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Characters: South Park Main Characters
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"Dude, sometimes I think our parents are really stupid."
Voiced by: Trey Parker
The straight man out of the original four kids. He is often the one to give An Aesop
at the end of each show; the closest thing to a main character of the show, who tends to be the protagonist of many episodes; and probably not coincidentally the most "normal" character.
- Acquired Situational Narcissism: In the episode "Guitar Queer-O."
- The Alcoholic: Had intakes of whiskey in Ass Burgers. The ending of the episode implies he may stay that way, though it hasn't been mentioned again since. One could argue this was foreshadowed in Trapped in the Closet, when he asks, "What if I become an alcoholic, like Grandpa?"
- Allergic to Love: He always barfs whenever Wendy gets close to him, in the early episodes. As of now, he no longer does this.
- Angst: The closest thing to the series' poster boy. Parodied in "Raisins" (to the point where he becomes a Goth) and "You're Getting Old"/"Ass Burgers", played straight in other episodes.
- Anti-Hero: Type 3, in the early episodes, turns into a Type 2 later on. "Ass Burgers" and onwards shows traits of a Type 4.
- Author Avatar: He's a stand-in for Trey Parker. Which probably explains why he's the most prominent character.
- Berserk Button: Do not swindle his grandfather. He will call your phone number and literally tell you to kill yourself.
- Big Brother Mentor / Big Brother Instinct: To Butters, to an extent.
- Big "OMG!": "Oh my God, They Killed Kenny!"
- Borrowed Catch Phrase: At the end of "Raisins", Stan says "Screw you guys, I'm going home" (which was Cartman's old catchphrase) to the Goths.
- Break the Cutie: It's pretty rare for him, but it happens. The most notable was when Wendy broke up with him and when he became cynical after his 10th birthday.
- Butt Monkey: In the earlier episodes, he was constantly bullied by his older sister, and now has to deal with embarrassing moments from his father (and in earlier seasons, his mother too). You're Getting Old/Assburgers put a more serious twist on this. Also, while not as primary a target as Kyle, he isn't spared from being insulted by Cartman.
- Cannot Talk to Women: Without puking on them if he likes them. Though, recently, this trait has disappeared.
- Catch Phrase: "Aw- awww!", "Oh, no. No, no, no, no, no!", and "God damn it!" In the earlier seasons, he had "Oh my God, they killed Kenny!" and "Dude, this is pretty fucked up right here!" He also has the simpler, "Dude."
- Characterization Marches On: Was more childish and mean-spirited in earlier episodes. More the Only Sane Man in later seasons.
- Starting with seasons 15 and 16, he has started to ease back a bit, having more obnoxious or immature moments. He is still much more toned down from how he began however.
- The Cutie: In the season 1 character commercials, Cartman was known for being fat, Kenny as lucky, and Kyle as smart. Stan was known for being cute.
- Deadpan Snarker
- Determinator: Once Stan sets his mind to something, it's pretty hard to get him to stop.
- Dirty Coward: Happens often. When he, along with the rest of his friends, does something wrong (or even think that they did), he usually tries to frame it on Butters. The most notable instance was the Trent Boyette pre-school incident.
- Drowning My Sorrows: Throughout "Ass Burgers". Often involuntarily.
- The Everyman
- Extreme Doormat: It's pretty subtle, but he can be seen as this to an extent in his relationship with Wendy. Any episodes with scenes that focus on their relationship show that Wendy is always the one to suggest an idea for a date, and Stan (even if he detested the idea at first) goes along without objection. Examples of this are featured in "Cartman gets an Anal Probe", "Tom's Rhinoplasty", "Chef's Chocolate Salty Balls", and it is hinted near the end of "Assburgers". Other examples of hints for the trope include:
- In "Elementary School Musical", rather than discussing how he felt about Wendy and Bridon, Stan simply tells her that she should be with him, and he doesn't want to hold her back.
- In "Raisins", Wendy is the one to break up the relationship, and from then on Stan never once tried talking to her about wanting to get back together. Even in "The List", they don't get back together until Wendy mentions that she liked how Stan changed over time.
- Wendy is also always the one to initiate their kisses as shown in "Cartman gets an Anal Probe", "Tom's Rhinoplasy", The Movie, and "The List".
- The only time Stan averts this trope is if he sees somebody insulting his girlfriend, but in those instances Wendy doesn't seem bothered, except for "Butters' Bottom Bitch" possibly, and when Wendy does stand up for herself, Stan never intervenes and lets her take care of things on her own.
- Facepalm: Pinching the bridge of his own nose (or the space where the bridge of his nose would be, as the kids don't have visible noses) isn't uncommon.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: The Phlegmatic.
- The Friend Nobody Likes: The other three start avoiding Stan after he becomes cynical.
- Friend to All Living Things
- Genre Savvy: One of the best examples in the show.
- Goth: In "Raisins".
- Growing Up Sucks
- The Hero: Usually.
- Heroic BSOD: Stan's had two. The first one is when Wendy dumps him to the point that he becomes Goth, Butters' speech about loving life helps him out of it. The second starts in You're Getting Old and ends in Ass Burgers due to Status Quo Is God. One could argue that it's still going.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Kyle.
- Hey, You!: Shelly almost never calls him by name. Poor Stan.
- His grandpa always calls him Billy instead of his real name as well.
- Innocent Blue Eyes: In "A Very Crappy Christmas", when Butters draws the boys' cartoon forms for their short film, he tells Stan that he drew him with his blue eyes.
- It Runs in the Family: Some of his Catch Phrases are also used by his father.
- Jerkass Ball: Occasionally, Depending on the Writer.
- Kids Are Cruel: Although not as much as Cartman, Kenny or even Kyle.
- Knight in Sour Armor: Frequently hates doing the right thing because Being Good Sucks and he always gets screwed over, but he will still make the right choice every time... eventually.
- Liz Lemon Job: Except that he doesn't even get paid for his tireless efforts to prevent the entire town of South Park from getting themselves killed.
- My God, What Have I Done?: In "I Should Have Never Gone Ziplining".
- Nice Guy: Every now and then, but other times, not so much....
- Nice Hat
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: When the woodland critters order him to kill a mother lion in "Woodland Critter Christmas", allowing them to spawn the Anti Christ.
- No Respect Guy
- Not so Above It All: Every now and then.
- Only Sane Man
- Out of Focus: He gets the short shift of the trio of him, Kyle and Cartman.
- Pay Evil unto Evil: In "Whale Whores".
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Blue Oni to Kyle's Red.
- Ridiculously Average Guy
- Right for the Wrong Reasons: His tearful remorse in "I Should Have Never Gone Ziplining" is induced by his inability to trade the 5th generation iPod Nano that he sold his friends out for.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Not quite as much as Cartman, but when something happens that he doesn't like or doesn't want to see the outcome of he's usually the first (second if Cartman goes first) to bail.
- Sell Out: Several times in Season 16.
- Shout-Out: His name was taken from two characters in Stephen King's IT: Stan Uris and Beverly Marsh.
- Straight Man
- Tall, Dark and Handsome: A subtle example.
- Took a Level in Cynic: In You're Getting Old.
- Took a Level in Dumbass: Along with Took a Level in Jerkass below, his fears of becoming his father are beginning to catch up to him.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: In seasons 15 and 16. He isolates all his friends and sees them as shit, becomes an alcoholic, convinces someone to kill themselves (successfully, though one could argue he had it coming), makes a video that exploits Butters for fame, jacks it in San Diego and convinces his friends into a lame ziplining trip to score a 5th generation Ipod Nano.
- He was also the first one to betray the other three during the meme-ing phase.
- Actually it was the other characters who ditched him, and the person that killed himself eventually did when he was receiving complaints rather than when Stan was telling him to.
- Also, in Butterballs, it's clear in the beginning he genuinely wanted to help Butters, but like most of the other characters he got the wrong idea in addition to letting the fame get to his head.
- Took a Level in Kindness: Starting from season seven, he becomes more level headed and sympathetic, his bratty moments less frequent. Oddly prior to season six where he Took a Level in Jerkass, becoming as manipulative and apathetic as Cartman towards the gang's new fourth friend.
- Trash of the Titans: Apparently he has a hoarding problem. He gets over it, though. Or does he?!
- Unfazed Everyman: Being Genre Savvy in the face of South Park (and his dad's) Weirdness Magnet has made him immune to reacting to the craziness surrounding him.
- What the Hell, Hero?: On a disturbingly frequent basis. "Mystery of the Urinal Deuce", "Butterballs" and "I Should Have Never Gone Ziplining" for starters.
"I'm Jewish. I've got some hang-ups about killing Jesus."
Voiced by: Matt Stone
Stan's closest friend. He and his parents are Jewish, but his younger brother Ike is actually from Canada. He appears to be the smartest, at least academically, of the original four, but has a tendency to get sucked into the latest fads/problems/social issues sweeping South Park.
