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South Park: Tropes A to D
aka: Tropes A-D
This page covers tropes found in South Park.

Tropes A-D | Tropes E-J | Tropes K-Q | Tropes R-V | Tropes W-Z | YMMV | Shout Outs


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    A 
  • Abhorrent Admirer: In "Cartman Finds Love," this is Cartman's Laser-Guided Karma for conspiring to set up a Token Minority Couple because "people who look the same belong together".
  • Absentee Actor: None of the main boys appear at all in "Not Without My Anus", "Pip", and "A Million Little Fibers". There have also been a few episodes were one or some of the boys are absent throughout.
  • Absurdly Ineffective Barricade: In Butt Out. Believing Kyle is going to sneak behind his back to steal the commercial position for the Anti-Smoking team, Cartman sneaks into Kyle's house to nail his bedroom door at night. It turns out not only was Kyle just getting back to his room after getting a glass of water, but the door opened the other way. This still didn't stop Cartman from boarding up the door once Kyle went into his room.
    • The Shitty Wall built to keep outsiders out of South Park because they will kidnap their children. Goddamn Mongorians!
      • Which is another poke at history: The townspeople hire the only Chinese member of their town to build the wall to keep out Mongolians, because they have so much experience doing so.
  • Absurdly Powerful Student Council: Subverted and parodied in "Dances With Smurfs", and played straight in some episodes.
  • Abusive Parents:
    • Butters's parents, who will ground him for anything, including looking silly in his school pictures, even though he wasn't doing anything wrong. Once he was locked in the basement at the end of one episode, and was tellingly absent from the next episode, suggesting he may have been kept down there for up to a week. He sees his father as a kind of grounding-monster, suggesting that the beatings he has mentioned on occasion are more frequent than he lets on. Oh, and there was that whole bit about his mother attempting to murder him in his very own episode. With the reveal that even his grandmother bullies him, it appears that Child Abuse runs in the Stoch family.
    • Subverted with Mr. Garrison in "World Wide Recorder Concert": he's shown to have issues with his father for reasons of sexual molestation, but it turns out that he's upset because his father didn't abuse him.
    • The McCormick kids' strictly agnostic foster parents in "The Poor Kid".
    • Clyde's mother according to "Reverse Cowgirl". Her public humiliation of her son over the toilet seat makes you have to rethink Kyle's mom as the biggest bitch in the whole wide world. Lucky for him, she dies near the end of the first act by falling into the toilet, because he left the seat up.
    • South Park: The Stick of Truth revealed that the Tweaks send their ten year old son to a meth lab frequently for deliveries, and constantly have him drink the coffee that they've put meth into.
  • Accidental Art: "The Tale of Scrotie McBoogerballs" was a deliberate Take That at this along with True Art Is Incomprehensible.
  • Accidental Misnaming:
    • One of the teenage skiers in the "Asspen" episode kept referring to Stan Marsh as "Stan Darsh". Even his friends eventually found it annoying.
    • One of the rare occasion where the german dub is better - it's Stan Arsch.
    • His grampa also always calls him "Billy".
    • My name's not Kenny!
    Stan: "Come on, Kenny."
    Butters: "Well I've had about enough of this! My name's not Kenny."
    Kyle: "C'mon, Not Kenny"
    Butters: "My name's not Not Kenny.'"
    Cartman: "Okay, Not Not Kenny."
    • From "The Poor Kid":
    Cartman: "Laugh it up, people! Carman's mom is so poor that when she goes to KFC she has to lick other people's fingers. Ha! I beat you to it "Keeyal"!"
    Kyle: "My name... is not... 'Keeyal'."
    • Done again with Cartman's foster mom.
      "My name... is not... 'Meeeeym'"
  • Achievements in Ignorance: In "The Wacky Molestation Adventure", Kyle's mother tells him he can only go to the Raging Pussies concert if he takes out the trash, shovels the driveway, and brings democracy to Cuba. Taking it literally, Kyle writes a heartfelt letter to Fidel Castro (complete with song), and Castro is so touched he ends the communist dictatorship. Kyle gets pissed when his parents still forbid him to go to the concert because they deliberately gave him a task that they thought was impossible.
  • Acquired Situational Narcissism: "The List", when Clyde becomes a tool when he thinks the girls in school think he's the hottest looking boy.
    • There are many episodes where Cartman thought he was living this trope, except what he thought made him "better" than the other kids was completely incorrect.
    • Butters, who is usually the Nice Guy in the show, has this happen in one episode where he gets his first kiss, which leads to him becoming a pimp. Stan and Kyle, who stuck up for him at the beginning of the episode, become concerned with his new attitude, but Butters brushes Kyle off.
      Kyle: Butters, can't you see this is wrong? You've got little boys all over school spending all their lunch money on kisses. Boys shouldn't be paying for kisses. It's wrong.
      Butters: Kyle, every boy pays for kisses. Do you know what I am saying? If you've got a girl, and she kisses you, sooner or later you're paying for it. You've gotta take her out to lunch, take her to a movie, and then spend time listenin' to all her stupid problems. Look, look at Stan right there. Why he's gotta sit there and listen to her stupid motherf**kin' problems 'cause she kisses him. If you ask me, that's a lot more than the five dollars my company charges.
      Butters: What happened is that I became a man! I'm sorry I'm not your little buddy anymore, but there's a time people have to grow up! Do you know what I am saying?!
  • Acronym Confusion: "Cartman Joins NAMBLA" involves confusion between the North American Man/Boy Love Association and National Association of Marlon Brando Look-Alikes.
  • Act Break: During Seasons 1-4 the show had four acts to each episode, though the fourth one was usually The Tag. The TV pilot had a weird case, with five acts (the additional break occurring during the forest scene, right before Chef appears). From "The Death Camp of Tolerance" onward, it switched to the usual three acts.
  • Action Girlfriend: Based on her fight with Cartman in season 12, Wendy might grow up into one.
  • Activist Fundamentalist Antics: One episode ended with a ban on secular Christmas as well as religious Christmas, all thanks to Kyle's mother. The only song left for the kids to sing for Christmas was "Kyle's Mom is a Big Fat Bitch" (in D minor, no less).
  • Actually Pretty Funny: From "Imaginationland Part 1": "Say what you want about Mel Gibson, but the son-of-a-bitch knows story structure!" (After their previous portrayal of Mel, very sporting indeed.)
  • Ad Break Double Take: Stan aiming a gun at a disguised Cartman in "Volcano".
    • The bus splitting in two and falling off a cliff in "City on the Edge of Forever".
  • Added Alliterative Appeal:
    • The "Allied Atheist Alliance" from "Go God, Go!"
      "That way it has three "A"s! That is the logical choice!"
    • The "Secret Society of Cynics" in "Ass Burgers". Since their name never appears in written form (aside from non-canonical closed captions), it's possible to spell "Cynics" with an "S".
    • Bucky Baily's Bully Buckers, trademark.
  • Addiction Powered: Subverted. Towelie thinks that marijuana makes him smarter and more creative. On at least one occasion, Popeye's Theme Music Power-Up plays while Towelie is lighting up. But once Towelie gets high...he does what every pot-head does while high, which is to say absolutely nothing.
  • Admiring the Abomination: Cartman only works with Cthulhu because of his ability to strike terror and misery into people he hates... and his friends.
  • Adults Are Useless: Every adult in South Park and then some is a moron, even when they're not holding the Idiot Ball. This clip pretty well sums it up. (You can skip the first minute of the clip.)
    • Most of the kids are either too scared of their parents to tell them the truth about anything (Kyle and Butters), are pretty good at manipulation (Cartman and to a lesser extent Stan) or are completely ignored most of the time (Kenny).
    • Randy Marsh. He is practically the king of this trope.
    • Zig-zagged with Mr. Adams. He was the caseworker for the Mc Cormick siblings when they are taken away from there parents, but he was obsessed with telling them bad Penn State jokes rather than help them adjust. When he learns of the foster family's abuse, he not only pulls the foster children out, but is deeply distraught for putting children in a bad environment. He does end up sending them back to their original homes, but only because he felt the system was too incompetent for people to want to use.
  • Adventurer Outfit: Worn by the Super Adventure Club.
  • An Aesop: many episodes end with a character delivering an aesop. Often this is Kyle or Stan starting with, "I learned something today..." Often times the aesop delivery is subverted in some way.
    • In "Chinpokomon," Stan delivers an aesop to Kyle to stop him from bombing Pearl Harbor, saying he shouldn't conform. Kyle uses the aesop to justify going ahead with the bombing, so Stan delivers a second aesop completely contradicting his earlier speech.
    • Another subversion is "The Entity", where the kids try to pull their usual "I've learned something today..." Aesop speech, only for it to die out several times when they realize that, no, they actually haven't learned anything this time.
    • Defied in Real Life in "201" when the entire Aesop, spoken by three people, was bleeped out by the network prior to airing, which may be some of the saddest irony in the history of the show.
    • Intentionally rose to the same level of irony when Stan began with the usual opening, only for Kyle to interrupt with "No, no we didn't," and walk away.
  • Affably Evil: Satan is portrayed as this. He's certainly less evil than Cartman.
  • Affectionate Parody:
    • "Osama Bin Laden Has Farty Pants" is a paean to the classic Wartime Cartoons, especially Bugs Bunny's.
    • In the "Coon and Friends" trilogy, this is done twice between Cartman and Cthulhu: one, a tribute to My Neighbor Totoro, and the other is a nod to the Chuck Jones cartoon "Feed the Kitty". The original "Coon" episode also parodies The Dark Knight in the beginning.
    • The "anime" episode "Good Times With Weapons". Someone had to have been an anime fan to be able to mock such Gratuitous English.
    • A meta-example: the 20+ minute animation "Trey Gets Stoned" is one of both the show itself (seriously, the animation is indistinguishable) and Trey Parker and Matt Stone. Not surprising, since it was made by several fans.
  • Aesop Amnesia: At the end of "Jewpacabra", Cartman had finally decided to get over his anti-semitism. Six episodes late he becomes half-traumatized when Kyle tells him the Jewish population is growing.
  • Age-Inappropriate Dress: Mocked in a few episodes, "Stupid Spoiled Whore Video Playset" in particular.
  • Ageless Birthday Episode: The episode "Damien" does this with Cartman's birthday (although we can probably assume that he turned 9 in this episode, as the show subtly suggests that he's a little older than the three other SP boys).
  • Aliens Made Them Do It: The "wizard alien" from "Sexual Healing." In this episode, the American government is trying to figure out what caused the "recent" trend of successful men having affairs with lots of women. Instead of just admitting that this kind of thing has happened throughout history and that most men have similar urges, the government blames it on a wizard alien living in Independence Hall. When a soldier calls BS on this, the other soldiers take him away to the Running Gag of "There's a turd in the punchbowl", dress him up as a wizard alien, and have Kyle and Butters shoot him dead.
  • Aliens Steal Cattle: One of the first tropes used in the show. The aliens actually consider cows to be the most intelligent species on the planet (it helps they communicate in "moo"s). When one cow asks about the abductions and mutilations:
    Alien 1: Oh, that was Carl. He's new.
    Alien 2: Yeah, my bad.
    • If you have seen more then one or two episodes, it becomes clear that aside from Stan, Kyle and maybe Kenny, the cows are probably the most intelligent species on the planet. And that includes the Crab People, talking turds, and whatever the hell Towlie is.
      • However, in the original version of that episode, the aliens mutilate the cows because they like BBQs.
  • Allergic to Love: Stan vomits every time Wendy talks to him. Though when they started dating as the show progressed (after The Movie), Stan stopped vomiting completely around her. However, in "The List", when they discover feelings for each other again (after having been broken up for some time), Stan vomits in front of her once more before they can kiss.
  • All-CGI Cartoon: Switched to this format after the first episode. It, Beast Wars (released around the same time) and ReBootnote  were the notable ones that were airing on American television during the mid-late 90s.
    • Initially, the aim was to emulate the stop-motion cardboard of the pilot and prior "Spirit of Christmas" shorts in a way that was actually practical and could be done in a timely fashion (the pilot took 3-4 months to produce). This approach was eventually scrapped in favor of doing anything that they could fit within the show's art style.
