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The South Park Episode That Landed The Series Its First Emmy Award

"South Park," one of television's most controversial animated comedies, has been providing gut-busting laughs since its 1997 premiere. The series chronicles the wacky misadventures of four curse-spitting kids voiced by creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone. "South Park" often pokes fun at our own world by depicting concurrent events in the series with hilarious new insights.

For over 25 years on the air, Parker and Stone have received multiple awards for their collaborative work on the show. In addition to creating the world of "South Park," the dynamic duo voice the lead four characters as well as several supporting roles, animate the signature style of the program and write and direct several episodes. This astounding range of talent has been recognized by several organizations, including a notable Peabody award in 2006, Gold Derby, and Critics Choice awards. 

Though "South Park's" outlandish content may not be for everyone, the social commentary and political parodies elevate the foul-mouth kids and potty humor elements. The juxtaposition of gross-out humor and cultural critiques explores capitalistic consumerism, religion, and gender roles in new and intriguing ways. This quality, accompanied by the series' singular originality, transcends "South Park" into a program worthy of countless Emmy nominations and five golden trophy wins. 

South Park won an Emmy for Season 9 Episode 4

"South Park" won its first Emmy for the 2005 episode "Best Friends Forever," which features Kenny McCormick (Stone) playing an apocalyptic Playstation Portable (PSP) video game. Kenny is seemingly destined, as one of the greatest players of the latest hit, to save all of Heaven from the imposing forces of evil. This afterlife theme plays into the series' long-running joke where Kenny is killed each episode, then miraculously returns in subsequent adventures with no explanation.

This episode, in particular, illustrates the heated debate over the 2005 Terry Schiavo case through Kenny's struggle on life support. The episode aired while opposing sides clashed across the nation, though this episode never uses Schiavo's name as Kenny finds himself in a similar situation. As creator Matt Stone states in an interview with Charlie Rose, "We always seem to do topical stuff best when we do it with our characters." This element removes the triggering real-world implications while still teaching a lesson of unity and understanding over division and exclusion. 

"Best Friends Forever" ultimately makes the decision to let Kenny die in which he saves Heaven by winning the addicting PSP game. The wildly imaginative episode scored "South Park" its first primetime Emmy (via IMDB), crediting the series some well-deserved esteem. "South Park" would go on to become one of television's most successful adult animation shows, ushering in a new wave of programs while producing a theatrical film, three streaming films, and over 25 hysterical seasons.