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Broken Base / South Park

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  • There are two main views on the show as a whole: either it really hit its stride when it moved from a show composed solely of crude, shock-value humor to one focused just as much on social/political satire/commentary, or it completely went to hell by turning into an Author Tract. The fandom became even more fractured as later seasons began incorporating season-long story arcs. The thing with South Park is, though, that it can sometimes be as polarizing to its fanbase as it is to people in general. Combine that with a town full of people and the tendency for things to stay relatively the same despite earth-shattering events, and you end up with a show that can have half its fanbase loving how it's using a character/joke/plot/etc., and the other half hating it, meaning the whole thing is constantly a Broken Base, over any number of issues from any given episode.
  • Cartman has been turning into a Base-Breaking Character to many of those same fans. On one side, there are the fans who love his Crosses the Line Twice Sociopathic villainy and are responsible for turning him to the series' Breakout Character; on the other side, there are the fans who feel that he's become a completely irredeemable Jerkass who commits Moral Event Horizon-grade evil acts at least once per season. Basically, the split comes down to whether one believes his antics are still funny or if his actions starting in "Scott Tenorman Must Die" have rendered him beyond sympathy and likability. He is especially hated by Kyle's fans. In later seasons, Cartman has been getting punished more often for his worse behaviors, possibly as an Author's Saving Throw meant to cater to both camps in a balanced manner.
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    • Cartman's arc in Season 20 was especially contentious. He started making more of an effort at improving himself and get past his bigotry (albeit still going about it in a very insensitive and tone-deaf manner), even taking a level up in kindness when he began dating Heidi Turner. Some fans embraced the change as an interesting new direction to take the character, others hated it due to wanting the jerk Cartman back, and still others believed it was all just an act and Cartman was planning an elaborate revenge scheme against everyone. In the end, the base was shattered even more when it turned out that Cartman's attempt at self-improvement was genuine and he didn't have any plans for revenge... but he nevertheless suffered a perhaps inevitable backslide into his old jerkass ways and is now passive-aggressively hiding it from his girlfriend.
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    • It goes From Bad to Worse in Season 21 when Cartman becomes an emotionally abusive boyfriend to Heidi. Some fans loved that he's back to his old Laughably Evil Jerkass self, while others found his actions too realistic and reprehensible to ever be funny. Then Heidi becomes Cartman's Distaff Counterpart as a result, which caused some fans to find it a funny and interesting move, while also other fans to find the move redundant since Cartman is still there being himself. Then Heidi breaks up with Cartman for good at the end of the season, which devastated some fans that a popular ship has been sunken, while satisfying others that she is no longer in an abusive relationship.
  • "You're Getting Old" and "Ass Burgers". Many fans weren't happy with these episodes for being overly dramatic, derailing the characters (especially Stan), and ultimately led to absolutely nothing but more of the same, while bashing both Stan and the audience at the same time.
    • "Ass Burgers" also got some flak for saying that Asperger's doesn't actually exist, with people being split on whether the characters saying it (namely, a bunch of people using Asperger's as an excuse to be assholes who use the disorder as an excuse to be assholes) were supposed to be right or not.
  • A lot of other characters have been turning into base breakers as well:
  • 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.
  • In general, 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 worst 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 continues the previous season's more topical approach to comedy and fans are still divided as to whether or not it made the season smart and more focused or just draining. In particular the season's focus on "PC Culture" and modern social justice moments, proved to be a big divider. For some the season tackled the hypocritical and self-serving attitudes of modern progressivism (and neoliberalism) in a smart way that few other shows were able to. Others feel that it was a very arduous and Anvilicious diatribe against the people trying to fix the social inequalities inherent in America while overusing Strawman Political caricatures.
  • Season 20's jabs at the Alt-Right. Some feel they're a perfect counterpoint to Season 19's satire by hitting the flip side of the coin and tackling modern bigotry in a way that's seldom handled as well in other shows. Others feel that putting the objects of ridicule from Seasons 19 and 20 on equal ground is a Golden Mean Fallacy, with people on either side decrying their portrayal as inaccurate. Much like Season 19, Season 20's deliberate parallels to the extremely hot button issues surrounding their release is liable to set off quite a few arguments. Also not helping Season 20's point is the fact that the girls are blaming someone who hasn't done anything to them.
    • Then there's the way Season 20 was handled in general. Some people feel that dropping the episodic nature of the show in favor a serialized approach that focuses on a few set topics (i.e. the Alt-Right movement, the 2016 election, Internet trolling) is Trey and Matt continuing their evolution in terms of storytelling that started back in Season 18. Meanwhile, others felt that this approach results in a major lack in humor when compared to earlier years. Still, others feel that Season 20 started out strong, but that its dependence on the outcome of the 2016 election made the last few episodes horribly backfire.
  • On who is really the fourth member of Team Craig: Tweek or Jimmy? The South Park wiki states they are both members in some capacity and most fans just expand the group to five and include both characters. Still doesn't stop some fans from continuing the war, though.
  • "Timmy 2000"'s Take That! towards Phil Collins. While making fun of celebrities is par for the course for this show, and Collins is a rather divisive figure in music, many felt their reason for targeting Phil Collins was far more petty than others, which was the fact that "You'll Be In My Heart" beat "Blame Canada" for best original song at the Oscars. Some pointed out if they really wanted somebody to blame for being snubbed, it should have been the Academy. Not helping matters is that they have another Take That! towards Collins in South Park: The Stick of Truth, meaning that they're still bitter about it 14 years later. Some were okay with it, but others were accusing Trey and Matt of being sore losers.
  • Their critique on Donald Trump has been this. Some fans don't mind either because they seem him as an Acceptable Target or because they attack everyone. Another group of fans think the jokes have gotten old and feel the show is beating a dead horse with the heavy use of plots or subplots focused on critiquing him and wish they would just move on to something new.
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