- Adorkable: A number of fans see him as this.
- All of the Other Reindeer: In earlier seasons, Kyle would often feel left out by his friends around the holidays, him being a Jew and all. He even gets an Anti-Christmas Song, "The Lonely Jew at Christmas."
- Anti-Hero: Type 3.
- Arch-Nemesis: For Cartman (sometimes reaches The Only One Allowed to Defeat You levels).
- Ascended to a Higher Plane of Existence: Briefly, in "The Tooth Fairy Tats 2000."
- Author Avatar: He's a stand-in for Matt Stone.
- Back from the Dead: In "Imaginationland" he is choked to death by Manbearpig, only for Cartman to resuscitate him.
- Berserk Button: Don't call his mom a bitch. Or make fun of his Jewish heritage. Or be Eric Cartman and do pretty much anything. At this point in the series, it's more the third thing than the first two.
- Big Brother Bully: To Ike in the first season. "Kick the baby!"
- Big Brother Instinct: Ike has become one of Kyle's highest priorities sometime after "Ike's Wee Wee", from following him to Somalia and getting him home safe to worrying about Ike getting circumcised or keeping him from running off with his teacher to Milan. Could arguably be Kyle's biggest drive after his antagonism towards Cartman.
- Brutal Honesty: Can do this at times.
- Calling the Old Man Out: Kyle does this to his mom in "Fun With Veal".
- Catch Phrase: "You bastards!", after Stan's "Oh my God, they killed Kenny!".
- "You know, I've learned something today," although this is sometimes said by Stan, and other characters as well.
- "Fatass" is something he says to Cartman every episode they interact in. Stan sometimes calls him it too.
- Chaste Hero
- The Chessmaster
- The Chew Toy: In recent seasons, though the season 17 episodes so far don't feature him often.
- Chronic Hero Syndrome: This is available only when Cartman has a new, evil plan.
- Compressed Hair: He easily gets a Jewfro that's larger than his head into a small hat. Justified since it's just the art style exaggerating the size of it.
- The Conscience: Over the course of the show, he's evolved into this.
- Department of Redundancy Department: He never stops reminding everyone that Cartman's fat.
- Deuteragonist: Strictly speaking, though he and Stan can switch roles from time to time.
- Dirty Coward: Happens often. When he, along with the rest of his friends, does something wrong (or even thinks that they did), he usually tries to frame it on Butters.
- Disney Death: In "Imaginationland Part II", during a scene parodying The Abyss.
- Dogged Nice Guy: Seldom gets what he wants despite trying to be a decent person. Often due to Cartman.
- Fiery Redhead: Mixed with his Hot-Blooded tendencies whenever his Chronic Hero Syndrome personality kicks in.
- The Finicky One: He has shades of this at times, though his foil, and more or less the entire world he lives in, is so immoral he doesn't really need that high standards to get wound up over it.
- Flanderization: His obsession with beating Cartman, to the point of occasionally leaning into Knight Templar territory.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: The Melancholic.
- Genre Savvy: Most notably in "Butt Out", where he knows exactly what is going to happen, notices that those situations have been happening more often lately, and accepts that they won't really learn their lesson..
- Good Angel, Bad Angel: The voice of morality and plays the "good angel" on Stan's shoulder, prodding him to do the right thing, in direct opposition to Cartman's "bad angel" who will do the wrong thing and take Stan along for the ride.
- Good Is Not Nice: Seeing some of the conflicts between him and Cartman out of context wouldn't make all that clear that Kyle's supposed to be the good guy.
- This only happens in "Le Petit Tourette", though, in the perspective of the adults. Cartman fakes Tourette's Syndrome to get what he wants, and Kyle, who's known Cartman all his life, gets annoyed and says that he doesn't have Tourette's, and an authority figure that has it accuses Kyle of being a bully and he is taken to observe various kids with Tourette's (with lack of swearing). He is then forced to apologize to Cartman. However, when Cartman plans to bad-mouth Jews, it's the straw that breaks the camel's back, so Kyle devises an elaborate plan that actually saves Cartman from going in too deep.
- In the earlier episodes at least, he and the other boys were essentially just lower scale bullies compared to Cartman.
- Hair-Trigger Temper
- Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?: After Cartman starts a rumor in "Cartman Finds Love" that he and Kyle are together, Kyle tries his damnedest to express that he is not gay and not gay for Cartman.
- He Is Not My Boyfriend: Kyle would like you to know that he and Eric Cartman are not a gay couple, no matter what Cartman says.
- The Hero: Either swaps this role with Stan semi-frequently or works with Stan (and sometimes the other boys) as a duo/team of sorts in undermining the numerous insane and evil plots they often (unwillingly) discover. Also, in keeping with his "hero" status, he is the only one out of the five main boys who doesn't have an extensive criminal record.
- Hero Antagonist: To Cartman.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Without death involved. "Margaritaville" has Kyle use his new credit card without a spending limit to pay for the town's debts, even if it means he will be in debt himself for the rest of his life.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Stan.
- He Who Fights Monsters: Has shades of this due to his antagonism toward Cartman. In some episodes he thinks nothing of having him dead. Although this also depends on how far Cartman has spent in monster territory in previous episodes.
- Hollywood Nerd
- Hot-Blooded: At least when Cartman's involved.
- Hypocrite: There are two instances where he is portrayed as this.
- In Tonsil Trouble he complains about Cartman making fun of HIV despite laughing at his condition earlier. Even if he was laughing at the irony of the situation based on previous episodes, this episode alone frames him as this trope.
- In The Stick of Truth, he requests a group of elves to kidnap your character and threatens to blackmail your character, even though you're already a member of Kupa Keep. Ironically, Cartman recruited your character in a much more polite manner. This example is more benign than the former though as the characters were playing a game and he puts his grudge towards Cartman aside to stop Clyde.
- Ill Boy: Not too blatant, but Kyle gets sick much more often than the others boys (unless you count Kenny's constant dying). Suffered kidney failure and mentioned to have Type 1 Diabetes in "Cherokee Hair Tampons", got infected with a hemorrhoid in "Cartmanland" (which turned fatal), was sick throughout the entirety of "The Snuke" and had a quick cold in "Guitar Queer-O". Well, it's either this or plot convenience or for other reasons.
- Informed Judaism: For all the mentioning of his family's faith, Kyle rarely goes to temple or prays, or even wears a kippah. Plus, his family eats pork products (they had pork for dinner in "Conjoined Fetus Lady" and Kyle threw up bean with bacon soup in "Cherokee Hair Tampons"), which isn't kosher. Partial justification: early on, Kyle's family was the only Jewish family in town, and they're probably not very religious to begin with (as we've mentioned, he's a stand-in for Matt Stone, who is ethnically Jewish but was raised agnostic and is an atheist). Plus, that's part of the joke.
- Insufferable Genius: Sort of. Kyle, being The Smart Guy, is very intelligent, and, combined with Hot-Blooded and Snark Knight, it becomes something of a subtle version of this trope.
- Jerkass Ball: Occasionally.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Played with. He can be Hot-Blooded on occasion, mostly due to Cartman's behavior, and in earlier seasons he wasn't much better than Cartman himself (see Kids Are Cruel). However, despite his intense hatred and resentment towards Cartman he can be a very Nice Jewish Boy, especially in later episodes.
- Jewish and Nerdy
- Kids Are Cruel: In earlier episodes, despite viewing himself as having much higher moral ground than Cartman, Kyle was essentially a lower scale bully, it was actually him that tormented Pip to the point of earning a broken nose and joined in exploiting and disregarding Butters and Kenny on numerous occasions. There are also subtle hints it was his bullying of Cartman's weight that actually turned him into the anti-Semitic monster he is today. This is toned down in later episodes, though he can still act self righteous or show Jerk Ass traits on occasion.
- Even in the later seasons, he often calls Cartman "fatass" even when Cartman hasn't done anything wrong in that episode towards anyone.
- Knight Templar: See above.
- The Lancer
- Messianic Archetype: Blatantly so in Margaritaville.
- Mistaken for Gay: With Cartman in "Tonsil Trouble", whenever he exclaims that he's the one who gave him AIDS.
- Again in "Cartman Finds Love" only perpetuated by Cartman.
- My Beloved Smother: Kyle on frequent occasions is shown to be submissive if not outright terrified of his overbearing mother. He has been shown to betray every moral ethic he has in fear of provoking her wrath.
- Morality Chain: Especially when it comes to Cartman.
- Nice Hat: He even made a big deal out of it when getting his school picture taken:
Photographer: Take off your hat, please?
Kyle: But I never take off my hat.
Photographer: Come on now, I bet your parents want a picture of you lookin' natural.
Kyle: This is how I look natural.
Ms. Choksondik: Kyle, we're taking pictures without hats today!
Kyle: (taking off hat) Crap!
