YMMV / South Park


  • Acceptable Targets: Everyone and everything on the planet, at one point or another, has been lampooned on the show, even the show itself.
    • Amazingly, U.S. presidents usually get off fairly lightly, with most jokes about them either being too lighthearted or somewhat flattering (Matt Stone has said that this is because they're "too easy").
    • Though out of everyone they've offended, hippies have gotten a lot of targeting.
    • Season 19 has been one giant Take That to the politically correct/ "progressive" urban culture.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Cartman is a very complex character. Is he an Anti-Villain and Took a Level in Kindness, as is implied in episodes such as "The Death of Eric Cartman" and "Jewpacabra"? Is he a Jerk with a Heart of Gold, or is he a Jerk With A Heart Of Jerk, just hiding his true nature?
      • Cartman's multiple mental illnesses and hints of bisexuality is also subject to this.
      • Others believe Cartman's increasing cruelty is the result of him being aware that he's The Friend Nobody Likes and deciding Then Let Me Be Evil.
      • On another complex note, in "Cartman Finds Love", is he THAT hellbent on fixing Nicole up with Token due to both of them being black (he's racist of course) or is he THAT hellbent in having Kyle to himself once he finds out Nicole has a crush on him (this is the same kid who wanted Kyle to suck his balls) Not even South Park FAQs can answer this one.
    • Stan's increasing Angst and Sanity Slippage is either due to an early onset of puberty or the gradual decay of his parents' marriage.
      • Based on what we've seen with his father and grandfather, it might be hereditary.
    • Either The Movie didn't really happen and Sheila Broflovski has just naturally matured or it really did happen and Sheila has been atoning for her actions ever since.
    • Kyle, Stan and Kenny themselves. Are they really good boys, but with some Anti-Hero traits? Or they are Enfant Terribles and sociopaths who are Not So Different compared to Cartman? The fact that they still are Cartman's friends after he crossed the Moral Event Horizon in "Scott Tenorman Must Die" or the infamous attempted genocide in "Coon & Friends" support this interpretation.
      • To be fair, the boys have questioned their friendship with him more than a few times. An interesting thought comes from the fact that while they are friends with him, that doesn't mean they like him per say. As of recent seasons they have been spending a lot less time around him.
    • Wendy has also been a recipient of this, especially after "The Hobbit" with feuding fan views going to bat: Was she in the right and is she actually a believer in feminism, or is she more of a Straw Feminist only using the cause as her excuse to call others ugly and act superior to them? Was she unfairly ostracized, or was the ending "putting her in her place"? The matter isn't helped by the fact that Parker and Stone's (and Bill Hader's) characterization of Wendy differs heavily depending on the season and episode, and that while they've sometimes had her as one of the few voices of reason in the South Park universe, they've also used her as a way to lampoon feminism and activists. Even the episodes that have her painted as more in the right are subject to dissection as to whether or not she truly is, such as "Breast Cancer Show Ever" and "Stupid Spoiled Whore Video Playset".
      • It seems that while she has good intentions, her approach can be very heavy-handed and she can screw that up like anyone else. Regarding "Breast Cancer Show Ever" and "Stupid Spoiled Whore Video Playset" she approached adult figures who assisted and supported her, often learning an important moral in the process, as both Principal Victoria and Mr. Slave taught.
    • The abuse Butters receives from his parents makes more sense when you realize one of them has his grandmother as their mother.
    • Speaking of Butters' grandma, when Butters gave his "The Reason You Suck" Speech, she was completely silent. Was the frown on her face the product of a Heel Realization or a Villainous B.S.O.D.?
    • Gary Harrison (the minor Mormon character): As shown in this fic, is he a genuinely happy and kind-hearted kid who's proud of his family's values, or is he a secret life-hating douchebag who only pretends to be cheerful?
    • Kyle. Is he really The Conscience and Token Good Teammate, or is he a big case of He Who Fights Monsters? Episodes like "Douche And Turd" and "Ass Burgers" show he's quite willing to throw his "best friend" Stan under the bus, and other episodes like "Fatbeard" and "Good Times With Weapons" show he's willing to kill people if it suits his needs, just like Cartman.
    • Is Kenny's dad unemployed because he's an alcoholic? Or is it because he's simply too lazy to get a job? The show has implied both in the past.
    • In "Sponsored Content", was PC Principal's behavior towards Jimmy due to him being afraid of being labeled a bigot towards handicapped people? Or , considering he never actually interacted with Jimmy before this episode, is he legitimately uncomfortable around them?
    • Could Liane Cartman (Eric's mom) also be anti-semitic? She never shows any qualms against her sons hatred of Jews and even made him a Hitler costume for Halloween. It would easily explain where Cartman gets his attitude towards Jews from...
  • Americans Hate Tingle: An odd example in that some South Park fans in France strongly dislike the original English version, due to the local dub largely being considered a Superlative Dubbing. This got to the point that French fans vocally complained on English-speaking forums about South Park: The Stick of Truth not having a French dub, resulting in befuddlement and apathy from non-French fans responding to their posts.
  • And You Thought It Would Fail: After a horrendous test screening, nobody expected this show to be as successful as it'd become! And even after it's initial success, Trey and Matt assumed that it would be canceled by the end of season 2, which is why they handed the reigns to other writers and made Baseketball during it (and why nobody likes it).
  • Anvilicious:
    • "Eat, Pray, Queef". Talk about a 21-minute sledgehammer of male guilt. Ironic, considering the show's stance on Aesops.
    • Like everything else, they have fun with it. "...yeah, but at least Family Guy doesn't get all preachy and up its own ass with messages!"
    • "A Nightmare On Face Time" really beat you over the head with "Nobody rents movies anymore now that the Internet and Netflix have made it easy to get any film or TV show you want to see." Though that was the point: Randy is all too aware of the jokes, and spends the episode complaining about it.
    • "Go Fund Yourself", which has the boys start a start-up business called the Washington Redskins. When the Redskins football team's owner complains to the NFL about it, rather than provide a voice actor, they use actual soundbites from press conferences on the real life controversy surrounding the team's name.
  • Ass Pull:
    • Stan's parents getting back together at the end of "Ass Burgers".
    • The Crab People on "South Park is Gay," which becomes a discussed trope in a later episode.
    • Osama bin Laden was shot in the face by a US Marine in "Osama Bin Laden has Farty Pants." He returns in "It's a Jersey Thing" and gets shot again.
    • Saddam Hussein was in hell, then exiled to heaven after Satan got sick of dealing with him, where he's seen in one later episode. He then shows up suddenly as the prime minister of Canada. It stands to reason heaven got sick of him too, and where else was he gonna go, Detroit?
    • The mayor surviving her suicide attempt in 'Die Hippie Die'. There was no way she could have put a bullet through her head and be healed in a couple of days.
  • Author's Saving Throw: After the Season 10 finale "Stanley's Cup" proved to be too cruel to be funny for a lot of viewers, Season 11's premier episode "With Apologies to Jesse Jackson" picked its targets much more carefully. i.e. It's white men who get humiliated the most for using a racial slur and Cartman gets K.O.ed by a dwarf after laughing at him for the whole episode.
    • Mrs. Garrison managed to offend a lot of transgender people, yet her sexuality was toned down considerably. While Mr. Garrison commited bestiality and tried to solicit sex from both his father and Cartman, Mrs. Garrison only ever had sex with consenting adults. The show's more enlightened attitude towards transgenderism was also shown in "The Cissy", which made a point on the dilemma of public restrooms.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Cartman. There are two types of fans - those who love him for his Crosses the Line Twice behavior (and occasional Magnificent Bastard tendencies), who are responsible for turning him into the show's Breakout Character, and those who absolutely hate him for being a Jerkass who commits Moral Event Horizon grade evil acts at least once a season. The creators seem to be aware of this and try to cater to both (there are entire episodes dedicated to making Cartman suffer for his actions such as when Wendy beats the crap out of him in "Brest Cancer Show Ever" and getting hit by lightning in "Human CentiPad").
