Why Are Cartman and Kyle Still Friends on ‘South Park’?

'South Park’ fans wonder how the ‘friendship’ is still going strong after 26 seasons of torment
Why Are Cartman and Kyle Still Friends on ‘South Park’?

Despite their severe differences, Eric Cartman and Kyle Broflovski can’t seem to escape each other. I guess you have to learn to coexist when you’ve been in the same fourth grade class for the past 24 years.

Of all the main characters in South Park, no two kids have spent as much time cussing each other out, scheming for each other’s demise and giving each other HIV — actually, maybe it’s more of a one-way street. For the crime of being born a Jewish ginger, Kyle has faced such hyperbolic torment and punishment at the hands of his fat-ass “friend” whom he hates so much that he nearly succumbed to a fatal hemorrhoid just to escape a world where Cartman gets what he wants. Cartman and Kyle have been at each other’s throats since the very beginning of South Park when, in the first scene of the pilot, the two argue over the meaning of the word “dildo” before Kyle clocks Cartman across the face using Ike as a bludgeoning weapon.

In the nearly three decades since the start of their acrimonious on-screen relationship, Cartman and Kyle have only grown more resentful and malicious toward one another, prompting one user in the South Park subreddit to wonder, “If Kyle and Cartman hate each other so much, why don’t they just stop being friends?” which doesn’t take into account the fact that, in a couple episodes, they actually do stop being friends — and start being so much more.

“From an in-universe standpoint: It has been made clear that Cartman enjoys their relationship. Kyle seems to like feeling superior to Cartman in a similar way, but he doesn’t seem to be aware of it,” the top commenter opined. “Kyle also seems to like being a martyr and probably thinks by being close to Cartman he’s protecting people. Also, they have mutual friends and limited options in a small town, so they just happen to be together because of Stan and Kenny.”

Another fan pointed out, “I noticed in a lot of episodes when Cartman is struggling with something, or upset he goes to Kyle to talk, or will call him. I feel like he feels he can actually have a conversation with Kyle at a level he can’t with his other friends. I know it’s just a show but I found it kind of interesting.”

While the majority of their most memorable interactions are the fiercely negative ones when Cartman goes to exasperating lengths to humiliate, hurt or even try to kill Kyle, there have been times in the South Park canon when the two relied on each other to make it through difficult situations. For instance, at the end of “Its a Jersey Thing,” Kyle saves Cartman from a ravenous Snooki despite the fact that the fat ass spent the entire episode ostracizing Kyle for his Jersey roots, prompting Cartman to tell his savior, “Deep down inside, youre a monster. But youre my little monster.”

Maybe the adventures and trauma that Cartman and Kyle have shared forged a bond thats stronger than friendship. Maybe their relationship is even more meaningful because, despite their differences, they can still count on each other when things get grim. Or, maybe, South Park is a billion-dollar cartoon and breaking up the core four would be a bigger mistake than making fun of Cartmans HIV diagnosis.


Scroll down for the next article
Forgot Password?