- Nice Jewish Boy
- No Respect Guy
- Not So Different: Kyle on occasion can show similar moments of greed or callousness as Cartman. This was highlighted in "Crack Baby Athletic Association" where Kyle agrees to exploiting crack addicted babies for profit, and spends the entire episode obsessively trying to justify himself, beginning to sound more and more like Cartman as Stan nonchalantly points out.
- Only Sane Man: Often trades this role with Stan.
- Out-of-Character Moment: In "Woodland Critter Christmas", he willingly becomes the human host of the Antichrist, just so that the Jews could "take control of Christmas once and for all". He comes to his senses soon after when he feels his soul burning. Of course, it's only a story Cartman wrote.
- The Paragon (...Or at least he tries to invoke it.)
- Please Keep Your Hat On: Considers wearing his hat how he 'looks natural' rather than show off his very large Jewfro.
- Pragmatic Hero: how he deals with Cartman's schemes most of the time.
- In some cases however, he is fueled more out of personal hatred for Cartman, making him more a case of He Who Fights Monsters.
- Red-Headed Hero
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Weirdly enough both. He's the Red Oni to Stan's Blue and the Blue Oni to Cartman's Red.
- Rule 63: Fanart of Kyle as a girl isn't hard to find on deviantART.
- The Smart Guy
- Snark Knight
- Straight Man: When Stan is the designated holder of the Idiot Ball. Has become a regular occurrence from season 15 on.
- Superpowered Evil Side: His Jersey self is treated as this. While it's not explicitly superpowered, it is the only way to take on people from Jersey on their own terms.
- Stupidest Thing I've Ever Heard: Kyle's given many variations of this over the years, usually in response to something Cartman says.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: Occasionally. Particularly in the episode "Tonsil Trouble" when he makes fun of Cartman when he contracts HIV.
- This happens in the later seasons a lot more frequently.
- Took a Level in Kindness: More or less the same evolution as Stan. He still has occasional self righteous moments, though they are much more rare.
- Subverted in Season 16 from time to time.
- Trans Nature: According to "Mr. Garrison's Fancy New Vagina", Kyle felt he was black all his life.
- However, this was never mentioned again. Kyle apparently accepted the way he was born.
- Tsundere: A common (somewhat fandom) trait, especially in regards to Cartman. Ties into Fiery Redhead above.
- Unfortunate Names: You probably shouldn't name yourself "The Human Kite" when you're Jewish and Eric Cartman is around.
- Wimpification: Well, yeah...
- You Have to Have Jews: For Cartman to hate.
"Screw you guys, I'm going home."
Kyle: "He's a fat, manipulative, bigoted, intolerant sociopath."
Voiced by: Trey Parker
The fat kid of the group. Incredibly selfish and mean, but the other boys keep him around because they know he won't get along well with anyone else. One of the most well-known and polarizing characters of the show. Among other things, he hates hippies, Jews, Wendy Testaburger's liberal views, people making fun of his weight, and the "random" humor of Family Guy
See also his self-demonstrating page
, which Needs More Wiki Magic Love
- Acrofatic: While usually very out of shape, he proves to be surprisingly athletic as "The Coon" scaling buildings and a half destroyed roller coaster with apparently little effort, then subverted majorly in 1% when his atrocious fitness causes an otherwise average class (and the whole school) to fail a national fitness test, then inverted in "The New Terrance and Phillip Movie Trailer", in which he is unable to keep up with the rest of the gang as they run throughout the town.
- All Take and No Give: Cartman demands to have everything handed over to him whenever he wants something and he usually has his friends to do the work for whatever he needs or wants done while he doesn't do any of the heavy duty stuff himself. Cartman never gives anyone anything unless it's part of a scheme he has planned and he hardly ever gives words of thanks when it's due, especially to his mother.
- Ambiguously Bi: Although he's shown to have feelings for Wendy and Patty Nelson, he also has frequently shown heavily repressed attraction to men, among other strange tendencies. In various episodes, he's been known to dress like Britney Spears and dance with a Justin Timberlake stand-up, joins NAMBLA, takes a picture of Butters' penis in his mouth (then tries to take one of his penis in Butters' mouth), and in the "Imaginationland" trilogy he makes a bet with Kyle to suck his balls if he proves leprechauns exist, and when he does he takes it all the way to court to make him go through with it. However, some of these instances, particularly NAMBLA and the pictures of him and Butters, can be chalked up to him simply being too naive and stupid to understand what he's really doing.
- His proclaiming his love for Kyle in "Cartman Finds Love" is certainly debatable as to whether or not he actually has feelings for him. Though really it's all part of his plan to match up Token with the new black girl in town who initially had a crush on Kyle.
- Ambition Is Evil: A textbook example. In The Red Badge of Gayness he bets Kyle and Stan that if the confederacy wins the civil war in a fricking reenactment, Kyle and Stan will have to be his slaves. Stan and Kyle know that this being a reenactment, the confederacy has no chance of winning. What does Cartman do? He motivates them to fight for real, leads them across America, gets enough manpower to field an actual army along the way ("it's just like the million man march, except that there actually are a million people") and then marches them to the White House.
- Then there's the time he bets Stan and Kyle that he can produce a platinum album (1 million copies sold) by taking advantage of Christian rock and only fails in the end because they only give out myrrh albums instead of platinum ones.
- Angrish: His hilariously unique vocal mannerisms lead to this being used a lot, with many instances being outright Crowning Moments of Funny. Hell, he'll use his rasped garbles for almost any occasion: one of his most memorable moments involved him delving into this out of dumbfounded jubilation in "Cartmanland".
- Anti-Hero: Prior to his infamous plot to humiliate Scott Tenorman. He then becomes a Villain Protagonist until he goes back to being an Anti-Hero in the second half of season 15.
- Anti-Villain: Starting with season 16, his racist intentions and jerkass tendencies are much lighter than in previous seasons. Most of his schemes veer down Well-Intentioned Extremist territory.
- Anti-Role Model
- Arbitrary Skepticism: In "Cartman Gets an Anal Probe", Cartman denies that he was abducted by aliens and got an anal probe inserted inside him, even as he farts flames and has the probe protruding from his ass. When aliens blast Kenny into oncoming cattle, thus killing him, Cartman even denies that Kenny is dead, despite having (presumably) seen what happened right before his eyes.
- Arch-Nemesis: For Kyle.
- Attention Whore
- Author Avatar: For Trey to a degree. He has mentioned in several communities and interviews that he shares some of the same views as Cartman. Most notably about Family Guy, and Gingers.
- Ax-Crazy: He is known for infamously chopping up the bodies of two dead parents and feeding them to their own son in the form of chili, in the famous "Scott Tenorman Must Die" episode. He shows signs of full-blown psychosis at times, and generally has a narcissistic, psychopathic nature.
- Badass: As The Coon in the "Coon & Friends" trilogy.
- Bad Boss
- The Bad Guy Wins: The infamous "Scott Tenorman Must Die". Also one of the biggest Karma Houdini moments ever.
- Bad Samaritan: "Crack Baby Basketball Athletic Association".
- Berserk Button: He usually just makes a quick rebuttal when he's called fat, but occasionally it falls into this.
- Don't scam him out of his money and refuse to give it back.
- Never, ever let him think his penis is smaller than any other fourth grader.
- Big Bad: The main antagonist of a few episodes, if not a Villain Protagonist.
- The Big Boned Guy: When siding with his friends.
- Big Eater: "Yeah, I want some cheesy poofs!"
- Big "NO!": Often combined with Little "No" whenever something is Serious Business.
- Book Dumb
- Boomerang Bigot: In "Ginger Kids", Cartman, after picking on and fearing gingers for half the episode, falls prey to a prank that convinces him he is a ginger and forms a Nazi-like cult devoted to exterminating non-gingers.
- Also, in a twisted way, it has been implicated in numerous occasions that he is possibly a Child Hater.
- Borrowed Catch Phrase: In "Clubhouses":
Oh my God, They Killed Kenny
! Kyle: (walking outside Cartman's yard, but suddenly stops and turns towards the clubhouse) You bastards! (continues walking past the yard like nothing happened)
- Bratty Half-Pint: Up to Eleven.
- Breakout Character: Cartman has become the most prominent, iconic and popular character on the show thanks to his sociopathic Jerkass tendencies (similar to Stewie Griffin and Bender).
- Becoming the Mask: He becomes "Mr. Cartmenez" in "Eek, a Penis!" for his own personal gain, but by the end of the episode becomes genuinely sincere in wanting to "reeeach these kiiiids" and teach them "the white person way of cheating".
- Believing Their Own Lies: "Jewpacabra" in a form of self administered karma.
- Subverted in "Fat Butt and Pancake Head", where it appears as if he legitimately believes that Jennifer Lopez is a living being residing on his left hand, however at the end of the episode, he reveals that the entire thing was a ploy to get Kyle and Stan to admit that he'd duped them, as Kyle had predicted he would do throughout the entire episode.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: With Wendy. Also Kyle, probably.
