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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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  • Kansas City Shuffle:
    • Cartman pulls this off at the end of "Scott Tenorman Must Die", after several failed attempts to get back at Scott who initially conned him.
    • Another earlier, elaborate version occurred at the beginning of the "2000" arc, within the season 4 premiere "The Tooth Fairy's Tats 2000", again involving Cartman. As this long, and extremely complicated plan began with Cartman convincing the boys to pose as imitation tooth fairies to get rich quick, which immediately draws the attention of the Tooth Fairy Mafia and the American Dental Association (Don't ask)), drawing Cartman's plans to a temporary halt through the rest of the "2000" arc, until "Something You Can Do With Your Finger", where Cartman's goals of obtaining $10 million come back, this time seemingly disguised as plans to become an ultra-successful boy band. It isn't until the two-parter "Do the Handicapped Go to Hell?"/ "Probably" that Cartman, under the guise of fearing eternal damnation, convincing the children of South Park, through twisting Father Donovan's rather extremist words into a sign that they need to split off from the church, leave South Park, and start their own religion. He gets so far as stating that God would strike them down if they didn't start "donating" a dollar to him. When Kyle discovers Cartman rolling around in his spoils, Cartman reveals that this rather elaborate plan was in development ever since they became false Tooth Fairies.
  • Karma Houdini: Cartman on many occasions.
    • The goth kids in "The Ungroundable" set a Hot Topic store on fire but receive no known punishment or jail sentence.
    • Not to mention earlier in the same episode, the Goths kidnapped the leader of the vampires and sent him off to Scottsdale.
    • At the end of Season 20, Gerald is this big time as all evidence of his trolling as Skankhunt42 is wiped out along with the rest of the internet! The only people in town who know full well who he is are Kyle and Ike.
  • Karmic Butt-Monkey: Cartman seems to get the worst of most situations, but he tends to either cause or exacerbate them anyway. This is played with in "Scott Tenorman Must Die" in which Cartman is bullied and humiliated by an older kid with no provocation. His attempts to get revenge all end up with him getting tortured again, with even Kyle and Stan later siding with Scott against Cartman out of sheer spite. However by the time you almost end up feeling sorry for Cartman, he reveals a deadly gambit against Scott involving his parents and a chili cookoff, at which point we realise why Cartman is rarely made to win in the first place. That episode was followed up later when Scott organizes all the Gingers of South Park, whom Cartman relentlessly teased and bullied, to sic Mecha-Streisand on him.
  • Karmic Rape: A minor villain is raped by a shark. ''Twice''.
    • And in a later season, a crossdresser/transwoman. Apparently, the shark was more preferable out of the two.
  • Kid-Appeal Character: The main characters inverted this trope, so they're more like "adult-appeal kid characters".
  • Kid Hero: Often the day is saved by the boys (see: Adults Are Useless), but played more traditionally in the Mysterion arc.
  • Kids Are Cruel: The creators don't have a very high opinion of children, and it shows. However, Character Development downplays this trope with at least Stan and Kyle after the first few seasons. This leaves Cartman who goes on to push this trope Up to Eleven with each passing season.
  • Killed Off for Real: The Season 5 "finale" "Kenny Dies". note  Only to mysteriously return at the end of the following season.
    • Matt and Trey seem to have a habit of killing off characters they no longer have a use for, such as Ms. Choksondik (the fourth grade teacher with the hideous, sagging breasts and lazy eye) at the end of "Professor Chaos", Ms. Crabtree in "Cartman's Incredible Gift", Pip Pirrup in "201" and now all of Cartman's dolls in "1%".
  • Killer Rabbit: During the "Pandemic" two-parter, the world rounds up Peruvian flute bands to avoid their music... only to discover they were keeping giant killer live-action guinea pigs in cute costumes away. Also the Woodland Critters.
  • Kill the Poor: Kyle's dad inadvertently gives his son the idea that putting all poor people in concentration camps would be good for the world.
  • The Klan: Appears several times, most notably in "Chef Goes Nanners" and Cartman's ghost costume in "Pinkeye" resembles a KKK robe, much to Chef's dismay.
    • Averted when the townspeople attempt to scare away the new residents, whom they don't like because they're wealthy. They dress up in costume as "spooky ghosts" and decide to burn a lower-case t on the rich families' lawns, for "time to leave". The rich families — who are, coincidentally, all black — take it exactly as it was intended.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Sheila Broflovski (in The Movie), Trent Boyett, The Super Adventure Club, Grandma Stotch and Lennart Bedrager are some of the villains that were NOT Played for Laughs.
    • Heidi Turner is a non-villainous example of this trope. Season 20 and 21 was definitely less humorous and more story driven and dramatic due to Heidi's importance in them and for the most part her abuse at the hands of Cartman was played dead serious, showing the negative effects it had on her mental and physical health.
  • Knight Templar:
    • Eric Cartman. His Disproportionate Retribution in "Scott Tenorman Must Die" and his bizarre concept of "good" in the "Coon" episodes are just a sampling of him embodying this trope.
    • Kyle himself is gradually leaning towards this trope in his rivalry with Cartman, some of their conflicts have shown his willingness to outright kill him (in FatBeard for example, he attempts to convince Cartman to travel to Somalia in his ill-defined plan to become a pirate, he is later seen gloating about assisting in Cartman's supposed death, unfazed by the fact that Butters, Clyde and Kevin went along with him, Ike joining, however, is enough to change his mind.
    • Rob Reiner is portrayed as an arrogant wealthy liberal who eats vast and unhealthy amounts of junk food, yet still harasses people who smoke in "Butt Out". The tobacco company he attacks is shown to have a nice executive and happy workers, and in contrast, Reiner is a terrorist with creepy followers who tried to kill Cartman.
    • The Knights of Standards and Practices in "It Hits the Fan", who are only slightly more heroic than the dragon summoned by using profanity. Helps that they look like classical knights.