    • Randy Marsh. Fans either love his wacky antics or see him as everything wrong with the later episodes. A third camp think he's funny, but only when he plays a small role in an episode.
    • Wendy evolved from The Scrappy to this sometime after she beat up Cartman in "The Breast Cancer Show Ever." While some fans are fond of her and think of her as the voice of reason among the child characters, there are still others that peg her as an obnoxious Soapbox Sadie and hysterical about her causes and that see her as the designated villain for her beating up Cartman, and think of her as hypocritical and cruel to fat people based off of that and her comments about Kim Kardashian in "The Hobbit" - an episode that split fans further between agreeing with Wendy's anti-Photoshopping stance, or hating her for the abrasive way she went about it.
    • Kyle and Stan. Either the only sane ones of the series or holier than thou designated heroes who are no better than Cartman? Becomes pretty glaring when those outside of the main group sees them as the latter.
    • No one is really sure what to make of PC Principal. Many fans like him for being funny, while others hate him for being annoying and viscous. Many anti SJW types Love to Hate him since he mocks everything their opponents stand for as part of an Intended Audience Reaction. Pro SJW types obviously view him as a poorly thought out straw man. Now that the season is over, people are even more confused since PC Principal turned out to be Good All Along and quite Bad Ass with a tolerable speech to boot. Now anti SJW types are conflict about him and SJW types have slightly upped their response to him, but only slightly. Those not involved in the drama simply found his actions in the end to be a fun change of pace.
  • Big Lipped Alligator Moment:
    • Trey and Matt's live-action cameo in "Free Hat". Context won't help much.
    • The opening scene of "Spookyfish", where a scary alien touches down on South Park, and ends up getting squished by the school bus because it's very tiny.
    • The end of "The Tooth Fairy's Tats 2000": Kyle spends the entire episode questioning his existence after Cartman learns that the Tooth Fairy isn't real. Eventually, Kyle somehow manages to vanish, but seconds later he comes back in a Mushroom Samba and summons the Half-Chicken Half-Squirrel.
    • The ending of "Butterballs", while set up by a recurring line earlier in the episode, still makes absolutely no sense whatsoever in relation to the episode's plot.
    • Another Brick Joke who comes off as weird even in context is the giant reptilian-bird deity killing Kenny at the end of "The Poor Kid".
    • The live-action sequence at the end of "I Should Have Never Gone Ziplining".
    • This is basically what starts off "You Got F'd In The A" when the Orange County kids show up and "serve" the main four for no reason given.
    • In "Weight Gain 4000" Clyde and Mr. Garrison get into a conversation discussing whether he's playing an Indian or pioneer that feels intentionally dragged out and serves no purpose in the plot.
    • Jesus's appearance in Butterballs, where he copies the bathroom scene from said episode that has been repeating over and over again. He comes out of nowhere and leaves as if he was never apart of the episode.
  • Broken Base:
    • The show's increasing reliance on topical episodes. Some fans embrace this, while others miss the episodes that consisted of original plotlines that weren't Ripped from the Headlines.
    • Fans argue whether South Park was better as a lighthearted, yet vulgar Monty Python-esque sitcom, or the darker political satire of later episodes.
    • Season 17 has also caused this. Apart from the widely-loved Black Friday trilogy, some have pegged it as one of the worse seasons due to its shorter length and overly topical nature, while others cite it as an improvement over the last few seasons.
    • Season 18 in general can also be considered this with a few episode exceptions some Fans finding it more topical and less funny than season 17 and having a continuing story while others think the continuing story and more topical nature improved it.
    • Season 19: Does it offer witty satire of Social Justice Warriors by exposing the hypocrisy surrounding the movement or is it nothing but hypocritical pandering towards the anti Social Justice crowd through the use of straw men?
      • The ending of Season 19 where PC Principal turns out to be Good All Along and will continue to fight for social justice was met with disappointed reactions among fans that are were against social justice warriors but was well received among others for finally giving him a break.
  • Counterpart Comparison: Kenny has been compared to Rika Furude. Both of them suffer brutal deaths on a regular basis while nobody remembers except for themselves, leading them both to become rather jaded and unaffected by being killed, only avoiding death because it hurts. The Coon and Friends trilogy has established the similarities even further. South Park is also a small, unusual town like Hinamizawa.
  • Critical Research Failure: In the episode "Go, God, Go!", a Catholic family scolds Principal Victoria for teaching evolution at her school. The Catholic church supports evolution, and Catholic schools do indeed teach it.
  • Crosses the Line Twice:
    • The 14th season episode "It's a Jersey Thing," in which The Jersey Shore is pitted against Osama bin Laden.
    • After Jimmy labels Germans the least funny people of all, Cartman, of course, puts this trope into effect.
    Cartman: Do you know what happened to the last people to piss the Germans off? Tell him Kyle.
    • Honestly, this show deserves its own page for this.
    • Matt Stone and Trey Parker were once interviewed if there was any line they wouldn't cross. Their answer was a blunt no.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: It's clear that the show is a Black Comedy Sadist Show where almost anyone and anything is a fair target for Trey and Matt, along with the entire cast full of obnoxious jerks, with the main characters being Good Is Not Nice at best and Sociopathic Enfantes Terrible at worst. The closest to a completely likable character is Leopold "Butters" Stotch, and even then, he's not a completely good role model. Cartman himself borderlines on the trope. He can be a complete jerk to everyone, including his own mother, but he rarely gets away with his actions. Cartman, however, never learns his lesson.
    • There are two episodes with In-Universe examples. "Douche and Turd" involves Stan Marsh suffering a case of this, refusing to vote in a school mascot election owing to the fact that one is (quite literally) a giant douche and the other is a turd sandwich. The lesson he learns from a member of PETA is that all elections involve either a douche or a turd of some sorts and one must simply choose the lesser evil. This happens again in "Butterballs" where he believes he's trying to do the right thing, but Kyle Broflovski argues that the real right thing to do is to let Butters find the courage to confront his grandmother himself. In the end, Butters tells his grandmother off, which means Kyle was in the right all along, while Stan is the one to learn his lesson the hard way.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Cartman is this quite often with some groups of fans, particularly in some interpretations of the "Kyman" pairing. Because of his Freudian Excuse about his mother or feeling bad for him, he'll tend to be simplified into an innocent boy driven mad by Kyle's fat jokes and that really just wants to be loved. This tends to overlap with him growing up to be a slimmer, more conventionally attractive teenager. Of course, some also like Cartman precisely for his diabolical nature, and depict him as an attractive Magnificent Bastard type.
    • Mysterion tends to be pegged as an attractive hero. Although at the same time he's also Kenny, who's known for his infamous perversion and crude attitude, and his willingness to do anything for money or attention.
    • For being a brief character that's otherwise only appeared in cameos, Damien can easily be watered and simplified down into a tragic bad boy and anti-hero, and has quite the fans willing to overlook that he hated Pip and actually turned his "friend" into fireworks just so he could be considered cool to the other kids note .
  • Ear Worm:
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Marjorine and Professor Chaos, Butter's alter egos are very popular despite having little appearances.
    • The Goth Kids are sure to steal any episode they're in. The creators seem to have noticed this, as the characters have been appearing more frequently, and even got to star in their own episode. Twice!
    • Characters that only appear in The Movie, like Gregory and Christophe, have fanbases that are equal in size to those of reappearing characters.
      • Damien from season 1 is also comparable to Gregory and Christophe's following. Lesser examples (contested depending on part of the fanbase and the time period) also include Bradley from "Cartman Sucks", Thomas from "Le Petit Tourette", the Cotswolds siblings, Kenny's first girlfriend Kelly and his second girlfriend Tammy Warner. All one-shot characters (save for any later background cameos by Mark or Damien), but very beloved by their fans all the same note .
    • TIMMY!!!
    • Mysterion became one almost the moment he showed up. Even after being revealed as Kennynote , he's STILL one of the most talked about characters. In fact, Mysterion, before he was revealed, was such a major thing, that the South Park creators put out a Who Is Mysterion? t-shirt.