- The Bully: When not himself the victim of fat jokes, he is usually the most prominent in school. It is implied he provoked a tirade of abuse on one student (for crapping his pants in public) so much that he later committed suicide.
- Can't Stand Them, Can't Live Without Them: In a very twisted way, Cartman realized in "Smug Alert" that he needs Kyle around to rip on, otherwise his life just isn't the same.
- Catch Phrase:
- Celebrity Resemblance: Word of God says that Cartman is heavily inspired by Archie Bunker, and the funny thing is that both are very similar both physically and psychologically in Jerk Ass tendencies.
- Characterization Marches On: In the early seasons, his main antagonism was with Kenny, who he constantly made fun of for being poor. From about season five to fifteen, his anti-Semitism is far, far more prominent than it was previously, and he literally can't speak to Kyle without making fun of him for being Jewish. The poverty jokes come up now and then, but much more rarely.
- The Chessmaster: In some episodes, he can be this. Specifically in "Scott Tenorman Must Die."
- Cloudcuckoolander: At times. More so, recently.
- Cluster F-Bomb: Describing all the ways and situations in which his mom "fucks" him in "HUMANCENTiPAD".
- Comedic Sociopath
- Conspiracy Theorist: (Supposedly) believes 9/11 was caused by Kyle. Also is the first one to believe that the new Muslim family in town are terrorists.
- The Corrupter: He's good at getting others to go along with his schemes, usually Butters. Taken to extremes in Crack Baby Athletic Association where he manages to serve as this to Kyle of all people.
- Creepy Child
- Creepy Crossdresser: He's worn women's clothing more than once. In his article on the South Park Archives, there is a detailed statement on what could be seen as gender identity issues.
- Depraved Bisexual
- Despotism Justifies the Means: Can often convince the citizens of South Park of this.
- Determinator: While usually very lazy and stupid, Cartman is capable of incredible things once he puts his mind to it.
- Although these things only really benefit him and tend to fall into "evil" territory.
- Did You Just Have Tea With Cthulhu: Cartman managed to become friends with the dark lord, Cthulhu. The two of them then flew through the sky while singing to the tune of the My Neighbor Totoro theme song.
- Dirty Coward: Of particular note is the episode where he fights Wendy. His grovelling begging to get out of the fight leads to this exchange:
Wendy: I am going to make you eat your own underwear.
Cartman: (scared shitless) There's no need, please! Look, I'm doing it now! (does so)
Wendy: Jesus Christ, do you have no self-respect?
Cartman: No! Unless... will you forgive me if I do?
- Also happens when he, along with the rest of his friends, does something wrong (or even thinks that they did), he usually tries to frame it on Butters.
- Disability as an Excuse for Jerkassery: He fakes Tourettes in order to get away with swearing and saying racial slurs.
- Also tries this in "Ass Burgers", but fails due to a very basic misunderstanding of the disease.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Frequently, and famously.
Cartman: (sarcastically) Okay, I'm sorry I handcuffed Billy Turner's ankle to a flagpole and then gave him a hacksaw. And then told him I had poisoned his lunch milk and that the only way he could get to the antidote in time would be to saw through his leg.
Ms. Cartman: Eric, that's very naughty.
Cartman: Well, he called me "chubby!"
- Does Not Like Spam: He led Cthulhu on a crusade against Whole Foods. "No more organic crap for America!"
- Dragon-in-Chief: Cthulhu.
- Elimination Catch Phrase: "Get the fudge out!"
- Enfant Terrible
- Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Double-subverted, as when he tries to kill her, he suddenly finds he can't go through with it.
- Even Evil Has Standards: All things considered, he has quite a few — even if some of them are Played for Laughs and are more "petty" standards than anything:
- Since he's evil, Cartman can deliver bits of social commentary that would seem less acceptable if it was Stan or Kyle saying it. Of particular note are his rants on hippies, Family Guy, and the Catholic Church.
- In Major Boobage, he shows a lot more love to cats than he ever has to a person.
- My Future Self N' Me establishes that he hates it when parents don't respect their kids and lie to them, as kids should be able to trust their parents. Because of this, he starts a business where kids can pay him to smear poop on their parents' walls.
- The China Probrem shows that of all the evil acts he's willing to do, he draws the line at one: shooting men in the genitals.
- In Dances with Smurfs he reacts with horror to Gordon Stolski's murder during the morning announcements.
- By the end of the Black Friday trilogy, he seems genuinely horrifed and haunted after watching Bill Gates murder the Sony President after he got his XBOX One.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Cartman does not understand the difference between being nice and wearing a nice sweater, as seen in "Casa Bonita". He also cannot comprehend the idea of confessing to something because one feels guilty, thinking exclusively in terms of whether or not he'll be punished, and how badly. Many attempts to berate him for his callousness have fallen flat since he genuinely doesn't seem to have a clue what empathy is.
- Evil Counterpart: To Kyle and Butters (and, to a lesser extent, Stan).
- Evil Genius: More and more in the later seasons.
- This is mainly in "Scott Tenorman Must Die".
- Evil Gloating
Cartman: *in sing-songy voice* Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha! I made you eat your parents."
- Evil Is Hammy
- Evil Is Petty: We all know just how large in scale Cartman's schemes can run, but he has no problem doing really petty crimes like toilet papering a teacher's house.
- It gets worse. He tied a kid to a flagpole by his ankle and told the kid he poisoned his chocolate milk and then gave him a saw telling him he implanted the poison in the kid's leg, and he needed to cut his leg off to get it.
Cartman: Well, he called me "chubby"!
- And some of those elaborate schemes are for petty reasons. See the entire Scott Tenorman fiasco.
- Evil Plan: Go to Somalia to gain massive profit: done. Tape crack babies fighting over drugs as an internet sensation to profit: done. Convince Cthulu to assist in mass slaughter and show up your friends: done. Cartman thrives on this trope.
- Fat Bastard
- Fat Comic Relief: He is the butt of many jokes about his weight.
- Fat Idiot: Though his hatred and spite occasionally give him moments of brilliance.
- Faux Affably Evil: Cartman's willing to pretend to be nice to get what he wants — the gloves come off the second he doesn't...
- Flanderization: Inverted. Initially he was just a spoiled brat. Now he's incredibly intelligent, calculating, and actually has motivations for some of his actions. However, in the latter half of season 15 (with the last episode of him showing sociopathic tendencies being "Bass to Mouth", but this was spoken about as a past event in which Cartman was a sociopath) and season 16, he has gone from being the sociopath that we know today to being back to his old persona where he was a Jerk with a Heart of Gold and is often seeing hanging out with Kyle and, despite their occasional rivalry, they're pretty much on better terms than they were for a long time.
- Fluffy Tamer: Nothing else qualifies for taming Cthulhu.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: The Choleric.
- Freudian Excuse/Tragic Villain: It is implied that the cruel treatment of his schoolmates for being fat and his Butt Monkey status in previous seasons (abducted by aliens and being teased by Scott Tenorman) made him the sadistic Ax-Crazy psycho we know today in "Scott Tenorman Must Die". That, and he hasn't known who his father was for the longest time, causing him a not insignificant amount of grief. In the lack of a readily available father figure, he turns to sometimes dubious substitutes, most notably Chef.
- The Friend Nobody Likes: Not only do his three closest "friends" hate him, insult him behind his back, and actively question why they still hang out with him, but the entire fourth grade class hates him almost as much; even Butters occasionally lets it slip that he doesn't truly like Cartman very much, being friendly to him presumably out of goodwill and fear. The Boys are often divided on whatever keeps Cartman a part of their group; Kenny personally explains that he pities Cartman as an unfeeling, horrible person and so allows him to stay because he knows he'll have no other friends otherwise, while Stan and Kyle seem to have no idea. Either way, it's rare to see his friends actually genuinely enjoying his company.
- Genius Bruiser: Yes, he's very aggressive, but also has high enough intelligence to successfully plan and execute his revenge on Scott Tenorman in "Scott Tenorman Must Die".
- Also, he has several talents, among the highlights are: electronics, music, and even multilingualism, such as fluency in German and Spanish.
- Genius Ditz: Can easily manipulate people and appears to be able to speak fluent Spanish at age 9, but otherwise completely clueless about a lot of things.
- In "Funnybot", he also speaks and understands German fluently.
- Genre Savvy: Oh definitely. A good example of this would be in "Informative Murder Porn", where Cartman figures out that Corey Lanskin (the kid teaching Minecraft to the adults of South Park) is feigning ignorance to get the boys off his trail.
Corey: Ouchie, ouchie! Mommy raped my no-no! But Mommy loves me, right?
Boys start to leave when Cartman stops dead in his tracks.
Stan: What's wrong?
Cartman: Something he said. Did you hear him? He said "Ouchie, ouchie! Mommy raped my no-no!"