    • Played with with the NSA. On one hand, they're shown to be genuinely reasonable. On the other, a brief scene shows that they accomplish their work by imprisoning Santa.
  • Kubrick Stare:
    • When Randy starts acting like Jack Torrance in "A Nightmare on Face Time", he shows one of these watching Ted on a monitor, and then later when he ends up imitating the famous "frozen shot" from the end of the film.
    • In "Sons a Witches", Cartman delivers a silent Kubrick Stare to his girlfriend from across the lunch room while the rest of the guys have an unrelated conversation.
  • Kung-Fu Jesus: "Red Sleigh Down", "Fantastic Easter Special" and "A Scause for Applause". In "Fantastic Easter Special", Jesus kills a preacher by throwing a five-pointed curve-bladed ninja star boomerang that slices the preacher in half in slow motion, then catching it with one hand while doing a badass pose and then slips on a pair of jet-black sunglasses with his other hand. Jesus, how much more badass can you get?

  • Lack of Empathy: Done very frequently, perhaps the most notable involving Kenny's deaths, which, aside from the standard shocked exclamation, are rarely treated with much weight at all and forgotten about quickly. Subverted with "Kenny Dies" when the boys actually treat Kenny's supposedly permanent death with much more sorrow. It doesn't last long, however, and by "A Ladder to Heaven", it's obvious they've all but forgotten about him. Kyle and Stan are not shocked by his death in "Gnomes" at all, and say their usual Phrase Catcher lines in a flat, Motor Mouth fashion.
  • Lampshade Hanging
    Stan: "Kyle! What the hell's going on this time?!"
    Kyle: "I have no idea!"
    • The famous "They killed Kenny!" exchange was played with more than once during the show, before it fell into disuse after Kenny was Killed Off for Real. And then came back.
    • "Krazy Kripples" focused on Jimmy and Timmy for the A-story and Christopher Reeve and Gene Hackman for the B-story. Stan, Kyle, Cartman and Kenny learn to just walk away from the craziness of both.
    • In "Butt Out", Kyle realizes that a lot of South Park's episodes feature a climatic battle between two large groups and always end with the kids spouting what they learned so the fight can end, and tries to avert it, pointing out that before Rob Reiner attacks the tobacco company, they could simply tell the adults they smoked out of their own free will and simply get grounded for three weeks instead of having to preach to an entire town that's about to attack them. It doesn't work out.
    • Craig in the two-part "Pandemic" lampshades how everyone else in town has started to notice how the four main characters keep getting into trouble.
    • Kenny's many deaths are acknowledged by the character in "Mysterion Rises".
    • Another from "200":
      Tom Cruise: By taking what Muhammad had, we would all be safe from ridicule. Like Tim Burton here. Imagine this, Tim: nobody could rip on you for all the rehashed movies you've made lately. There'd never be a TV show that pointed out you haven't had an original thought since Beetlejuice. And you put Johnny Depp and the same crappy music in every film. And if you're that in love with Johnny Depp you should just have sex with him already. A TV show could never say that! note 
    • In "Cartman Joins NAMBLA" (episode #53), when the new baby Kenny shows up:
      Mr. McCormick: God, this must be the fiftieth time this has happened.
      Mrs. McCormick: Fifty-second.
    • From the climax of "You're Getting Old"
      Sharon: "I'm unhappy too. We both are, obviously. How much longer can we keep doing this? It's like the same shit just happens over and over and then in a week it just all resets until it happens again. Every week it's kind of the same story in a different way but it just keeps getting more and more ridiculous."
    • In "It Hits the Fan" they mock the controversy that just because someone swears on television doesn't mean it harms society.
    • In "Gluten Free Ebola", Stan asks aloud, "Why does everybody remember what you said all of the sudden?"
  • Large Ham: Cartman and Randy Marsh for starters. Mel Gibson takes this trope Up to Eleven.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Cartman. He doesn't always get what he deserves, but for the most part it hits him good and hard. And yet he never seems to learn his lesson.
    • In "Holiday Special", Randy bullies a Native American man and forcibly kisses him in order to falsify a cheek-swab DNA test and justify his playing the "victimized minority" card and getting Columbus Day removed from the list of school holidays. When the test proves inconclusive, representatives from the genealogy company show up to personally take an anal DNA sample from Randy.
  • Last-Minute Baby Naming: Kenny's mom is pregnant. After his Once per Episode death, the baby is born and the parents decide to name the new baby "Kenny".
    Mr. McCormick: God, this must be the 50th time this has happened.
    Mrs. McCormick: Fifty-second.
  • Last-Name Basis: Eric Cartman, who is typically only referred to by his last name by the students. The adults are more likely to call him 'Eric'.
  • Last-Second Word Swap: The punchline of "It Hits the Fan" (in which the word "shit" is repeatedly said uncensored):
    Stan: Holy sh—! ...poo.
  • "Last Supper" Steal:
    • In "Margaritaville", Kyle says he has "this feeling that one of you will totally betray me." Everyone gasps and freezes into The Last Supper position.
    • Earlier in "Fantastic Easter Special", which mimics Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code, Professor Teabag shows Stan and Kyle a portrait of The Last Supper, which looks the same, except that there is a colored egg next to St. Peter, whom Teabag reveals to be a rabbit.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: The DVD cover for Season 14 reveals that Kenny is Mysterion.
  • Laugh Track: "Kenny Dies" inexplicably begins with one (and over a completely inappropriate scene to boot), but it's soon revealed that it's coming from a television showing The Benny Hill Show, which is soon turned off.
    Doctor: Alright, Ms. Sanders, all ready for your abortion?
    (audience laughter)
    Ms. Sanders: Ready as I'm ever going to be, I guess.
    (audience laughter dies down)
    Doctor: Well, try to relax. It will all be over very soon.
