Ten Years Ago, ‘South Park’ Rolled Out a ‘Tolerant’ Cartman in ‘The Stick of Truth’
As is the case with many of Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s side projects, the making of the 2014 role-playing game South Park: The Stick of Truth was marred with speed bumps and production difficulties. In 2009, the South Park creators first approached game developer Obsidian Entertainment with the idea of making a South Park video game in the exact animation style as the show while also featuring a script written by Parker and Stone with all the show’s original voice actors reprising their roles. Despite that pitch being an automatic green light and a no-brainer best seller, the original publisher of The Stick of Truth went bankrupt, delaying the game until it finally released five full years after the project started to rave reviews and millions of sales.
Almost exactly a decade after the original release of The Stick of Truth, the game still has a lasting impact on the world of online South Park fans – earlier this week, a screenshot from the game shot to the top of the South Park subreddit for an unusually accepting dialogue line from Eric Cartman, who said of his blond-wigged, dress-wearing then-ally Kenny, “Don't ask why Kenny wanted to be a chick, it just seems to be how he’s rolling right now.”
“That awkward moment when Eric Cartman is more tolerant and enlightened than the majority of people,” the caption under the screenshot read. “Cartman is transginger so no surprise,” the top commenter responded. Of course, Princess Kenny is much more of a drag persona than an actual gender identity, so it's only fitting that Cartman would accept his friend's new getup seeing as Cartman's been doing what he wants since the beginning of South Park.
Later that same year, Cartman himself would “transition” to score a private bathroom in the South Park episode “The Cissy,” which satirized the outrage over the transgender bathroom hysteria that was, quaintly, the most divisive and bitter debate regarding trans people's right to exist and continued presence in society at the time.
Since the days of Mr./Ms. Garrison's many sex changes, South Park has never been particularly “trans inclusive,” nor are they quite as hyperbolically hateful towards the trans/gender nonconforming community as many of their fans are online. However, there's something half-endearing about the most bigoted character in the franchise being accepting of his friends bending the gender binary, so long as they're not Jewish.