Cartman: If I'd been caught lying about something, that's exactly what I would have said.
- Good Hurts Evil: In "Tsst", when his long-suppressed conscience starts to surface.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Moreso than any of the other main characters (save for Mr. Garrison), and one of his biggest draws.
- Heel-Face Revolving Door: Cartman has gone from being one of the team to actually being the villain of the episode and back again so many times over the years, he may as well be labeled the poster boy for this trope.
- Heel-Faith Turn: Jewpacabra induces this as Cartman proclaims to convert to Judaism. Not that Kyle will ever buy it.
- Heel Realization: On occasion. It doesn't last, though.
- Heroic Comedic Sociopath: Even though he is a psychopath, he has done some pretty heroic things, such as saving the world from Saddam's reign in the movie, demolishing Osama bin Laden's army and crippling him, and saving the town from hippies when they got out of control.
- Hijacking Cthulhu: Cartman manipulates the actual Cthulhu via the Rule of Cute into trampling his enemies, namely the rest of the gang and anyone he suspects to be a hippie.
- Hollywood Tourette's: In an attempt to get away with swearing whenever he wants, he faked Tourette's Syndrome. It backfires on him when not watching what he says causes him to blurt out personal secrets.
- Hypocritical Humor: He makes a song about how Kyle's mom is a big fat bitch, yet he is an overweight jerkass as well.
- To hammer this even more, he rips on Kyle and all Jews for being greedy and manipulative when he himself is guilty of this all the time.
- I Am Big Boned
- Identical Stranger: To Marlon Brando ("Cartman Joins NAMBLA") and a bit to Dakota Fanning (the sketch in "Free Willzyx").
- Ignored Epiphany: In "Mysterion Rises".
Should I just apologize to my friends and ask them to take me back? Tell then that I was being a selfish jerk? [...] Should I admit I was wrong? Ask for everyone's forgiveness and go back to my original team? Nah, screw that, I'm just gonna keep being a dick!
- Innocent Bigot: Cartman doesn't think he's being racist in "Cartman Finds Love" by playing matchmaker between Nichole and Token, the only two black students in the school. He considers what he is doing as helping nature take its course. He spends the whole episode going to the extreme to uphold these views. A rare example of Cartman managing to fill a trope with the word "innocent".
- Insane Troll Logic: Uses this a lot, memorably so in "Mystery of the Urinal Deuce", "Dancing With Smurfs", and, to a lesser extent, "I Should Have Never Gone Ziplining".
- It's All About Me: Very much so.
- I Was Beaten By A Girl: And how!
- Jerkass: Cartman is one of television's most infamous examples. He currently provides the trope's page image.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: In the first four seasons, but in season five became a full-blown Jerkass, whose seemingly selfless acts were merely a means to his own ends. However, since the latter half of season fifteen, he has veered more towards his old characterization, even having moments with Kyle that don't involve arguing or foiling each other's schemes.
- Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: Being The Sociopath that he is, he frequently lulls other characters (and the audience) into thinking he is the trope above.
- Karma Houdini: While he usually does get some form of comeuppance for his actions, it's only temporary, and is usually (but not always) more of an inconvenience than any real punishment. He never suffers longer than it takes for the next episode to air.
- Karmic Transformation: In the episode "Ginger Kids," after Cartman starts a crusade against gingers, the other boys try to stop him by dying his hair red and using makeup to turn his skin pale and freckly. But then Cartman just changes his tune, starts a "ginger power" movement, and tries to wipe out all non-gingers. He stops and begins preaching tolerance after Kyle explains to him that he's not really a ginger.
- ...Then episode 200 and 201 happen.
- Kick the Dog: Many times: when beating Token with a rock, trying to kill his mother, and infecting Kyle with HIV.
- Kids Are Cruel: Cartman takes this trope Up to Eleven.
- Knight of Cerebus: Yes, he's Played for Laughs all the time, but compared to the lighthearted standards the series had in the first few seasons, Cartman himself can be seen like this. Cartman's Character Development from a mostly harmless Bratty Half-Pint to a callous Enfant Terrible raised the bar for villainy in the series; his infamous (and dark, but played for laughs) crime in the episode "Scott Tenorman Must Die" was the single most sadistic act in the series up to that point. Basically, Cartman was the pioneer of the more awful villains that would come later in subsequent seasons. It's gotten to the point that most of the old episodes, which were once rated TV-MA, are now rated TV-14 since they appear downright tame compared to what's been allowed on the show.
- Cartman as The Coon is played much more seriously in the "Coon & Friends" trilogy.
- Knight Templar: He genuinely believes Jews are evil, apparently having had been convinced of it by Mel Gibson's films. Also subverted to a degree, as in a deleted scene from "The List" he seems to acknowledge he is a horrible person. This gets taken Up to Eleven in the new "Coon Saga", where he leads Cthulhu on a mass murdering spree, massacring the entire burning man festival, Justin Bieber and most of his fans, and the whole city of San Fransisco, all while thinking he's doing good.
Cartman: [Coon and Friends] will continue to fight for good and justice!
News Reporter: Good and justice? Justin Bieber and most of his fans have just been massacred!
Cartman: Yes, Coon and Friends are glad to help! No need to thank me.
- Lack of Empathy: The poster boy.
- Large Ham: He's known for being an extremely campy character.
- Laser-Guided Karma: He receives this on a semi-regular basis.
- Last Name Basis: Oddly, all the characters (except Stan, Kyle, Kenny, and Wendy) refer to him as Eric, whereas everyone in the real world refers to him as Cartman, including the title of the very first episode. In-universe, he may be occasionally called Cartman by minor characters, though these are probably slip-ups on the writers' parts and occasional leanings on the fourth wall (such as when Randy says "That's our Cartman!").
- Laughably Evil
- Likable Villain: Everyone knows Cartman covers about half of the list of Evil Tropes, yet that hasn't stopped the viewing public from laughing at his antics for fifteen years.
- It helps that he's a bit more tolerable than most jerkass protagonists and that the writers have him lose as often as he wins.
- Malicious Slander: When given the bully pulpit. For example, he writes an entire book dedicated to slandering Wendy.
- Manipulative Bastard: Frequently. Apparently to the point where he can control the dark god Cthulhu.
- It's gotten to the point where Kyle can instantly tell that Cartman is up to no good and is only scheming to better himself should he start to act differently. Kyle is usually right.
- The Matchmaker: Cartman and Cupid-Me ship same-race couples, and he actively works to get them together.
- A Million Is a Statistic: Cartman's Moral Event Horizon is often viewed as killing Scott Tenorman's parents. In fact, he actually probably caused more deaths in "The Red Badge of Gayness", where he led a drunken mob in plundering towns across the United States. Granted, no one was explicitly shown getting killed, but at least one city was burned to the ground with molotov cocktails.
- He can also be seen as partially responsible for dooming all of hu-monity in "Trapper Keeper".
- Mistaken for Gay: Happens a few times, mostly with Kyle or Butters.
- Moral Myopia: In the Coon and Friends trilogy, he thinks the rest of Coon and Friends pulled a Face-Heel Turn because they kicked him out. He also states that being a superhero means you're making the world a better place for yourself, not others, and sees him himself as a superhero even though his "heroic" actions consist of having Cthulhu kill thousands of people for no reason other than the fact that he hates them.
- Motor Mouth: During the "Kyle's Mom's a Bitch" song from the movie.
- Also in "Cartman's Mom is Still a Dirty Slut"; once he hears "Come Sail Away" he stops everything to finish it in order to finish in the fastest way possible.
- Invoked when attempting to explain a very long string of fabricated events in "Toilet Paper".
Cartman: Okay. Last night, all four of us were at the bowling alley until about 7:30, at which time we noticed Ally Sheedy, the Goth chick from the Breakfast Club, was bowling in the lane next to us, and we asked her for her autograph, but she didn't have a pen, so we followed her out to her car, but on the way we were accosted by five Scientologists who wanted to give us all personality tests, which were administered at the Scientology Center in Denver until 10:45, at which time we accidentally boarded the wrong bus home and ended up in Rancho de Burritos Rojos, south of Castle Rock, and finally got a ride home with a man who was missing his left index finger, named Gary Bushwell, arriving home at 11:46.
- The Mole: Attempted. He pretends to help the other boys take down Wal-mart so he could be The Millstone for them. He fools no one and they continually call him out on the fact that he's on Wal-Mart's side. He later reveals himself to be a mole.
- The Napoleon
- Near Villain Victory: Often. Usually is undone by his own doing.
- Nice Hat
- Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: He's the freaking image for South Park's Nightmare Fuel page!
- Noble Bigot: In "Cartman Finds Love", he seems to really believe he is doing the right thing in setting Token up with Nichole despite his entire basis being his racism.
- Noble Demon: Cartman risks serious trouble or imprisonment to protect a load of cats in "Major Boobage". There have also have been other times where he did stuff without wanting anything in return.
