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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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  • 2D Visuals, 3D Effects: 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-Streisand in "201", the race sequences in "Poor and Stupid", the titular creature in the "Cthulhu Trilogy" and pretty much every background since season 5.
  • Abandoned Catchphrase:
    • "Oh, my God! They killed Kenny!" used to happen Once per Episode, but was dropped after Kenny died (semi)permanently, and is now used only on occasion.
    • Sergeant Yates kept exclaiming "Jesus Christ Monkeyballs!" in his debut episode, but he never uses it in his subsequent appearances.
    • "I want cheesy poofs!" and "I'm not fat, I'm big-boned!" were popular catchphrases for Cartman in the early seasons but haven't been used in years.
    • Stan's "Dude, this is pretty fucked up right here" and Cartman's "Respect my Authoritah", only being used for rare variations or throwbacks in later episodes.
  • 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".
  • Aborted Arc:
  • Absentee Actor: None of the main boys appear at all in "Not Without My Anus", "Pip", "A Million Little Fibers", "Goth Kids 3: Dawn of the Posers", and "Handicar". 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 Chitty Wall built to keep outsiders out of South Park because they will kidnap their children. Damn 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", where Cartman thinks this of the Student Council President (Wendy), yet ending the episode with her position, upset that his duties are largely superficial. Played straight in some episodes.
  • Abusive Parents:
    • Butters' parents, who will ground him for literally 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 "Marjorine" for pretending to be dead in order to have a new identity as a girl, 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 Stotch family. When the fourth graders are interviewed by police to find out if Chef sexually assaulted them, the investigating officer holds a doll up, simulates analingus on it, and Butters shouts out "My Uncle Bud did that to me once!"
      • Fortunately, they became much nicer in later seasons, and Stephen now only grounds Butters when he actually deserves it (such as "pressing pickle" or using Facebook to spread fake news).
    • 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. And then she yells at him again as a ghost in the climax.
    • The Stick of Truth revealed that the Tweaks send their ten-year old son to pick up the packages from a meth lab quite frequently. Oh, and that it's not just coffee in Tweek's coffee at Tweak's Coffee Shop.
  • Accidental Adultery: In "Prehistoric Ice Man". When the titular man, who has been a Human Popsicle for 32 months, tracks down his wife, he finds that she has remarried and has multiple children with her new husband and no longer wants anything to do with him. Subverted when he does the math on the children's ages; the youngest was born five years before he was frozen.
  • Accidental Aiming Skills:
    • Butters' extraordinary tap-dance skills fatally culminated in a mass manslaughter that still brings him horror to this day.
    • Another episode has Cartman handing Butters a gun to have a hostage situation, and Butters accidentally shoots multiple people in the groin.
  • Accidental Art: In "The Tale of Scrotie McBoogerballs," the four boys write the most disgusting book possible as a joke after learning that Catcher In The Rye isn't nearly as dirty as they thought it was. Once the adults find it, the boys blame it on Butters, but the books becomes a smash hit because everybody reads it as deep, moving literature with important political messages.
  • Accidental Misnaming: Stan's grandpa always calls him "Billy," as Trey Parker's own grandfather used to do.
  • 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 motherfuckin' 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 the first four seasons, the show had four acts to each episode, though the fourth 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: Wendy has shown herself to be a competent fighter and was capable of beating up Cartman in "Breast Cancer Show Ever".
  • Activist Fundamentalist Antics: "Mr. Hankey, the Christmas Poo" 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" before and after the commercial break.
    • The bus splitting in two and falling off a cliff in "City on the Edge of Forever" repeats after the commercial break.
  • 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 (excluding Closed Captioning), 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 nothing, usually forgetting the problem.
    Stan: Dammit, Towelie? Do you remember the passcode or not?
    Towelie: Maybe if I get high, I'll remember!
    Kyle: [sighs] Fine...
    [Towelie puffs]
    Kyle: Well, do you remember?
    Towelie: [with bloodshot eyes] Remember what?
  • 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 McCormick siblings when they are taken away from their 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.
    • This was gradually subverted come the later seasons where the adults became far more intelligent (though they still fail at their own schemes mostly due to their destructive behavior).
  • Adult Fear:
    • Sheila has an enormous meltdown when she (erroneously) suspects her two children, who act perfectly sweet and innocent in person, are Internet trolls who intentionally caused a high-profile suicide in a cyber-bullying incident. Worse, the real troll behind it is her husband. In general, season 20 stokes the fear that even people you know and love may not merely act differently online, but are doing things that would destroy their families if anyone else found out.
    • In "Marjorine", Butters' parents have a breakdown when they're tricked into thinking their son committed suicide.
    • Stan's grandfather has Alzheimer's and is losing his memory and his grip on reality. Unusually for South Park, it's not Played for Laughs when he admits to Stan he can't remember what his beloved Border Collie looked like.
  • 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 said 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. This is particularly confusing, as the subject of this controversy (the portrayal of the prophet Muhammad drawing death threats) was absolutely moot. The show depicted this person in an episode five years earlier, "Super Best Friends".
    • 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.
    • In "Cartman Joins NAMBLA", the president of NAMBLA launches into a speech about the hypocritical lack of freedom in America, and how he and the other members of NAMBLA didn't choose to be attracted to young boys, all over the same piano music from every other Aesop in the show. He is then interrupted by Kyle, who responds with "Dude. You have sex with children."
    • A meta example in "Cartoon Wars 2", in which Kyle attempts to convince the network head of Fox to air an episode of Family Guy that intended to have a joke involving the prophet Mohammed. This was in response to the death threats received by the French publication Charlie Hebdo. This was a heavy ideal for a show known for fart jokes.
      Kyle: "If you don't show Mohammad, then you've made a distinction what is okay to poke fun at, and what isn't. Either it's all okay, or none of it is."
  • Aesop Amnesia: At the end of "Jewpacabra", Cartman had finally decided to get over his Antisemitism. Six episodes later, he becomes half-traumatized when Kyle tells him the Jewish population is growing.
  • Affably Evil: Satan is portrayed as this. He's certainly less evil than Cartman. Absolutely invoked in "Freemium Isn't Free" as Satan takes time to explain the nature of addiction to Stan, complete with graphs and illustrations and often peppering his speech with terms like "pal" and "buddy". Followed by his appearance in the two-parter "Time to Get Cereal"/"Nobody Got Cereal", in which Satan actually dies trying to protect the town from Manbearpig and becomes an Ascended Demon.
  • Affectionate Parody:
  • Age-Inappropriate Dress:
    • Mocked in a few episodes, "Stupid Spoiled Whore Video Playset" in particular, where the girls all dress like "whores" because of Paris Hilton.
    • The girls who work at Raisins also qualify. They're a preteen version of the Hooters girls, with tight tank tops and pants and the dots of the "i"'s in the "Raisins" text on their shirtsnote  are placed right over the girls' chests.
  • Ageless Birthday Episode:
    • "Damien" features Cartman's birthday without saying what age he's turning (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).
    • "Casa Bonita" features Kyle's birthday without saying his age, though we can infer he turns 9 or 10 as he was earlier established as 8 years old.
    • Most other birthday episodes, like "You're Getting Old" and "A Boy and a Priest," avert this by naming the kid's age (it's said that Stan turns 10 and Clyde turns 8, respectively), despite the show's Comic-Book Time.
  • 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 punch bowl", 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.
    • However, in the original version of that episode, the aliens mutilate the cows because they like BBQs.
  • Allegedly Free Game: The Terrance and Phillip game app in "Freemium Isn't Free" is a mindless smartphone app that just consists of buying houses for a simulated Canada. Stan becomes addicted to it and spends several thousand dollars on in-game currency.
  • 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, when Stan gets exiled simply for abstaining from voting.
  • 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 Wacky Molestation Adventure", the children of South Park manage to send all the adults to prison 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 been taken away. The Provider is a statue of John Elway that they appeased with human sacrifice, as shown by Butters' great disappointment when the Aesop is delivered and he is brought down, saying, "I was going to give myself to Mr. Elway."
    • Oddly invoked in "The Ring" when Mickey Mouse himself turns into an Eldritch Abomination after beating up the Jonas Brothers and calling Christians stupid because "they believe in a talking dead guy" all on live television.
      Reporter: "The Disney purity ring venture will now most likely prove a marketing bust, as Mickey returns to Valhalla to slumber and feed."
  • All Jews Are Cheapskates:
    • Kyle's dad is a scummy lawyer, and Kyle's cousin has a lot of strategies on how to save money. 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 Men Are Perverts:
    • "Sexual Healing" is about the extreme lengths men will go to to prevent women from finding this out.