    • As far as Kenny's alter-egos go, Princess Kenny is also well-loved for being a perfect parody of Moe in anime and for being adorable in ...her?... own right, inspiring tons of fanart, cosplay, and even a fake trope page for a Princess Kenny series on this wiki, despite only appearing as an anime character for about 2-3 minutes. While his appearance in The Stick of Truth tones down the anime elements, it also makes him into one of the main villains and the Final Boss via a Plot Twist, despite his super-girly princessy getup.
    • The tertiary classmates can have their own fan followings, such as Kevin Stoley (the Star Wars-loving kid) and Dog Poo.
    • The New Kid, naturally.
    • The Mole. For a character who appeared only in the movie, and for only about fifteen minutes, he's widely popular, and has practically an entire subgenre of fan-art, cosplays, and fan-fics devoted to him.
    • The little chicken McNuggets from "Cock Magic" was universally loved from fans being just an adorable young chicken that plays Magic: The Gathering and was considered the underdog.
    • Karen has gained her own massive fanbase ever since her first speaking appearance in "The Poor Kid". Many fans consider her and her relationship with her big brother Kenny to be among one of the show's most adorable and heartwarming elements, so much so that many fans absolutely gushed at her other speaking role and her redesign in "The City Part of Town", which many consider to be to be one of the best parts of the episode.
    • Despite appearing for only the second half of "Safe Space", Reality has amassed a colossal fan base for being the only one to point out how ridiculous safe spaces are and calling out Safe Spacers on how entitled and pathetic they are. Although he's also received a lot of flak for the notion that anti Social Justice Warriors also hide behind their own echo chambers and communities.
    • Nathan and Mimsy have a rather large fanbase. Nathan originally appeared as a minor character in a 2004 episode, before having a major role as the antagonist of the episode "Crippled Summer" years later. In this episode, he was presented as a sociopathic but ineffective Evil Counterpart to Jimmy, and was given a lackey named Mimsy who would always inadvertently ruin his schemes to defeat and/or kill Jimmy. Since then, Nathan and Mimsy have become incredibly well-received, and have been appearing more frequently in the show's recent seasons.
  • Fair for Its Day: The message of "Mr. Garrison's Fancy New Vagina" is that just because cosmetic surgery (i.e. sex change) makes you look like something doesn't mean you truly are what the surgery aimed for, and it compares being transgender to Kyle becoming black and his father becoming a dolphin. The episode came out at a time when the general public saw sex change as a joke; the much-later episode "The Cissy" is more sympathetic to the trans community.
  • Family-Unfriendly Aesop: A staple of South Park, which makes sense given that it's a Family-Unfriendly Show.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: A lot of things get this treatment by fans, such as Chef's death and especially Mr. Garrison's sex change.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: Hooooo boy, Craig/Tweek. They have interacted in the show only once or twice and now they are the second most shipped characters after Stan and Kyle, who are the protagonists, anyway. Talking about ensemble darkhorses, huh?
  • Freud Was Right: The aesop for "T.M.I."
  • Fridge Horror: In "Mysterion Rises" Kenny reveals that his superpower is immortality and that, no matter how many times he dies and catches glimpses of the afterlife, he'll always wake up in his bed the next morning. Not only that, but everyone who witnesses him dying gets their memory wiped the moment he comes back, leaving him as the only one who remembers the experience. Considering his dozens of deaths over the course of the series, you really have to wonder what kind of mental strain that would leave on a nine year old.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
    • Every single one of Kenny's deaths throughout the run of the show become this when we find out that Kenny is immortal and hates feeling the pain of dying every time.
    • In the commentaries, Parker and Stone noted that of all the early episodes, the only one that's more edgy nowadays and which they probably wouldn't be able to get away with now is "Volcano" because it features children pointing guns and threatening to shoot each other...Though, since season 19 concluded with whole families point guns at each other, they presumably changed their minds about that.
    • Cartman Sucks had a running gag in the scenes of Butters at the Christian camp where all the sexually-confused boys kill themselves rather than live with trying to change their sexuality. Kinda hurts now, given the rash of LGBT teen suicides that made the news in 2010 (as well as the banning of "conversion therapy").
    • In "Clubhouses," Randy and Sharon briefly separate after a series of arguments. They get back together at the end of the episode. The episode itself is funny... but then along comes "You're Getting Old...," which is "Clubhouses," only more dramatic (and a two-part episode).
    • Remember the episode "Krazy Kripples", where at the end Christopher Reeve is sent into space in a 2D, parallelogram-shaped object into space á la "Superman"? Well, a year after this episode aired, the real Christopher Reeve had died.
    • The entire plot of "Cartoon Wars" (about people panicking over Family Guy broadcasting an episode that has Muhammad on it) became a "Funny Aneurysm" Moment thanks to the "201" debacle. In fact, this and the line about the truck driver liking Family Guy because it's not preachy and up its own ass in morals aren't so funny anymore now that South Park and Family Guy have had their Seasonal Rot blamed on being heavy on the morals. Also Hilarious in Hindsight as the show predicted that Family Guy would do an episode that has to do with Peter and Islam ("Turban Cowboy"). It didn't have any reference to Muhammad in it, but it is a very happy coincidence (or possibly intentional as the series creator has joked about the episode's jabs at him before).
    • At the end of "Professor Chaos", we are abruptly asked, "Which of these six South Park residents was killed, and will never be seen again?" Since this is a parody of cliffhanger endings, the answer is immediately given as Ms. Choksondik. Besides her, the suspects were the Mayor, Officer Barbrady, Jimbo, Mr. Garrison, and... Chef, which wouldn't be true until four years later.
    • As gross as the "stick food up your butt and shit out your mouth" concept in "Red Hot Catholic Love" was, it was at least ridiculous enough to be seen as impossible — until a video on Tosh.0 proved that vomiting up feces is physically possible.
    • "Mr. Hankey's Christmas Classics", after the "Through the years we all will be together/If the fates allow" part of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas", Kenny is killed by a chandelier.
    • In "Jared Has Aides" after a misunderstanding, people think Jared Fogle wants to give people AIDS, including children. 13 years after this episode premiered, Jared had his home searched by the FBI under suspicion of, and pled guilty of, possessing child pornography, and soliciting underage prostitutes.
      • Of course, in a characteristic display of irreverence, Comedy Central aired this episode back to back for days after his confession, spitting in the very face of the trope.
    • In "Trapper Keeper" a man under the alias Bill Cosby comes to South Park pretends to want to be Cartman's friend (his real motives will take too long to explain). And Cartman responds "Nah, my mom says I'm not allowed to have male friends over thirty." This line becomes a lot less funny after the rape allegations against Bill Cosby.
    • In "The Cissy", Randy, who is Lorde in the show, is ask by his boss to not use the female bathroom as the other women aren't comfortable around "her". While Randy isn't actually transgender, the episode did deal with issues concerning the use of bathroom privileges. North Carolina then passed a bill that overturned a Charlotte city ordinance forcing businesses to provide people who claim to identify as the opposite gender legal access to the other sex's bathrooms. To compound the irony, North Carolina's laws still permit anyone who has had an actual sex change operation (and changed his/her birth certificate accordingly) to enter whichever bathroom matches the new genitals, so something like the scene in "Mr. Garrison's Fancy New Vagina" eleven years earlier in which "Mrs." Garrison enters a ladies' room (and drives all the women there out with "her" overly enthusiastic use of the facilities) could legally still happen in North Carolina.
  • Genius Bonus: One episode has Jimmy mistaking the Crips gang for a group of fellow "cripples." In reality, the Crips' name does refer to "cripple." They got the nickname for always appearing in public with pimp canes in The '70s, and the nickname stuck.