    • The practical problems of the original method were lampshaded in an episode where the boys try using stop-motion cardboard animation to make a Christmas animation of...themselves.
  • All Elections Are Serious Business: Shown in how serious the kindergarten elections are taken in "Trapper Keeper" and taken to the extreme in "Douche vs. Turd" over the school mascot election.
  • All Gays Are Pedophiles: Big Gay Al becomes a victim of this trope when he is fired as the boys' scoutmaster due to concerns from the parents that he will try to molest them. His replacement is, of course, an actual pedophile whom nobody suspects since he's not gay.
  • All Hail the Great God Mickey!: In the episode "The Wacky Molestation Adventure", the children of South Park manage to send of all adults on false molestation charges. Later, in the ruins of the town, they are seen worshiping a statue made of trash that is supposed to represent "The Great Provider", a supreme being that provides them food and shelter (as a faint memory of what their parents did for them). Played for Laughs when we find out it's been only one week since all adults have left.
    • The Provider is a statue of John Elway that they appeased with human sacrifice. As shown by Butter's great disappointment when the Aesop is delivered and he is brought down, saying, "I was going to give myself to Mr. Elway."
  • All Jews Are Cheapskates:
    • Kyle's parents and his cousin. And to Cartman's delight, sometimes Kyle falls prey to it too.
    • Parodied viciously in "Two Days Before the Day After Tomorrow", where it seems that Cartman and Kyle are going to die, and Cartman demands Kyle's "Jew Gold". Kyle, appalled, tries to convince him that this is a Jew stereotype, but Cartman doesn't relent, and Kyle pulls out a small sack of gold that had been tied around his neck. Cartman proceeds to insist that all Jews carry a spare sack of Jew Gold, which is really fake, and demands that Kyle hands over an identical sack also tied around his neck. Kyle didn't hand over the real Jew gold either, he threw it into a fire rather than let Cartman have it.
    • Subverted in "Night of the Living Homeless" when Kyle gives a homeless man $20. Because of that, all of the homeless invade South Park. But it turns out that it wasn't Kyle's fault, but the fault of the neighboring town of Evergreen, who evicted the homeless.
    • And then subverted majorly in "Margaritaville" when he uses his American Express credit card (with no spending limit) to pay off the debts of all of South Park, much to the dismay of his mother Sheila, who say he's ruining himself. This is all to make a point of the nature of the economy.
    • In "Good Times with Weapons" Cartman mocks the fact that Kyle can't throw away his weapons because he paid money for them.
  • All Just a Dream: Sometimes played straight, but often subverted.
  • All Men Are Perverts:
    • The plot of "Sexual Healing." More specifically, the extreme lengths men will go to to prevent women from finding this out.
    • In the Lord of the Rings episode, all the boy's fathers are very knowledgeable when it comes to porn, much to their wives' disgust. Subverted somewhat by Mrs. Broflofski and Mrs. Cartman describing a sexual act from the titled movie with unusual accuracy
  • All of the Other Reindeer: While Butters is the most obvious victim, more recent seasons (especially Craig in "Pandemic") claim that not very many people beyond their clique like Stan, Kyle, Kenny or Cartman.
  • All Take and No Give: Cartman to everyone, especially his mom. In Season One, you had to give him rather expensive toys to attend his party (who everyone only comes to because Cartman's Mom cooks damn good).
  • All There in the Manual: Impossibly close proximity to Canada aside, South Park: The Stick of Truth has the official layout to the titular town. On top of that, it also shows that (spoiler tagged for people who want to find out themselves through exploration) Cartman's mom is a drug addict, and the Tweaks get their blend from a meth lab that's based in the McCormicks' garage, among other things.
  • All Women Are Lustful: All little girls want to get in the Jonas Brothers' pants, even if they're kindergarten age. Possibly Truth in Television, seeing as the line "My giney tickles" was something the young daughter of one of the members of the production crew actually said at one of their concerts.
  • All Women Love Shoes: "The List".
  • A Man Is Not a Virgin: Or at least, a man has gotten his first kiss already, in "Butters' Bottom Bitch".
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Adults Are Useless, including the parents.
    • Sheila Broflovsky is take on Moral Guardians, as she's overprotective, judgmental and prone to hysterical reactions. The Movie made this a large part of its theme.
    • Randy embodies typical adult stupidity in western culture starting around season 6.
    • The McCormick parents joined a doomsday cult of Cthulhu for free beer and are crackheads. They also have a meth lab in an open shed in their backyard.
    • Ms. Cartman is apparently a famous enough porn star to end up on the cover of Crackwhore Magazine.
  • Ambiguously Gay:
    • A running gag with Mr. Garrison for several seasons. He's virulently anti-gay, yet sports a stereotypical gay lisp. Several characters state outright that they thought he was gay, but he insists that he just acts that way to "get chicks". In one episode he writes erotic fiction and focuses on penises, seeming to get very aroused by his own writing, but then insists that he's just writing to what his audience, women, want to read. In later seasons he comes out of the closet.
    • Cartman.
      • He constantly says that girls are disgusting and vile, and he seems to have an extremely inaccurate idea of what sex with a woman even entails. Curious? 
      • He's also engaged in sexual acts with men several times, thinking NAMBLA is an innocent organization. He presumably gave Ben Affleck a hand job as part of a bizarre plot to convince Kyle that his hand was a sentient con man named Mitch Connor (who turned out to actually exist in "200") who was impersonating a woman named Jennifer Lopez (much to the chagrin of the "real" Jennifer Lopez).
      • In "Imaginationland,", a subplot is based entirely around Cartman's obsession with making Kyle suck his balls. Jimmy even points this trope out to him in part 1 of the trilogy. He says it's solely for humiliation purposes, but we all know Cartman's track record with the truth...
      • "Cartman in Love" gives us Cartman telling the new girl, Nicole, that he and Kyle are a gay couple, so that Nicole will be more likely to go out with Token. Cartman puts a ton of effort into convincing the town that his lie is true, to the point where it's hard to tell if he's just really committed or playing out some sort of wish-fulfillment exercise.
      • In "Sarcastaball", he has no reservations about drinking Butters' creamy goo. Although Randy has him beat in this particular case, as he's the only one who actually recognizes it.
      • In "Le Petit Tourette" when Cartman is unable to filter what he says and what he thinks, he admitted that he and his cousin touched each others wieners together.
    • Jimbo and Ned. They're unrelated, live together, evidently have hospital visitation rights worked out. And then, Jimbo can say "fag" without getting bleeped, which according to Mr. Garrison (at the time it was Mr.) means that he is one. All the other guys at the bar except for Garrison are bleeped when they say "fag". After an awkward silence, Mr. Garrison says "Well, we've certainly learned something about you today, Jimbo, you friggin' fag. Wanna make out or somethin'?"
    • Butters. He has been shown crossdressing, he's feminine, innocent, submissive, polite, and fits The Twink status. While he has shown affection toward girls, it's mostly blocked by his naivety. Oh, and he's more than willing to share his "creamy goo" with all the boys.
  • Anal Probing: Eric Cartman was probed by The Greys in the Pilot episode, appropriately titled "Cartman Gets An Anal Probe." By "Anal Probe", we mean he eventually grows a satellite out of his bum.
  • Anatomically Impossible Sex: For the boys themselves, we have these gems: Circumcision is castration. Urine is semen.
  • And That's Terrible: The antagonists in "Super Fun Time" robbed a Burger King.
  • And There Was Much Rejoicing: Done a few times when the usual "They killed Kenny!!"-"Bastards!!" routine was subverted and Kenny's death was met with amusement.
    Kyle: (laughing) That was a good one!
    • This is pretty much Cartman's reaction to arranging Scott Tenorman's parents to be killed and ground into chili to get even for being swindled out of $16.12
  • Animal Athlete Loophole: The parody of You Got Served (and similar movies) had Stan's Ragtag Bunch of Misfits dancing team include a dancing duck. The duck gets injured, forcing Butters to finally join the crew, with disastrous results.
  • Animal Wrongs Group: PETA is so insistent on paralleling vegetarianism with civil rights that they promote Interspecies Romance.
  • Animation Anatomy Aging
  • Answers to the Name of God: In just about every South Park episode that features Jesus, some character will exclaim "Jesus!", prompting Jesus to inquire, "Yes?"
  • The Antichrist: Damien, though apparently he just wants friends and not to move around so much.
  • Anti-Hero: All main characters verge on anti-heroism on occasion, though Cartman often verges on Villain Protagonist. Usually they learn their lesson at the end, however, and often are shown to be morally superior to the adults in town.
  • Anti-Humor: "Kenny Dies"
  • Anti-Villain: Satan, though his antivillainy isn't really of the Well-Intentioned Extremist variety so much as the loser variety. His expressed pride in his role in the world is always watered down by the way his gay lover, Saddam Hussein, treats him. (See the movie, where Saddam interrupts his "my time to rise" speech to say "I love when you get all biblical, you know how to turn my crank!") This show takes Sympathy for the Devil to a literal extreme. In addition, Hell is a decent place, besides the torture, and far better than the alternative (spending eternity with overexcited Mormons).
  • A Planet Named Zok: Marklar, from "Starvin' Marvin in Space!". This is also the name of every noun on Marklar.
  • Apocalypse Cult: The leader of the Anti-Semetic Jews captures Moses in order to ready the world for the return of Haman.
    • The cult of Blaintology in "Super Best Friends."
    • And of course, the Cthulhu cult featured in the three-episode "Coon and Mysterion" arc.
  • Apocalyptic Log: Parodied in 'Pandemic', as Randy's incessant camcordering of the disaster gets on Sharon's nerves. And it turns out he didn't have a tape in it.
  • Applied Mathematics: Underpants Gnomes. Step 1: Collect underpants. Step 2: ? Step 3: Profit!
    • Cartman's formula for gold.
  • Aren't You Going to Ravish Me?: In "Towelie," Garrison is ambushed by a squad of towel-destroying soldiers. He assumes that they're going to rape him and says, "Have your way with me, if you must! Go on, fulfill your sick pleasures! ...Where are you going?" Garrison was also traumatized because his father didn't molest him when he was a child, because he associated being molested with being loved.
  • Are You Pondering What I'm Pondering?: In "Worldwide Recorder Concert", Stan and Kyle are thinking of a way to get back at the New Yorkers, when Cartman announces that he found the "brown noise" and demonstrates it on Kenny and a deliveryman.
    Stan: (to Kyle) Dude, are you thinking what I'm thinking?
    Cartman: That they should bring back Chicago Hope for another season? Totally.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
    • Cartman in the episode "Scott Tenorman Must Die", where he has Scott's parents killed, grinds their corpses into chili which he then feeds to Scott and causes Scott to cry in front of his favorite band. Who then call him a "crybaby".
    • In The Death of Eric Cartman: "What awaits each person in heaven is eternal bliss, divine rest, and $10,000 cash."
    • Shoe the Chinpokomon. Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
  • Art Evolution: The difference between first season episodes and recent episodes is like night and day, even though they have kept the simplistic cutout style. Early on, the show had incredibly crude character and background designs and the animation was very shaky and choppy, while today the animation can be very sophisticated, the backgrounds are rich in detail (actually having perspective and shading), the characters are much more detailed, and animals being realistic (compared to, say, the game in the first season episode "Volcano").
    • Early on, the show tried to imitate some side effects of using construction paper, such as the aforementioned shaky animation and shadows under objects. Later on, it was dropped.
  • Art Shift: The art has shifted between its standard 'cutout' style and other styles on various occasions. Backgrounds often contain pictures of real life places or real art, and there are many cases of deliberately conspicuous CGI.
    • The best example would probably have to be from one of the newest episodes "A Song of Ass and Fire" where the opening sequence is shot entirely in 3D. It is glorious especially considering South Park has not attempted anything of that magnitude ever
  • An Ass Kicking Christmas: A few times, but especially "Red Sleigh Down".