    • In "The Return of the Fellowship of the Ring to the Two Towers", all the boy's fathers are very knowledgeable when it comes to porn, much to their wives' disgust. Subverted somewhat by Mrs. Broflovski and Mrs. Cartman describing a sexual act from "Backdoor Sluts 9" with unusual accuracy.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: While Butters is the most obvious victim, later instances (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 "Damien", you had to give him rather expensive toys to attend his party (who everyone only comes to because Miss Cartman 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 - with several houses to spare. You also find out that:
      • Cartman's mom really is a drug addict.
      • The Tweaks mix their coffee with meth that's brewed in the McCormicks' garage.
      • That's not caffeine Tweek Tweak's addicted to; it's the Meth his parents mix in his coffee.
      • Mr. Mackey's hoarding problem hasn't improved much, if his U-Store-It locker is any indication.
      • Kenny's parents have a meth lab in their garage, but it's not them brewing.
      • Butters lives right next door to Cartman.
      • Mrs. Marsh still works at the Rhinoplasty.
    • Kenny's lines in the show were originally described as muffled speech, but in later seasons, the Closed Captioning actually indicates what Kenny is saying, whether viewers can make it out on their own or not. Kenny's lines in the opening theme are still unspecified, though, but enough people have deduced it to lay out some official translations.
  • 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 production crew actually said at one of their concerts.
  • All Women Love Shoes: "The List" reveals that the only reason the girls put Clyde at the top of the "cutest boys" list was because his dad runs a shoe store and they wanted discounts.
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Adults Are Useless, including the parents.
    • Sheila Broflovski is a 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.
    • Miss 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 "Cherokee Hair Tampons", 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 seems to hold a revulsion for perfectly heteronormative sex, and he seems to have an extremely inaccurate idea of what sex with a woman even entails. Curious? 
      • He shows a certain revulsion for intimacy with girls that goes beyond the other boys' opinions of mere 'cooties'.
      • He's 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. He says it's solely for humiliation purposes, but we all know Cartman's track record with the truth... Subverted in that Matt and Trey state in the commentary that this actually is for humiliation only.
      • "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. Averted in just how obsessed and enchanted Cartman is with Nicole and Token- or more specifically, blacks belonging with other blacks.
      • 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.
      • Cartman wants to play a practical joke on Butters, so he takes a photo of himself with Butters' penis in his mouth. When he tells the others that this means Butters is gay, they tell him this means he is gay.
      • And yet, in the episode "Stupid Spoiled Whore Playset," when the ladies have an "adult" party, the rest of the boys (being young boys) are scared of the girls' aggressiveness. Cartman is the only that shows up that seems to have any interest in what the girls are offering. Too bad none of them were interested, nor had he been invited.
    • 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'?"note 
  • Ambiguously Bi: Butters has some fairly feminine interests, like dancing, singing and art, but has repeatedly been affectionate with girls and women - probably more than any of the other boys have been seen. He's got a bad habit of getting into situations that are pretty gay, but most of the time it's peer pressure (like the boys making him dress up in "Marjorine") or his naivete (like in "Butters' Creamy Goo"). There's no denying he's got a few quirks but he's got nothing on Cartman.
  • 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.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: In a spoof of The Da Vinci Code, Stan finds out his family is part of a rabbit worshiping cult that keeps the secret of Easter safe. What's the secret? It turns out that Saint Peter, the first Pope of Christianity, wasn't a man but in fact a rabbit. Peter Cottontail to be precise. The reason Jesus chose a rabbit to be his religion's first Pope was because he knew no one man can speak for God without becoming corrupt while rabbits are pure. But the Catholic Church, considering it a blasphemy, buried the truth, put a man in charge and ever since then, the Hare Club For Men paints eggs in order to keep the secret of St. Peter Cottontail alive.
  • Animal Gender-Bender: All cows have udders.
  • Animated Shock Comedy: From the get-go, the show had shameless, excessive vulgarity, despite only being half as dirty as most claimed it was. It later pivoted to include more social commentary.
  • And I Must Scream: Kenny McCormick falls under this trope. He is immortal as a result of his parents joining the Cult of Cthulhu and whenever he dies, he wakes up in his bed and he's the only one who even remembers his deaths. Mysterion explains how horrible it is to die over and over again.
  • And That's Terrible: The antagonists in "Super Fun Time" robbed a Burger King.
  • And Then John Was a Zombie: In "Night of the Living Homeless", Gerald Broflovski, much like his son before him, decides to listen to the homeless and give them some change. He then realizes that he ran out of change for the bus stop and joins the homeless horde that are looking for change.
  • 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: "You Got F***ed in the A**", the parody of You Got Served (and similar films), 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.
  • 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).
  • Apocalypse Cult:
    • The leader of the Anti-Semitic Jews captures Moses in order to ready the world for the return of Haman.
    • The cult of Blainetology in "Super Best Friends".
    • And of course, the Cthulhu cult featured in the three-parter "Coon and Mysterion" arc.
  • Apocalyptic Log: Parodied in "Pandemic", as Randy's incessant videotaping 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", the military is destroying all towels to stem the threat posed by Towelie. In one scene, Mr. Garrison is getting out of the shower in a Modesty Towel when the soldiers storm in and rip it off. He assumes that they're going to rape him and cries out, "Oh, all right, have your way with me, you sick freaks!"... and is immensely disappointed when they leave once the towel's destroyed. 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.
    Stan: No! That we could use the brown noise to get back at those asshole New Yorker kids.
    Cartman: Ooooh.
    Kyle: Yeah, dude!
    Cartman: They should bring back another season of Chicago Hope though, seriously.
  • The Armies of Heaven: In "Best Friends Forever", Kenny is enlisted by Heaven to command the angelic armies against an invasion from Hell.
  • Arch-Enemy: It was mostly one-sided on Cartman's side earlier on, but the two snowballed into mortal enemies somewhere in the fifth season, and has jumped up a notch with every subsequent season. Cartman even acknowledges that he and Kyle are archenemies in "Grounded Vindaloop".
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
    • Cartman in "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.
    • Cartman on the Jewpacabra: "Don't forget we're dealing with a creature that drinks blood, hides in the night, and has absolutely no belief in the divinity of Christ."
  • Art Evolution: The difference between first season episodes and later episodes is like night and day, even though they have kept the simplistic cutout style. The pilot episode was the only one done with physical construction paper and ever since they were using advanced animation software. Every so often there is a sequence that serves as a reminder that the cheap look was intentional and they could easily produce something more advanced, such as The Movie.
    • Early on, the show had incredibly crude character and background designs, 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 choppy animation, rough paper textures and shadows under objects. Later on, it was dropped. Artifacts remain largely in the original characters and the stilted way they are animated, but newer characters can have more complex appearances and fully realized movement.
    • The opening sequence in particular changed a lot over the years (sometimes no more than a montage of clips) but since season 17 has full three-dimensional perspective, with the characters riding a bus that looks like it was made from cardboard as a craft project.
  • Artistic License - Architecture:
    • Whenever the Oval Office is shown, it is shown to have two giant doors in front of the Resolute Desk, seemingly implying that it is in the middle of the White House, and has a navy blue rug. In real life, the Oval Office is not so imposing. It's actually tucked away in a corner of the West Wing with four regular sized doors to get into it. There is just a simple fireplace where the giant doors are in the show, and the navy blue rug generally associated with it was only there during the Clinton years.
  • Artistic License – Education: Most of the staff at South Park Elementary are extremely incompetent at their jobs. The closest thing the school had to a competent, responsible adult was Chef, a womanizing Casanova whose advice often caused misunderstandings, but he was eventually Killed Off for Real. Things only get worse when Principal Victoria is replaced by PC Principal, who yells at his students and is willing to assault them just for using microaggressions.
  • Artistic License – Geography: In real life, South Park isn't a town, but a grassland flat located in the Rocky Mountains. Visually, the show's version of South Park is based off of the nearby town of Fairplay, Colorado, although Fairplay is much more rural and rustic than it's fictional counterpart.