    • The leader of the Anti-Semitic sect of Judaism in the episode "Jewbilee" worships Haman aka the Big Bad of "The Book Of Esther" who was an infamous Anti-Semite himself
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff:
    • The German-speaking fandom is the second largest after the English-speaking fandom. It has become so popular that the channel it airs on has started to show the newest episode 10 days after their US debut in English with subtitles not only giving German viewers the chance to see it earlier (until it has been properly dubbed) but also get a chance to hear the original voices and untranslated jokes.
    • The considerable Latin American fandom.
    • And of course, the Japanese fanbase. It's not as big as it was around season 7, but it's still loyal and responsible for some of the anime-style fanart. Japanese South Park fans also tend to love Happy Tree Friends.
    • The show is also quite popular in France. Popular enough that when the video game got released without a French dub, there was a furious backlash, especially given how popular the French dub is. (Also the fact that many French fans prefer to listen to a French-dubbed work, read up more on the Americans Hate Tingle page.)
    • In an in-universe example: Terrance and Phillip, a Canadian show, is popular with American kids.
  • Gotta Ship Em All: The kids get paired with alot of other kids, slash,femslash or straight.The four main kids gets paired with about everyone, Wendy and Bebe gets to be paired with about everyone. even Red and the other girls gets their fair share of being paired with several kids.
  • Growing the Beard: Trey Parker and Matt Stone consider season 4 to be the point where this happened, and absolutely hate the entirety of seasons 1-3 bar "Terrance and Phillip in Not Without my Anus." Ironically, seasons 1-3 were the highest rated in the history of the show, while season 4 was the lowest rated. Even still, the new shift toward Darker and Edgier social commentary and current events has seen the show through an unprecedented 17 seasons, with consistently high ratings for Comedy Central.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • The way Mr Garrison's sex change was handled was controversial enough when it first aired- specifically, they concluded that he wasn't really a woman, just a "guy with a vagina" (though, they also concluded that was fine if that's what he wanted). Since transgender rights have become a much more prominent issue in the post-2010s and sex changes much more socially accepted, it's pretty easy to look back on this episode and its conclusion and cringe. Garrison sticking with the sex change can be seen as both good and bad as well (particularly since he eventually went back), since if you're okay with this story arc Mrs. Garrison was one of the first leading transgender characters in western media period (and several subsequent episodes dealt with trans issues), while on the other you pretty much have to watch that episode to understand why Mr. Garrison had a sex change in the first place.
    • In-universe example- In the episode "Cartman Joins NAMBLA" the boys are playing a board game called "Investigative Reports With Bill Kurtis." Cartman gives Kyle an AIDS card in the game and the other characters are horrified by this. Years later, the episode "Tonsil Trouble" had Cartman actually giving Kyle AIDS.
    • The part in "Christian Rock Hard" when the boys illegally download songs and a SWAT team comes bursting in. Before the raid of the Megaupload offices this was thought to be ridiculous.
    • If there was ever any humor to be gained from the opening of "Dances with Smurfs," it left after the 2012 Connecticut school massacre, in which the sounds of the shooting were broadcast to the entire school after someone activated the office intercom.
      • Also, seeing Cartman attempt to kill his mother while she sleeps in "Tsst" becomes creepier in the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre, where the shooter shot and killed his mother while she slept.
    • The executive of Blizzard Entertainment in "Make Love, Not Warcraft" states that because of a guy killing everybody's characters for seemingly no good reason, everybody will stop playing the game. A few years later, World of Warcraft suffered a drop of several million subscribers, because of changes made to the game.
    • In Cherokee Hair Tampons Kenny berates Stan for not caring when he dies. This episode was immediately followed by Chef Goes Nanners, in which we see Stan laugh when Kenny dies. Poor Kenny.
    • After another man was convicted for the murder of Chandra Levy, "Butters' Very Own Episode" becomes this. Trey and Matt have gone on to say that neither Gary Condit nor the Ramseys deserved the treatment they got in this episode.
    • Principal Victoria being careful not to fire Mr. Garrison for political correctness reasons in Death Camp of Tolerance becomes this after she gets fired in season 19 for not punishing a student for making a politically incorrect joke.
    • In "Cripple Fight" Stan makes a joke about Cartman not having a father. Two episodes later Cartman killed the man who about 10 seasons later turned out to be his real father
    • In "Marjorine", Butters freaks his parents out by pretending to jump from a building. In "Safe Space", he tries to kill himself for real and his parents barely notice.
    • In "Free Willzyx", the boys try to free a whale from Seaworld believing it is suffering and wants to go to the moon. This episode can be a lot more depressing after the release of Blackfish.
    • Meta example: this article about the show from 1998 has Matt Stone mention that Comedy Central refused to let them do an episode on the Nation of Islam, noting that "[he thought] they were just afraid for [his and Trey's] safety." Many years later, the controversy over "201" came about because of a threat from a radical Islam group.
    • Cartman tries to justify changing the flag in "Chef Goes Nanners" by mentioning how with the Swastika ban things have been fine. Yeah, not really
    • In "Where My Country Gone", a Canadian expresses regret that no one took their outrageous Presidential candidate, a parody of Donald Trump, seriously until it was too late. As of July 2016, Trump has officially been nominated by the Republican Party.
  • Heartwarming in Hindsight: Big Gay Al was ousted from the Boy Scouts for being gay, but didn't hold it against them and stated that they shouldn't be forced to accept him against their will. In 2015, the Scouts finally allowed gay people to be scout leaders.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • In "Chef's Chocolate Salty Balls", Cartman describes independent movies as being about "gay cowboys eating pudding". 7 years later, Brokeback Mountain fills 2/3rds of that criteria. Parker and Stone even said in an interview "if there's any pudding eating, we will sue".
    • In "The Passion of the Jew", Mel Gibson is portrayed as a raving lunatic who loves torture. Tapes to his ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva makes this exaggeration even funnier.
    • "At least it doesn't get all preachy and up its own ass with messages, you know?": Once a burn on South Park's descent into being more political than funny, it can now also be applied to South Park's biggest rival Family Guy as well.
      • The whole plot of "Cartoon Wars" was kicked off by Family Guy deciding to show the prophet Mohammed uncensored. Then South Park did it with the episode "201" and caught controversy because of it.
    • Remember the episode "Make Love, Not Warcraft", wherein Butters said he prefers playing "Hello Kitty Island Adventure"? Yeah, that's more-or-less real now...
    • Osama Bin Laden being shot in the head by US soldiers on multiple occasions (namely the season five episode "Osama bin Laden Has Farty Pants" and the season 14 episode "It's A Jersey Thing") becomes funnier now that bin Laden's death (and how he died) has become a reality.
      • Fun Fact: That episode aired on Australian television the day before Bin Laden was reported dead.
    • The Movie (which depicts Saddam Hussein in Hell and as the Big Bad) was made years before Saddam Hussein's death, interestingly enough.
    • The entire "Make Love, Not Warcraft" episode seems to have become a prophecy for the future of World of Warcraft now that a hacker has started killing large groups of people in major cities.
    • "Medicinal Fried Chicken" counts as this, since the state of Colorado subsequently voted to allow marijuana for recreational use.
    • In "Fantastic Easter Special", we hear a news reporter say that "Pope Benedict has stepped down, ushering in a new era of... Pope Bill Donohue" (since Bill is an American of Irish descent). Nearly six years later, Benedict did indeed step down, and now we have a new American pope (a South American one, if you want to be pedantic, but it still works).
    • In "Britney's New Look", after Britney Spears is paparazzi'ed to death as a sacrifice for a good corn harvest, the show implies that Miley Cyrus will be the next sacrifice. Come 2013, and Miley's starting to veer towards train-wreck territory...
    • Although this can be applied to many adults of the late 90s, "Chinpokomon" seemed to imply that, like many other "fads," Pokémon would eventually fade into obscurity. Nope. The Pokemon series is still as popular now as it was back then, with Pokemon as a whole being Nintendo's second biggest Cash Cow Franchise (just after Mario), and the anime series actually rivals South Park in terms of longevity (both premiered in 1997 and are still going strong). Even better, statistics and sales data show that Pokemon is just as popular with adults today as it is with children. Granted most of those adults are probably people who got into the series as kids in the 90s, but hey it shows that there are adults out there who do understand Pokemon's wide appeal, unlike the adults in South Park.