  • As Long as There Is Evil: The core of the evil Wall-Mart turns out to be a mirror, with the explanation that the citizens of the town empower it. Subverted as smashing the mirror destroys the whole Wall-Mart.
  • Ashes to Crashes: Cartman drinks Kenny's ashes, believing them to be chocolate milk mix. As a result of this, Kenny's soul becomes trapped inside Cartman, providing a story arc for the next few episodes.
  • Ash Face: "Summer Sucks" ends with the town covered in ash. Chef arrives from vacation to find everyone in what looks like blackface and orders everyone to get in line for a butt kicking.
  • Asian Hooker Stereotype: On the episode "Cow Days", Cartman starts acting and talking like the Vietnamese prostitute of Full Metal Jacket after a Tap on the Head.
  • Asian Speekee Engrish:
    • Every single Asian character. Honorable mention goes to "fucking Mongoriansh!" Funnily enough, both creators are fluent in Japanese.
    • Taken to extremes in one episode where a Japanese man and Chinese man argue with each other with the nearly the exact same accent and can't understand each other.
    • Cartman's attempts to disguise himself as Chinese consist of little more than saying "herro prease".
  • Asshole Victim: Clyde's mother, Betsy Donovan in "Reverse Cowgirl", to the point she's still one beyond the grave.
  • Assimilation Backfire: One episode has Cartman's super high-tech Trapper Keeper begin assimilating all technology (beginning with a calculator, then a computer, then a lamp, then Cartman). "Trapper Keeper ready to ensorb." Eventually it goes on a rampage and heads for Cheyenne Mountain to ensorb the NORAD command center there, but on the way it eats Rosie O'Donnell, weakening it enough for Kyle to turn it off.
  • Ass Shove: Happens to Cartman. A lot.
    • The premiere episode, "Cartman Gets an Anal Probe," culminates with a 50-foot satellite dish emerging from Cartman's ass.
    • Another episode has Cartman smuggling all of Disneyland into a juvenile hall inside his ass.
    • Then there was the time Cartman tried to eat through his butt to see if he would then crap through his mouth. It works! In fact, it becomes quite a trend and even leads to Martha Stewart shoving a Thanksgiving turkey up her bum.
    • One word: Lemmiwinks.
    • The episode that aired after the 2008 US Presidential Elections has Barack Obama shove the Hope Diamond up his ass in order to steal it.
    • The No Celebrities Were Harmed version of Steve Irwin was always sticking his thumb up some poor animal's butthole. And let's not forget Cartman being shoved up a cow's butt at the end of that episode.
    • "The Death of Eric Cartman": Cartman (who think he's dead) trashes Butters's room, which gets Butters sent to an insane asylum where he's examined by a questionable doctor whose methods included having a machine anally probe him for hours on end (the probe itself was about the size of a football and rotated).
  • Assumed Win: Inverted when the boys bring in Kyle's cousin, Kyle as a ringer to make sure they lose and thus no longer have to play baseball.
    • Stan figures this when coaching pee wee hockey. Unfortunately he was Wrong Genre Savvy.
  • Ate His Gun: They love this trope.
    • Parodied in "How to Eat With Your Butt", in which Cartman does it with what turns out to be a gun-shaped piece of chocolate after writing an apparent suicide note, then adds a request for more of said chocolate guns.
    • When a line of pedophiles find out they've been lining up to see Chris Hansen, they immediately begin shooting themselves, one after another.
    • Butters is told to do this by a meme-hating teacher in "Faith Hilling". He ends up frozen in his seat with the gun in his mouth for nearly the entire episode's length.
    • Parodied in "Night of the Living Homeless." A scientist tries to eat his gun, only to live through the attempt. He then goes on to try again several times, each one unsuccessful, until finally making it.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Played for laughs with Scott the Dick in "Royal Pudding." At first, it appears to be played straight, but a change in the camera angle reveals that he's actually seven feet tall.
  • Attractive Bent-Gender: In the Game of Thrones parody trilogy and The Stick of Truth, Kenny dresses up as a princess. Some characters react as if he actually was a pretty girl, especially during the Animesque segments of "Titties and Dragons".
  • Author Avatar: Stan and Kyle were originally Author Avatars for Trey and Matt, respectively, but they slowly grew out of it as the show progressed. In one interview, they said something along the lines of "He's supposed to be Stan, and I'm supposed to be Kyle... but really we're both Cartman."
    • Terrance and Phillip also occasionally serve as author avatars for the duo, reflecting the reactions Trey and Matt expected their show to get from parents, most notably in The Movie. Terrance has black hair, as does Matt, while Phillip has blond hair, as does Trey - likely deliberate.
  • Author Appeal: This explains why a bunch of eight year old boys (in 1997) are gushing over Robert Smith.
  • Author Tract: Particularly in later seasons.
  • Ax-Crazy:
    • Cartman, most famously in "Scott Tenorman Must Die".
    • Saddam Hussein.
    • The Woodland Critters, Mickey Mouse and Mel Gibson.
    • Russell Crowe's obsession with fighting leads him to berating and almost beating up a little girl merely for looking at him. In the same episode, he physically brutalizes a man with terminal cancer (hooked up to IV and looking as frail as can be) because he thought it was a good idea, since he (Crowe) discovered that he couldn't literally "beat up cancer" like he wanted to. Might be a good example of Well-Intentioned Extremist if it weren't such a ridiculous idea.

    B 
  • Back for the Dead: Pip is crushed to death in "201".
  • Badass: Jesus.
    My children, I must warn you... I'm packing.
  • Back to School: Officer Barbrady goes back to school—and the third grade no less—after it's revealed that he's illiterate.
  • Badass Adorable: Ike.
  • Bad Bad Acting: The live action reenactment sequence in "I Should Have Never Gone Ziplining" uses very deliberately awful, over the top acting by actors about 15 years too old to play 10 year olds.
  • Bad Boss: Cartman in many episodes. Craig, too, in "South Park is Gay!".
  • Bad Future: In "Trapper Keeper," "Goobacks," and the "Go God Go" two parter.
  • Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work:
    • South Park is saved from hostile takeover by the Jersey Shore by Al-Qaeda.
    • In Insheeption, Freddy Krueger kills Woodsy Owl after the latter goes One-Winged Angel.
    • In The Movie, it's Satan who finishes Saddam off after he gets zapped by ten thousand volts of profanity courtesy of Cartman.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: The ending of "Stanley's Cup" and "Scott Tenorman Must Die".
  • Bad Impressionists: This is a staple of Jimmy's standup routine.
  • Badass Santa: He's pals with Kung-Fu Jesus.
  • Bail Equals Freedom: In "The Losing Edge," Randy is constantly getting in fights at his son's little league games. After he's been released, Gerald asks him how much bail was and Randy casually replies, "Like two hundred dollars, no big whoop." This is played for comedy as he keeps on assaulting people over and over and presumably keeps getting let back out for chump change. The inevitable trial for twelve counts of assault never happens.
  • Bait and Switch: If there is an episode where the preview involves anything that will get a large portion of the fanbase going "Ha ha, they're making fun of X" the actual episode will likely portray X in a much more endearing manner, while those that see it as a cheap, acceptable target will be the ones on the receiving end of a Take That. These episodes typically center around Cartman The most recent notable example is "Poor and Stupid", with regard to NASCAR and its fanbase.
    • Part 2 of [episode title]... WILL NOT BE SHOWN TODAY to bring you this special showing of Terrance And Philip!
    • In "You Have 0 Friends", the whole sequence of Stan trapped inside the world of Facebook is a homage of TRON, and it appears that everything is all set for the inevitable Lightcycle race... when the bikes are abruptly replaced with a game of Yahtzee.
  • Barrier Maiden: Terrence and Philip in the movie. Although theoretically any Canadian living south of the 49th parallel.
  • Batman Gambit: Cartman's plot in "Scott Tenorman Must Die" hinges upon him understanding Stan and Kyle's and Scott's personalities, and predicting their actions perfectly (with a lot of assuming).
  • Beard of Evil: Inverted with Cartman in Spookyfish since he was already evil, his alternate universe counterpart was the good one. Played straight with everyone else.
  • Beauty Is Bad: Subverted in "The List."
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: "Ass Burgers" has Stan wishing everything in his life would go back to the way it was before he was depressed, which includes his life with his family before his parents got divorced. The ending of the episode has Stan getting over his depression and learning that change can be good, only to have his life get hit with the Reset Button where his parents get back together and having his daily routines reverting back to the way they were.
  • Becoming the Mask: In "Butters' Bottom Bitch", Officer Yates assigns an undercover agent for a series of prostitution busts: himself. During the operations, he makes his arrests after performing the sex act, each one becoming more and more elaborate, to the point of gangbanging a college fraternity. He even marries the Big Bad pimp at the end of the episode, living with him in a Swiss chateau before finally deciding to place him under arrest on their anniversary.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: Slash is really a mythological character based on the legend of Vunter Slaush. It was just one of their parents that actually played at Cartman's party.
  • Believing Their Own Lies: Cartman works himself into quite the frenzy over his own fabricated mythos of Jewpacabra.
    • Not to mention that this was the main storyline between Cartman and Jimmy in "Fishsticks".
  • Berserk Button: In "Conjoined Fetus Lady", Pip is one of the players on the dodgeball team. When he's called "French", he beats the world's best dodgeball team (who are Chinese) singlehandedly.
    • Scott Tenorman doomed himself the moment he burned Cartman's money.
    • Never call Bono #2, no matter how true it is.
    • Cartman is not fat, he's big boned. He also does not like to be compared to Family Guy.
    • Kyle isn't from Jersey. Don't suggest that he is.
      • Or make fun of him being Jewish, or cross the line with Ike, or call his mum a bitch, or say something stupid within earshot. Kyle is built on this trope.
      • Cartman is quite possibly the ultimate Berserk Button for Kyle.
    • "Are you looking at my headgear?"note 
    • Tom Cruise goes crazy when anyone says that he's a fudge packer, even if he is packing fudge at the time, wearing a fudge packing uniform in a fudge packing factory.
    • Kenny (as Mysterion) gets one when he tries to tell the rest of the kids that he can't die, and Kyle says it'd be pretty cool to be immortal. Kenny, who knows better, flips out just a little bit.
      • He gets another one in "The Poor Kid". Don't mess with his little sister.
    • If you don't want to piss off Mr. Mackey, don't take a dump in the urinal. Or ruin the tooth decay play he worked on for six years, whether it's by accident or not. Or touch any part of the overwhelming trash and paper hoard that suddenly materialized in his traditionally clean office.
    • As for Wendy, don't be Cartman and don't get between her and Stan. You've been warned.
  • Bestiality Is Depraved:
    • Several episodes and The Movie reference or, God forgive, portray zoophilia for comic effect.
    • In a strange variation, Cartman attempts to train a pony to bite Scott Tenorman's penis off. He builds an effigy of his enemy, and attaches a hotdog to represent the pe—well, you can picture it. Cartman is dismayed when, instead of biting the hotdog, the horse fellates it. It becomes a Funny Background Event while Cartman has a conversation with Jimbo and Ned.
  • Beware the Nice Ones:
    • As proven in Season 1 - Don't fuck with Wendy Testaburger!
    • Subverted with Butters, who adopts a secret evil identity and attempts to plunge the world into chaos by switching restaurant orders, hiding chalkboard erasers at school, running the water hose in his front yard non-stop, and using ineffective spray cans to destroy the ozone layer.
    • Butters can be pretty badass if he wants to grow a spine. He's the Chosen One of Imaginationland, a national hero in Mexico, and in "Butters' Bottom Bitch", he is temporarily the most successful pimp in Colorado. Yes, Butters.
  • Big Bad: Cartman is sometimes this, mainly in the trilogy "Coon & Friends". Satan and Sheila Broflovski are this in The Movie.
    • Bigger Bad: Saddam Hussein. He is more or less, the Satan's evil head in The Movie. Moreover, him represents an evil far more threatening than the war between the U.S. and Canada.
    • The Dragon: Satan, to Saddam in The Movie.
    • The Heavy: Cartman as The Coon in "Coon & Friends".