  • Artistic License – Medicine:
    • In "Timmy 2000", the kids self-diagnose themselves with ADHD after learning that Timmy (who is actually mentally retarded and was misdiagnosed himself) doesn't have to do homework now that he's prescribed Ritalin and the kids become calm and boring (which only happens to those who really do have ADHD, meaning that the kids weren't lying about having ADHD). Also, the parents begin taking their children's Ritalin and become calm and boring as well (which can't happen, as Ritalin has the opposite effect when ingested by adults, which is why adult ADHD medication is different from the ADHD medication for kids). Also, there is no such thing as "Ritalout" (though, if you look closely on the scene of Chef handing out lemonade spiked with the antidote to Ritalin, "Ritalout" actually comes in a jar labeled "MDMA", which is the scientific term for the club drug ecstacy), nor is such a medication "antidote" feasible.
    • In "Cartmanland", Kyle suffers from a potentially fatal hemorrhoid. Hemorrhoids aren't as lethal and don't spread like cancer in Real Life (hemorrhoids can pop and hurt like hell, but the death from a hemorrhoid would come from exsanguination, especially if it was really infected and near a major blood vessel). This was likely intentional given the show's nature.
  • Artistic License – Military: In early seasons, the US military is composed entirely of brigadier generals, led by four star generals, with no officers of any ranks below or between those two, and no enlisted soldiers at all. Later on, the military is apparently taken over by a four-star Marine Corps general who is simultaneously a staff sergeant, with the rank-and-file replaced by soldiers of unknown allegiance and origin since their uniform of blue shirts and red berets doesn't remotely match that of any branch of the US armed forces. Like all other adults in the series, they are never seen actually doing their jobs and apparently have no idea how to.
  • Artistic License – Sports: A major plot point of season 20 is Gerard Broflovski's trolling causing an Olympic gold-medal winning Danish volleyball player to commit suicide. Denmark has never competed in volleyball in the Olympics.
  • 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. An episode like "Good Times with Weapons" has the kids imagining themselves as Shōnen anime heroes, while "Make Love, Not Warcraft" had Machinima sequences inside the game using Blizzard resources and had its own separate production time table.
  • Art-Style Dissonance: You wouldn't expect a paper-cutout show to be like this...
  • 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.
  • As You Know: The commentator of the Canadian Royal Wedding in "Royal Pudding" will frequently add some variant of "As is tradition." after commentating on the In-Universe "traditions" (such as the prince dipping his arms into butterscotch pudding and the princess gracefully scraping it off, thus symbolizing their union).
  • 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: In "Cow Days", Cartman starts acting and talking like the Vietnamese prostitute of Full Metal Jacket after a Tap on the Head.
  • Asian Speekee Engrish:
    • Pretty much 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".
    • Notably averted with Super Best Friends member Lao Tzu, though he still does have an accent similar to the other Asian characters.
  • Aspect Ratio Switch: Happened in the original 4:3 broadcast version of "Good Times With Weapons", switching to a letterboxed widescreen format for the anime fantasy scenes.
  • 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. This is a direct Shout-Out to AKIRA, including the death of Rosie O'Donnell imitating that of Kei being crushed by Blob!Tetsuo.
  • An Ass-Kicking Christmas: A few times, but especially "Red Sleigh Down".
  • Ass Shove: Happens to Cartman. A lot.
    • The premiere episode, "Cartman Gets an Anal Probe", culminates with an 80-foot satellite dish emerging from Cartman's ass.
    • Cartman smuggles all of Disneyland into a juvenile hall inside his ass. ("Cartman's Silly Hate Crime 2000")
    • "Red Hot Catholic Love" sees Cartman trying 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. (With Paris Hilton as an afterthought.)
    • 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 butt hole. And Cartman was 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' 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).
      Doctor: "After 14 hours of testing, we can conclude that your son (Butters) does suffer from schizophrenia."
    • In "Holiday Special", staffers at DNAandMe have difficulty analyzing a sample of Randy's DNA taken from a cheek swab, so they personally come to the Marsh home to forcibly take an anal sample.
  • 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.
    • "Le Petit Tourette": 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.
    • Britney Spears attempts suicide this way in "Britney's New Look" after being pushed too far by paparazzi and reporters. Unfortunately, it just blew the upper part of her head off and didn't kill her.
  • Atrocious Alias:
    • Sea Man from the episode "Super Best Friends". Not only do the superhero religious figures call him by a pun on "semen", but it doesn't help that he can communicate with fish, one of which is a sidekick named Swallow:
      Narrator: Meanwhile, in the ocean depths, Seaman seeks out water to mix with the concrete.
      Sea Man: [looks at camera] Sea Man! [looks at pipe] Look, Swallow, we should be able to divert the water with that pipe.
      Narrator: And so, Seaman and Swallow get to... get to work. [laughs]
    • The boys' school football and dodgeball teams are the Cows.
    • Kyle joins the superhero group "Coon & Friends" under the alter-ego "The Human Kite". "The Coon" is Eric Cartman. Guess what he gets called...
  • Attack Its Weak Point: Invoked in "Grey Dawn", where the elderly have taken over the town and plan to kill anyone under 65. They are defeated when the boys padlock the front doors of the local Country Kitchen Buffet, causing the elderly to grow too weak from hunger to fight back.
  • 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".
  • Auteur License: Almost every single episode is written and directed by Trey Parker to some extent, not even counting the fact that he and Matt voice basically every male character in the cast.
  • Author Appeal: This is the only reasonable explanation to why a bunch of eight year old boys (in 1997) are gushing over Robert Smith.
    Kyle: (to Robert Smith) Disintegration was the greatest album ever!!
  • Author Avatar:
    • Stan and Kyle were originally Author Avatars for Trey and Matt, respectively (to the point that Stan and Kyle's parents have the same first names and physical appearances as Trey and Matt's real-life parents), 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 dark hair, as does Matt, while Phillip has light hair, as does Trey - likely deliberate.
  • Author Tract: Parker and Stone have libertarian views and increasingly inject their viewpoint into the show after the first few seasons. This is often done in the form of a speech given by one of the characters at the end of the episode. Also, liberals will almost be portrayed as far worse than conservatives, which was self-admitted to contrast with how the media would usually portray the latter as evil.
  • Author Usurpation: Trey Parker and Matt Stone have written many other works besides South Park, but South Park has been so successful that discussion of their work always starts this series, while their other works usually aren't mentioned.
  • 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.

  • Back for the Dead: Pip is crushed to death in "201".
  • Back to School: Officer Barbrady goes back to school — and to 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:
  • The Bad Guy Wins:
    • The endings of "Stanley's Cup" and "Scott Tenorman Must Die".
    • "Casa Bonita" is a Double Subversion. Despite Cartman's plan being foiled once Butters is found, he makes a last-minute mad dash for the restaurant and is able to do everything he wants to before the authorities capture him. Regardless, he thought it was all worth it.
  • Bad Impressionists: This is a staple of Jimmy's stand-up routine.
  • Badass Santa: He's pals with Kung-Fu Jesus.
  • Balcony Wooing Scene: In one episode, Stan is trying to get Wendy back, and one of Wendy's friends suggests he stand outside her window and play a Peter Gabriel song as a romantic gesture, in a reference to Say Anything.... But Stan, rather than choosing "In Your Eyes", chooses the decidedly unromantic "Shock the Monkey".
  • 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 $200, 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. A notable example is "Poor and Stupid", with regard to NASCAR and its fan base.
    • 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.
    • Season 23, tried this a lot with Randy with it constantly being Randy supposedly seeing the error of his ways then learning absolutely nothing. The problems were the bait was so hammered down you saw the switch coming and it was done so frequently it lost any substance it might've had.
  • Bait-and-Switch Time Skip:
    • In the episode "The Wacky Molestation Adventure", the children discover that if they accuse their parents of molestation, the authorities will take them away. When this becomes popular enough, the rest of the parents leave town voluntarily, leaving a town with only children in it. We cut to some time after, and the town is all boarded up and desolated, like a ghost town that has been abandoned for years. The children have become wild, having gone full way into Lord of the Flies-style tribal wars. In the end, it turns out that only a week has passed.
    • In another episode, Cartman gets injured and ends up in a coma. We dissolve to Cartman in a hospital bed with a Time-Passage Beard, then he wakes up. It turns out he's been in a coma for two days, and the "beard" was just a face-warmer.
  • Barrier Maiden: Terrance and Philip in The Movie. Although theoretically any Canadian living south of the 49th parallel.
  • Baseball Episode: "The Losing Edge".
  • 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 story line 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 doesn't 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 mom 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. And never, ever compare him to Jon Heder, AKA the guy from Napoleon Dynamite.
    • 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.
    • Do NOT walk in front of Russell Crowe when he's filming his show. In fact, just don't be anywhere near him.
  • 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 hot dog to represent the pe—well, you can picture it. Cartman is dismayed when, instead of biting the hot dog, the horse fellates it. It becomes a Funny Background Event while Cartman has a conversation with Jimbo and Ned.