    • In the "Go God Go" series ("Go God Go" and "Go God Go XII"), one of the atheist groups, the Unified Atheist League, wears hats that kind of look like condoms on their heads. In Batman: The Brave and the Bold's Lighter and Softer Animated Adaptation of Emperor Joker, we kind of get the feeling that The Joker's whoopee cushion crown looks like... you know... a condom.
    • YMMV on "hilarious", but Mr. Garrison being told that "most teachers don't carry a gun!", demonstrating what a Cloudcuckoolander he is. As of 2013, some groups are pushing for teachers to be given guns in the wake of school shooting tragedies.
    • In "Two Guys Naked in a Hot Tub", two men speculate that Ricky Martin is gay. This episode aired over a decade before he actually came out.
    • In "The Snuke", it's revealed in the midst of the 24 parody that Hilary Clinton has a nuke in her vagina. In the 2014 video game, Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, it's implied that Paz has a bomb placed there herself, and 24 star Keifer Sutherland voices the lead character in the game.
    • The purple unicorn on Wendy's t-shirt in "Breast Cancer Show Ever" looks somewhat similar to Twilight Sparkle, who would not exist for another two years.
    • The Black Friday trilogy's primary conflict was X-Box One vs Playstation 4. Its thought that the X-Box One would 'win' the Console Cycle...but now months later its sales are tanking with Playstation 4's flying off the shelves. It was true even in the holiday season!
    • The Movie was a fully-blown Disneyesque musical. Years later, we get the episode "Elementary School Musical", which focuses entirely on how the boys react badly to everyone else in the school singing and dancing like the characters in a Disney musical.
    • The episode "Cripple Fight" has Timmy being jealous of Jimmy stealing all of the attention and taking his place as the new crippled kid. This becomes hilarious when Jimmy appears more frequently and actually does end up replacing Timmy in following episodes, and Timmy has been Demoted to Extra as a result.
    • The opening narration for The Coon sounds just like the opening narration for Arrow.
    • In 1997, South Park did a bumper commercial for Magic: The Gathering, where Kenny said that it sounded "fucking gay" But fast forward to 2014 and the episode "Cock Magic" involves Magic The Gathering... and Kenny turns out to be a pro at it! Kinda makes Kenny sound like a hypocrite.
    • Cartman believing that he's somehow turned ginger, as it was later revealed that his biological father was a ginger.
    • Christian Rock Hard Cartman forms a Christian rock band by inserting Christian lyrics into secular songs. Well now there's a Real Life band that does pretty much that.
    • The episode "Butt Out" opens up with a cheesy anti-smoking rap and dance routine. Over a decade later we got this anti-smoking commercial.
    • Saddam Hussein became Canadian Prime Minister in "It's Christmas in Canada!". In the Family Guy episode "Back to the Pilot", one of the things Stewie claims would happen without 9/11 is that Saddam Hussein could be president. (Along with Mexico becoming the world's dominant superpower and the Cookie Monster inventing Facebook)
    • In Eek! A Penis, Cartman encouraged the inner-city kids to cheat by saying that the New England Patriots cheated all the time. In 2015, the Patriots get accused of deflating footballs.
    • At the end of "Cripple Fight", Big Gay Al tells the crowd that the law shouldn't force the Scouts to accept gay leaders and instead the correct approach is educate the organization so they will change their mind. In 2015, Boy Scouts of America decided to change their policy without any lawsuits making them.
    • In "Fat Camp" Kenny starts eating and doing gross things for money with people egging him to do it and taking pleasure in watching him. This episode premiered 6 months before the premiere of Fear Factor
    • The 2002 episode Jared Has Aides had Jared, the Subway guy falling from grace because he wanted everyone to have aides. 13 years later, the real Jared is going to jail for child porn. YMMV on whether it's hilarious or harsh, but it'll probably be funny in 22.3 years.
    • "Here Comes The Neighborhood" has the kids thinking people using DVD player is crazy in favor of VHS as no one owns a DVD player. Nowadays it would be quite the opposite.
    • In the earlier seasons, Mr. Garrison would usually ask during town meetings to Mayor McDaniels to get rid of all the Mexicans. In Season 19, one of Garrison's presidential aims is to literally fuck every single illegal immigrant to death.
    • In "Dead Celebrities," Kyle questions why people would still eat at Chipotle if they knew it would make them crap blood. This is funnier knowing that Chipotle had outbreaks of e.coli and the norovirus, and this hasn't stopped certain people from eating at Chipotle.
    • YMMV on hilarious, but in the 2007 episode "Guitar Queer-o", Randy criticizes Guitar Hero because the guitar controls are plastic and that playing a real guitar is cooler, Stan telling him off on it. This is the exact reason the series eventually died in 2010, with Warriors of Rock selling poorly, implying people got sick of band games and found plastic guitars inconvenient. And with the rise of Rocksmith, more people got the kick out of playing real guitars. Guess South Park was right, huh?
    • The "Super Cool Ski Instructor" meme, particularly the "you're gonna have a bad time" excerpt, has experienced a bit of a revival thanks to Undertale character Sans the skeleton warning players on a Kill 'em All run that they're "gonna have a bad time" if they don't stop their omnicidal ways.
      • Ehm... speaking of Undertale, there is a character in the game called Undyne who looks like some sort of fish and is a lesbian. Gay fish, anybody?
    • One of PC Principal's certain Berserk Button (which isn't that hard) is anybody mocking Caitlyn Jenner, due to being a recent transgender woman. Come election time, and Caitlyn Jenner has endorsed Donald Trump, one who's very popular with the politically incorrect crowds for his rather controversial statements, which is exactly the type of people PC Principal beat up.
  • Hypocritical Fandom: Like other animated shows, South Park uses Stock Footage to save time and money, especially considering that this show is produced on a low, low budget. It is hilarious however when some South Park fans complain at other budget shows/movies when they also reuse animation cells for the same reasons.
  • I Am Not Shazam: "In this scene, Mohammed hands a football helmet to Family Guy." Nice one, Comedy Central.
  • Idiot Plot: "Freak Strike", "Jared Has Aides", "Toilet Paper", "Butt Out", "Douche and Turd", "Two Days Before The Day After Tomorrow", "More Crap", "Tonsil Trouble"note , and "The China Probrem"note .
    • "Fat Camp", "Free Hat", and "Bass to Mouth" have the respective Idiot Subplots of Kenny becomes famous for doing nauseating acts, the adults wanting a baby killer named Hat McCullough freed from prison, claiming that "the babies were killed in self-defense", and the faculty of South Park Elementary poisoning the entire school just to keep anyone from committing suicide even though Eric (the one who gave them the idea) was the only one who was driving students to suicide.
    • "The Magic Bush" has Butters' father blindly believing his drone has a mind of its own and undergoing Sanity Slippage after his son flew the drone without his permission, and whenever someone suggest Butters flew it, he insists Butters couldn't have because "He's not allowed to fly it without my permission." This wouldn't have been as bad if this wasn't the same guy who grounds Butters for everything even things beyond his control
  • Internet Backdraft: Comedy Central received thousands of e-mail complaints from angry fans regarding the episode "Not Without My Anus", which was meant as an April Fools Joke on fans who were waiting for the reveal of Cartman's father following the cliffhanger at the end of the season 1 finale "Cartman's Mom Is a Dirty Slut".
  • It's Popular, Now It Sucks: Some fans say they liked the show better back in its early days when Moral Guardians condemned the show and concerned parents who had cable (or access to a VCR or a DVD player) banned it from their households. Now that it is Comedy Central's highest rated show and widely popular, some people don't like it anymore.