  • Big Brother Instinct: Most prominent in the relationship of Kyle and Ike as demonstrated repeatedly.
    • You DO NOT want to fuck with Karen McCormick. You will invoke Kenny's wrath.
    • Let it be understood that only Shelley has the right to torture little brother Stan.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Al-Qaeda of all people in "It's a Jersey Thing".
  • Big Damn Movie
  • Big "OMG!": Generally used whenever Kenny died Once per Episode. A notable example outside of that context (when Stan's parents accidentally send a porno to Butters's house):
    Sharon: Wow, the production values are really good in this porno.
    Randy: Yeah, it almost looks like... the Lord of the... OH MY GOD!
  • Bilingual Bonus: Largely because co-creator Trey Parker is fluent in Japanese.
    • The Japanese part of the song "Let's Fighting Love" is grammatically correct and translates into something befitting South Park.
    • The name of the Okama Gamesphere.
    • "Chinpokomon." Sounds like just a play on Pokémon, right? It's not. In Japanese, it means "penis monster", or more figuratively "dickimon".
    • The running commentary of Butters crossing the border in Last of the Meheecans refers to Cartman primarily as gordo.
      • 'Mantequilla', Butters' pseudonym in the episode, is Spanish for 'butter'.
    • In "Funnybot", Cartman speaks in German without subtitles, and says some...interesting things about Kyle:
      • Cartman: Duerfen wir dir Kind dort ... geboten. Er ist Jude. Ein schoener saftig Jude. Er ist frisch und wunderhuebsch. Wunderhuebsch. Translation: Can I offer you instead this child? He is Jew. A nice, juicey jew. He is fresh and beautiful. Beautiful"
  • Billy Elliot Plot: Inverted with Brighton in the episode Elementary school musical. He wants to play basketball, but his father forces him to sing.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Don't fuck with Wendy Testaburger.
    • A lot of the other elementary girls can be this, to different extents. Don't get in the way of their love for shoes.
    • Barbra Streisand in "Mecha-Streisand", at first.
  • Bittersweet Ending: "Lice Capades", "Over Logging" (hilariously).
  • Black and Gray Morality
  • Black Comedy
  • Black Comedy Rape: The Indiana Jones episode, "Worldwide Recorder Concert," arguably a lot of episodes.
    • Arguably subverted in-series, while absolutely hilarious to the audience (most of the time...). In the Indiana Jones episode, everyone is absolutely terrified and traumatised by witnessing the rape of Indy, to the point of Kyle Breaking the Fourth Wall and saying "I can't do this anymore." In fact, the episode wasn't just Played for Laughs, but Played for Drama at the exact same time.
    • The Christmas Critters also gang-rape a platoon of US soldiers and Kurt Russell to death in "Imaginationland". (Which was arguably horrifying.)
    • The idea that Chef thought the boys took turns raping Ms. Choksondik and then murdering her afterward is played for laughs.
  • The Blank: During woodworking class in "Tweek vs. Craig", Clyde informs Mr. Adler that some kid named Tommy got his face stuck to a belt-sander, and Tommy shows up with no face.
  • Blessed with Suck: Mysterion's (Kenny's) power. He reveals to Captain Hindsight that he has the power to never die, even if he sees Heaven or Hell. Every time he does die, he later just wakes up in bed, in his regular clothes. The worst part is that no one has any recollection of his deaths. They always think he ran away or something, despite the fact that they saw him die with their own eyes.
    • Captain Hindsight. He knows instantly how a bad situation could've been prevented.
  • Book and Switch: when Randy goes on a Food Network frenzy, he hides a cookbook under a Playboy magazine
  • Bloody Hilarious: South Park arguably wouldn't be half as funny without all the gratuitous gore - I mean, really gratuitous gore.
  • Boomerang Bigot: In "The Entity", Kyle exclaims in horror that the presence of his cousin Kyle Schwartz has turned him into a self-hating Jew.
  • Born Unlucky: Butters has a birthday of September 11th and is constantly grounded for little to no reason.
    • Kenny. Again and again and again.
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: Stan and Kyle do this to themselves in "Wing".
    Kyle: Kenny?... Kenny! Don't worry, Kenny. You didn't die for nothing. We're gonna get Wing back as our client and and make a ton of money, I swear it to you! (returns to the other boys) They killed Kenny!
    Stan: You bastards!
    • In "Going Native", Cartman borrows Butters' "Fellas! FELLAS!"
  • Bowdlerise:
  • Brains and Brawn: Nathan and Mimsey.
  • Brainy Baby: Ike.
  • Brake Angrily: The Trope Namer
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Most of the boys in earlier seasons, with Cartman being most obvious.
    • Then there is Ike, who runs away to Somalia because he was already bored with life. He's about 4 years old.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: when the boys are doing the school news and want to give it higher viewership. They realize they need to add lots of sex and lots of action, and wind up renaming it Sexy Action News.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: The stuff Trent Boyett had on his person when he first arrived in juvenile hall after being framed by Stan, Kyle, Kenny and Cartman for a fire that horribly injured their pre-school teacher: a pack of crayons, safety scissors, a marble, and a knife with "Kill All Betrayers" written on the blade.
  • Break The Motivational Speaker: Cartman with just about every reality show nanny type in "Tsst".
    • He literally causes a motivational speaker to lose his cool (read: flip shit) on him after laughing at him and cracking jokes at his expense because he happened to be a dwarf in "With Apologies to Jesse Jackson".
    • Stan does this in "The Biggest Douche in the Universe" by exposing how psychics work...and somehow winds up with his own show because people think he's a psychic as well.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: "This is just like when we got our money back for BASEketball."
  • Breakout Character:
    • Cartman has pretty much become the most prominent character in the show thanks to his sociopathic Jerk Ass tendencies (similar to Stewie Griffin and Bender).
    • Butters, Randy and Jimmy were originally minor characters that were given bigger roles in later seasons due to their popularity.
  • Brick Joke:
    • Throughout the pilot episode, Eric keeps calling everyone he comes into a contact with "a dildo". During the beginning of the second act of the same episode, Eric yells for his mother, telling her that "Kitty's being a dildo!" Eric's mother delightfully responds with:
    Well, I know a certain kitty-kitty 's who's sleeping with mommy tonight!
    • In The Movie, the boys use the promise of punch and pie to get other kids to join La Résistance. Way later, in "Super Best Friends", a Blaintologist hands out pamphlets for the Blaintology cult during a David Blaine performance. Guess what the pamphlet promises?
    • In "Jared Has Aides", Cartman pretends to be Butters and gets his parents angry by swearing at them over the phone. Later at the end of the episode, Butters' parents come to beat the stuffing out of him. Butters later refers to this very incident in "AWESOM-O", including somehow-realized knowledge of the setup.
    • In "The Poor Kid", the Agnostic foster parents make an offhand mention of a giant reptilian bird that could be an omnipotent being (complete with a poster expressing its potential existence). It shows up at the end of the episode tearing a hole in the school, eating Kenny, and then disappears.
    • In "The Biggest Douche in the Universe" Stan insults John Edward, telling him he nominates him for the biggest douche in the universe award. The conclusion of the story is a Deus ex Machina where aliens take away John Edward for an award ceremony for the "Biggest Douche in the Universe"(where he winds up competing with a literal giant douche, natch).
    • In "Chef's Chocolate Salty Balls", upon learning that a film festival only screens independent movies, Cartman stands by his viewpoint that independent movies are about nothing else than "gay cowboys eating pudding". It seems as though this goes unheeded, as the first movie Stan and Wendy attend for their paper is about lesbians, but around twelve minutes in, there is a big gathering at the Bijou theater for what the director calls a "visionary new motion picture". Said visionary motion picture is about, and is literally titled, "Gay Cowboys Eating Pudding." Due to plot conveniences, this movie is never shown, however Stan winds up vomiting at least twice upon watching it.
    • In "Osama Bin Laden Has Farty Pants", when Officer Barbrady is searching students entering the bus, due to the paranoia from 9/11, he confiscates a pair of safety scissors from Cartman. Two episodes later in "The Entity", an Airport Security Guard finds the same type of scissors on Kenny, yells "Die Terrorist!" and shoots Kenny in the head.
  • Bridal Carry: Jimmy and the prostitute in Erection Day.
  • The Bride With A Past: In the episode "The Succubus", the womanizing Chef has finally found his one and only...but, as the episode title suggests, she has a secret. The boys know, but no one listens, until the actual ceremony is underway and Veronica is forced to reveal her true nature.
  • Bring My Brown Pants: Matt and Trey are quite fond of their poop humor and thus this mentioned repeatedly. "Hell on Earth 2006" and "Le Petit Tourette" come to mind.
  • Broken Aesop: Comes with the territory when your primary goal is to offend everyone. See examples under An Aesop, Aesop Amnesia, Green Aesop. Or All Jews Are Cheapskates, Anvilicious, Children Are Innocent, Corrupt Corporate Executive, Country Matters... Just look anywhere on this page.
  • Brown Note:
    • "World Wide Recorder Concert" involves Cartman trying to discover the actual Brown Note.
    • The Tale of Scrotie McBoogerballs makes people throw up if they read just two seconds of it.
    • The porno "Back Door Sluts 9" from The Return of the Fellowship of the Ring to the Two Towers.
  • Brutal Honesty: Craig in "Pandemic", but Kyle also frequently veers in this territory.
  • The Bully: In "Butterballs" Butters is secretly bullied and beat up by his own grandma. She even follows him to school and bullies him in the bathroom. It's a running gag in the episode where people go to the bathroom to find a bully there waiting there for them.
    • Even more so when Butters attempts to find inner strength by donning the costume of Professor Chaos, only to have Grandma show up in a costume of her own, complete with black cape.
    • Cartman seems to be the most evident in South Park Elementary, once even spearheading a tirade of abuse on a kid until he committed suicide. In earlier episodes, Stan and Kyle also had shades of this, it's implied even Cartman suffered heavily from them.
  • Bunnies for Cuteness: Subverted (in a non-Hair-Raising Hare way) in the episode "Pip" (parodying Great Expectations). Pip tries to prove to Estella that she is not an unfeeling monster, because an unfeeling monster wouldn't hurt a cute little bunny rabbit (which Pip pulls from Hammerspace).
    ESTELLA: I told you, Pip. I have no heart.
    PIP: But you do! And I shall prove it to you once and for all! Look at this adorable little bunny.
    ESTELLA: Oh my. 'E's very cute.
    PIP: You see that? A heartless person wouldn't care at all about this bunny. They'd just as soon break its neck. Estella breaks its neck ...Oh. But look at this bunny. There. You see that? You have too big a heart to kill two baby bunnies.Estella kills bunny #2...Right...
Estella ends up killing 25 baby bunnies.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: "Say what you will about Mel Gibson, but the son of a bitch knows story structure!"
    • Mr Garrison and Mr. Mackey. However the fuck they keep their jobs despite at LEAST appearing completely stupid and acting like fools, they somehow keep their jobs. Subverted briefly for Mr Garrison since he was fired but that was quickly remedied and he was brought back on.
    • Randy has been Flanderized into this. In earlier seasons, he was a competent, if slightly doofy, geologist. Unfortunately as the seasons wore on, he continually got himself in increasingly stupid situations (some of which involved quitting his Geology job, going into VERY risky business ventures, or being a complete dipshit around the office). However it's been implied that Randy's litearlly the only scientist in town (no mention of Dr. Mephisto during that episode oddly enough).
  • Bumbling Dad: Randy Marsh. Dear God Randy Marsh. He makes Homer Simpson look like Wally Cleaver. Some of his brilliant exploits include:
    • Attending Little League games for the express purpose of getting into fights with competing team members' dads.
    • Driving drunk, then after attending Alcoholics Anonymous shaving his head chemo-style and residing himself to a wheelchair under insane delusions of disease.
    • Listening to music he literally perceives as shit, then performing said music in order to be "cool" and "in tune with" the "kids today".
    • Trying to stop his 13 year old daughter from attending a musical and killing her 'boyfriend'.
    • Saying a certain n word on national television.
  • Buried Alive: Cartman in Go God Go, necktie variant.