    • Kanye West in "Fishsticks" is the only one who doesn't get the viral joke and constantly pursuit people to find out why they call him a gay fish. It culminates in his conclusion that people didn't mean to insult him, but rather encourage him to accept his sexuality. So towards the end he's getting it on with fish in the ocean.
    • In "An Elephant Makes Love to a Pig", it's more or less explicitly pointed out that Mr. Garrison had intercourse with the titular pig which resulted in a half-pig half-Mr. Garrison hybrid.
    • "Osama bin Laden Has Farty Pants" has a scene where Osama seems to be falling in love with Cartman dressed as a female belly dancer... but he was actually smitten with a camel.
  • The Bet: Kyle and Cartman have made several over the course of the series over whether or not certain outlandish things are real (like being able to crap out your mouth, or that people shit themselves when they die, or if leprechauns are real). Kyle usually loses these bets when they do turn out to be true.
  • 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. On the other hand, 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, Saddam Hussein and Sheila Broflovski share a Big Bad Ensemble in The Movie.
    • Later seasons begin to experiment more with serialized story lines so more Big Bads appear:
      • Season 19 has PC Principal as a Disc-One Final Boss. The true Big Bad is Leslie Meyers, a living advertisement that is planning to take over, with the aid of South Park resident Nathan.
      • Season 20 is a Big Bad Ensemble between the Member Berries, the superfruit that make people hateful using nostalgia and Lennart Bedrager, the CEO of that reveals everyone's Internet history. In due part to an Aborted Arc, the finale ends up with Bedrager as the personal antagonist, and reveals that he is in fact a troll himself who wants to start World War III For the Evulz.
      • Season 21 has another Big Bad Ensemble between Cartman and President Garrison. The former has reverted back to his old self who is emotionally abusing his girlfriend Heidi. He manipulates her into staying with him by feeding her junk food and corrupting her with his anti-Semitic beliefs and eventually turns her into his Distaff Counterpart. Meanwhile, the latter has become a rapist towards his staff. Garrison also tweets challenging North Korea causing kids to either freak out or die, nukes Canada because of tensions caused by Millennials against Canada, and in the finale the residents hunt him down for Justin Trudeau, while he lurks around like the creature from IT. Though one can argue that there's actually no true Big Bad in Season 21 and the biggest conflict driver is the theme of self-victimization, where everyone has used it as an excuse to act awful.
      • Season 22 has two 2-part story arcs each with its own Big Bad. ManBearPig is this for the "Cereal" story arc being a parallel to Global Warming, committing large scale massacres and killing Satan. Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, is this for the two-part season finale, opening his fulfillment center in South Park to close down many businesses and take control of the town.
  • 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!
  • Big "WHY?!": In "Volcano", when Stan shoots Scuzzlebutt, his leg Patrick Duffy lets out a Big "NO!" and exclaims, "Why, God, why?!"
  • Bilingual Bonus: Largely because co-creator Trey Parker is fluent in Japanese.
    • In "Chickenlover", the illiterate Barbrady sees a Stop sign and imagines the word "STOP" turning into the Korean word "멍청이" ("Mung-chung-ee"), which approximately translates as "Stupid".
    • The Japanese part of the song "Let's Fighting Love" in "Good Times with Weapons" 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".
    • "Last of the Meheecans":
      • The running commentary of Butters crossing the border 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: Dürfen wir dir Kind dort ... geboten. Er ist Jude. Ein schöner saftig Jude. Er ist frisch und wunderhübsch. Wunderhübsch.
      Translation: Can I offer you instead this child? He is Jew. A nice, juicy Jew. He is fresh and beautiful. Beautiful.
  • 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).
    • Season 20 ends with Troll Trace being shut down before it could do long term damage, but now there's no evidence of Gerald ever trolling, meaning his relationship with Sheila is secure, although it is implied that Kyle and Ike's relationship with him has become strained, and the Member Berries remain at large to manipulate Mr. Garrison.
    • Season 21 ends with Kyle and Ike stopping President Garrison together, and Heidi finally breaking up with Cartman for good after realizing how much her relationship with him has changed her. However, Garrison escapes captivity with people claiming how things will get worse now that he has become more desperate and leaves the season at a Cliffhanger.
  • Black Bead Eyes: All the Canadians are drawn with these eyes, as well as Ike.
  • Black Dot Pupils: All of the characters use small black points for eyes.
  • Black-and-Gray Morality: South Park really revels in its misanthropy. Nearly every character featured is stupid, selfish and prone to wanton cruelty and violence. Even the nicer characters have their own Kick the Dog moments.
  • Black-and-White Morality: Savagely parodied in the episode "Butt Out!", where the Big Tobacco company is filled with friendly, singing employees who work to give people an enjoyable break from their stress, in contrast to Rob Reiner's anti-smoking group filled with nasty, unpleasant activists willing to lie, cheat and even kill to ban what they personally dislike. Rather than being pro or anti-smoking, the real idea is to show how ridiculous this trope appears to anyone who doesn't subscribe to it in Real Life.
  • Black Comedy: One of the reasons why the show is so infamous. Notable is Kenny's recurring deaths.
    • The Season 10 finale "Stanley's Cup" was poorly received when it was released. Surprisingly, viewers failed to see the humor in a small child with Leukemia dying from a lack of hope after watching his 4-6 year old hockey teammates being literally battered by a team of heavily-built professionals. It's a good example of how black humor can massively blow up in your face.
  • Black Comedy Rape: "The China Probrem", "Worldwide Recorder Concert", a lot of episodes.
    • Subverted in-series, while absolutely hilarious to the audience (most of the time...). In "The China Probrem", everyone is absolutely terrified and traumatized by witnessing the rape of Indiana Jones, 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. In the same episode, Cartman is tricked into giving an older man a blowjob thinking he was sucking semen out of a hose and it's supposed to be 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.
  • Blatant Lies: The card that comes up before each episode reads "All celebrity voices are impersonated.....poorly.", even though the creators have sometimes gotten celebrities to voice themselves, such as Elton John and Meat Loaf.
  • 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, but only after it has already happened.
  • Blood Knight: How Russell Crowe is portrayed in "The New Terrance and Phillip Movie Trailer". He has a television show called "Fightin' Around the World" in which he attacks random bystanders because he thinks they'll give him a good fight.
  • Bloody Hilarious: South Park wouldn't be half as funny without all the gratuitous gore - really gratuitous gore.
  • Bluff Worked Too Well: In "Tweek x Craig", the two decide to stage a public breakup in hopes of convincing everyone they're not a couple, despite Tweek thinking he won't be convincing enough. Unfortunately, Tweek turns out to be a much better actor than he gives himself credit; so good, in fact, that he ends up making Craig look like a cheating, manipulative jerk.
  • Book and Switch: When Randy goes on a Food Network frenzy, he hides a cookbook under a Playboy magazine.
  • 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 11 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:
    • The show airs with a TV-MA rating during the 10:00pm time slot, but syndicated broadcasts aired prior to 10:00pm are rated TV-14.
    • The DVD release of the banned-from-the-network episode "201", which resulted in all references to Mohammad being removed (there were quite a lot).
    • Seasons 1-10 have fallen victim to this in the syndicated version.
  • 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 School 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 Them by Talking: Josh the T-Per does this to Officer Barbrady quite successfully when he attempts to interrogate him to catch four T-Pers. Incidentally, he's a parody of Hannibal Lecter.
  • 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:
    • In "The Passion of the Jew", as Stan and Kenny prepare to leave for Malibu to get a refund for their tickets for The Passion of the Christ directly from Mel Gibson, Stan tells Kenny, "This is just like when we got our money back for BASEketball."
    • In “Kenny Dies”, Cartman tells one of the stem cell researchers over the phone that if he lets the deal to buy fetuses pass him by, it will be a “fetal mistake.” Cartman then covers the receiver microphone with his hand, looks straight at the audience and chuckles at his own joke.
  • Breakout Character:
    • Cartman has pretty much become the most prominent character in the show thanks to his sociopathic Jerkass 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, 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 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 Blainetologist hands out pamphlets for the Blainetology 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. At the conclusion of the story 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 film 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." Stan states he shouldn't be watching it and winds up vomiting at least twice.
    • 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.
    • Early on in "How to Eat with Your Butt", a news report is on television detailing an epidemic of people randomly getting run over by motorcycles. Later on, after Cartman blows his funny fuse, he tells Mr. Mackey about the things that used to make him laugh, one of them being seeing someone die. Once Cartman gets his laughter back at the end, Kenny is run over by a motorcycle and Cartman laughs out loud at it.