    (more audience laughter)
  • Laxative Prank: "Bass to Mouth" has Cartman give Jenny Simons a laxative-laced cupcake, to distract the school from Pete Melman's recent Potty Failure, as they do not want him to commit suicide, as a former student did when this happened to him. Cartman's plan backfires when the obvious occurs: Jenny ends up attempting suicide. So nobody gets singled out, the staff and Cartman attempt to give the entire student body laced Pizza Hut pizza, so everyone will crap themselves. At the end of the episode, Cartman gets thrown in front of a school bus by the school school staff and was declared that he committed suicide. Cartman gets back at the staff with certain cupcakes...
    Mr. Mackey: Ooooooooooooh, it's bad, m'kay!
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: The beginning of "200" had Kyle and Cartman exchanging insults. Stan tells them to stop, saying "all you're doing is rehashing a bunch of old stuff!"
    • Also, 100 episodes before that (actually, 103):
      "You've made it to a hundred episodes, you should be proud!"
      —->"Yeah, a show should never go past a hundred episodes, or else it starts to get stale with ridiculously stupid plotlines and settings."
    • In Cartman's anti-Family Guy rant, he explicitly compares himself as a character in a comedy show to the writing of Family Guy, much to Kyle's confusion.
      • Also from that episode, when Stan and Kyle are dragged outside while everyone's panicking.
    • In "It Hits the Fan", Mr. Garrison goes around calling people "fag"s because he's gay and thus is allowed to say it. When the men in the bar discuss what curse words get censored (complete with the censor beep when spoken), "fag" is beeped out for everyone except when Mr. Garrison says it. When Jimbo says "fag", he is not bleeped out, and Mr. Garrison immediately propositions him.
    • In "The New Terrance and Phillip Movie Trailer", every time the In-Universe Show Within a Show the boys are watching goes to a commercial break (they're more interested in these than the actual show because the network is going to play the titular trailer during one of them), they excitedly announce the fact which then suddenly triggers a real commercial break! When said commercial break ends, the Show Within A Show announces the end of its own commercial break, prompting a collective groan from all four boys due to the fact that the anticipated trailer was, once again, not shown. This happens with every single commercial break in the entire episode!
    • In the 2020 Pandemic special, Randy references the fact he visited China "last season". That was the 2019 episode " Band In China".
  • La Résistance: In The Movie, possibly the Trope Namer.
  • Leatherman: Mr. Slave
  • Left It In: In "Volcano", while the mayor's speech is being recorded live:
    Mayor McDaniels: All we know right now is that some of our children are camping on that mountain and... Oh, I'm sorry, can I start over?
    Newscaster: Huh?
    McDaniels: You can edit this, right?
  • Lethal Chef: Double subverted, Randy made some appetizing dishes (in South Park's animation at least) but it was too complex and not to the liking of the kids and the adults.
  • Lethally Stupid: ALL THE ADULTS. But Randy is the worst.
  • Lighter and Softer: The season 16 was much more of this compared with the earlier seasons.
  • Limited Wardrobe: The core four protagonists are almost always wearing their winter outfits, even in settings where they wouldn't be needed or appropriate, like South Park during summertime, the rain forests of Costa Rica, or even in the classroom with the rest of their more casually-dressed peers.
  • Lies to Children: All over the place as this is a show about 10 years old. The main one to suffer from this is Butters, being encompassed by a veil of protective isolation by his parents. Most recently shown in "Sarcastaball", especially its ending:
    Butters: "Dad! My wiener is all stiff and pointy!"
    Mr. Stotch: "Oh, ah, well, Butters: That is a 'friendly compass'! Whenever you have friends in the area, that compass will point towards where they are."
    Mr. Stotch: "...It points upwards, because Jesus is your friend."
  • Like Goes with Like: This is thoroughly explored when a new girl comes to school and is the only black female student (in the same year as the main characters anyway). She and Kyle share a mutual crush but Cartman insists on pushing her together with Token since Token and Nichole are the only ones at the school of their race and gender. At the end, Kyle ends up alone since Nichole is with Token.
  • Literal Ass-Kissing: Randy's "apology" to Jesse Jackson.
  • Literal Genie: In "Crippled Summer", Mimsy is this for Nathan. Nathan sends Mimsy to sabotage Jimmy several times, but due to Mimsy's literal interpretation of Nathan's orders they always backfire. For example, when Nathan sent Mimsy to switch Jimmy's map with a fake so he gets lost he repeats the order to make sure Mimsy understood, Mimsy then switches the maps twice, because Nathan gave him the order twice.
  • Literal Metaphor: In "Raising the Bar", it turns out society's morality bar is a real thing deep in the ocean. James Cameron raises it to a higher point, which causes people to develop better morals.
  • Little Guy, Big Buddy: In "Coon vs. Coon and Friends", Cartman and freakin' Cthulhu. Complete with ShoutOuts to Feed the Kitty.
  • Little Known Facts: Cartman is fond of spewing these about ginger kids, Jews, and everyone else.
  • Little Professor Dialog: Everyone, though it's most notable with Stan, Kyle and Cartman, for obvious reasons. In fact, fanfiction writers have used this trope to justify writing so much High School A.U. fic, seeing as how aging the characters requires virtually no change in personality.
  • Liz Lemon Job: Stan, for all the adults, especially his dad. Kyle as well on occasion, as long as it has something to do with Cartman.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Just about every kid in school has been given a name by now, for starters.
  • Logical Fallacies: Randy. Continuously. Also a lot of the other adults as well.
    • Parodied in "Créme Fraiche" when the boys make a terrible job of impersonating Gordon Ramsay. Stan remarks, "I know my Dad's retarded, but not THAT retarded." Randy proves, that yes, he is that retarded.
    • In "Goobacks", Darryl Weathers wants to "stop the future from happening".
