All the Times ‘South Park’ Trolled Its Own Audience
South Park obviously excels at ruthlessly ridiculing celebrities, as evidenced by the recent Harry and Meghan-centric episode and the fact that Rob Schneider has clearly been shamed into never making a movie in which he turns into a giant carrot.
Occasionally though, South Park has gone out of its way to troll its own fans — because why even have a TV show if you can’t use it to mess with the very people who enjoy it? Creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone were clearly goading viewers with storylines such as…
Special Guest Star George Clooney
In its first season, South Park featured a big-name, A-list “Special Guest Star”: then ER lead and recent Batman-ruiner George Clooney. Instead of giving Clooney (who helped to get the show made in the first place) a wacky new character to play, or even a single line of human dialogue, Clooney instead voiced Stan’s dog Sparky. This same strategy was also employed when Jay Leno guest-starred as Cartman’s Kitty.
Kenny Keeps Nearly Dying
Early in South Park’s run, Kenny’s death scenes became one of the most celebrated, T-shirt-worthy aspects of the show. But by the time Season Two rolled around, Parker and Stone clearly realized that they could mess with people’s expectations. In the episode “Chickenlover,” Kenny keeps almost dying, to the frustration of his friends and viewers, until he randomly bites it during the end credits.
‘Token’ Is Really ‘Tolkien’
Tolkien Black began as a meta-gag about token Black characters in Hollywood projects. But, as the character evolved and that joke became more and more conspicuously problematic and irrelevant, “The Big Fix” revealed that Token’s name was really Tolkien, named after fantasy author and hippie-hater J.R.R. Tolkien. The show didn’t stop at simply retconning Tolkien’s name, it flat-out broke the fourth wall, blaming fans for assuming that his name was “Token” because of our unconscious biases. South Park even went back and changed his name in the descriptions of every clip with the character on their YouTube channel.
‘Not Without My Anus’
Fans eagerly anticipating the revelation of the identity of Cartman’s father following a cliffhanger ending to the Season One finale instead were treated (is “treated” the right word?) to the entirely Terrence and Phillip-centric “Not Without My Anus,” which, not coincidentally, aired on April 1st.
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