    • In "Best Friends Forever", Cartman says that one of Kenny's hobbies is lighting things on fire. In "Marjorine", Kenny is the one who blows up the girls' "future-telling device", causing a massive explosion.
      Cartman: (completely covered in ash, amidst a field of dead trees) Damn, Ken.
  • Bridal Carry: Jimmy and the prostitute in "Erection Day" while "Up Where We Belong" plays.
  • The Bride with a Past: In "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.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy:
    • Ike Broflovski gets into kindergarten a year early because he is a child prodigy in "Trapper Keeper", and goes on to seduce an older woman in "Miss Teacher Bangs a Boy", participate in a successful diamond heist in "About Last Night", and slay a monster and save a princess in "Royal Pudding". Yet in "#Rehash" we see that his preferred pastime is watching PewDiePie and eating Cheetos.
    • Eric Cartman. We know that he is a bad student because in "Quest for Ratings", he needs extracurricular credit to pass 4th grade. However, in "Tsst", we see that when properly motivated, he can get As and B+s on school tests, in addition to being able to organize a rebellion against the United States of America in "The Red Badge of Gayness" and get away with murder in "Scott Tenorman Must Die". Also, whenever all the boys in the class are getting together to accomplish a common goal, like in "Marjorine", "Make Love, Not Warcraft", and "The List", Eric is always the one coming up with the plan.
  • Bring My Brown Pants: Matt and Trey are quite fond of their poop humor and thus this is 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...
    • The "Pandemic" two-parter: The show's writers were trying to show that the boys' adventures would be miserable and no normal child would want to hang out with them in real life. The problem is that they do this by holding the boys accountable for things beyond their control and having them fail to stand up for themselves. Craig tells the other boys that no one likes them because their plans always fail and put them and everyone around them in jeopardy. However, the reason that their plans failed in this particular story is that the government outlawed Peruvian pan-flute bands, which the boys could have never anticipated or prevented. So the reason that the boys' plan failed in this particular instance is not their fault. Also, the only reason that Craig was able to save the world was that they boys went ahead with their plan and cajoled him into joining their pan-flute band. Finally, in the next episode "Elementary School Musical", the boys try to fit in and be normal so that people will like them, but that plan fails. So the moral that the episode seems to be going for is "People will not like you if you take unnecessary risks and never learn from your mistakes." But the actual moral is "The plan will always fail. The reason why it fails is completely irrelevant." Which may be true in fiction, but not in real life.
    • In "The City Part of Town", Lu Kim has a mournful soliloquy about how figures like him are now considered outdated and being pushed aside to pander to a new crowd. The message loses a bit of its impact as Lu Kim's role in the series was never very prominent. For instance, he was absent for 4 years after Season 9 and again for 3 years after Season 15.
  • 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. Though this varies from person to person. Most cannot make the first sentence without yakking. This becomes the basis for a game show: "How Long Can You Read Scrotie McBoogerballs" in which contestants make money by how many seconds they can read the book out loud. The book is translated into 60 languages, and it has the same effect to the reader in any language.
    • The porno Backdoor 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. The reason she stops there is because she doesn't see the point of continuing when Pip presents the next one.
  • 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 literally the only scientist in town (no mention of Dr. Mephesto during that episode oddly enough). 'That was probably a fluke; though, there are too many people who work in Randy's office for them to all be secretarial or administrative personnel for just him. His coworkers seem to put up with him solely because he's just that good at <insert obscure geology topic>.
  • Bumbling Dad: Randy Marsh. Dear God Randy Marsh. He makes Homer Simpson look like Ward 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 resigning 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'. (He did have a good if somewhat hypocritical reason for not letting her see it, and the killing was an accident because "Spider-Man works in mysterious ways.")
    • Saying a certain N-word on national television. (He was on Wheel of Fortune, the clue was "annoying people", and the board was showing "naggers".)
    • And then this trope is subverted when it is discovered that Randy is Lorde.
  • Buried Alive: Cartman in "Go God, Go!", necktie variant.
  • Bust-Contrast Duo: In one episode, Bebe starts to grow breasts (she's nine, so they're little more than mosquito bites). The other girls who have yet to develop take a level in jerkass, while Bebe herself becomes noticeably meeker (seriously, compare her lusting over Kyle in season 2 with how she acts after getting boobs).
  • But Thou Must!: In "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 appears annoyed by the persistent narration]
      He knew that only by going to the forest could he—
      [Stan finally gives in and leaves the house]
  • Butterfly Effect: Very well done in the "Go God, Go!" duology. In the second episode, Future Cartman calls Present-Day Kyle to ask for his help. When Kyle misses his ride because of the phone call, several things in the future change, most of which (if not all of which) are simply cosmetic. Regardless, the fact still remains though that a seemingly trivial change to the present had a visible, and immediate, effect on the future.
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • Kenny filled the role in the first five seasons due to his constant deaths.
    • Pip was constantly humiliated until his spot was taken by Butters.
    • Clyde in some episodes, as he's Prone to Tears.
  • 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.

  • 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:
    • The whole photoshopping dicks in people's mouths thing that Gerald does in Season 20 could be a reference to the episode "Cartman Sucks" where Cartman took a picture of him with Butters' dick in his mouth and at one point threatens to Photoshop it to make it look like Kyle is the one sucking Butters' dick.
    • 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 Wookiees come from...
    • In "Starvin' Marvin' in Space" (season 3), 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 "AWESOM-O" (season 8), a disguised 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.
    • Speaking of the movie, the entire plot of "Cartman Sucks" could be a callback to the following quote Terrance told Phillip in the film: "Oh Phillip, this is worse than that night you put your dick in my mouth and took a picture".
    • 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 Death of Eric Cartman", when Cartman thinks he's dead and can't get into Heaven, he references a bunch of his previous sins to Butters, and then goes out to try and make amends to the people he hurt.
    • 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.
    • In "Fat Camp", when the boys ask Chef what a prostitute is, Chef makes a callback to the movie were Stan asked him how to find the clitoris, as well as listing sexual questions the boys have asked him throughout the series and how much it annoys him.
  • 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 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. This is despite the fact that he looks and sounds exactly the same, and won't eat the flesh (human or otherwise) they bring to feed to him.
    Butters: Can't I just have some Spaghetti-Os?
  • Camp Straight: All the straight male characters in "South Park is Gay!" All males adopt the metrosexual fashion style, making Mr. Garrison believe they've all turned legitimately gay. When he hits on them, they reject him, claiming they're straight, enraging him with the assumed notion that straights are stealing their "gay" culture. Kyle also goes against the trend as he feels uncomfortable with the dress-up, being the only character averting the trope.
  • 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 Morissette, Justin Bieber, Sarah McLachlan, and professional wrestler Edge. They are portrayed in the "normal" style despite being Canadian.
    • Inverted with Saddam Hussein, who has the top of his head flap up whenever he talks as Canadians do, but he is Iraqi.
    • In "Canada on Strike," the Danish, who are in-episode portrayed as being Europe’s equivalent to North America’s Canadians, have craniums that flap up like the Canadians do, but their eyes are of the "normal" style.
  • The Can Kicked Him: The fate of Clyde's mom in "Reverse Cowgirl."
  • Capitalism Is Bad: As a show with a somewhat Libertarian leaning, usually inverted.
    • In "Gnomes", Harbucks Coffee is seen as just another company which started out small and became a powerhouse corporation due to positive quality. The executive isn't evil, he's just forced to resort to petty tactics to compete with small business owner Mr. Tweak, who manipulates the minds of the general public against him.
      Kyle: Big corporations are good! ...Without big corporations, we wouldn't have things like cars, and computers, and canned soup.
    • "A Very Crappy Christmas" argues that the blatant commercialization of Christmas is what makes it special. Without it, the holiday season just passes by without notice, or it just becomes about peace, love and togetherness. Which is boring.
    • Ultimately subverted in "Something Wall-Mart This Way Comes", where Wall-Mart is a sapient Eldritch Location which exists to corrupt and devastate towns across the country economically and socially (turning South Park into a ghost town and driving the regretful creators to suicide). The physical personification of the store itself admits greed and desire is what keeps it alive and prosperous; in other words, capitalism isn't inherently the villain, but a lack of personal responsibility and blind consumerism is. This apparently goes over the heads of the adults, who come to this this conclusion, but in trying to support a small, mom-and-pop store, end up turning it into a successful corporation, which they decide to burn to the ground.