    • In "I Should Have Never Gone Ziplining", Cartman drinks exorbitant amounts of Mountain Dew in order to prevent himself from succumbing to the killer boredom. He works his way up to Double Dew, a fictional (hopefully) version of Mountain Dew with double the sugar and caffeine. By the time Kyle starts berating him giving himself diarrhea with Mountain Dew, Cartman points out that he's drinking Diet Double Dew, which has half the sugar and caffeine of Double Dew, making it... regular Mountain Dew.
  • Lonely Doll Girl: Cartman has tea parties with his own dolls, stuffed animals, and action figures. The sheer extent of his relation to this trope is brought to light in "1%".
  • Lonely Piano Piece: Used in hilarious Running Gag fashion in "The Tooth Fairy's Tats 2000" as Kyle learns that the Tooth Fairy isn't real.
  • Long-Runners: South Park has been running continuously since 1997, with plans to renew the series far into 2019.
  • Long Song, Short Scene: In the commentary for "Christian Rock Hard", it is revealed that full songs were written for Cartman's band "Faith +1". However, due to lack of time, they only played a small amount of each song. Word of God says they may be release the full songs on a CD, so far they haven't.
  • Loss of Inhibitions: Cartman discovers Tourettes Syndrome and fakes it so he can say whatever he wants with no repercussions. Unfortunately, in lowering his already low inhibitions, he finds himself involuntarily saying things he doesn't want to say, like how he wets the bed, or how he and his cousin once touched wieners.
  • Loud of War: In "Two Guys Naked in a Hot Tub", the ATF try to force people out of the house where a "comet party" is being held by playing an obnoxious pop song that's a thinly disguised parody of "Believe" by Cher. It went unnoticed because the same song was playing on the stereo inside.
  • Love Makes You Uncreative: In "The Succubus", Chef finding true love results in his sensual baritone singing voice turning into that of a high-pitched dweeby white guy. As is evident from the title, his fiancée' is really a soul-draining succubus.
  • Lowered Recruiting Standards: "Best Friends Forever": Kenny dies and ascends to Heaven in order to command Heaven's army against the forces of Hell. He is told by the angels that they used to only let Mormons into Heaven, but they started to let others in order to increase their army's size.
  • Low-Speed Chase: Kenny gets into a huge police chase in a battery-powered toy car in "Cartman's Silly Hate Crime 2000".
    • "I Should Have Never Gone Ziplining" has the boys tying to outrun the onset of killer boredom on a 4mph boat.
    • There's a tricycle race of appropriate speed between Eric and Kyle in "Cartoon Wars". A police car somehow loses control trying to keep up.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: More like "Luke, you killed your father and fed him to me".

  • Machinima: "Make Love, Not Warcraft"
  • Magic Feather: In "Bloody Mary", when the news reports that the Virgin Mary statue is bleeding out of its ass, Randy—convinced that his alcoholism is a disease—goes to the church and gets sprayed in blood by the statue. This apparently cures him. A later news report reveals that the statue was actually bleeding out of its vagina ("A chick bleeding out her vagina is no miracle. Chicks bleed out their vaginas all the time."), and Randy briefly lapses until Stan tells him the truth about what happened to him.
  • Magical Minority Person: Parodied in "It Hits the Fan" when the boys assume the guy from the Las Vegas casino knows all about ancient Arthurian curses simply because he's British.
  • Malignant Plot Tumor: The first episode of Season 14's "Coon & Friends" trilogy was about Cartman trying to get Captain Hindsight to join his superhero team, with BP's recurring drilling accidents being the B-plot. Then BP unleashes Cthulhu and the last two episodes focus mostly on him, tying up Captain Hindsight's story in the second.
  • Manufacturing Victims: In "Bloody Mary", Randy is forced into Alcoholics Anonymous after being arrested for drunk driving. After being told that he has a "terminal illness", he convinced himself that he was a sick man with alcoholism, sitting in a wheelchair downing beer bottles like the alcoholic he believes himself to be. It's implied that the other members of the "support group" had equally dysfunctional relationships.
  • Marijuana Is LSD:
    • "Ike's Wee Wee"'s subplot has Mr. Mackey — of "Drugs Are Bad, m'kay?" fame — being finally convinced to try 'mari-jou-wanna'. Mackey frolicked around and a few of the objects in the alley he was in changed into bright neon colors. Later, when convinced into taking LSD, his head becomes a free-floating children's balloon. Interestingly, Mr. Garrison averts this when he's seen smoking marijuana. He's simply seen mellowed out and giggling at a cartoon.
    • "Medicinal Fried Chicken" features local men deliberately getting testicular cancer (by putting their balls in the microwave) in order to be able to legally buy marijuana from the local seller. The same episode had the local KFC restaurant shut down, resulting in all the kids going into KFC withdrawal and Cartman running a KFC ring by importing take-out from another town. Naturally, Status Quo Is God, and the marijuana store once again becomes a KFC restaurant at the end. Interestingly, the episode doesn't really show any ill effects from the drug. Instead, it's the length that the men go through in order to be able to buy it is over-the-top.
  • Mars-and-Venus Gender Contrast: Randy and Sharon, though all the adults qualify to a varying extent.
  • Matricide: Subverted in "Tsst", when Cartman decides that his mother has to die after she stops indulging him and finally succeeds in disciplining her bratty son. This attempt on his mother's life causes Cartman to go through a Split Personality struggle as he destroys his evil side (parodying a scene from Altered States).
  • McLeaned:invoked
    • Almost all one-episode characters who die have this happen to them. Hell, almost every death is this. Most of the time, characters die and it will never be mentioned again.
    • In "Cripple Fight!", Timmy is extremely jealous of the attention Jimmy gets and becomes resentful of him, to the point of seeking vengeance. At the end, he plots a scheme that involves Photoshopping him into a homosexual situation that goes against the Boy Scout's rules, getting him kicked out. They are later good friends and never bring this up again.