  • But Thou Must: In the episode Woodland Critter Christmas, after Stan kills the mountain lion and finds out that the animals he had helped to build a manger are actually Satan worshipers he repeatedly refuses to take her now-orphaned cubs to learn how to perform abortions. With a forceful "YES. HE. DID!" the scene jump-cuts to an abortion doctor, with Stan and the mountain lion cubs there. Stan is not amused.
    • Earlier than that, Stan attempted to stay home after learning the Critters' true nature.
      He tried to forget all about it by watching TV,
      but his conscience caught up with him and to the forest he did flee.
      (Stan stays put.)
      He thought he could hide from his problems - not true!
      He knew in his heart the thing he had to do!
      (Stan is getting annoyed by the persistent narration.)
      He knew that only by going to the forest could he—
      (Stan finally gives in and leaves the house.)
  • Butt Monkey: Kenny filled the role due to his constant deaths. Pip was the other buttmonkey who is constantly humiliated until his spot was taken by Butters.
    • Clyde in some episodes.
  • Buxom Is Better: Parodied in "Bebe's Boobs Destroy Society". Being an early blooming third-grader, her "breasts" are practically nonexistent (she first mistakes them for mosquito bites), but even they're enough to first make every boy in her grade fall head-over-heels for her and eventually transform into lustful, breast obsessed cavemen. They all grow out of it just in time for Wendy, who's spend the entire episode jealous of Bebe's newfound popularity, to get ridiculously large breast implants, which of course immediately turn her into a subject of mockery instead of adoration.

    C 
  • Cain and Abel: Lemmiwinks and Wikileaks in "Bass to Mouth". In this case, it's the good brother killing the evil brother.
  • The Cake Is a Lie: Sorry if you came to La Résistance hoping for punch and pie.
  • Call Back: In the first Halloween episode, Wendy wins the school costume contest with a Chewbacca mask. In the third, Kenny enters the contest with an insanely elaborate Humongous Mecha costume and seems a shoo-in to win... only for Wendy to win again with the exact same mask. They might even have relooped Mr. Garrison's announcing her winner for that one.
    • Also in the first Halloween episode was a conversation where Cartman got confused about what planet Wookies come from...
    • In the season 3 episode Starvin' Marvin' in Space, Cartman blames Kyle for a turd in the urinal. Season 10 makes an episode note  out of finding out who took a crap in the urinal. Cartman blames Kyle, obviously. After a purposefully convoluted plot, it turns out to have been Stan.
    • In the Season 8 episode "AWESOM-O", a disguised Eric Cartman asks Butters to reveal private aspects of his life. After mentioning a particularly embarrassing bowel condition, he mentions a bully named—you guessed it—Eric Cartman who likes to play tricks on him. The two incidents he names are from previous episodes: "Jared Has Aides" and "Casa Bonita".
    • In the theatrical movie, General Plymkin shoots Bill Gates in the head after what he believes is a glitch in Windows '98. Gates later appears in "The Entity" (airing two years after the film was released), only this time, with a band-aid poorly covering a hole in his head.
    • In "Elementary School Musical", the boys are asked rhetorically "where have you been" when they say they don't know anything about High School Musical. Craig replies "Peru", a Call Back to "Pandemic" earlier in the season.
    • In "The Coon", Cartman holds a failed rally for his eponymous superhero alter-ego, where the attendant asks him if he's the same kid that held the "Ginger Pride" rally from "Ginger Kids" and the AIDS benefit from "Tonsil Trouble", to which Cartman angrily denies.
  • Calvinball: Randy's idea of "Sarcastaball". The players wear bras and tinfoil hats.
  • Came Back Strong: Parodied when Cartman throws himself off a roof and wakes up from a coma in the hospital, and the cops who have the Idiot Ball believe he has precognition. Kyle later does the same thing at the end of the episode so people will believe him about the serial killer and Cartman. Eerily, the lights flicker violently when he gets frustrated.
  • Came Back Wrong: When Butters fakes his death, his dad buries the mutilated pig remains he thinks is Butters in an Indian burial ground - when Butters goes back home his parents assume this is what's happened, and chain him up in the basement.
  • Canada, Eh?: Canadians are usually portrayed as having floppy Pac-Man esque heads and black beady eyes.
    • All Canadian anatomy and technology is shown to be rather, uh, odd. Terrance and Phillip seem to have square testicles—yes we've seen them on screen. Canadian automobiles are shown to have square wheels.
    • Averted with some actual Canadian celebrities who have been caricatured on the show, including Alanis Morrisette, Justin Bieber, Sarah McLachlan, and professional wrestler Edge.
  • The Can Kicked Him: The fate of Clyde's mom in "Reverse Cowgirl."
  • Captain Ersatz: The Movie featured an assortment of original songs that were obvious tributes to numbers from classic American musicals. Oklahoma! got quoted quite a bit ("Mountain Town"/"O What a Beautiful Morning"; "Uncle Fucka"/the title song; and "It's Easy, Mmmkay?"/"The Farmer and the Cowman"), but there were others. "Kyle's Mom's a Big Fat Bitch" was a pretty generic tribute to early 1900s musicals in general, complete with a "showstopper" climax followed by a "Good evening, friends!" finale. "La Resistance" is structured after "One Day More" from Les Misérables and the Quintet from West Side Story; "La Resistance (Reprise)" is more specifically derived from "A Little Fall Of Rain" from Les Misérables.
  • Captain Obvious: Captain Hindsight is a hop and a skip away from this.
  • Captain Superhero: Captain Hindsight.
  • Captivity Harmonica: In The Movie, by Ike. Also in "Whale Whores" by Eric Cartman and in the season three episode "Jakovasaurous".
  • Card Carrying Villains: The Woodland Critters.
  • Carload of Cool Kids: There's one episode where people from the future repeatedly come to live in their own enclave, called Little Future. A bunch of futurists drive by in a hovercar and wordlessly start jumping the car up and down (as if it were a lowrider).
  • Car Meets House: Played with in the episode that covered the dangers of elderly drivers. Said old people chase the boys through the house serial-killer style, using their cars. Lampshaded when the boys and Randy take cover on the second story of a house, only to flip on the lights and reveal another car with elderly drivers. Cue driver: "How the hell did we get up here?"
  • Cassandra Truth: Often happens, somewhat justified as some of what the boys say is hard to believe, but this is South Park after all. Sgt. Yates never seems to listen to Kyle. Stan trying to prove that John Edward is only conducting a parlor trick, or that there is a fish that is out for blood.
    • "I broke the dam"
  • The Cast Showoff: Trey Parker. So very much. Pick an episode and it will usually have him singing or it will have something spoken or written in Japanese (for those who don't know, Trey Parker is the lead singer of the band, DVDA, and majored in Japanese in college)
    • Isaac Hayes before he left. In almost every appearance, he's singing.
  • Catapult Nightmare: South Park loves this trope.
  • Catchphrase: Stan and Kyle's "Oh my God, they killed Kenny!" "You bastards!" exchange, Cartman's "Screw you guys, I'm going home!", "Respect mah authoritah!" and "Goddamn it!" with cocking head and squinted eyes.
    • They also toyed with the "They killed Kenny" line a lot; one of the best was when it became a version of "Marco! Polo!" to let Stan find Kyle in "Super Best Friends". Then there was the "I found a penny!" bit from "Chef's Chocolate Salty Balls".
    • The classic Butters catchphrase: "Oh, hamburgers!"
      • In "Butters' Bottom Bitch", he learns a new one off the pimps, with it becoming increasingly natural for him to say...
    Butters: Do you know what I am saying?
    • Butters also has "Fellas! FELLAS!"
    • Randy Marsh: "Well, that sucks."
    • Stan has "Goddammit!", "Oh, ohhhhhh!", and in the earlier seasons, a simple "Dude", or "That right there, that was fucked up".
    • Everyone from New Jersey: "It's a Jersey thing!"
  • Catchphrase Interruptus
  • Caught with Your Pants Down: In "Overlogging", Stan's dad Randy has gone for weeks without masturbating to internet porn, (which he needs, as normal porn is now too tame) eventually near the end he sneaks into the camp's computer room, looks at a bunch of perverted things, and in a moment of Squick ejaculates all over the room and himself. He tells the people who come to investigate the strange noises that "a ghost was attacking him and slimed him with ectoplasm". He asks several times if anyone else "saw the ghost."
  • Celestial Paragons and Archangels: There are three of them in "Best Friends Forever": Archangel Michael, Archangel Gabriel, and Archangel Uriel.
  • Censored Title:
    • The episode "Chicken Lover"—the name of the villain is actually "Chicken Fucker", but the name of the episode was changed.
      • The term "Chicken Lover" was used in the episode, to be fair— three times by Officer Barbrady and once by Cartman.
      Officer Barbrady: Uh, Mayor, please. When we're around children we prefer to call him the "Chicken Lover".
    • The episode "You Got Fucked in the Ass" as well, usually switched to "You Got F'd in the A" or just "You Got...".
    • Also, in the newspaper's TV sections, "Make Love, Not Warcraft" became just "World of Warcraft", and "Miss Teacher Bangs a Boy" had the word "Bangs" removed, making the title just "Miss Teacher ... a Boy".
    • "The Biggest Douche in the Universe" is truncated in TV listings to just "The Biggest". The two-parter that closes Season 1 ("Cartman's Mom is a Dirty Slut") and "officially" opens Season 2 ("Cartman's Mom is Still a Dirty Slut") has "(is) a dirty slut" replaced by ellipses. The "bitch" in "Butters' Bottom Bitch" is replaced with a "B".
    • "An Elephant Fucks a Pig" was toned down to "An Elephant Makes Love to A Pig", which Parker and Stone found ridiculous.
  • Cephalothorax: The "girl born without a midsection" on the Maury Povich show.
  • Cerebus Retcon: Kenny's recurring deaths and the explanation behind the subsequent Snap Backs given in "Cartman Joins NAMBLA" are given a dark twist in "Mysterion Rises".
    • And it's not about Kenny's dad getting raped by the 30 or so middle aged men in that episode either.
    • You know all those wacky activities that Randy hilariously takes as Serious Business? Well, it turns out... that Randy was trying to distract himself from the fact that he's unhappy with his life.
    • It might have always been there but "Cash For Gold" revealed that Stan's grandpa has Alzheimer's disease, making him calling Stan "Billy" all those times a little less funny.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: While the show is still very much a comedy, its tone has changed significantly over its run. Early seasons were silly and sitcom-like, with a sense of humor reminiscent of Monty Python's Flying Circus and The Simpsons; later seasons became increasingly topical, with most episodes featuring recent political or social issues, while the Black Comedy became even blacker to the point of becoming a Dramedy with a Downer Ending or two and increasingly common and graphic violence.
  • Character as Himself: In the movie, the end credits read, "And Saddam Hussein as Himself" in the "Cast" section, though the voice was actually done by Matt Stone.
  • Character Development: In "Coon 2: Hindsight", Liane actually puts her foot down and disciplines Eric. Borders on an Out-of-Character Moment. This development continues in season 15, though.
    • Cartman has developed both ways. At first he was just a spoiled brat who got worse and worse. He evolved into a Manipulative Bastard capable of rounding up a lynch mob with a stirring speech, and rose to the point where the writers had trouble thinking up how to top himself. "Tsst" suggests an attempt to take him back down to sane levels. He's still spoiled, selfish and agressively dominant, but a few of the demons have been exorcised.
    • "1%" appears to have furthered this development.
    • The town of South Park itself has undergone development over the years, gaining more businesses and residents, becoming more of a medium-sized town, to the point of having a mall. The sole South Park policeman, Officer Barbrady, has been marginalized over the years in favor of a county police force (though Barbrady now seems to be more competent than in the earlier seasons). This development is best shown in the new season 17 intro, where many more houses and businesses (many of which are from past episodes) are shown to populate the town.
  • Characterization Marches On: The children characters were generally more childish and bratty early on. Stan and Kyle were generally lower scale bullies (compare their treatment of Butters in early and later episodes) while Cartman was less calculating and sociopathic and more just a Jerkass. That said, they can still be immature at times in later seasons.