- The show seems to be fond of leaving ambiguity as to whether Cartman does potentially noble acts for hidden selfish reasons or out of genuine conscience; "Kenny Dies" and "Smug Alert" for example, either border him further into Jerk Ass territory or grant him Noble Demon qualities.
- Cartman is apparently unaware of the parallels when Kyle asks pointedly whether he noticed the obvious historical parallel, after Cartman had risked arrest by harboring felines in his attic, despite Cartman earlier lampshading it by suggesting his cat could "write a diary" while in hiding.
- However, it should be noted that he only does anything "nice" if it will benefit him in some way, or will appeal to what warped sense of morality he has. His inability to understand what everyone else calls being "good" is brought to light a couple of times. For example, when called out by Mysterion, we get this:
Cartman (as The Coon): I'm making the world a better place.
Kenny (as Mysterion): For you!
Cartman (as The Coon): Right. That's what superheroes do.
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Delivers one to Mosquito (Clyde) because Mosquito wanted to help people in the Gulf instead of blackmailing fellow heroes.
- Nominal Hero: He'll sometimes do good deeds like save the town from hippies or save some crack babies, or stop a terrorist threat. Don't expect his motivations to have anything in common with the rest of the team. See the quote for Noble Demon.
- Non-Standard Character Design: His body and face shape is much more exaggerated compared to the rest of his peers (excluding disabled ones). He also has a notable double chin.
- Rather subtle, but Cartman's eyebrows are actually triangular, as opposed to other characters' more rectangular eyebrows.
- Obfuscating Disability: In "Up the Down Steroid", he pretends to be retarded so that he can win the Special Olympics. Unfortunately, he doesn't take into account that while not disabled, he's by no means athletic like the other contestants are.
- Obliviously Evil: In the "Coon" arc, he really thinks he is making the world a better place by disposing of the people he doesn't like. Mysterion calls him on this.
- Out-of-Character Moment: "You're Getting Old" and "Ass Burgers" has Cartman acting nice towards Kyle and isn't doing it to manipulate him for anything. The niceness act is due to Stan being a cynical asshole and being unbearable to be around. Naturally, Status Quo Is God and Cartman resumes being a jerk to Kyle afterwards.
- Paper Tiger: For all his shit-talking and threats to kick ass, he's a complete coward when threatened. On at least two occasions, Kyle has made him cry from punching him in the arm and busted/broken his nose with a shovel with no retaliation when Cartman threatened him.
- During one episode, he made several misogynistic comments about Stan's sister when it was revealed that she abuses him on a routine basis, and when she's within earshot of one of those comments, he's very quick to pin it on Kenny.
- Stan made him hang up the phone and back away in terror after identifying him as the person trash-talking to him in "The Passion of the Jew".
- That being said, making the first move when fucking with him is a very bad idea.
- Pet The Kitty and Cthulhu (literally).
- Politically Incorrect Villain Protagonist: Especially when it comes to Jews.
- Precision F-Strike: See Catch Phrase.
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: "This. Is. Bullcrap!"
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Red Oni to Kyle's Blue.
- Refuge in Audacity: Cartman is so popular with the fans because of his extreme tendencies and over-the-top personality.
- Running Gag: People have mistaken him for Bruce Vilanch multiple times.
- Sadist: Just look at the "Scott Tenorman Must Die" ending.
- Self-Made Orphan: Halfway there, having arranged the death of his father Jack Tenorman.
- Came close to fully becoming one in "Tsst".
- Self-Serving Memory: Especially prominent in "Fishsticks" and the Coon and Friends trilogy.
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Manly Man to Butters' Sensitive Guy.
- Seriously Business, You Guys: Anything involving food, stuffed animals, or cartoons. And that's just the more well-known examples...
- Shipper on Deck: For Token/Nichole. He goes to ridiculous feats to get them together.
- Shock and Awe: He temporarily gets the ability to shoot lightning out of his hands near the ending of Bigger, Longer, and Uncut using the V-Chip in his head.
- Sir Swearsalot: This trope applies to his friends as well, but to him more than anyone else.
- Sissy Villain: Cartman likes to think he's imposing and dangerous but has basically no defense from being actually attacked. In "Something Wal-Mart This Way Comes", Kenny is able to easily stall him by lightly slapping at him, and at the end of "Christmas in Canada", he cries out for his mommy when Kyle gives him a tiny jab on the shoulder.
- In "Breast Cancer Show Ever", he's perfectly willing to antagonize Wendy right up until she'll fight him, then spends the entire episode trying to avoid the conflict he willfully spawned.
- Small Name, Big Ego: The walking personification of the trope. Cartman acts like he is better than everyone else and knows more than anyone else, but when people actually start fighting back by hitting him (even if it's a weak tap), he starts bawling like a baby.
- "Breast Cancer Show Ever" has the trope in spades where Cartman pushes Wendy's buttons too far and she vows to beat him up, causing Cartman to plead with her to not fight him while at the same time, he acts tough in front of the school to keep up his image.
- Smug Snake: Usually alternates between this and Magnificent Bastard.
- The Sociopath
- Sociopathic Hero: On occasion.
- Son of a Whore: His mother had slept with the entire named adult population of South Park.
- Spoiled Brat
- Straw Republican
- Talkingto Himself: with Kyle in the Latin American dub, in the later seasons.
- Tell Me About My Father: His mother is actually his father. OR NOT!
- That's What I Would Do: Uses his skills in getting out of trouble by making up some huge lie to figure out that a kid teaching the parents of South Park how to play Minecraft is lying.
- Token Evil Teammate
- Took a Level in Jerkass: In season 5. He was a stupid Spoiled Brat Jerkass from the beginning, but on several occasions his friends came off even worse. However, from Season 5 onwards he's become a cold, calculating, sociopathic Jerk Ass.
- Took a Level in Kindness: He starts to show concern for others beginning with the second half of Season 15, even towards Kyle. Especially as of "1%" after he's told to "grow up" and some of his stuffed animals are killed, then he bids farewell to the last of them. Even Stan, Kyle, Kenny, and Token watch as he shoots Polly Prissypants and cries while doing it.
- Troll: With a large degree of blur with Manipulative Bastard. He does seem to thoroughly and sadistically enjoy the suffering his actions cause.
- The Unfettered: To comedic and sometimes horrific extents.
- Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist
- Verbal Tic: You guys... seriousleh...
- Villain Ball: He would've probably been successful in getting the Family Guy episode pulled in "Cartoon Wars" if he hadn't confessed to Kyle (whom he had already managed to convince of his good intentions) that he was doing it to get the show cancelled.
- Villainous Glutton
- Villain Protagonist
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With everyone, especially Kyle.
- Vocal Evolution: He had a higher and more grating, raspy voice in earlier seasons.
- With Friends Like These...: His relationship with the other kids.
- Would Hit a Girl: In his fight with Wendy, not that it helps him that much. He also beats up a little girl for being a fan of The Coon and Friends (of which he is no longer a member) in "Mysterion Rises."
- You Are Fat: No matter what absolutely atrocious things Cartman does, "fatass" or variations of are nearly always the key insult dished at him.
- You Are What You Hate: In the 200th episode, Cartman is agonized to learn that Scott Tenorman's dad, the guy he murdered and force-fed to Scott — is Cartman's own father... but not out of any guilt for what he did to him. Cartman's only upset because this means that he's "half-ginger."
- You Say Tomato
Kenny Mc Cormick
"All the time! I die all the time! And you assholes NEVER REMEMBER!"
The one with the orange parka. Lives with a very poor family, and often has to struggle to survive. Used to get killed off Once an Episode
, but that's not the case anymore...usually, since Parker and Stone were getting tired of killing him off in every episode and running out of original ways to kill him. Almost always speaks with a muffled voice, with various levels of intelligibility.
- All Men Are Perverts: And Kenny is the worst.
- And I Must Scream: Since Kenny dies again and again, only to wake up in bed absolutely fine. He remembers each and every one of his deaths, no matter how painful, and furthermore, no one remembers when he dies, so he could count as this.
- Anti-Hero: Kenny arguably has the most heroic personality of the four main kids, as evidenced by some of his heroic sacrifices... though is not necessarily above all their crazy shenanigans.
- Archnemesis Dad: He's the spawn of Cthulhu, who called Cthulhu a pussy.
- Back from the Dead: All the time. It's apparently his super power.
- Badass: Mysterion is hardcore, and his entire story arc shows the true nature of Kenny's character.
- Badass Adorable: And he's only ten years old. And he wears his underwear over his costume!
- Being Good Sucks: When it comes down to it, he will do the right thing, but due to his immortality, no one remembers his Heroic Sacrifices.
- Berserk Button: Do not mess with his sister. Mysterion will appear and tear you a new one if you do.
- And don't hurt or banish his close friends (namely Stan and Kyle) to a dark oblivion, either.