  • Meaningful Background Event: During "Smug Alert!", when Stan is frantically looking for Kyle at a party Cartman is holding, you can see Wendy pull a concerned face, step forward a little, and then stop herself when he runs out. This is almost three seasons after she broke up with Stan, and possible Foreshadowing that they end up together again.
  • Meaningful Name: Ms. Information (say the name a few times) in "Cherokee Hair Tampons" lives up to her name, which almost gets Kyle killed from his illness since she suggested herbal medicine instead of traditional western medicine.
  • Medium Awareness: In "It Hits the Fan", Mr. Garrison says, "On television they usually don't allow 'fag,' but because I'm gay, it's alright." Later, when South Park adults are lamenting that HBC needs to find a new swear word, Mr. Garrison again argues that the word "fag" is a case of N-Word Privileges. Randy says the word and gets censored for it, causing Mr. Garrison to say, "See, you got beeped." After a random character also says it, Jimbo says it himself in a rant, but doesn't get censored. Randy remarks, "Hey, you didn't get beeped."
  • Medium Blending:
    • The Emmy-winning World of Warcraft episode "Make Love, Not Warcraft" has some sequences taking place within the game; these were animated using a modified version of the WoW engine.
    • Real photographs of people every now and again (like Saddam) wade into the territory of the pseudo paper cut-out technique of the show.
    • A two-part episode that features live-action guinea pigs attacking cities in an obvious Cloverfield parody.
    • In "Funnybot", Funnybot is cel-shaded.
    • The "Faith Hilling" episode has a live-action cat saying "Oh long johnson". (The clip was borrowed from America's Funniest Home Videos, of all shows.)
    • "I Should Have Never Gone Ziplining" has the last segment done as a dramatization by live actors, and the X-ray/inner body shots are made with CGI.
    • In some episodes, the houses look as if they are 3D.
    • The Season 2 episode "The Mexican Staring Frog of Southern Sri Lanka" uses live-action historical Stock Footage of Vietnam for Mr. Garrison's Imagine Spot and Stock Footage of helicopters for Jimbo's rather... bizarre recollection of the Vietnam War.
    • "Tweek Vs. Craig" features live-action footage of Mr. Adler's late wife, played by Toddy Walters.
  • Memetic Mutationinvoked: The subject of "Faith Hilling". It also alludes to LOLCats by depicting cats evolving to the point where they're creating their own memes and declaring war on humanity. The episode even has this quote:
    There are two ways a species evolves: physically, from genes, and culturally, from memes. Just like genes, memes replicate, mutate, and adapt.
    • The Underpants Gnomes business plan is referenced extensively outside of its original context even by writers.
  • Messianic Archetype: Kyle plays to this more times than you'd think. The most obvious example is "Margaritaville" (where this is played very literally), but it's underpinned subtly in a few episodes. And, in direct opposition Cartman tends to play to the more Dark Messiah or Antichrist side of things (how far he goes down this road depends on whom you ask).
  • Mexicans Love Speedy Gonzales: An In-Universe example in "Fat Butt and Pancake Head", when Cartman gives his offensive stereotype-filled "Jennifer Lopez" performance at a cultural celebration event, the Latino jury is very pleased with it.
  • Mid-Life Crisis Car: Stan's dad gets one.
  • Midword Rhyme: In an old playground rhyme that melds with a little Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion.
  • Mind Screw: An Existenz-style mind screw plot is parodied in "Grounded Vindaloop". And it is awesome.
  • Minor Injury Overreaction: At the end of "It's Christmas in Canada", Cartman starts a fight with Kyle for having him miss Christmas. Kyle taps jabs him lightly on the shoulder and he cries out for his mother.
  • Mirror Universe
  • Misplaced Accent: In "Crack Baby Athletic Association", Slash is revealed to be "Vunter Slaush", a parody on the Dutch Sinterklaas, complete with parody song. The problem? The name and song are in German, not Dutch...
    • Actually, no. They're not in German. Most likely they're just vaguely Dutch/German sounding gibberish.
  • Misplaced Sorrow: After Kenny is Killed Off for Real, the boys discover that he has the winning ticket to a candy store shopping spree, so they decide to build a ladder to heaven in order for him to give it to them. But when adults ask what they're doing they don't mention the candy part, they just say they want to see Kenny again.
  • Mistaken for Gay: Happens to Kyle and Cartman in "Tonsil Trouble" and Butters and Cartman in "Super Fun Time".
    • The entire premise of "Tweek x Craig", with everyone believing the two are a same sex couple due to their in-universe fans shipping them.
    • Stan and Kyle have been warned multiple times their relationship would fall under this.
    • Kyle and Cartman in "Cartman Finds Love", only in this case perpetuated by Cartman himself. Kyle is unsurprisingly not amused.
    • A minor one with Shelly in "Pre-School":
      Kyle: So..... You're going to help us?
      Shelly: Yes, but I'm going to want something in return.
      Cartman: (beat) A picture of your mom's boobs?
      Shelly: SHUT UP, TURD!
  • Mistaken for Racist: Inverted in "Here Comes the Neighborhood" where they are trying to get rid of all the rich people in town (who are all black). Mr. Garrison proposes burning a "lower-case t" on their lawn as in "time to leave". The victims take it as exactly this.
    Kobe Bryant: T. Time to leave?
  • Mistaken for Subculture: The Goth kids get tired of being mistaken for vampire kids.
    • In another episode, they get referred to as "emo kids".
  • Mondegreen: Timmy's "lib-a-lah!" was so commonly heard as "livin' a lie" that it was later used for an actual Timmy and the Lords of the Underworld song and became part of Jimmy's comedy routine in "Cripple Fight!".
  • Mood Whiplash: "You're Getting Old", which ends with Fleetwood Mac's "Landslide" without irony. Trey and Matt said on The Daily Show that after the airing of the episode, a lot of people came up to them asking if anything was wrong, but denied that they're tired of the show.
    • The ending of "Kenny Dies". Twice.
