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South Park Fans Can All Agree The Parents Are Terrible, But These Are The Worst

When "South Park" premiered in 1997, its four main protagonists, Stan Marsh, Kyle Broflovski, Kenny McCormick, and Eric Cartman, were 8-year-old third graders. In its fourth season, they graduated to fourth grade — and they've remained there ever since.

While creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, who voice most of the characters themselves, wanted to focus on the foul-mouthed kids when they started the show in their 20s, they have since said that they relate more now to the adults in the show, particularly Randy Marsh, who is modeled after Parker's dad. "My dad's name is Randy — that's my drawing of my dad; that's me doing my dad's voice. That is just my dad," Parker told ABC News. "And he is, by far, the biggest dingbat in the entire show." As a result, Randy has become a more central character, and Parker still relates to him, even if Randy has become much more absurd. "The first five to 10 years I'd record Randy and do an impersonation of my dad," Parker told Time. "Now I just do my voice."

As the show's humor matured — as much as a show like "South Park" can mature — becoming more topical and conceptual, it focused more on the corrupt "adults" in the fictional town. Randy isn't the only terrible, ridiculously ludicrous parent there, and a recent discussion on Reddit has fans identifying who is. It's perhaps not surprising, but still rather sad.

Fans agree poor Butters has the worst parents in South Park

Despite how tired fans have grown of Randy's antics, we can often see that he is at least trying to be a decent father — even if he fails spectacularly. Unfortunately, the same cannot really be said of the duo that Redditors feel are the worst parents on "South Park": Butters' father and mother, Stephen and Linda Stotch.

"At least Randy never tried to kill his kid. That we know of," u/VegetaArcher wrote on u/TheMeganProducts' thread asking about the worst "South Park" parent. While noting that nearly all of the parents on the series are terrible (except perhaps Tolkien's), some name-checked Cartman's mom, Kenny's parents, and Tweek's parents. Ultimately, however, the majority of fans appeared to agree that the Stotchs are the worst. "I think once you try to drown your son in a river, you win worst parent," u/PossibleHistorical95 said.

Attempted murder was only one of many things his parents did to Butters, as fans involved in another Reddit thread discussed. Besides neglect and abuse, they've sent him to a "conversion therapy" camp, locked him in a dungeon in their basement, and tried to cure his perceived trauma by ... giving him actual trauma. Based on the show's animation director Eric Stough, Butters is a constant source of naivety and positivity, who Matt Stone described as embodying "permanent innocence," per Macleans. It seems the show constantly tests that innocence and positivity by putting him in the most horrible situations. But he's one of Stone's favorite characters, as he told NPR: "Those are the most fun shows to do, is Cartman and Butters."

If you or someone you know may be the victim of child abuse, please contact the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child (1-800-422-4453) or contact their live chat services.