  • Jerkass Woobie: You could make this case for almost every character in the show, especially when they are not normal woobies. Scott Tenorman can count as such in particular. To start, after Cartman killed his parents and tricked him into eating them, one can't help but show sympathy for him. Even though he was a bully and became a psychotic villain afterwards as a result of this, he did care a lot about his parents.
    • Cartman does occasionally get subtle moments of sympathetic spotlight, usually under a Heel Realization of how lonely his monstrous behavior makes him. Every now and then the boys will do something cruel to him without his usual provocation as well. Naturally it comes off as somewhat petty compared to what he does in retaliation but still...
      • "The Death of Eric Cartman" is a good example of this. Everyone at school starts ignoring him to the point where believes he is dead and is now a ghost, all because he ate all the chicken breading off an order of KFC.
      • Though that was more the straw that broke the camel's back.
      • More conventionally in "Jewpacabra" as Cartman does it all to himself, but getting chained up and left as bait does given him a rare sympathetic moment.
      • "Cartman's Silly Hate Crime 2000" seems to imply that Cartman's behavior might have been caused by the other boys' bullying. With Cartman gone, they deem Clyde to be the new fat kid, and Clyde starts to gain Cartman-like attributes in response to their teasing.
      • Considering it was before his Moral Event Horizon, Cartman does deserve some sympathy in "Cartman's Mom Is A Dirty Slut", where it's revealed Cartman is very insecure about not having a father and at one point feels completely heartbroken when he realizes that he might never know who his dad is. To top it all off despite not doing anything too bad in the episode, he's humiliated on TV thanks to Stan & Kyle
    • Shelley qualified twice: in "Cat Orgy" when her much older boyfriend dumped her for not putting out and she tearfully admitted to Cartman that no guys her age would date her because of her looks and in "Broadway Bro Down" when her (age-appropriate this time around) boyfriend died.
    • Ms. Crabtree. It's possible that she's suffering extreme trauma and that might be leading to her yelling and screaming.
    • Kyle counts too when he's not a regular woobie, considering that a lot of horrible things happen to him over the course of the series.
    • Nathan. At least in the episode 'Handicar' where he seems to suffer far more abuse this time around while also acting far less cruel and evil than he did in his previous appearance. And it's learned that his parents are as bad to him as he is to others, maybe even worse.
  • Jumping the Shark: As with every long-running show, you'll find people who insist that it's not what it used to be and was funnier in the past than it is now. Of course, the fans all have their own ideas on what point this show started going downhill. Some prominent examples include:
    • After the movie:
    • When Cartman became more violent and sociopathic (starting with "Scott Tenorman Must Die")
    • When Kenny was Killed Off for Real note 
    • When the show went from having fart jokes and bizarre storylines to making fun of current events and being more dramatic.
    • After the backlash of "Trapped in the Closet" from the Church of Scientology.
    • After Chef was killed off on season ten's "The Return of Chef" and Isaac Hayes died in real life two years later.
    • After the "200/201" two-parter that caught controversy for visually depicted Muhammad (which, in the Islam religion, is highly taboo)
    • The Wangsty Stan two-parter episode "You're Getting Old"/"Ass Burgers".
  • Like You Would Really Do It: In "World War Zimmerman", Cartman shoots Token while invoking "Stand Your Ground". The next scene has him only injured in the arm.
  • Love It or Hate It: The tie-in pinball machine for pinball fans, released shortly after Season 1. Whether they find the machine fun or not lines up largely with whether they like the show or not.
    • "Terrance and Phillip: Not Without My Anus" can seem like this. Even years after the fervor over it being a "prank" episode, people still debate over if the prank was funny or a low blow from Trey and Matt, and if the episode itself is a hilariously over-the-top bit of grossout humor or if it's just dumb. Most fans are at least glad that it introduced Saddam Hussein as a character, though.
    • Just about every recent Ripped from the Headlines episode is this, ESPECIALLY ones that revolve around hotly debated political topics.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Eric Cartman bringing his A game in "Scott Tenorman Must Die"
  • Manipulative Bastard:
  • This is what defines Eric Cartman
  • Stan (of all people!) during "Mystery of the Urinal Deuce."
  • Mexicans Love Speedy Gonzales: While "The Cissy" was viewed as good or average by the majority of viewers, it was EXTREMELY popular with trans* (and trans supporting) fans of the show.
    • There are a number of episodes that poke fun at Canada (like one that paints it like it's Oz). That said, it has a surprisingly-plentiful fanbase among Canadians. Hell, it's to the point where at least one Youtube comment jokingly said that this clip is 100% accurate.
  • Misaimed Fandom: Yeah, there are people out there who actually agree that "gingers have no souls." And act on it.
    • Like his spiritual forebear Archie Bunker, there is a Vocal Minority of Cartman's fanbase who completely miss the satire inherent in his racist, misogynistic, anti-semitic rants.
    • Likewise, there are those who fail to recognize that the show employs stereotypes (racial, sexual, regional, national, religious, etc.) for the purpose of mocking them, rather than endorsing them.
    • The "Nice" Meme. It was meant to mock society's Double Standard on Statutory Rape, but there are now guys who use it completely unironically.
  • Moe: The "anime" version of Princess Kenny is a perfect parody of Moe anime characters.
    • Some fans view Cartman's Mom Doormat behavior as this.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Most people label "Scott Tenorman Must Die" as either Cartman's Moment of Awesome or this trope. Sometimes both.
      • Cartman crossed it even sooner in Cherokee Hair Tampons where he refused to donate his kidney to Kyle unless he got paid ten million dollars. Stan even responds by telling him that he is going to hell when he dies.
    • Wendy crossed this earlier than Cartman when in "Tom's Rhinoplasty", she had Miss Ellen kidnapped by Iraqis who then sent her spiraling into the sun...all because Stan had a crush on her.
    • Butters' parents. A few contenders are his mother trying to drown him in "Butters Very Own Episode", both of them beating him in "Jared Has Aides", (and from the sounds of it, the event was pretty savage), and "Stupid Spoiled Whore Video Playset", in which they not only sell Butters to Paris Hilton for $250 Million, but scold him when he begs not to be sold to a Spoiled Brat who treats her pets so poorly, they get Driven to Suicide.
    • Saddam Hussein crosses this territory when he takes the power of Canada as a tyrannical Prime Minister, forcing the family Broflovski to almost lose Ike, and later he kills Kenny for no reason. All this to prove how evil he is.
    • The Evil characters of the Imaginationland Trilogy were no less pawns to the terrorists' plot to destroy collective Imagination by starting a war than the Good characters, but their brutal torture of Strawberry Shortcake and leaving her for the Woodland Creatures to finish off officially destroyed any excuse of the Evil characters being the terrorists' pawns like the Good characters. Before the war, both sides had separate territories and keeping their distance, and the Evil characters wouldn't allow Good characters on their turf or else they'd kill those Good characters. Of course, the Evil characters, despite not knowing that the terrorists attacked them, not the Good characters, they'd stop at nothing to get back at the Good characters for supposedly vandalizing their turf. Unfortunately for the Evil characters, she and the other Good character casualties are all resurrected when they win the war.
    • Two characters cross this in "Miss Teacher Bangs A Boy. First, if Miss Stevenson repeatedly having sex with Ike (who's underage and prepubescent AND could technically count as a baby) wasn't bad enough, kidnapping him, trying to flee to Milan, and trying to talk him into a suicide pact definitely was. Then Officer Yates crossed this by not taking the statutory rape case seriously and even laughing at Sheila for wanting Miss Stevenson arrested. Sadly this is Truth in Television as most people don't take it seriously when there's a male victim with a female perpetrator.
    • Randy Marsh crosses is when he tells Officer Barbrady to kill kids who he thinks are a part of ISIS and when he accidentally shoots a minority child, Randy turns on him and lies about his involvement to get Barbrady to take the fall for him
    • Dean, a shopping network host from "Cash for Gold", crosses this by selling overpriced jewelry to people with Alzheimer's disease, exploiting them out of their life savings. Stan is so outraged by this that he calls up on his show to chew him out, and tells him with complete sincerity to kill himself.