  • Moonwalk Dance: In "The Jeffersons" the Michael Jackson Expy character performs the moonwalk briefly. When Ike is possessed by Jackson's ghost in "Dead Celebrities", he briefly does it too.
  • Moral Dissonance:
    • In "Toilet Paper", the boys feel guilty about letting Butters take the blame for what they did. They have no such qualms in "The Tale of Scrotie McBoogerballs" when they attempt to blame Butters for writing the book when they think it'll get them in trouble and when they blame Sarah Jessica Parker's death on him.
    • In "With Apologies to Jesse Jackson", Stan learns that it's impossible for a historically privileged group like white people to truly understand the experience of a historically oppressed group like black people, and therefore it's okay for words like "nigger" to be off-limits regardless of context because they serve as an unpleasant reminder of the harsh realities of racism. Two seasons later, in "The F Word", he and the rest of the boys teach the adults of the town that using the word "fag" is okay as long as it's not used in a hateful way toward gay people, because the meanings of words change all the time. And it has nothing to do with the fact that Trey and Matt use the word like punctuation and don't want to take the trouble to re-learn their habits.
  • Moral Guardians: The show was a frequent victim of them during The '90s, much in the same way The Simpsons and Beavis And Butthead were. Today, it's much less of a target, only really being attacked when it "insensitively" depicts some kind of minority group (such as Scientologists or Muslims).
    • Ironically, some conservative Christian leaders (who were the show's most frequent critics when it first began) now openly admit to being fans, for its shameless Liberal bashing.
    • An in-universe example is Sheila Broflovski, whose hot-headed dedication to a cause that was in most cases unwarranted, to the point that her actions crossed to the point of Knight Templar/Knight Templar Parent territory.
  • More Insulting than Intended: Subverted in South Park S 8 E 2 Up The Down Steroid, where Jimmy makes an inspiring speech about steroids being for pussies... and behind him are athletes famous for using steroids grinning vacuously as the camera focuses on them.
  • More Than Mind Control: Arguably, Cartman when he's trying to stop his friends from destroying the Wall-Mart.
  • Motivational Lie: In "Damien":
    Stan: You know, somebody once said, "Don't try to be a great man, just be a man."
    Jesus: Who said that?
    Stan: You did, Jesus.
    Jesus: ...You're right, Stan. Thank you, boys! (resumes his fight against Satan)
    Kyle: Wow, did he say that in The Bible?
    Stan: Nah, I saw it on Star Trek.
  • Motion Capture: Cartman documents a handicapped walk through this method in "Up the Down Steroid".
  • Motor Mouth: In "Toilet Paper":
    Cartman: Okay. Last night, all four of us were at the bowling alley until about 7:30, at which time we noticed Ally Sheedy, the Goth chick from ''The Breakfast Club, was bowling in the lane next to us, and we asked her for her autograph, but she didn't have a pen, so we followed her out to her car, but on the way we were accosted by five Scientologists who wanted to give us all personality tests, which were administered at the Scientology Center in Denver until 10:45, at which time we accidentally boarded the wrong bus home and ended up in Rancho de Burritos Rojos, south of Castle Rock, and finally got a ride home with a man who was missing his left index finger, named Gary Bushwell, arriving home at 11:46.
    • To a lesser extent, the whole dialogue of the show, while characters do pause and don't ramble incessantly, they complete sentences rather quickly.
  • Moving the Goalposts: In "The Wacky Molestation Adventure," Kyle's parents say he can go to the Raging Pussies concert if he cleans his room, shovels the driveway, and brings democracy to Cuba. Kyle manages to do all three, mostly by not knowing the third one was supposed to be a joke. Even then, Kyle's parents still refuse to let him go to the concert, this time Not Even Bothering with an Excuse as to why he can't go.
  • Mr. Exposition: In "Asspen", this is played straight to the point of Lampshade Hanging. After self- Designated Villain Tad defeats Stan in a skiing race, Tad suggests they rematch on the "K-13". A never-before-seen character walks into the shot and says to the camera "The K-13? But that's the most dangerous run in America!"
  • Mundane Made Awesome:
    • "Make Love, Not Warcraft" makes transporting a flash drive to succeed in a computer game epic. Takeshi Obata would be proud.
    • "I Should Have Never Gone Ziplining" manages to portray field trip boredom as life-or-death suspense. Literally life-or-death.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: Wendy sends Ms. Ellen into the sun by taking control of the Iraqi guard and framing her as an Iraqi traitor. DON'T. FUCK. WITH. HER.

  • Native American Casino: Evil Native American casino owners are planning to pave over South Park in order to build a freeway directly to their casino.
  • Negated Moment of Awesome: In "Pee", one drop of urine manages to flood the water park that the boys spend time at. Since Kyle can hold his breath the longest, the others suggest for him to swim down to the submerged maintenance room to release the emergency valve, but Kyle is very disgusted by all the urine, and objects to the park owner's suggestion of drinking 24 oz. of pee to make the mission easier (don't question it too much). Kyle attempts to do it anyway, but unfortunately, Randy gets to save the day instead, and Kyle gets to play Audience Surrogate.
    Kyle: Are you fucking kidding me?!
  • Negate Your Own Sacrifice: Kenny has done this a few times, knowing that he'll come Back from the Dead.
  • Negative Continuity: Kenny's frequent deaths in the early seasons, and the town of South Park's penchant for being destroyed.
    • As of "Mysterion Rises," it seems Kenny's deaths aren't Negative Continuity after all
      • That just causes more Negative Continuity, as it was already established earlier that Kenny's parents just keep having more kids and naming them Kenny. The boys also once said "Who wasn't expecting that?" in response to one of his deaths, implying that they were in fact aware of his previous deaths.
      • "Coon vs. Coon and Friends" shows that whenever Kenny dies, Kenny's mom gives birth to a new baby that she puts in Kenny's parka and lays in bed at night. However, this still conflicts with some earlier episodes.