- Don't suggest that immortality would be pretty cool. It fucking hurts.
- Don't make NASCAR look like it's only for poor and stupid people, Kenny WILL try to kill you if he has to.
- Big Brother Instinct: You don't want to mess with Karen McCormick. Mysterion will come and kick your ass, even if you are a girl.
- Big Damn Heroes: Does this a couple of times, most notably in the Cthulhu trilogy and at the end of the Movie.
- As of "The Poor Kid", he is this to his little sister.
- Big Good: As Mysterion, he's the unofficial leader of Coon And Friends, despite Cartman thinking that he's the leader.
- Blessed with Suck: Either that or Cursed with Awesome. His super power is being unable to die, and people don't remember that he died. He does, however, and when Kyle remarks that being immortal would be cool, Kenny snaps that it's not cool, because he remembers every single one of his deaths.
- Born Unlucky
- Break the Cutie / Kill the Cutie: The universe loves to break or kill him. And then bring him back again.
- Broken Masquerade: He's the only one (besides his parents) who knows/can remember that he keeps dying, and is aware of (and remembers) some of the Eldritch Abominations that the cast encounters.
- Butt Monkey: For the early seasons, this was passed on to Butters later on, though like the other four boys he is still made to suffer at times.
- Catch Phrase: WOOOO-HOOOO!!!, usually said after seeing or doing something sexual.
- Cerebus Retcon: In season 14 (to awesome effect).
- Character Development: He starts off as the most bland one of the four, and merely a prop. Nowadays he has a fully fleshed out character and even has a superhero alter-ego.
- Character Tics: Pulling on the drawstrings of his hood when he's scared.
- The Chew Toy
- Cosmic Plaything: The universe really hates him. Taken to extremes in "The List": Wendy and Bebe are fighting over a gun, then it accidentally discharges. Everyone in the vicinity checks themselves, and none have been shot. Cut to Kenny in his house miles away, where the bullet suddenly comes through the window and strikes him in the head.
- It may be due to the universe not liking having the spawn of Cthulhu in it.
- Creepy Child
- Dark Is Not Evil: As Mysterion. He wears black and talks in a (bad) Nolan Batman-like gravelly voice, but is a legitimate superhero - unlike the Coon. Notably, the Mysterion persona downplays Kenny's hedonistic and perverted qualities.
- Death Seeker: See the spoiler immediately below.
- Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: Pretty much literally. "Come on Cthulhu! Kill me, you big pussy!"
- Die Laughing: In "Scott Tenorman Must Die".
- Dirty Coward: Happens often. When he, along with the rest of his friends, does something wrong (or even think that they did), he usually tries to frame it on Butters.
- He leaves his friends behind when life-threatening danger strikes on a semi-frequent basis. At least, that's what they think. In reality, it just means he's been killed again.
- Dirty Kid
- Dying Moment of Awesome: In the Big Damn Movie, he dies dropping his hood to his friends and saying goodbye before setting the world back to the way it was and reviving all the dead.
- Enfante Terrible: Becomes this in "Cartman Joins NAMBLA" when he tries every method he can think of to stop his younger sibling from being born.
- Even the Guys Want Him: As "anime" Princess Kenny, he can apparently make men fall in love with his cuteness by just being there, though it's debatable whether the Sony Princess Box turns him into an actual girl.
- Everything's Better with Princesses: Was made a Japanese princess during the Console Wars. Also see Wholesome Crossdresser.
- Extreme Omnivore: Will eat anything for money.
- The Faceless: Except for The Movie, "Good Times with Weapons", "The Losing Edge", "Meet the Jeffersons", and "Major Boobage". Also in "The Coon" and the "Coon and Friends" trilogy. His princess outfit in South Park: The Stick of Truth apparently would have been another example◊, but was scrapped for the current design that puts the costume over his parka (most likely because the linked design would have made him unrecognizable and, due to the art style, too much like an actual female).
- Flanderization: Think about how poor he is or how he's ignored. His perverted nature has also been exaggerated, though granted this has arguably broadened his character as well.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: The Sanguine.
- The Generic Guy: Had little character outside dying once per episode; when this recurring gag ended, he had even less involvement in the show. He has gained more development in later episodes, but still has the least involvement of the other four main boys.
- Until seasons 12 onwards, then his character is slowly fleshed out until we get Mysterion, where Crazy Awesome starts to kick in.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: 'The Most Offensive Song Ever', good lord.
- His muffled speech also.
- In the opening credits for the first five seasons, Kenny's muffled dialogue is "I like girls with big vaginas, I like girls with big fat titties". This remains intact in all reruns, because you can't really hear it.
- Good Is Not Soft: He may be ready to pull out all the stops to get high or get laid, but he's an honestly nice guy who cares about his friends (well... Stan and Kyle anyway), and when it comes to other people, he will do the right thing (including being willing to die for people, and has executed a Heroic Sacrifice on more than one occasion), even if he hates having to do it. But if he gets the chance to take revenge on some bastard who pissed him off or did the wrong thing (mostly Cartman), he will take it.
- Guttural Growler: As Mysterion.
- Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Subverted; see Good Is Not Soft above. As Princess Kenny he even parodies this trope by using a blonde wig for the outfit, with golden-haired princesses being the most significant examples.
- The Hedonist: Kenny's far too interested in sex and drugs for his own good and will do anything to get high. However, it's most likely to cope with the memories of all his painful deaths and the knowledge that he could face more. It's not the healthiest way of coping, but since he often comes back from the dead regardless of how he actually dies, he probably wouldn't worry about the "healthy" part at all. It's arguably reached the point that he's so jaded about dying and the pain associated with it that he honestly doesn't care about it any more. Without the fear of pain or death, there is only the pursuit of (momentary) pleasure left in his life.
- Hero Antagonist: In Poor & Stupid. The episode focuses on Cartman trying to become a NASCAR driver and, in the process, starts ruining the business's reputation. Kenny goes as far as to risk his own life to end this.
- Heroic Sacrifice: He died this way a few times, including the end of The Movie. Subverted in that he has often been shown to be aware of his constant coming Back from the Dead, so it probably wasn't a too big sacrifice for him on those occasions. Turns out he is aware of his revivals, and it "really fucking hurts". Unfortunately, no one else is aware of his sacrifice.
- Humanoid Abomination: The source of his immortality has something to do with the Cult of Cthulhu and R'lyeh.
- Innocent Blue Eyes: Well, dark blue eyes. In "Starvin' Marvin", a turkey clan attacks him and rips one of his eyes out, with a close-up revealing a dark blue iris.
- In the Hood: A defining example. Not counting his time as Mysterion, he's dropped his hood less than 10 occasions, and when asked by a nurse while he was dying this one time why he insisted on wearing it, he only shrugged. His hood also has been suggested to attract bad luck to him, and although he has died without it, you really have to wonder why he's insistent on keeping it on. Also, for those who are new to the show and may be wondering, he has blond Shonen Hair underneath it.
- Intelligible Unintelligible: His dialogue in early seasons is made up of muffled grunts, but the other characters respond as if they understand.
- Kids Are Cruel: Zigzagged. Despite often being as cynical and profane as the other boys, his heroism has not gone unnoticed — by the audience at least. The characters are another story, may well explains his "less-than-heroic" traits.
- Killed Off for Real: Subverted. In the episode "Kenny Dies" he is hospitalized, and nearly the entire episode is taken seriously (at least as seriously as South Park can be taken). He dies at the end of the episode and remains dead throughout the entire next season, showing up only as a ghost or in flashbacks.
- Knight Templar Big Brother: Don't mess with his little sister Karen, or you WILL face the consequences.
- Kawaisa: He becomes a parody of this trope when he, as Princess Kenny, gets "anime-fied" by the Sony Princess Box.
- Kawaiiko: Again as anime Princess Kenny. Apparently he's so cute that his cuteness is his superpower.
- Living Prop: One of the reasons for his eventual replacement. He came back, though.
- Lovable Sex Maniac: Debatable on the lovable part, but he's pretty well recieved amongst the fandom and he is definitely a sex maniac. As a matter of fact, one episode even medically diagnosed him as a "Sex Addict".
- Lovecraftian Superpower: Played so straight that Kenny, aka. Mysterion, may as well be the first "lovecraftian superhero".
- Mauve Shirt: Nowadays he tends to only get killed off once a season or so.
- Meaningful Name: Kenny means "born of fire". What do young Mr. McCormick and the mythological phoenix have in common?
- Mundane Utility: If Kenny ever feels tired, he can just kill himself and wake up after a night of sleep.
- Never Bareheaded
- Nietzsche Wannabe: His "superpower" might've made him a borderline case; see his whole Hedonist entry for more details.
- Only Sane Man: In his family.
- Is also this in 'The Coon Trilogy'.