    • Kyle crossed in the very first episode when we learn he plays a game called 'Kick the Baby', where he kicked Ike like a football. Every time Ike said don't kick me, he just did it anyway. This was a running gag earlier in the show and was brought up one more time in Season 7 and Season 17.
  • Narm Charm: Mr. Adler reminiscing about his dead fiancee. The flashbacks are funny, but his pain sure isn't.
  • Nausea Fuel: The opening scene in "Mr. Garrison's Fancy New Vagina". Right before Mr. Garrison's operation begins, the doctor says, "I think if more people could just see a sex-change operation, they would know how perfectly natural it is." That tells you right there that Discretion Shots will not be used at all. The rest of the sequence has the process described — and shown — in detail, complete with Art Shifts to live action. (in actuality, the live-action shots are of a dog neutering rather than a sex change, but that doesn't make it any better for the viewer.)
  • Never Live It Down:
    • Sheila Broflovski has mellowed out considerably over the years, becoming one of the saner, more rational parents in South Park. Yet most fans still see her as the villainous Knight Templar Parent she was in The Movie.
    • Although it only happened over the course of the first five seasons, the show was and still is best known for Kenny dying on almost every episode.
  • No Problem with Licensed Games:
    • The 2014 RPG, South Park: The Stick of Truth, was widely received as not only the best South Park game to date, but a decent game in its own right, though it's fairly short.
    • 2009's South Park Let's Go! Tower Defense was also generally well received.
  • Older Than They Think: Chef was fighting zombies with dual-wielded chainsaws over a decade before Zombieland.
    • Seasons 18 and 19 have received praise for their season-long story-arcs and tighter continuity. Season 6 of the show shared a lot of these elements, mostly focusing on the reprecussions of Kenny's death from the season prior.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Patty Nelson from "Le Petit Tourette" the only other girl besides Wendy (and maybe Heidi Turner) who Cartman ever shown attraction to. She only appeared in one brief scene, but she's got a good amount of fanarts and the second most popular straight pairing involving Cartman after Cartman/Wendy.
  • Periphery Demographic: The show is extremely popular with Yaoi Fangirls on Fanfiction Dot Net and Deviant ART. Blame all the ambiguous (and obvious) Ho Yay and interesting character interactions.
    • Quite a few conservative Christians (who would normally condemn this show for its vulgarity) have come around to being fans of the show, due to its unabashed liberal bashing.
    • The show also has a small but dedicated Japanese audience because of how very bizarre and surreal the show frequently becomes.
    • The show is popular with the geekdom in general due to its willingness to venture outside the Geek Reference Pool, which is quite unlike many other sitcoms (animated or otherwise).
  • Portmanteau Couple Name: Style (Stan/Kyle), Creek (Craig/Tweek), Kyman (Kyle/Cartman), K2 (Kyle/Kenny), Crenny (Craig/Kenny), Bunny (Butters/Kenny), Candy (Cartman/Wendy) and many, many more.
  • The Problem with Licensed Games::
    • The Acclaim published video games based on the series - South Park, South Park: Chef's Love Shack, and South Park Rally - received a less-than-stellar reception upon release, with the experience of having little control in the game's direction & the generally poor representation of the show making Matt Stone & Trey Parker more protective of what they licensed the series out for.
    • The pinball machine, at least at first. See Vindicated by History below.
    • South Park: Tennorman's Revenge, a time travel themed platformer exclusive to Xbox Live, received a mediocre reception upon release.
  • Recycled Script:
  • Replacement Scrappy: Tweek was regarded by some fans as one for Kenny and, to a lesser extent, Butters. A number of fans resent Sergeant Yates for usurping Officer Barbrady's role.
    • Generally averted with Jimmy, instead. He supplanted the wildly popular Timmy (TIMMEH!!!), but his very nice and bright personality gained him much respect.
    • After "Stunning and Brave", where Principal Victoria got Put on a Bus, PC Principal has quickly earned this status, being viewed as a Hot-Blooded Knight Templar with little (if any) likability to him, who by the end of the episode essentially gets away with bullying both students and parents alike. though time will tell if he actually stays or not. Now that the season is over, PC Principal is here to stay, but his Bad Ass actions and speech in the end of the season have genreally gotten him Rescued from the Scrappy Heap.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: PC Principal won a lot of his detractors over as the season progressed, but cemented his status as being rescued when he pulls a Heel–Face Turn in the season 19 finale and kills Leslie.
  • Rewatch Bonus: A lot of Kenny's scenes take on new meaning after he reveals the nature of his condition.
  • The Scrappy: The goth kids have become this for a lot of people, as many believe their decidedly one-note schtick (while funny in the Season Seven episode "Raisins") has gotten old.
    • Stephen and Linda Stotch because of their tendency to punish Butters for every minor offense, beating him in Jared Has Aides, and selling him to Paris Hilton. Their abuse towards him has gotten so bad that he imagines his father as a monster and clearly has pent-up aggression towards him as shown in Grounded Vindaloop.
    • Officer Yates for replacing Barbrady and for being a one-note critique of the police force.
    • Lisa Berger, particularly in "The Hobbit." She might have been The Woobie for her one-sided crush on Butters, but after she gets Photoshopped, she turns into an abrasive bitch. The fandom feuds about how Wendy handled the episode, but they're pretty much in agreement that Lisa was terrible.
    • A large portion of the fanbase view Mr. Garrison as this. While at times he could be rather hilarious, the writers seemed to be heaping more and more unlikable traits onto him. The tipping point is when he became transgender, it was unsympathetic. The writers then can't decide whether he likes men or women, even having him become a 'lesbian' (which, as Fridge Logic dictates, somehow he always had an attraction to women...which from the early seasons is non-existant).
    • Mr. Hankey, The Christmas Poo — first appearing in Season 1's Christmas Episode—was originally intended to be an Ensemble Darkhorse Breakout Character à la Slimer (although... see Ghostbusters for how that turned out), and was heavily marketed and designed to be quite Merchandise-Driven. However, his shrill annoying voice, general lack of personality, and role as a pointless gross-out prop led to unpopularity with fans. He has been entirely phased out of later seasons and he only appeared once in a "Hey, remember me?" kind of gag.
  • Seasonal Rot: Season 17 is considered this due to its short length and large amount of lackluster topical episodes.
  • Self-Fanservice: Well, fan art usually portrays South Park characters rather differently. Possibly parodied in the show itself with "Princess Kenny".
  • Seinfeld Is Unfunny: Discussed in the commentaries: The first few episodes of the show were very controversial when they first aired, but look rather tame nowadays. Even the foul language is more heavily bleeped than it would need to be today.
  • Shallow Parody: Parodied mercilessly in "Cartoon Wars", specifically as relating to how pop culture jokes and references are written on Family Guy.
    • Played straight again in "Insheeption," which parodies Inception using College Humor as research instead of the film itself.
    • And yet again in "You're Getting Old", in which Stan and his friends watch the trailer for Jack and Jill. The actual trailer hadn't even came out yet at the time the episode aired, so all Matt and Trey had to go by were the title and the fact that Adam Sandler stars as both characters.
    • The Game of Thrones parody had many jokes rely on the series having a lot of dicks everywhere. The show rarely depicts full male nudity, with the appearances of nude women far outnumbering the appearances of nude men throughout its run.
  • Squick: Happens a lot. Mr Garrison's sex-change operation is probably the most disgusting thing they've ever shown.
    • Followed immediately by Mr(s) Garrison having anal sex with Richard Dawkins.
    • Stan's grandfather having sex with an elderly ex-contortionist will give you nightmares.
    • Kenny's antics in "Fat Camp".
    • In "Rainforest Schmainforest", a man is swallowed whole by a python and immediately crapped out.
    • Cartman smelling Butters' used underwear in "Stunning and Brave".
  • Strawman Has a Point: You'd pretty much have to agree with Cartman's thoughts about today's music videos in "Butterballs". Hell, Cartman sometimes says things that, believe it or not, are true in some way.