    • Stan went from your run-of-the-mill kid and low-grade bully to a cross between the Only Sane Man and The Knight.
    • Kyle went from your average occasionally-caring-occasionally-kind young boy to a cross between The Paragon and The Conscience (except when it comes to Cartman). Much of his initial childish traits, such as in "Are you there God? It's me, Jesus" seemed to be transferred over to Butters.
    • Cartman went from a cross between Bratty Half-Pint and Jerkass to a complete psychopath.
    • Kenny went from The World's Expert on Getting Killed to The Hedonist
      • And that change may be justified as him trying to live his life to the fullest, because he dies all the time, and really has no reason to avoid potentially life-threatening activities. (That and the fact that the creators have stated that the "Kenny dying every episode" trope had gotten stale and/or they had reached the point where they had trouble thinking of original deaths (almost) every episode. This was one of the reasons for the episode "Kenny Dies".)
    • Randy underwent a huge change. Compare his very first scene—where he casually sips coffee after learning of a volcanic eruption—to his main character trait later on, i.e. freaking out over every little thing, including non-existent threats.
  • Cheating with the Milkman: The episode "Insecurity" suggests this trope had been modernized with UPS deliverymen in place of milkmen.
  • Chekhov's Boomerang: In the episode "200," every celebrity/famous figure that has been on South Park is back in this episode. Tom Cruise, Barbara/Mecha Streisand, Mel Gibson, Bono, Paris Hilton, R. Kelly, Sally Struthers, you get the point. They're ALL back to sue the town..
  • Chekhov's Gag: In "You're Getting Old", there's a joke where Stan can't tell the difference between a turd in a microwave and an ad for Kevin James's Zookeeper. In the following episode, at the very end, Stan's friends ask him to come watch a movie together. Guess which one it is a sequel of.
    Cartman: Zookeeper 2: Zookeepier!
  • Chekhov's Gun: The "goo" that came out of the Rob Reiner at the end of "Butt Out" becomes a plot point in the episode "200".
    • "The Death of Eric Cartman" establishes that the boys love KFC. After the boys decide to start ignoring him after eating all the chicken breading, he becomes convinced that he is actually dead, confirming it to himself when hearing reports about what he ate clogging the toilet as referring to rupturing his colon.
      • The plot of a latter episode, "Medicinal Fried Chicken" revolves heavily around KFC.
    • The V-Chip implanted in Cartman's head near the end of The Movie.
    • The "Kenny born for the 52nd time" gag at the end of "Cartman Joins NAMBLA" becomes a major plot point in the "Coon and Friends" trilogy.
    • In "Margaritaville", Kyle holds a Sermon about the economy, saying he applied for an American Express Platinum card to prove a point, and holds it up to show his audience. Near the end of the episode, he uses that same credit card to pay off the town's debts.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: In the Coon and Friends saga: who'd have thunk that Mint-Berry Crunch, who came out of nowhere, had no real significance to the plot, and was a noticeably lame superhero, would wind up being the one to fix everything? Even Cartman's surprised.
    Cartman: (in disbelief) Fucking Mint-Berry fucking Crunch...
  • Chekhov's Hobby: In "Lil' Crime Stoppers" a drug cartel states that they'll have to have the Mc Cormicks start making their meth again. Nobody payed much attention. Then eight years later it becomes a major plot point in "The Poor Kid"
  • Chekhov's Skill: Parodied in the episode "You Have 0 Friends" with Stan's ability to... roll Yahtzee?
  • Cherry Tapping:
    Kyle: Cartman, what are you doing?
    Cartman: I'm killing you. Unfortunately I could only afford a wiffle bat, so it's gonna take a while.
  • The Chessmaster: Both Cartman and Kyle frequently engage in this with one another. Typically involves Cartman developing a scheme and Kyle attempting to counter it. This can get quite elaborate as both are more than familiar with the other's capability.
  • Child Popstar: Cartman's Christian Rock band, Faith +1, is just one example.
  • Child Prodigy: Ike is the most blatant version of this trope with his recreation of the last supper using macaroni and contributing to a diamond heist and becoming a knight in Canada before reaching 4.
    • To a lesser extent, Kyle can be this. He has regularly been portrayed as the smartest in the 4th grade class. Existential philosophy, crossbreeding of animals, photoshopping well enough to fool a foreign government and single-handedly thwarting a terrorist plot while the government sits by idly isn't exactly typical of an eight to ten year old.
    • Cartman may be somewhat Book Dumb, but he is a certifiable master at scheming and manipulation and when enticed will go to great lengths to get what he wants. Is frequently capable of getting the better of Kyle's attempts to stop his plan of the week.
  • Children Are Innocent: Usually subverted, most often with the murderous Cartman and the sex-crazed, glue-sniffing Kenny. It's also often played straight. Butters is most usually portrayed as innocent, while other children are sometimes shown to be uncorrupted by various stupid or disgusting aspects of adult culture.
    • In the commentary for the episode "Bebe's Boobs Destroy Society", Matt and Trey explicitly state that they disagree with this trope, instead believing that people are born corrupt and that "society keeps us just barely in line."
    • Played straight in some episodes even by Cartman, like the one where the kids simply cannot fathom that people kill each other for having different-colored skin, or when they use "fag" without implying gay (for obnoxious Harley riders).
  • Christian Rock: Parodied in "Christian Rock Hard" as taking pop love songs and substituting "Jesus" for one's lover.
    Cartman: "I want to get down on my knees and start pleasing Jesus, I want to feel his salvation all over my face..."
  • Chronic Pet Killer: A variant, where it turns out that all of Paris Hilton's pets had committed suicide rather then putting up with their obnoxious owner.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome:
    • Major character Pip went from featuring heavily and getting his own solo episode, to vanishing permanently and never being mentioned again until 201 where he was promptly killed by Mecha-Streisand.
    • A lot of early season characters on South Park haven't been seen much (or at all) in later episodes, such as:
    • Officer Barbrady: Effectively replaced by a full police force around season 7, though he is still brought back for small appearances every now and again.
    • Kenny's brother, Kevin (the dirty kid who speaks like a hick, when he speaks at all). He was only seen on "Starvin' Marvin" (from season one), "Chickenlover" (from season two), and "Chickenpox" (also from season two). His most recent appearance (I think) was at the end of season 12 where he's at the dinner table and Kenny gets shot by a stray bullet (with no one in the family doing the "Oh my God! They killed Kenny!" bit).
      • Actually, his most recent appearance was in the Season 15th episode, That Poor Kid.
    • Lampshaded in "Cartman's Incredible Gift" when Ms. Crabtree is murdered by a serial killer.
      Lou: I owe it to that victim over there! I know she hadn't been in any recent episodes, but DAMMIT, she deserved better than this!
    • Damien hasn't reappeared in years despite his father making numerous reappearances.
    • Nurse Goodly (the nurse with no arms from "Cartman's Mom Is Still a Dirty Slut") hasn't made a reappearance in scenes taking place in Hell's Pass Hospital.
  • Church of Happyology: Quite notably averted. Even ended the episode by daring them to sue.
  • Circumcision Angst: Subverted: Kyle thinks they're going to cut off his brother's penis!
  • Town of Adventure
  • Cliché Storm: Invoked in "About Last Night..." is intentionally full of Heist Film cliches.
  • Clip Show: Spoofed in "City On the Edge of Forever", in which all the flashbacks are incorrect and all inexplicably end with the characters involved eating ice cream.
    "Now that's what I call a sticky situation!"
    • There's even a flashback of the kids in a Happy Days scenario watching Fonzie jump over buses on his bike, and that's treated like it was from an actual episode — the joke being that kids say that the flashback was wrong because if Kenny died eight hours ago, how could he have died back then as well? And then they turn things Up to Eleven by bringing up a flashback from earlier in the episode! "Remember that time that that kid in the Red Shirt decided to go off on his own?" Things play out just like that earlier scene, up until after the monster ate the kid:
    (the monster, instead of running away like in the real scene, pulls out some ice cream)
    Kyle: Hey look! He's got ice cream!
    (the monster tears a hole in the roof of the bus — just like when he killed Kenny in a scene elsewhere in the episode — and gives ice cream to the kids)
  • Closer to Earth: Initially subverted, with most of the female residents often being twice as obnoxious as the males (it's hard to believe that Randy Marsh was actually the more laid back of the two earlier on). Played more straight in later episodes where even the more obnoxious females such as Wendy and Sheila are far less shrill and prone to Idiot Balls. For most of the adult characters, this is about only as "Closer To Earth" as Jupiter is to Pluto (and naturally all female celebrities are free game).
    • Played pretty straight with Sharon. Paired with her husband they're the stereotypical "Woman smart, man stupid" sitcom couple.
  • Cloudcuckooland: Canada. Watch out for Scott!
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Anyone from Canada. Butters and Cartman seem to be shifting more towards this trope as of recently too.
    • Also, Randy Marsh.
    • President Bush. Apparently he thinks Saddam Hussein is Satan's gay boyfriend and that he is somehow building chemical weapons plants in Heaven. Subverted in that he is completely right about everything.
      • He's actually portrayed as pretty intelligent in his later appearances: he's the Only Sane Man in parts of "Cartoon Wars" and almost pulls off a Xanatos Gambit in "The Mystery of the Urinal Deuce." Word of God says that they just didn't see a point in making him an idiot when every other show was already playing that joke to death.
    • Mel Gibson.
      • "Ow, my nipples! They hurt when I twist them!"
    • Parker and Stone are Cloudcuckoolanders themselves. Seriously, many of the plots to these episodes simply have to be seen to be believed.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Happens a lot.
    • Cluster S Bomb in "It Hits The Fan."
      • Also contains a Cluster F Bomb of a different sort, in regards to Mr. Garrison.
    • Cluster B Bomb in the "Kyle's Mom is a Bitch" song
    • Cluster N Bomb in "With Apologies to Jessie Jackson."
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Kanye West really, really wants to know why Carlos Mencia is calling him a gay fish.
  • Color Me Black: One episode has the boys making Cartman think he's a ginger. Freckles and hair dye. The episode then turns this trope on its head - rather than making Cartman rethink his horrible attitude, he actually starts a ginger supremacist movement and almost kills every non-ginger kid in town.
  • Come to Gawk: Someone's about to get beaten up! Let's call the entire town, so that everybody can watch!
    • "CRIPPLE FIGHT!!"
    • This is also what happens in "Breast Cancer Show Ever."
  • Comedic Sociopathy
  • Comic Book Time: The boys started out as 8-year-olds in 3rd grade. In season 4, they moved onto 4th grade and are now 9-year-old boys. They have remained 9-years-old and in 4th grade ever since (though occasional recent episodes make reference to them being either 8 or 9).
    • In "Crack Baby Athletic Association", Stan says that everyone present (Cartman, Kyle, Butters, Clyde, and Craig) is ten years old. Later in "You're Getting Old" Stan himself turns ten, so this is probably the default age for all the kids now.
    • In "Ike's Wee Wee" it was stated Ike was born in 1996. This makes no sense nowadays as his older brother was stated to be born in 2001 in "You have 0 Friends".
  • Comically Missing the Point: Cartman tends to exemplify this one, the "Major Boobage" episode in particular. Mainly due to the sub-plot of his rescuing the cats from being put into the pound (eventually taking in around 100). When asked by Kyle (a Jew) why the cats are in his attic, he replies with "They're innocent victims in this! They have to hide or they'll be put to death. Something you just can't understand." By the end, we have this exchange between Cartman and Kyle:
    Cartman: But ya know, we've all learned something, you guys. We can never persecute living beings and force them into hiding. It's wrong.
    Kyle: And you don't see any parallel between that and anything else in history?
    Cartman: Hmmm, nope. I have no idea what you're talking about, Kyle.
    • Although, since it IS Cartman, this could just be him being a Jerkass.
    • In episode 201: Scott Tenorman's father was Cartman's father. Cartman killed his own father and fed him to his half-brother. Cartman has a Heroic—well, a BSOD of some other character alignment over the fact that this means he is latently ginger.