    • Played straight in the two-part finale of season 22 centered around Amazon. They don't shy away from the corporation's less-than-humane working conditions or the stronghold it's developed over the American market, and the plot revolves around the town overcoming their Amazon addiction when the workers begin to strike. Jeff Bezos is portrayed as an amoral telepathic figure who spies on families and orders hits on his opposition through Alexa. However, like the Wal-Mart episode, part of the blame is on the consumers for becoming so irresponsibly dependent on Amazon deliveries to begin with.
  • 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.
    • In terms of characters, the Secret Society of Cynics from "Ass Burgers" is heavily based on Morpheus's gang from The Matrix.
  • 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 by Cartman in "Whale Whores" and in the season three episode "Jakovasaurs".
  • Card Carrying Villains: The Woodland Critters.
  • Carload of Cool Kids: One episode has 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 low-rider).
  • 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?"
  • Casino Episode: In "Red Man's Greed", the entire population of South Park goes to a casino hold by Native Americans and lose all their money, the whole episode being a Perspective Reversal of America's western colonization.
  • Cassandra Truth:
    • Often happens, somewhat justified as some of what the boys say is hard to believe, but this is South Park after all. Examples: when Sgt. Yates never seems to listen to Kyle, or when Stan tries 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"
  • Catchphrase:
    • Stan and Kyle's "Oh my God, they killed Kenny!" "You bastards!" exchange. This gets toyed with in later seasons that still used the Running Gag; 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".
    • Cartman's "Screw you guys, I'm going home!", "Respect mah authoritah!", threatening to kick someone "Squa' in the nuts/balls", and "Goddamn it!" with cocking head and squinted eyes. He also has "But mo-o-o-o-om..." when trying to get what he wants from his mother. When he negotiates with someone, he'll respond to an offer he dislikes with "Aw man, you're breaking my balls."
    • Cartman says "Seriously" so much that he says it even when he should just say "serious," like "I'm seriously, you guys!"
    • The classic Butters catchphrase: "Oh, hamburgers!" When he gets excited, he often shouts "Fellas! FELLAS!"
    • Stan has "Goddammit!", "Oh, ohhhhhh!", and in the earlier seasons, a simple "Dude", or "This is pretty fucked up right here!"
    • Everyone from New Jersey: "It's a Jersey thing!"
    • More of a Catch Conversation, but in the early seasons, Chef would often have this exchange with the boys:
      Chef: "Hello there, children!"
      Boys: [in unison] "Hey, Chef."
      Chef: "How's it goin'?"
      Boys: [one or all] "Bad."
      Chef: "Why bad?"
    • Chef says "Children" so often that he says it even when he's speaking to or about one child.
    • Mr. Slave says, "Jesus Christ!" with a stereotypical gay lisp.
    • Mr. Mackey says, "Mmmkay?" to the point that it's the subject of a song in The Movie.
    • Caitlin Jenner says "Buckle up, Buckaroo!" before driving... and inevitably killing someone with the car.
    • Randy develops one in season 23, usually in response to someone calling out his weed farming practices: "Heh, hey...fuck you!"
  • Caught with Your Pants Down: In "Overlogging", 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."
  • Celebrity Paradox: Quite a strange example. Apparently in the South Park world Mickey Mouse (in "The Ring") and Freddy Krueger (in "Insheeption") are real people, despite them being present among the fictional characters in the "Imaginationland" trilogy. Other episodes also featured Bart Simpson, or at least a boy who looked like him, and Dick Dastardly with Muttley. Inverted with Jesus who, despite being established pretty early as a South Park resident, still appears among the council of imaginary characters in the aforementioned Imaginationland arc.
  • 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 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.
  • Central Theme: Life may suck but as long as you’ve got your friends, you'll make it.
  • 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. Still, Stan's grandpa turns out to have had a dog called Billy who he loved very much, and Stan correctly associates that as his grandpa loving him too, even if he doesn't really remember day-to-day events.
  • 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 he could top himself. However, in season 20, Cartman attempts to change for the better. Despite this, he once again reverted to his normal Jerkass tendencies in season 21, as well as becoming a more realistic type of evil.
    • "1%" appears to have furthered his insanity, making him more paranoid and delusional in general.
    • 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.
  • Characterisation Click Moment:
    • In the first few seasons, Cartman was more of a whiny and naïve Spoiled Brat who hated almost everybody. The Season 5 episode "Scott Tenorman Must Die" marked a major turning point for the character, turning him into the cunning, manipulative psychopath he is today.
    • For the first two seasons, Butters was largely just a Living Prop with no specific characterisation. The Season 3 episode "Two Guys In A Hot Tub" however gives him his first major role, establishing him as a meek but tragically optimistic Kiddie Kid, making him a good foil for the other cynical characters. His appearances become more frequent and fleshed out following this, with him elevated to main character status by Season Six.
    • Craig was originally created with the Running Gag that he constantly flipped people off. Later he was positioned as the leader of a group that rivaled the main boys, but that was only used in a few episodes. The "Pandemic" two-parter put him center-stage and gave him sarcastic, Genre Savvy personality, which proved immediately popular and has remained ever since.
    • While Randy's bumbling habits had recurrently perked up since he first appeared, he was generally no worse than the other residents of South Park and in some cases was one of the relatively more easy-going parents. Season Four's "Something You Can Do With Your Finger" was the first episode to focus on his individual penchant for Serious Business melodramas towards whatever was going on with the kids or elsewhere in South Park. By "Child Abduction Is Not Funny" in Season Six, he has taken the mantle of spearheading clueless town mobs over whatever is the hot topic.
  • 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
    • 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.
    • Butters' character hadn't been set in stone until around season 6; in his earliest appearances, he would join kids in picking on others with little to no trace of his milquetoast personality.
  • Cheating with the Milkman: "Insecurity" suggests this trope had been modernized with UPS deliverymen in place of milkmen.
  • Chekhov's Boomerang: In "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 Rob Reiner at the end of "Butt Out" becomes a plot point in "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 later 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 McCormicks start making their meth again. Nobody paid much attention. Then eight years later, it becomes a major plot point in "The Poor Kid", as well as "The Stick of Truth".
  • Chekhov's Skill: Parodied in "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, contributing to a diamond heist, and becoming a knight in Canada - all before reaching the age of four!
    • To a lesser extent, Kyle can be this. He has regularly been portrayed as the smartest in the 4th grade class. He has shown to have affinities for existential philosophy, crossbreeding of animals, utilizing Photoshop well enough to fool a foreign government, bringing democracy to Cuba, and single-handedly thwarting a terrorist plot while the government sits idly by - not 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. He's also 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.
    • Ike, Karen, Blanket, the little boy and the baby girl in in "The F Word", and various small children are obviously this. Except when Ike isn't, like when he's going through "Canadian puberty" or being possessed by Michael Jackson's spirit.
    • In the commentary for "Bebe's Boobs Destroy Society", Matt and Trey explicitly state that they don't believe in this trope, instead insisting that Humans Are Bastards 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).
    • More prominent in earlier seasons, in which the kids would struggle to understand sexual concepts and would usually Comically Miss The Point when someone tried to explain them.
  • 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 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. He even becomes a major character in the second half of season 19's story arc.
    • Kenny's brother, Kevin (the dirty kid who speaks like a hick, when he speaks at all). He was only seen in "Starvin' Marvin" (from season one), "Chickenlover" (from season two), and "Chickenpox" (also from season two). His most recent appearance was in season 19 episode "The City Part of Town".
    • 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: "Super Best Friends" features Blainetology, an obvious reference to Scientology that commits a mass suicide to try to achieve tax exempt status. The later episode "Trapped in the Closet", however, famously tackles the religion head on. The episode even ended with them daring Scientology to sue.
  • Circumcision Angst: Subverted: Kyle thinks they're going to cut off his brother's penis!
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: Spoofed. In "Happy Holograms", when "CartmanBrah" is trending so much he might take over the world, Ike and the other little kids beg us to trend "I Believe In Him", to summon the one who can save us all - PewDiePie.
  • 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 well.
    • 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!
    • This is also what happens in "Breast Cancer Show Ever".
  • Comedic Sociopathy: Many characters fit this trope, though the most obvious example would have to be Eric Cartman.
  • 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 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, "Major Boobage" in particular. Mainly due to the subplot 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 half-ginger, which he is more upset over than the fact that he killed his own father.
    • Earlier airings of "Death" 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.