    • Averted in season 18, in which it seems to be a new thing for the story line to directly advance from one episode to the next outside of the show's occasional Multi-Part Episode.
      • In "Go Fund Yourself", the boys quit school to form their own start up company. In "Gluten Free Ebola", they return after its failure to find all their classmates angry because the boys told them to go fuck themselves.
      • Randy portraying pop-singer Lorde in "Gluten Free Ebola" is actually explained in "The Cissy": Randy really is the real Lorde!
    • Season 19 is one long story arc involving the new character "PC Principal", the gentrification of the town, and internet ads.
  • Nemesis as Customer: The episode "You're Not Yelping" revolves around customers using the review app Yelp in order to gain special privileges and belittle the staff of the restaurants they visit, eventually deluding themselves into thinking they're each the leader of a revolution. The criticized restaurants eventually resort to banning the Yelpers, only for the Yelpers to actually attack them. Finally, the restaurants exploit the Yelpers' egos by issuing special badges to them that ensures special treatment, by which meaning they get served food secretly garnished with boogers and cum.
  • Neurodiversity Is Supernatural: Played with in "Sexual Healing", where the government blames sex addiction on a wizard alien living in Independence Hall. But what the government calls "sex addiction" isn't really sex addiction; it's just successful men taking advantage of their positions to fulfill normal urges like cheating on a partner. And the wizard alien story is bullshit on all levels, made up so people wouldn't have to admit to themselves that the urges that the sexual urges of men like Tiger Woods and Bill Clinton are normal.
  • Never Bareheaded: Stan, Kyle and Kenny almost never take off their hats. In Kyle's case, it's to hide a really embarrasing Jewfro. Kenny never took off his hood, so no one knew what he looked like until he finally took it off in The Movie. Averted with Cartman.
    • Craig replaces Cartman in this regard, though. Very rarely is he seen without his hat on.
  • Never Say "Die": Parodied in "The Biggest Douche in the Universe", where it was repeatedly said that Cartman is "running out of time", and near the beginning it is suggested that he needed a "time transplant" (without explaining how it's done). Subverted when Kyle and Stan go tell Chef about it and Stan says, "Cartman is in the hospital. They think he might die."
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The preview for "200" was shown to be a simple class-action lawsuit by most of the celebrities who appeared on South Park. It turned out to be much more epic than that.
  • New Baby Episode: The subplot of the episode "Cartman Joins NAMBLA" has Kenny's mom become pregnant. Kenny spends the episode trying and failing to force an abortion on her because he's scared of what the baby will do to him. At the end of the episode, Kenny's mom has her baby and names it after Kenny, who had died earlier in the episode. However, this is a subversion as it's implied this is not a new baby, just Kenny reincarnating, so it does not change the status quo (though Kenny would later get a little sister through retcon).
  • Nice Jewish Boy: Despite Kyle's intense hatred and resentment towards Cartman, he can be a darn nice fella.
  • Nigh-Invulnerability: In the early seasons, Kenny was always killed off Once an Episode, only to inexplicably return the next week. In later seasons, it's revealed that he will always resurrect due to a Lovecraftian curse that was placed on him. Worse yet, because of the curse no one can remember any of his previous demises.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: "Manbearpig".
  • Nipple and Dimed: Lampshaded in "Major Boobage", when Randy complains about The Chief's Daughter in the boob-themed Mushroom Samba world that "you never get a good look at her naked boobs, anyway".
  • Nixon Mask: The "Chicken Fucker".
  • No Bisexuals: Mr./Ms. Garrison becomes a lesbian for one episode. S/he never considers the possibility of being bisexual. But then, Garrison just has generally twisted ideas about sexuality.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed:
    • Averted. Celebrities are parodied, mercilessly, by name and without warning. "Mr Jefferson" may be a parody of this trope, being an incredibly obvious Michael Jackson hiding behind a fake name and a mustache.
    • One straight example is Heather Swanson, who is for all intents and purposes Macho Man Randy Savage in terms of appearance.
  • No Communities Were Harmed: The town of South Park is claimed to have been geographically based on the real-life town of Fairplay, Colorado, located within the real-life South Park Basin of the Rocky Mountains.
  • No Dead Body Poops: Brought up in "Something Wall-Mart This Way Comes" and also occurs in "The Return of Chef".
  • No Ending: "Fatbeard".
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: The fight between Wendy and Cartman at the end of "Breast Cancer Show Ever". Cartman never stood a chance.
  • No Indoor Voice: Mrs. Crabtree, the bus driver, prior to her death in "Cartman's Incredible Gift" at the end of Season 8.
  • No Kill Like Overkill: This happens to Kenny quite often. One particularly notable example is in "Pinkeye". After "Zombie Kenny gets sliced in half vertically by a chainsaw in a ludicrously bloody manner, he attempts to rise from his grave a few days later. First, the angel decoration on a nearby gravestone collapses on top of him. Then, a small airplane collapses directly on top of his dead undead body.
  • No Man Should Have This Power: After Butters successfully infiltrates a girls' slumber party and steals a fortune teller, the boys decide that the power to tell the future is to great and dangerous to possess, and destroy it with a spectacular explosion.
  • Nominated as a Prank: In one episode, PETA forces South Park elementary to change their mascot so the kids are made to vote for the new one. Kyle decides to organize a write-in campaign for a joke mascot, but disagrees with Cartman over whether it should be a giant douche or a turd sandwich. The result is that both rally support for their preferred mascot and wind up tying, leading to a second election where those are the only two choices.
  • Non-Human Sidekick:
    • Mr. Hankey, the Christmas Poo.
    • Towelie.
    • Mr. Hat and Mr. Twig.
    • Jennifer Lopez/Mitch Conner (Cartman's hand puppet in "Fat Butt and Pancake Head").