    • In "Death," the earlier airings feature the following exchange:
    Liane: Eric, dear? I just got a call from your friend Kyle's mother. She said that this show is naughty, and might make you a potty mouth.
    Cartman: That's a bunch of crap! Kyle's mom is a dirty Jew!
    Liane: Ohhh, okay, hon.
    Later airings censor the word "dirty," making the joke seem less like Cartman's mother is ignorant of her son's racism, and more like she's just plain stupid.
    • This comprises a good half of the plot behind "Fishsticks." Kanye West, the one person on Earth who can't understand the titular joke, will go to great lengths in his vain attempt to "get it."
  • Coming of Age Story: "1%", in a rather twisted way.
    • "You're Getting Old" was this for Stan.
    • "Smug Alert" has the town realize that their own smugness caused a terrible storm and that driving hybrid cars was the sole cause of it, even though Kyle points out that it's possible to drive a hybrid without being a douche about it.
  • Condescending Compassion: Nurse Golem calls the townspeople out on that when they are celebrating her, saying the last thing she needs is attention, and she just wants to be treated like everyone else.
  • Confession Cam: Parodied heavily at the beginning of "It's a Jersey Thing", culminating with when Sheila admits she's from Joisey.
    Sharon: Sheila, who are you talking to?
    Sheila: You wouldn't understand. It's a Jersey thing.
    • And again in "I Should Have Never Gone Ziplining"
    • In "Proffesor Chaos", they parody The Bachelor when looking for someone to take Butter's place
  • Conservation of Competence
  • Conspicuous CG: Even though the show is entirely animated on a computer (albeit stylized like construction paper), there's actually quite a few times where it's even more obvious. Which has become very noticeable in the later seasons. It is generally agreed that this is frequently intentional to maintain the appearance of the show looking cheap.
    • Some examples include the return of Mecha Streishand in "201", the race sequences in "Poor and Stupid", the titular creature in the "Cthulhu Trilogy" and pretty much every background since season 5.
  • Consulting a Convicted Killer: In the episode "Toilet Paper", Parodying The Silence of the Lambs, Officer Barbrady consults Josh, locked up for toilet papering houses, to help him with a similar case.
  • Contemplate Our Navels: in 'The Tooth Fairy Tats' has Kyle start to doubt his own existence after discovering the tooth fairy isn't real. He spends the rest of the episode reading various philosophy books and talking about the nature of reality, even when the conversation around him is something different. He finally has an out-of-body, one-with-the-universe experience, and comments that it was weird. It's never, ever spoken of again.
  • Continuity Cavalcade: "200"
  • Continuity Nod: Willzyx and Tom Cruise on the moon in Coon 2.
    • Then we finally have Mysterion's identity and actual power explained. Mysterion is Kenny, who can't die. On top of that, the conclusion to the Coon/Mysterion saga showed Kenny's mother giving birth again, sans pregnancy, and regretting going to any of the Cult's meetings. This is a direct nod to the episode when she gave birth to a Kenny look-alike, after Kenny had died trying to prevent the new kid from being born.
    • In "1%" an Okama GameSphere can be seen in Token's room.
  • Contractual Purity: invoked Parodied in Britney's New Look. The climax reveals that the public intentionally set up celebrities like Britney Spears (and later Miley Cyrus) on a high pedestal just to see them fall. All so they can have a good harvest.
  • Convicted by Public Opinion: When the heads of a boy scout group were taken to court for discriminating against gays, the judge, when about to announce the verdict, said it was based on public opinion.
  • Cooking Duel: When Stan battles his Facebook profile in a game of Yahtzee.
    • Again in Creme F'raische, which pits Randy against various reality TV cooking stars, such as Guy Ferrera and Chef Ramsey which is actually a disguised Cartman.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: When the FBI captures the gang in "Starvin' Marvin IN SPACE!!", the interrogator forces the four boys to talk... by rubbing his hand against a balloon.
  • Cool Teacher: Parodied with Mr. Cartmanez.
  • Coordinated Clothes: The Goths are proud of their non-conformity. "If you wanna be one of the non-conformists, all you have to do is dress just like us and listen to the same music we do."
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Mickey Mouse in "The Ring".
    • And, to tease Disney and mock its legalistic ways that result in lawsuits, Mickey Mouse turns into a giant monster that breathes fire all over South Park.
    • Also several Native Americans owning a large casino who threatened to tear down South Park to make way for a highway. Subverted with the CEO of Wal-Mart, who seems to be one, but is actually just a pawn to Wal-Mart itself.
    • "Chef-Aid:" "I am above the law!"
  • Couch Gag: In the early seasons, this version of the theme song would be used whenever there was a Halloween episode instead of the standard animation.
  • Counterpoint Duet: Between Randy and Skeeter in "I'm A Little Bit Country". The song was reprised at the episode to show that they had reconciled.
  • Country Matters: The only swear word that isn't thrown around with gleeful abandon. There are a few times they sneak it in though.
    • Stan tries to get Wendy back by having Jimmy tell her she's a "continuing source of inspiration" to him and his stutter makes it sound like... that.
    • Randy calls Sharon this in "Clubhouses" ("did you just say the 'c' word?"), but it's censored. On the other hand, Tiger Woods calls his wife this in "Sexual Healing", and it is not censored.
    • Russell Crowe starts to call a woman this in "The New Terrance and Phillip Movie Trailer", but it's cut short.
    • And in Wendy's audition song for Fingerbang: "Balzac was a writer/ He lived with Allen Funt/ Mrs. Roberts didn't like him/ But that's 'cause she's a/ Contaminated water can really make you sick..."
      • That song uses subverted rhymes on several curse words, and outright uses the word "fuck" (bleeped on TV, though in such a way that it's obvious what it was, as always with South Park). Yet, the title of the song (never mentioned on TV) focuses on just one of the words so subverted - guess which one. [1]
  • Courtroom Antic: Spoofed in "Chef Aid".
  • Coy, Girlish Flirt Pose: Natalie Portman when she demurely turns down requests to open her wormhole.
  • Crap Saccharine World: The show in its initial state, before it became Darker and Edgier.
  • Crapsack World: Especially after the (relatively) tamer and sillier early seasons.
    • Gets a literal treatment with "You're Getting Old"/"Ass Burgers": Poor Stan watches his life fall apart around him; and after it all, right as he finally regains his enthusiasm in life, he's dragged back into the status quo against his will, turning to alcoholism just to go on living normally.
  • Creator Provincialism: Trey and Matt are from Colorado, so they set their series in a small town about 40 miles from Trey's homeland - even taking its name from the South Park grassland.
  • Creepy Cleanliness: Linda Stotch when learning her husband is cheating on her with men.
  • Creepy Good: Freddy Krueger.
  • Crisis of Faith: Kyle has one when Cartman gets his own theme park and he gets... haemorrhoids.
  • Crossdresser:
    • Butters has been dressing as a girl on and off ever since his first significant role in "Two Guys Naked In A Hot Tub" - not only did he suggest playing Charlie's Angels with women's clothes, he also said he should get to play Jacklyn since it was his idea. This little game got more intense in "Marjorine".
    • Cartman has dressed up as a girl a couple of times too.
  • Cross Referenced Titles:
    • "Do The Handicapped Go to Hell?" "Probably."
    • "Cartman's Mom is a Dirty Slut." "Cartman's Mom is Still a Dirty Slut."
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Butters gets a surprisingly high number of these moments.
  • Cruel Twist Ending: "The Return of Chef", "Stanley's Cup" and "Scott Tenorman Must Die", although the latter two are played for laughs.
  • Crush Parade: Kenny's first ever death on South Park sees him blasted onto a road by an alien raygun, trampled by a herd of stampeding cows, and the killing blow comes when he's run over by Officer Barbrady's police cruiser. After that, his body is eaten by rats.
  • The Cuckoolander Was Right: In "Reverse Cowgirl" Butters admits he thought the correct way to sit on the toilet was to sit inward so you can rest your reading material on the top and reach the handle without having to look down. Near the end John Harrington's ghost confirms that this is how he intended it to be used.
  • Cultural Translation: Sega Dreamcast is changed into Playstation in the Polish translation simply because no one there knew what a Dreamcast was.
    • "Come Sail Away" was swapped out for "La Cucaracha" in a dub aired on Mexican local TV, while the other Spanish-language dubs used other alternative songs in its place.
    • Starvin' Marvin was referred to as "Paco el Flaco" (Paco the Skinny) in the original Latin American dub. Big Gay Al became "Gran Pato Al" (pato being slang for an effeminate gay man).
  • Culture Police: Sheila is the freakin' CHIEF of the Culture Police.
  • Cure Your Gays: Butters gets sent to a camp of this nature in "Cartman Sucks".
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: That Hippie Drill Cartman came up with in "Die, Hippie, Die"; it could have been used for so much more; and yet they only use it to disperse a hippie festival. (Sure, it could've consumed the the town like a giant, pot-smoking ameoba, but still, you would think that Cartman would've sold it to the government or something for a massive profit.)
  • Cut the Juice: In the 24 parody episode.
    • And "Over Logging".
  • Cute Is Evil: The Woodland Christmas Critters.
  • Cutting the Knot: When Stan and Kyle try to destroy the Wall Mart by destroying its core, they see that the core is a mirror. The Wall Mart CEO goes on about the symbolism about how it is the citizens of the town that are fueling the Wall Mart, etc. Stan shrugs and says the guy told them to destroy the core, so Kyle shatters the mirror which destroys the Wall Mart.

    D 
  • Damned By a Fool's Praise: If the writers think something sucks, they'll often express it by having Cartman or Butters like it.
  • Darker and Edgier: Pre-Season 5, the show was really silly and amusing. But once we get to the season of uncensored cursing, Cartman killing two people and grinding them up into chili, brainwashing Earth Day cults, life-threatening hemorrhoids, genetically-engineered towels, and butt-faced people, sooner or later, you'll realize that the show has gotten a near-complete overhaul.
  • A Day in the Limelight:
    • The Goth Kids in "The Ungroundable"
    • Wendy in "Stupid Spoiled Whore Video Playset", "The List", "Breast Cancer Show Ever" among others.
    • Butters' Very Own Episode" deserves a special mention, although he later became a major character.
    • Jimmy is definitely a running second to Butters in this category. "Erection Day", "Krazy Kripples", "Crippled Summer", "Fishsticks", "Up the Down Steroid" just to name a few.
    • Ike in "Royal Pudding"
  • Deadline News: In "Night of the Living Homeless".
  • Deadpan Snarker: Stan and Craig. Especially Craig.
    Craig: This is fun. Let's walk for miles through a spooky jungle. It just keeps getting better and better.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Cartman sums it up best in "Cartmanland" regarding Kenny's constant deaths.
  • Death Is the Only Option: In the episode "Fantastic Easter Special", Jesus, who is imprisoned, asks Kyle to kill him in order for his powers to activate. Kyle, being Jewish, is, naturally, very uncomfortable with this.
  • Declarative Finger: Towelie does this when dispensing towel advice.
  • Deconstruction: In "Kenny Dies," they took their Overused Running Gag of Kenny dying and played it absolutely straight, with similarly unconventional results. For a while.
    • Also in the "Coon and Friends" trilogy, Kenny as Mysterion finally decides to speak to his friends about the matter without the muffle, and completely seriously. It turns out that no one has the ability to remember the deaths, and Kenny reappears in his bed, or occasionally somewhere else.
  • Deconstructive Parody: "Crippled Summer" has one of Looney Tunes and its Amusing Injuries.
  • Defied Trope: In "Butt Out", Kyle attempts to avoid Cannot Spit It Out, only to get Cassandra Truth.
  • Demoted to Extra: Most of the characters from the early seasons, particularly Officer Barbrady and Dr. Mephisto, who were major characters in many episodes, and often had whole shows featuring them (both later vanished, and South Park even got a real police force). The Mayor appeared far less as time went on, and Chef was showing up less and less (after being more or less the fourth most important character on the show) before he was killed off. Most of the one-off characters, too.
    • The boys themselves. More and more episodes seem to follow the formula of "Randy does something stupid, while Stan & Kyle get maybe one or two lines in the beginning".