    • Cartman attempts to "reinvent himself" as a progressive in Season 20, but instead acts like his usual bullying self, just with different targets, in a parody of so-called "social justice warriors". This culminates in him spouting off rigid "defenses" of feminism against imagined attacks, while obviously and hilariously missing the point behind them.
    • 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.
  • Community-Threatening Construction: Evil Native Americans want to plow the town under in order to make a freeway bypass that goes directly to their casino.
  • Completely Off-Topic Report: In "Big Gay Al's Big Gay Boat Ride", the audience hears the conclusion of a report Cartman is making to the class:
    Cartman: "And so you see, Simon & Simon were not brothers in real life, only on television."
    Mr Garrison: Thank you for that presentation, Eric, but the assignment was on Asian cultures. You get a D-."
  • 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 "Professor Chaos", they parody The Bachelor when looking for someone to take Butters' place.
  • Conforming OOC Moment: In "Hooked on Monkey Fonics," Butters is among the kids who bully Mark and duct tape him to the bench, despite Butters usually being the least confrontational kid in the group. Enforced, given that this is early in Butters' character development and justified in that he has a tendency to fall victim to herd mentality.
  • The Conspiracy: In "Sexual Healing", there is a nationwide (perhaps worldwide) conspiracy to keep the fact that All Men Are Perverts a secret from women. Whenever there is a news story about a rich and famous man sleeping around with many women, all the men loudly express their disgust at his actions and claim they would never do such a thing, right before their eyes glance at the nearest woman to see if she bought it. Eventually the government decrees that these rich and famous men are only sleeping around because they have sex addiction, caused by a wizard alien casting a spell. A SWAT Team is sent to an empty building to kill said wizard alien, and at one point one of the officers says that they can drop the act since there are no women around. His fellow officers tie him up, gag him, slap an alien wizard costume on him, and then have Kyle and Butters shoot him dead.
    President Obama: We watched... as sex addiction ran rampant through our country. It devastated families. But once again, our great country has risen up as one. The wizard alien... is dead. Sex addiction is no more. And if a rich celebrity is caught again trying to screw lots of women, we will know it isn't because men are just like that, it's because a wizard alien has cast his mighty spell.
  • Consulting a Convicted Killer: In "Toilet Paper", parodying The Silence of the Lambs, Officer Barbrady consults Josh, locked up for TP'ing 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" features every single celebrity the show had lampooned to date at the time, even some who had since died in real life. Tim Burton also appears, despite never having been parodied in the series proper.
  • Continuity Drift: In the earlier seasons, South Park was portrayed as a quiet, little, redneck, podunk, white-trash mountain town. However, it ended up growing larger and more urban in later seasons, having more people, stores, restaurants and even a large shopping mall. This reached it zenith in Season 19, where Randy led an effort to gentrify the entire town.
  • 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.
    • The theme song animation for each respective season shows nods to various episodes that happened or have yet to happen that season. For example, Season 1-4's openings had Mecha-Streisand, the erupting Mount South Park volcano, mutated Cartman, Mr. Hankey flying at the town's sign, Scuzzlebutt, and Death briefly touching Kenny for starters]]. The Continuity Nods only pile on from there.
  • Continuity Creep: South Park has always had fair amount of continuity, but seasons 18 and 19 is where it begins having serialized, ongoing story arcs, with episodes being heavily connected to one another without being part of a multi-episode event. However, after Donald Trump's upset victory in the 2016 election, about half of the planned story line for season 20 had to be thrown out and quickly rewritten. Season 21 reverted back to a more episodic structure, though still more continuity heavy than earlier seasons which were mostly Negative Continuity.
  • 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.
  • Conveniently Timed Distraction: In "Cock Magic", when the cops arrives to arrest everyone for partaking in illegal cock magic fighting, Randy appears on stage and performs his version of "cock" magic. This distracts the cops and all the people who were involved in the cock magic fights had left.
  • 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 Fraiche", 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 Wall-Mart, who seems to be one, but is actually just a pawn to Wal-Mart itself.
    • "Chef-Aid:" "I am above the law!"
  • Cosmic Horror Reveal: "Pinewood Derby" begins with Stan competing for the derby and his father Randy cheating to win, which catches the attention of cosmic beings who subject humanity to a morality test.
  • 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 end of 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.
  • Courtroom Antic: Spoofed in "Chef Aid".
  • Coy, Girlish Flirt Pose: Natalie Portman when she demurely turns down requests to open her wormhole.
  • Crapsaccharine 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.
  • Credits Gag: In "Trapped in the Closet", after Stan challenges [Happy]ology to sue him, the credits come up, identifying every single person who worked on the episode as John Smith or Jane Smith.
  • 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.
  • Criminal Convention: Butters visits a pimp convention when he accidentally becomes a pimp.
  • Crisis of Faith: Kyle has one when Cartman gets his own theme park and he gets... hemorrhoids.
  • 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 Jaclyn 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.
    • There's also Princess Kenny in the Black Friday trilogy.
  • 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".
    • "Time to Get Cereal". "Nobody Got Cereal?"
    • "Tweek vs Craig" and "Tweek X Craig".
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Butters gets a surprisingly high number of these moments.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: In "Coon vs Coon and Friends", Justin Bieber has his head popped like a grape by Cthulhu.
    • The bubonic plague makes people vomit up their own intestines.
    • Subverted when Richard Adler attempts to commit suicide. He initially attempts to split himself open feet first...but he then stops when he realizes how painful that would be.
  • 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 sees him blasted onto a road by an alien ray gun, 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 to 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 called "Hungriger Hugo" (Hungry Hugo) in the German dub.
    • 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".
  • Cutaway Gag:
    • Family Guy's penchant for these is parodied extensively in the "Cartoon Wars" two-parter. It's revealed the reason why is that the Family Guy writers are manatees with a bunch of balls in their pool listed with topics that they scoot into slots, so any given cutaway gag can be developed as "You think that's bad, remember when I did (activity) with (celebrity) at (place)." The trope itself is sometimes referred to as a "Manatee Gag" for that reason (and was almost a Trope Namer, if not the inspiration). note 
    • Played straight in "Freemium Isn't Free", where the prince of Canada states that using money from the Terrance and Phillip mobile game to build a campaign teaching people to play it in moderation isn't hypocritical since "the alcohol industry does it all the time." Cut to a spoof of alcohol commercials aggressively advertising and glamorizing heavy drinking, only to add "please drink responsibly" at the end.
  • 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 amoeba, 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. And "Over Logging".
  • Cute Approaches Camera: Invoked via South Park's favorite shows: "Animals Close-Up with a Wide-Angle Lens," and its spinoff "Animals Close-Up with a Wide-Angle Lens Wearing Hats."
  • 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.
  • Cyberbullying: In "Skank Hunt", Gerald's online persona SkankHunt42 is primarily a troll who harasses random groups of people for fun, but he dedicates extra time to Freja Ollegard, a Danish Olympic medalist and breast cancer survivor who takes down her website and personally denounces the trolling. After giving this statement, the trolls target Freja by sending questions to her on a talk show mocking her breast cancer. This eventually drives Freja to kill herself and kickstarts Denmark's national contempt for trolling.

  • Damned by a Fool's Praise:
  • 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.
  • Dark Is Evil/Dark Is Not Evil: Satan is a bit of both. Although he's a physical embodiment of evil, his persona is far from it under most circumstances, and he's a rather friendly, sensitive Punch-Clock Villain.
  • David vs. Goliath: Wonderfully subverted in "Stanley's Cup" as Stan leads his rag-tag Pee Wee hockey team against the Red Wings...who completely crush and humiliate the little kids 33-2.
  • A Day in the Limelight:
    • The Goth Kids in "The Ungroundable" and "Goth Kids 3: Dawn of the Posers".
    • Wendy in "Stupid Spoiled Whore Video Playset", "The List", and "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".
    • Darryl Weathers in "White People Renovating Houses".
    • Clyde in "Lice Capades" and "Reverse Cowgirl".
    • Craig in "Pandemic", "Pandemic 2: The Startling", "Tweek x Craig", and "Put It Down".
    • Token in "Here Comes the Neighborhood".
    • Bebe in "Bebe's Boobs Destroy Society".
    • Tweek in "Gnomes", before becoming a major character in the latter half of Season 6. Later on, he has "Tweek x Craig" and "Put It Down".
    • Although it is only the B-story, "Crème Fraiche" is the only time we follow Sharon Marsh without Stan or Randy.
    • Timmy in "Timmy 2000" and "Helen Keller! The Musical".
    • Scott Malkinson in "Basic Cable".