- Out of Focus: He gets the least amount of individual spotlight out of all of the four boys (and even some other regulars), especially after his Running Gag deaths were omitted. He tends to get A Day in the Limelight at least Once a Season to moderate it, however.
- Put On The Bus: His death in "Kenny Dies" had a permanent effect for the remainder of Season Five and Season Six. He was "revived" and resumed his role in "Red Sleigh Down" onwards.
- The Quiet One: He doesn't speak in several later episodes.
- Running Gag: His deaths. Originally Once per Episode, but have been downplayed more and more post Season Seven. Many later episodes also tend to make elaborate gags about his voice.
- Shonen Hair: Under the hood.
- Sir Swears-a-Lot: One of the most obscene kids. Just about a majority of his sentences include some form of swearing. It's barely audible due to his muffling, so this is a case of Getting Crap Past the Radar.
- Interestingly enough, due to the fact that the word's use of hard consonants means it's more intelligible than most in Kenny's muffled voice and that he says it so much long-time viewers are used to hearing it, "fuck" is one of his most intelligible words.
- Spell My Name with an "S": At one point, his surname was spelled with a "K".
- Stealth Hi/Bye: Kenny is a master of this when he's dressed as Mysterion.
- The Stoner: He doesn't have the "surfer accent", but Kenny has had an entire episode dedicated to him getting high on catpiss, and Cartman once mentioned that he enjoys getting high by paint-sniffing.
- Take That, Audience!: You know how South Park fangirls often draw the characters in "kawaii" anime styles? Well, in the Black Friday trilogy, Kenny actually becomes a character of that type. And he's a super-prissy Magical Girl too.
- They Killed Kenny Again: Trope Namer.
- The Unintelligible: Usually Kenny's speech is muffled by his parka, allowing his dialogue to be far more profane than the other characters' at times. However, there have been a few occasions where he has taken off the hood and been able to speak intelligibly, such as the end of the movie, "The Jeffersons", and whenever he appears as Mysterion. Later episodes tend to get rather creative in using Kenny's voice unmuffled while still maintaining his ambiguity.
- A couple of episodes also have people who've known Kenny for a while, such as Kyle, translating Kenny's mumblings for people who've just met him. People who've known Kenny for a long time can often learn to understand what he's saying, even including longtime viewers.
- Oddly enough, even though Kenny still wears his hood as "anime" Princess Kenny (complete with female wig), he can speak intelligible (but purposely mangled) Gratuitous Japanese. "PURINSESU KENNI ASSISUTO!" Additionally, when Kenny dressed up as Iron Man for Halloween, the mask simply added a metallic reverb to his voice rather than muffling it completely (the voice was provided by Matt Stone himself).
- True Companions: With Butters in Going Native.
- Tuckerization: Kenny is named after a childhood friend of Trey Parker's, who was the poorest kid in the neighborhood, always wore an orange hoodie that muffled his speech, and would sometimes disappear for days at a time, leading the other kids to speculate that he'd died.
- Wholesome Crossdresser: Decides to be a princess in the Game of Throne episode trilogy and the game "The Stick of Truth".
- Would Hit a Girl: If you mess with Karen McCormick, Kenny will invoke this one.
- He's also seen beating on two girls in "Faith Hilling".
Leopold "Butters" Stotch
Who's the boy who can laugh at a storm cloud?
Turn a frown into a smile for free?
Who's the kid with the heart full of magic?
Everyone knows it's Butters!
Butters: Th-That's me!
Voiced by: Matt Stone
One of the kids at South Park Elementary. Became a main character shortly after "Kenny Dies" (and actually temporarily
stayed dead). A Wide-Eyed Idealist
who should be commended for remaining so after the world tries its hardest to give him reasons not to be.
Voiced by: Trey Parker
Stan's dad, a geologist (and thus the only non-mad
scientist in South Park; sometimes). Deficient in common sense, but makes up for it with great passion and enthusiasm for... well, whatever happens to be the focus of the episode. The de facto leader of the town whenever they face a threat. He tends to be the main character in storylines involving the adults of South Park, and thus is the adult figure that most interacts with the boys in the main plot.
- The Alcoholic: The plot of "Bloody Mary" focuses on him going to A.A., though he's less an "alcoholic who needs to drink constantly" as "an idiot who also drinks too much."
- All Men Are Perverts
- Amazingly Embarrassing Parent
- Author Avatar: Trey Parker has said that Randy has become more prominent, due to the fact that he has started to get older and identifies with the character more.
- Ax-Crazy: In "T.M.I."
- Becoming the Mask: In "Sarcastaball."
- Big "NO!": Does Picard's and Vader's, with the sound taken directly from Star Trek: First Contact and Revenge of the Sith.
- Big "OMG!"
- Breakout Character: Randy has become increasingly more important lately.
- Bumbling Dad: The king of this trope.
- Catch Phrase: "Stan? Staaan?", "Hey, Sharon," "(Oh my) Gawl!", "Well, that sucks", "Score!", and a few of his son's.
- Caught Covered in "Ectoplasm"
- Characterization Marches On: He used to be the more laid back of the Marshes earlier on, and one of the saner adults overall. Now...not so much...
- Cloudcuckoolander: Before becoming Too Dumb to Live.
- A Date with Rosie Palms: A major part of "Overlogging" is the fact that he wants to masturbate, but can't without Internet porn.
- Dirty Coward: In "Fantastic Easter Special", he gets captured and interrogated by the American Catholic League's ninjas over the location of a rabbit, which he gave to his son to hide in a good place. When they ask him where it is, he responds:
I don't know, and even if I did know then... I'd probably just tell you because I don't want to be here anymore.
- Fetish: Randy has some really odd fetishes like Japanese girls puking on each other, bestiality and so forth.
- Flanderization: Even in the early seasons, Randy had a bit of a wild side (prevalent in episodes such as "Clubhouses") but he was actually fairly intelligent — perhaps one of the smartest adult characters at the time (even warning Stan about the dangers of fame in "Something You Can Do With Your Finger"). From season six onwards, his intelligence gradually drops.
- Foil: Stan, the sanest kid, has the craziest parent.
- Genius Ditz: He is a brilliant scientist, but otherwise a complete idiot.
- Giving the Sword to a Noob: The nominal noob.
- Hypocrite: Randy is frequently the most hypocritical character in the show.
- Idiot Houdini: Thus far, Randy doesn't seem to have learned any real lessons from being an idiot.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Occasionally, such as in "Something You Can Do With Your Finger". He also has moments that show that he cares for his family and friends.
- Karma Houdini
- Large Ham: Randy pretty much embodies this trope.
- Lethally Stupid
- Man Child
- Mars and Venus Gender Contrast: With his wife, Sharon. Sharon is generally far more levelheaded and less impulsive than her husband, with a much more restrained wild side. Increasingly, she becomes the only real adult in the house, with Randy devolving more and more into a man-child.
- Never Live It Down: An In-Universe example happens to him in the episode "With Apologies to Jesse Jackson," when he is forever known as "The "Nigger" Guy" when he says the n-word on the game show "The Wheel Of Fortune" on National TV.
- Old Shame: In-Universe. He joined a boy band before finishing high school.
- Omnidisciplinary Scientist: Parodied or Subverted. A few episodes ("Spontaneous Combustion," "T.M.I.") have him take on non-geology jobs on the ground that he is a "scientist." In the first case it's Lampshaded, though he actually turns out to be competent; in the latter it's not, but he does poorly.
- Papa Wolf: In "Die Hippie, Die" and "Pee."
- Porn Stache
- Running Gag: His pants falling when he gets drunk.
- Sarcasm Mode: In "Sarcastaball", he is diagnosed with a mental condition that causes everything he says to be a sarcastic comment.
- Sanity Slippage: "A Nightmare on Facetime" makes it very clear he's lost it.
- Serious Business: Whatever the focus of the episode is, he's taking it waaaay too seriously.
- Snap Back: Quits/gets fired at least 4 times.
- Stage Names: He performed his interpretation of Tween Wave music as "Steamy Ray Vaughn".
- Supreme Chef: In "Crème Fraiche", he's shown to be a very talented chef, being capable of replicating dishes he sees on cooking shows. Much to the chagrin of his family, who have to clean up the resulting massive pile of dishes.
- Too Dumb to Live: Has become this post Flanderization, but his biggest moment comes in "Medicinal Fried Chicken" where he gives himself testicular cancer just to be legally qualified to have medical marijuana.
- Took a Level in Dumbass: Takes a level every episode he appears in, and probably the ones where he doesn't appear, too.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: Starting in "My Future Self 'n Me."
- Tuckerization: Parker named Randy after his own father.
- Wacky Parent, Serious Child: To Stan.
- Wholesome Crossdresser: As revealed in "Gluten-Free Ebola" and "The Cissy", he has a double life as Lorde, using Auto-Tune to make himself sound like a teenage girl.
Clyde: Lorde sucks.
Jimmy: Yeah, she isn't as hot in person.