    • While PC Principal is rather extreme with his methods, his heart's in the right place. The only person he ever assaulted for being Politically Incorrect was Cartman, and Cartman is an extreme bigot.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song:
    • In "Christian Rock Hard", Cartman plays one song that is kinda similar to the Delfonics' "Didn't I (Blow Your Mind This Time)".
      • Considering that Cartman openly stated that his songwriting technique was plagiarizing other songs and throwing "Jesus" into the lyrics, this probably applies to most of their other songs.
    • DVDA's "Now You're a Man" is basically "You Give Love a Bad Name" with different lyrics.
  • Take That, Scrappy!: Watching Butters punch his father in the nuts in Grounded Vindaloop was definitely satisfying.
  • Tainted by the Preview: Since 2008, all of the show's episodes were able to be streamed for free on southparkstudios.com. Needless to say, fans were NOT happy when the website switched to Hulu for streaming.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks: The new intro for Season 17 takes a more 3D/clay animation style compared to the past seasons, but it's been received rather negatively compared to the previous ones that utilized clips from past episodes and such.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • Damien. Considering how many possible avenues the character could have traveled down (including ones with his father, and/or the other schoolchildren), his being written out after his only episode is something of a letdown.
    • Terrance. The antagonistic son of the town Mad Scientist, with his own Co-Dragons? Yes, please.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Played deliberately in the "You're Getting Old"/"Ass Burgers", after an enormous number of life changes occur as a result of him maturing (including his parents divorcing and Kyle and Cartman becoming friends and business partners), Stan is just coming to appreciate the new directions in his life and new possibilities there are. Cue a stack of Reset Buttons reverting everything back to normal, much to his despair.
    • "Cartman Finds Love" ends with the entire school believing that Cartman and Kyle are a couple. This is never brought up again despite the vast amount of comedic potential.
    • No one ever mentions the Wii U in the "Black Friday" three-part saga. Not once, is it ever referred to as being a third choice. Same applies to PC gaming.
    • After "The Cissy" a lot of people were disappointed to find out that Wendy was just faking transgenderism like Cartman was.
    • Cartman replaces Wendy as the student body president in Dances With Smurfs. Like most changes to the status quo in the show, it's never mentioned again.
  • Unacceptable Targets: Muhammad. Parker and Stone went for lampooning the fact that he's not an acceptable target, instead — particularly because 5 years before the Muhammad taboo entered the limelight, he had been depicted with no repercussion. "201", the second episode of their 200th anniversary two-parter, had all mentions of Muhammad's name censored by the network, along with the "I learned something today" speeches at the end (which didn't even mention Muhammad). Comedy Central went so far as pulling it from ever airing again - they won't even let it be streamed on the show's official website. You can find it here, but its being a TV rip means the bleeps are still in place.
    • Subverted in Latin America, where the dub kept the mentions of Muhammad.
  • Uncanny Valley: Kenny inverts this for some viewers. His face-hugging hood and muffled speech make him seem a bit less human than the other characters, which gives him some mascot-like "cute" appeal that's only helped by his nature as The Woobie and in spite of (or maybe also helped by) his hedonistic tendencies. Coincidentally, he's indeed a Humanoid Abomination.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: In "The City Part of Town", we're supposed to feel bad for the South Park citizens for feeling insulted by Jimmy Fallon's jokes about them. Considering they do the same on a regular basis to celebrities, their reaction comes off as more hypocritical than sympathetic
  • Vindicated by History: The pinball machine initially got a lot of complaints, both because of its offensive content and because of its layout and rules, so much so that SEGA, the company that made it, quit the pinball business. However, if the reviews at the Internet Pinball Database is anything to go by, the South Park pinball machine now brings in good money when out in public, is one of the more sought-after South Park items for collectors, and is genuinely liked by pinball fans who are also South Park fans.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: The updated title sequence (mentioned above), which was made by acclaimed titling house Imaginary Forces.
    • "Make Love, Not Warcraft" was really raised up by the in-game segments, which were animated by Blizzard themselves.
  • Wangst: Kyle in Cartmanland, he loses the will to live because Cartman inherited a million dollars and bought a theme park.
    • And Mr. Mackey in "Royal Pudding." While he does a Freudian Excuse about him wanting to do a play about Tooth Decay (since Tooth Decay killed his father), he does go too far in his abuse of the kindergarten students and Kyle for messing up his play, with Kyle receiving most of the abuse.
  • We're Still Relevant, Dammit: Most cartoons take too long to make to be truly topical, while this show takes days, making it a major aversion to this trope. The one time they were beaten to the punch (regarding Glenn Beck's challenges to the White House) was because just days before the episode aired Jon Stewart on The Daily Show had done a similar razing, which some people argued was more vicious and/or funny.
    • The Facebook episode "You Have 0 Friends" comes off as this, as a result of Trey Parker's reluctance to get into Facebook.
    • "Faith Hilling" pokes fun at this, though even that episode may not age as well as others given the subject matter.
    • Goth Kids 3: Dawn of the Posers, which talked about emo kids five years too late.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids?: Yes, the animation looks childish and crude, and yes, the protagonists are children. But it contains way too much graphic violence, raunchy language, sex, swearing and other mature content to be seen by young kids.´ Which hasn't stopped it from finding a huge and adoring audience among teens and preteens. In fact, that's probably a large part of why it has.
  • The Woobie: Butters' personality is enough to melt even the hardest of hearts. The fact that his parents take all of their problems out on him makes him this.
    Butters: I don't think I'm a happy person. Every night I fall asleep to the sounds of my own screams... And every morning I wake up to the sounds of my own screams. Do you think I'm a happy person?note 
    • Kip Drordy.
    • In the Coon and Friends trilogy, Kenny/Mysterion has been revealed to be an Iron Woobie.
    • Stan can be seen as this or a Jerkass Woobie, but he certainly qualifies as this in You're Getting Old given the fact it was his friends abandoning him after he was diagnosed with cynicism.
    • Kenny's sister Karen. "The Poor Kid" can attest to that.
    • Mr. Mackey in "Ike's Wee Wee".
    • Britney Spears in "Britney's New Look". The writers were apparently sick of people being mean about Britney for no good reason.
    • Satan is a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds in The Movie.
    • Wendy might be considered The Scrappy or at least a Base-Breaking Character, but after the end of "The Hobbit" you will want to give her a great big hug.
    • Pip. He's bullied mercilessly by EVERYONE (even moreso than his eventual replacements Butters or Scott Malkinson who at least get SOME social accecptance), he lost both his parents, any and all of his accomplishments are ignored by kids and adults alike. How he managed to keep that cheerful demeanor up to his death remains a mystery.
    • Kyle himself qualifies as this on occasions, when he isn't a Jerkass Woobie, the episode "Ginger Cow" is a crowning example of this. By the time the episode ends, you will end up feeling very sorry for Kyle.
    • Tweek is this to some, especially those who have suffered from anxiety or the like and can relate.
    • Cartman's mother in "Tsst".
    • Clyde in "Reverse Cowgirl" his mom was a complete asshole to him and then he accidentally killed her when he forgot to put the toilet seat down. The funeral wasn't any better for him.
    • Officer Barbrady in "Naughty Ninjas". The entire episode is basically a Trauma Conga Line for him. To elaborate:
      • He loses his job despite being the original cop because PC Principal told the police there was a Code Red at the school (which was actually just Leslie talking) and he accidentally shot someone.
      • He gets home to his apartment where he promises to get another job so he can care for his sick and elderly dog, with his wife implied to be dead.
      • Due to the cop hatred, he cannot find a new job and ends up homeless.
      • He receives a cruel Hope Spot when the mayor and everyone ask him to save the town from ISIS, actually the gang playing Ninja, and he accidentally shoots them when Randy knocks his arm trying to stop him after finding out the truth.
      • He is this thrown under the bus by Randy and fired again. Though the final scene shows all hope might not be lost.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/YMMV/SouthPark