  • 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.
    • Eric Cartman is the most famous and iconic Deadpan Snarker in cartoon history.
  • 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 "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.
  • Death of a Child: This is a show that is not afraid to kill children. That was clear from the get go with Kenny, but other children are hardly safe. There was one episode that even had a baby get run over.
  • Deceptively Human Robots: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in "Go Fund Yourself".
    Dan Snyder: Is the league just going to sit by while my team and my players are compared to ISIS? You have to do something, Commissioner Goodell! What are you going to do about this?!
    Goodell: (voice obviously sampled) I will get it right, and do whatever is necessary to accomplish that.
    Snyder: What?
    Goodell: We will continue to identify and add expertise to our team.
    Snyder: That's the most ridiculous nothing answer I've ever heard! What are you gonna do now?!
    Goodell: Everyone will participate in education sessions starting in the next month.
    Snyder: Ugh, this thing is broken.
    Goodell: We can add... and we will do more... do more... do more... (breaks down)
    Snyder: Get all the NFL owners on Skype — this thing is broken again!
  • 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.
    • In "Probably", Satan deconstructs the entire Betty and Veronica love dynamic idea by presenting his kind and supportive boyfriend Chris as the Betty and Saddam Hussein as the Veronica. Satan can't choose between the two since he loves Chris' kindness but doesn't find him personally attractive and is deeply attracted to Saddam's wild side but hates his abusive nature. He goes to God for answers but God gives him a stern "Reason You Suck" Speech for being so pathetic over two parties he doesn't want to be with faithfully and how he needs to address his own issues and not date either one until he gets himself settled. The episode presents the trope as a toxic relationship dynamic and that the "Archie" in the middle is better off single until they can make up their minds.
    God: You've become dependent on relationships, so haven't even considered the option of not being with either of them. If you're not sexually attracted to someone, you're not ever going to be. But Saddam isn't right either. He's the other extreme. You need to spend time alone to find the balance. The middle ground.
  • 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. Mephesto, 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 and Kyle get maybe one or two lines in the beginning".
    • Tweek, Pip, Wendy, Ike, Jimbo & Ned, Fr. Maxi, Kenny, Ms. Cartman, Kyle's parents and Mr. Garrison have scarcely appeared in later seasons.
    • Jesus as well. He used to be featured a lot more in the earlier seasons and had his own talk show. In fact, he used to be the star of the early shorts. Although he still appears occasionally from time to time, he isn't as prominent as before and his talk show disappeared. Satan also became less prominent. Lately, however, Kenny HAS been getting more appearances, even getting his own episode with Butters in "Going Native" AND NOT DYING!
    • After being an Ascended Extra for Seasons 20 and 21, Heidi Turner goes back to her old role as a background character.
  • Depending on the Writer: Depending on the episode, the boys can go from being Wise Beyond Their Years with a complete understanding of reality better than the adults of South Park to acting like regular 8-year-old kids who don't know the difference between TV and real life.
  • 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. In fact, he's been through a number of sexual orientations and identities and each time it was some twisted mockery thereof.
    • Cartman. Jimmy put it best in "Imaginationland". And put on display in "Cartman Finds Love".
  • Despotism Justifies the Means: Cartman has a deep fondness for this. "Probably", "Dances with Smurfs" and "Crack Baby Athletic Association" are just three examples among many, many others.
  • Destructive Romance: Though initially starting out very sweet and loving in Season 20, Cartman's relationship with Heidi Turner, became this in Season 21. Cartman becomes miserable in his relationship with Heidi but doesn't want to end it because of his constant need for attention and is emotionally manipulating her into staying with him. Likewise the only reason Heidi is still with him is because she doesn't want to admit to her friends she made a bad decision, even if his influence turns her into his Distaff Counterpart. The relationship has also affected other people as well, especially Kyle, who was upset that he wasn't able to convince Heidi to leave Cartman blaming Canada for this, which resulted in him getting the country nuked. Eventually Heidi realizes how much of a negative impact her relationship with Cartman had and how they only saw themselves as the victim of other spouses' emotional abuse and decides to end the relationship herself, not letting Cartman's emotional manipulation affect her anymore.
  • 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: Mint-Berry Crunch, full-stop. Also, the ending of the film.
  • Devil in Plain Sight: Averted, in that many characters know that Cartman is a Jerkass. 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 showcase a whiny little bitch. God even calls him out on this. He's also gay for some reason. That doesn't make him a loser, South Park is rather progressive about this, but the fact that he's a weepy codependent who can't not be in a relationship is. He improves in later seasons.
  • Dewey Defeats Truman: As seen above in "Aborted Arc" the Season 20 "Member Berries" plot hinged entirely on Hillary Clinton winning the Electoral College in the 2016 election. She did not. With the election being won by Trump, the Member Berries plot is wrapped up in the most minimal way possible and dropped right afterwards.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: Quite common in the show, especially in later seasons, most notably in Stanley's Cup.
  • Did We Just Make Friends with Cthulhu?: Cartman did.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Mint-Berry 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).
  • Diegetic Switch: In "Kenny Dies", when the aborted fetuses are being shipped off to the stem cell research lab, the scene is accompanied by "On the Road Again" played non-diegetically. When it cuts to inside the cab of the delivery truck, the same song is playing through the radio.
  • Dinky Drivers: Occurs with Stan at the wheel and Kenny on the brakes in "Towelie".
    Stan: Alright, that does it! Brake angrily, Kenny!
  • 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.
    • Near the end of "Damien", Cartman throws everybody out of his birthday party just because Kyle didn't get him the toy he wanted (since the toy store was out of them).
    • 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".
    • 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 and 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 DHS 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).
  • Do They Know It's Christmas Time?:
    • Subverted in "Red Sleigh Down"; Santa Claus is taken prisoner in Baghdad and Jesus leads a commando mission to rescue him. Santa makes it out alive, but Jesus is shot and killed during the escape, which prompts Santa to give a conclusory speech about how Jesus died for him and decrees that every Christmas they remember Jesus and the sacrifice he made.
    • Also parodied in the first Halloween episode. At the end of said episode, Stan says he learned that, "Halloween isn't about costumes, or candy. It's about being good to one another, and giving and loving." He is then told by Kyle that it actually applies to Christmas and that Halloween is about, in fact, costumes and candy.
    • Going even further back, "The Spirit of Christmas," the original South Park short, concludes with "Christmas is about presents."
  • Documentary Episode: "Crippled Summer" and "I Should Have Never Gone Ziplining", which are respectively parodies of Intervention and I Shouldn't Be Alive. The latter even had a dramatic reenactment (filmed in live action) for the third act.
  • Dodgeball Is Hell: Pip becomes a Dodgeball savant when he gets pissed off over people calling him French.
  • Does Not Like Shoes:
    • The Bulter of the Super Adventure Club is always seen barefoot.
    • Kyle's character in World of Warcraft.
    • Mr. Service does not use pants, and goes barefoot anywhere.
  • 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 "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!
  • 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 "Breast Cancer Show Ever".
  • Double Standard: Spoofed quite a few times.
    • 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. Though Nathan did sort of deserve it given that he was deliberately trying to get this to happen to Jimmy.
    • 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. Although everyone was sympathetic when they thought it could be his mother beating him, so apparently the double standard has an age difference limit.
      • Averted in "The Poor Kid". Mysterion (male) beats up an unnamed female student. The girl in question is immediately unsympathetic beforehand, as she's trying to beat up Karen McCormick, a little girl half her size.
    • Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male: When Kyle learns that Ike's kindergarten teacher has been having sex with him, he goes to the police. At first, the police are rightfully outraged, because they assume it's a man. When Kyle says it's a woman, and a hot one at that, they just laugh and call Ike the luckiest kid in the world. Apparently, they would have been willing to arrest her if she was ugly, but since she's hot, all they have to say is "Nice..."
      • Averted in "HumancentiPad". Everyone reacts with shock and disgust when Cartman claims his mother is trying to "fuck" him. note 
  • 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 more 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", "Pre-School", "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 (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 extraterrestrial origin etc. only to find out he's talking about Mint-Berry Crunch, who then disappears along with Cthulhu and Cartman, Mysterion goes back to headquarters/Cartman's basement after Mint-Berry Crunch saves the world. There, he tells his gleeful superhero buddies that he wants to "go to bed" then promptly shoots himself. For the third time in the trilogy. The punchline is that he probably really meant it since he'd just wake up in bed a little later anyway.
    • 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 Wall-Mart This Way Comes", the owner of the local Wall-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 Wall-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. "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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