    • Tweek, Pip, Wendy, Ike, Jimbo & Ned, Fr. Maxi, Kenny, Mrs. Cartman, Kyle's parents and Mr. Garrison have scarcely appeared in later seasons.
      • Lately, however, Kenny HAS been getting more appearances, even getting his own episode with Butters in "Going Native" AND NOT DYING!
  • Depraved Homosexual: Mr. Garrison.
    • Though, as Chef once noted, "there is a BIG difference between gay people and Mr. Garrison." Liking men is the least weird thing about his sexual preferences.
    • Cartman. Jimmy put it best in "Imaginationland".
      • And put on display in "Cartman Finds Love".
  • Despotism Justifies the Means: Eric Cartman has a deep fondness for this. "Probably", "Dances With Smurfs" and "Crack Baby Athletic Association" are just three examples among many, many others.
  • Determinator: Cartman may be a gigantic prick, but when he wants something he'll go to almost ridiculous lengths to get it.
    • Kyle at times too. Both can be pushed easily if it's at the other's expense actually.
    • Butters in "Super Fun Time".
      Butters: "Teacher, my partner is back on the bus."
    • Jimmy in "Erection Day" and "Up the Down Steroid".
  • Deus ex Machina: Mintberry Crunch, full-stop. Also, the ending of the film.
  • Devil in Plain Sight: Averted, in that many characters know that Cartman is a Jerk Ass. However, authority figures like Mr. Garrison, Principal Victoria, and Mr. Mackey oftentimes treat Stan and Kyle as if they're just as bad (or, in "Toilet Paper," worse!) despite this being far, far from the case.
  • The Devil Is a Loser: Originally a headstrong rebel and pretty badass his first appearance, his later appearances he's a whiny little bitch. God even calls him out on this. He's also gay for some reason.
    • South Park was actually fairly progressive in this area. He's gay because he happens to be attracted to males. It wasn't done for a quick gag or gay plot, it's just a personality trait.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: Quite common in the show, especially in later seasons, most notably in Stanley's Cup.
  • Did Do The Research: For all that it is, South Park can be fairly sensitive when the writers want to be. Most of their issues are pretty well researched. When Timmy and Jimmy's conditions become applicable they are taken fairly seriously, "Le Petit Tourettes" handled Tourettes Syndrome better than most recent approaches, many terminal illnesses like AIDS, Cancer and Muscular Dystrophy are researched, they noted that Americans built military bases on Muslim holy ground, and they are not adverse to using Bible quotations.
  • Did You Just Make Friends With Cthulhu?: Cartman did.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Mintberry Crunch did it using the power of berries and mint before dragging him back to whence he came (then he flipped off his fat sister).
  • Dinky Drivers: Occurs with Stan and Kenny in the episode "Towelie".
  • Discriminate and Switch
  • Disney Creatures of the Farce: The Woodland Critters.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Oh boy, where to start. If an act is featured, it's almost certain to involve Cartman.
    • The ending to "Scott Tenorman Must Die".
    • In the beginning of "Tsst!", Cartman is in trouble for chaining a boy to the school flagpole, telling him he poisoned his milk (and the antidote is just out of reach), and supplying the poor boy with a hacksaw (it is implied the boy used it). This is a punishment for... calling Cartman chubby. Especially bad if you consider that Stan, Kyle, and Kenny regularly call Cartman MUCH worse names for "chubby".
    • A more meta-example would be the sex-change episode. Okay, we understand that Trey and Matt think that it's wrong but... did they have to have Mr. Garrison as the primary example? It's the equivalent of having Satan pop out of the ground and say how much he loves a political party!
    • How about the one involving the OTHER Scott, Scott the Dick, of the Terrance and Philip fame? Scott, disliking fart jokes is completely reasonable, but is it really enough to validate wishing cancer upon someone, letting Saddam Hussein and his army into Canada in hopes that they'd repeatedly shoot and then decapitate Terrance and Phillip, and then trying to get the people you hate to sacrifice themselves in a suicide bomb attack to fix something you screwed up?
    • In Douche & Turd, the slogan "Vote or Die"; meaning if you don't vote, P.Diddy will KILL YOU. In the same episode, the town banishes Stan for not voting. They tear off his clothes bit by bit, spitting on him, then tie him to a horse and put a bucket on his head, sending him off into the wilderness. ("Isn't this a little extreme?") This was most likely a piss-take on MTV's youth voting campaign at the time called, you guessed it, "Vote or Die".
    • "Pandemic". The Department of Homeland Security takes every Peruvian flute band they can find and takes them away to Miami where they plan to make them spend the rest of their lives. Why? For the sole reason that they find them annoying. That is what it seems like, until Part 2, when we find out that the Peruvian flute bands were the key to keeping some monstrous guinea pigs from causing massive destruction. The DMS did that knowing full well what would happen.
    • In "T.M.I.," a psychiatrist tries to purposely antagonize Cartman by hurling fat jokes and insults at him to test how he deals with anger. Cartman does not respond with the usual emotional reaction one might expect. Rather, he uses an iPhone to produce fake evidence that the psychiatrist was involved with a teenager online. The psychiatrist's wife calls the psychiatrist and kills herself over the phone.
    • In "1%," Cartman responds to being teased about "crying to his stuffed animals" every time he is persecuted by trashing all of his stuffed animals one by one and blaming it on his friends. Also known as, Cartman's interpretation of "growing up".
  • Distressed Dude: Kenny is this because you know the drill.
  • The Ditz: Butters.
  • Divine Date: Satan and Saddam Hussein (later, Satan and Chris).
  • Documentary Episode: "Crippled Summer" and "I Should Have Never Gone Ziplining", which are repectively parodies of Intervention and I Shouldnt Be Alive. The latter episode even had a dramatic reenactment (filmed in live action) for the third act of the episode.
  • Dodgeball Is Hell: Pip becomes a Dodgeball savant when he gets pissed off over people calling him French.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Kyle's character in World of Warcraft.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Frequently used either satirically or just Played for Laughs.
    • "Crème Fraiche" has a meta-example with the Shake Weight, only taken Up to Eleven.
    • "Major Boobage" has a B Plot about Cartman protecting cats from a Witch Hunt by hiding them in his attic and imploring them to be quiet. Kyle gets progressively more annoyed and incredulous that the anti-Semitic Cartman can't "see any parallel between that and anything else in history."
    • Kyle's unconventional advice on the economy in "Margaritaville" is heavily paralleled with Jesus' defiance of the Pharisees.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Both Kyle and Token in "Cartman Finds Love".
  • The Dog Bites Back: Butters occasionally gets back at Cartman and/or his relatives for their abuse of him, for ex. "AWESOM-O", "The Ungroundable" and "Cash for Gold".
    • In "Poor and Stupid", the Vagisil CEO's wife gets in a race car and deliberately uses it to wreck the Vagisil car after he repeatedly humiliates her for her... feminine odors.
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: In the episode "About Last Night...", Kyle's toddler brother Ike was the key player in Obama and McCain's Ocean's Eleven-style heist.
  • Domestic Only Cartoon
  • Don't Explain the Joke: Subverted. In Fishsticks, the fishsticks joke becomes funnier when, upon Cartman repeating the joke to Clyde and delivering the punchline, Butters runs up and explains the joke.
    Butters: You said you like to put fish sticks note  in your mouth, that makes you a gay fish!
  • Do They Know It's Christmas Time?
  • Double Aesop: "Simpsons Already Did It" tells us "Nobody cares if It's Been Done". It also tells us, in its last seconds, "War is the natural order of life".
  • Double Meaning: Principal Victoria uses the metaphor of her own fight with breast cancer to encourage Wendy to give Cartman what he has coming during The Breast Cancer Show Ever.
  • Double Standard: Spoofed quite a few times.
    • Most recent example: It's not okay to show Mohammed even if he's just standing there looking normal, yet it's okay to show Buddha snorting coke and Jesus watching Internet porn.
    • After the censorship debacle, Matt and Trey said they'd "come back next week with something completely different and see what'll happen". That "something" was showing a shark raping a mentally handicapped child. Uncensored. Twice.
    • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: Revolves around Stan being beaten and everyone being sympathetic toward him over it... until they find out that the one beating him up is his sister. Then they mock him and call him a pussy. This is despite the fact that Stan's sister is older and bigger than he is, and is also a violent sociopath.
      • Averted in "The Poor Kid." Mysterion (male) beats up an unnamed female student. The female student in question is immediately unsympathetic beforehand, as she's trying to beat up Karen Mc Cormick, a little girl half her size.
    • Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male: "Nice..."
  • Downer Ending:
    • "Stanley's Cup"
    • "Toilet Paper"
    • "The Tale of Scrotie McBoogerballs."
    • Both "You're Getting Old" and "Ass Burgers".
    • Ginger Cow
    • Titties and Dragons
    • The Hobbit, mostly because of how true it actually rings.
  • The Drag-Along: The characters generally take turns with this. Craig spends two whole episodes lampshading this. But after years of improbable adventures it was about time somebody called them on it.
  • The Dragon: Kenny or Butters usually act as this to Cartman.
    • Cthulhu hmore or less became this to Cartman in "Mysterion Rises".
    • General Disarray to Professor Chaos.
  • Drama Bomb: As soon as Season 5, the show starts to have these, beginning with "Kenny Dies". Other episodes include "Fun with Veal", "The Death Camp of Tolerance", "Toilet Paper", "Red Man's Greed", "Raisins", "Preschool", "The Return of Chef", and "You're Getting Old."
    • And in the case of Stan and Kyle's friendship, "Follow That Egg" was the first of several episodes to have these dropped on it in contrast to earlier, sillier episodes such as "Prehistoric Ice Man".
    • Cartman himself has quite a big one in "1%", which is Lampshaded by his mother, who is watching:
    Eric always has been a bit... dramatic... (Uneasy laugh)
  • Dramatically Missing the Point: Stan not getting what a terminal illness means.
  • Dramedy: Believe it or not. The entire series became this as soon as "Kenny Dies" or as late as "Toilet Paper".
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him:
  • Driven to Suicide: Most of the deaths in South Park (not counting Kenny's, who is rarely seen killing himself despite his many deaths) are this. Though it's mostly one-time characters doing so, obviously.
    • In "Coon Vs Coon and Friends", Kenny/Mysterion attempts to goad Cthulhu into either removing his curse of immortality or simply killing him once and for all. After a particularly irksome situation where a mysterious stranger behind a CGI portal gives a speech about powers, destiny, an extraterrestial origin etc. only to find out he's talking about Mintberry Crunch, who then disappears along with Cthulhu and Cartman, Mysterion goes back to headquarters/Cartman's basement after Mintberry Crunch saves the world. There, he tells his gleeful superhero buddies that he wants to "take a nap" then promptly shoots himself. For the third time in the trilogy.
    • In "Pinewood Derby", Emmett Hollis' father shoots himself with a gun after feeling ashamed to have lost to Randy in the derby-in front of Emmett-much to his horror. Emmett than says, "He's okay, he's okay, he's okay..." quickly before the scene changes.
    • In "Something Wal-Mart This Way Comes", the owner of the local Wal-Mart faces an angry mob of townspeople fed up with its influence, nervously going back and forth between lauding its qualities and expressing his own negative yet defeated opinion of it. During the conversation he writes and shows a note telling the crowd to meet him outside. After then townspeople leave the office confused and disappointed, the owner suddenly jumps through the window, hanging by a noose. Seconds later, he craps his pants, proving Cartman right about the phenomenon to his satisfaction. The same thing happens later with the founder of Wal-Mart, who shoots himself. And then craps his pants.
    • The shopping channel host in "Cash For Gold", after spending most of the episode being told to do so by Stan and several elderly people. And does so in the end.
    • Taken seriously in "Cartman Sucks" where the gay children in the camp see themselves as evil and unable to change the way they think.
  • Drugs Are Bad: Trope Namer. The episode "Ike's Wee Wee" from season two is this trope all over. Literally.
  • Dug Too Deep: BP in "Coon 2: Hindsight"

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