plotlines, including Kyle Broflovski's (Stone) participation in a human centipede, and, of course, Mr. Hankey the Christmas Poo (Parker). However, in recent years, longtime "South Park" fans are noticing fewer outlandish moments. For example, the Season 26 premiere ("Cupid Ye") centers on the newfound friendship between Kyle and Tolkien (Adrien Beard), who create daily TikToks together, much to the jealousy of Stan Marsh (Parker).

On Reddit, u/UnHelmet expressed their wish for Stone and Parker to return the show to its more inappropriate roots: "Sometimes it seemed like there was an absence of sexism, racism, bigotry, gore and violence. That was South Park to me, a violent comedy show parodying a specific society." U/ChilledSloth97 added, "I feel like they have lost the passion in it as everyone is literally too sensitive now so everything has to be watered down and just goes against what South Park is."

According to Stone and Parker, the creative process behind "South Park" has changed since its 1997 premiere ("Cartman Gets an Anal Probe"), but not because they've lost their passion for the show.

Matt Stone and Trey Parker are adapting to their age and political correctness

In an interview with Vanity Fair, Matt Stone and Trey Parker admitted that "South Park" has evolved over the years to adapt to both the ever-changing world and its aging creators. Stone explained how there's a consensus in the world of comedy that the next generation isn't responding as positively to the same jokes that their predecessors once loved: "It's like, 'Well, are we old?' ... 'Is this political correctness gone wild, or are we just old?' And it's kind of both."

According to Stone and Parker, it would be weird if "South Park" didn't change at least a little bit. Non-offensive, youth-centric plotlines such as the TikTok debacle can draw in a new generation, while a heavier emphasis on the parents — especially Stan's father, Randy Marsh (Parker) — provides a sense of relatability to their original audiences. Parker said, "We used to be really scared of that [parent-centered storylines], and slowly Randy ... became just as big a character, if not bigger, than Stan."

The current state of South Park has led to mixed feelings among fans

It's no secret that in order for a show to run as long as "South Park," it's only natural for change to occur. Without it, shows can get stale or trapped in the past. At the same time, some "South Park" fans simply aren't feeling this recent shift in creative direction. Redditor u/BritishBulls raised the question of the series' continued ability to generate humor, prompting u/Explorer2004 to comment, "The whole Randy thing and then Tegridy Farms did me in. I doubt that I will continue watching it, other than the old seasons on DVD." 

Still, that doesn't mean that all "South Park" viewers are giving up on their favorite cartoon just yet. In August 2022, "South Park" lovers flooded Red Rocks for a 25th anniversary concert to see live performances of now-iconic songs like "Merry F***ing Christmas" and "Kyle's Mom's a B****," making it clear that the fandom is alive and well. It's also clear that Stone and Parker will never be 100% PC, even if modern episodes aren't as outlandish. Therefore, it stands to reason that the core of "South Park" is here to stay.