    • K-10, who, thanks to time distortions, later became KIT-9 and COCKA-3.
  • Non-Standard Character Design: Mr. Mackey. Ike was initially an example, but it was retconned to him being of Canadian birth in the second season.
    • There are also a few characters whose heads are just taken from celebrity photos. A handful of examples include the Freeze-Frame Bonus of Tony Danza in "Rainforest Schmainforest", the Christina Aguilera monsters that Cartman sees in "Timmy 2000", Mel Gibson in his appearances, Ben Affleck at the end of "How to Eat with Your Butt", Mr. Garrison after his nose job in "Tom's Rhinoplasty", and of course, Saddam Hussein.
    • Iraqi and Iranian people were depicted in the Canadian character design template in "Terrance and Phillip in Not Without My Anus". Subsequent episodes featured them in the normal character design, though the aforementioned Saddam Hussein retained the design as he debuted on the show in the same episode. Since Not Without My Anus is a Show Within a Show, the "Iraqi and Iranian people" were probably Canadian actors, and Saddam himself speaks in a heavy Canadian accent for no apparent reason; this is probably due to Rule of Funny.
    • The Danish as well, in "Canada On Strike" which calls them "The Canadians of Europe"
      • The Canadian celebrities that appeared in the show {Justin Bieber, Jim Carrey, Edge, James Cameron and Ghyslain Raza aka the Star Wars Kid just to name a few) were drawn normally than the other Canadians depicted in the show, possibly because so that the viewers can tell them who they are. Céline Dion is the only Canadian celebrity so far drawn in Canadian style.
    • Also the band Korn in "Korn's Groovy Pirate Ghost Mystery". The band meant to be a parody of the Scooby-Doo gang and aren't designed like South Park characters, but how they would be in a Hanna-Barbera cartoon.
    • The head Sixth Grader's eyes are slanted compared to the typical circular eyes of the show.
    • In "Here Comes the Neighborhood", Aslan the lion is animated like he was in the 1979 animated adaptation of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.
  • Non-Indicative Name: Ranger McFriendly from "Smug Alert".
    McFriendly: Hello, there. I'm Ranger McFriendly. I'm the person who watches over the delicate ecosystem of South Park. You must be the little boy who wrote that song [about how people should drive Hybrid cars].
    Stan: Yeah.
    McFriendly: [punches Stan in the face]
  • Noodle Incident:
    • The entire plot of "The Tale of Scrotie McBoogerballs".
    • Also, from "Die Hippie Die":
    CARTMAN: "I've never had to get rid of this many hippies before."
    • In "Sarcastaball", Butters creates a sports drink that boosts the drinker's feelings of caring and goodness and is unaware that it is semen until Randy drinks it. How Randy knows what semen tastes like is unrevealed.
    • After Saddam Hussein is revealed to be the new Prime Minister of Canada in "It's Christmas in Canada", the french Canadian mime makes a comment about how it's not the first time he's tried to take over Canada.
    French Canadian Mime: Zat explains everything! The new Prime Minister was Saddam Hussein, once again trying to take over our beloved Canada like he did before.
  • "No Peeking!" Request: When is Cartman trying to crap out his mouth on the toilet while the boys are watching. He says they should turn around, but Kyle turns this down because he thinks Cartman is just gonna crap out his butt and lie that it came out of his mouth.
  • No-Sell:
    • Professor Chaos is strong enough to fight off four ninjas! But he is vulnerable to a ninja star to the eye...
    • "You fool! You think your bullets can hurt him!"
  • Not Allowed to Grow Up: Nearly everyone in the show.
  • Not Even Bothering with an Excuse: In "The Wacky Molestation Adventure," Kyle's parents say he can go to the Raging Pussies concert if he cleans his room, shovels the driveway, and brings democracy to Cuba. Kyle manages to do all three, mostly by not knowing the third one was supposed to be a joke. Even then, Kyle's parents still refuse to let him go to the concert, though their reason the second time is "because we don't want you to go".
  • Not Good with People: In the early episodes, Craig gave the finger to literally everyone. Damien had an aversion to people, too. But that was because of their families.
  • Nothing Exciting Ever Happens Here: This is commonly what the people of South Park think, although watching any episode obviously says otherwise.
  • "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer:
    • "Trapped in the Closet"'s telling of the story of Xenu was captioned "THIS IS WHAT SCIENTOLOGISTS ACTUALLY BELIEVE" because people would think they were taking the piss (an all too common occurrence on the show) otherwise.
    • Parodied in "The Return of Chef", where Chef joins a club of child molesters, and the captions were "THIS IS WHAT THE SUPER ADVENTURE CLUB ACTUALLY BELIEVES". Of course it still was a not-so-thinly veiled reference to Scientology, since Isaac Hayesnote  was a member of it.
  • Not So Above It All: Stan and Kyle are hit with this every now and then.
  • Not-So-Omniscient Council of Bickering: South Park has many in-universe organizations that act like this, and portrays many real-life organizations as acting like this as well.
  • Not Where They Thought: n "Casa Bonita", Cartman convinces Butters that the apocalypse is happening so he can lock Butters in a bomb shelter and prevent him from attending Kyle's birthday party. When police begin searching bomb shelters for the missing Butters, Cartman blindfolds Butters to lock him in an old refrigerator instead, which gets picked up by a garbage truck and taken to the city dump. When Butters emerges from the refrigerator, he mistakes the city dump as a post-apocalyptic Earth with himself as the sole survivor.
  • Nutritional Nightmare: There's Double Dew (with twice the caffeine and sugar of Mountain Dew) in "I Should Have Never Gone Ziplining". Then, it subverted the trope with Diet Double Dew (with half the caffeine and sugar as regular Double Dew).
  • N-Word Privileges: In "It Hits the Fan", Mr. Garrison can use the word "fag" without being bleeped because he is openly gay. Straight characters who attempt to say it are censored.

  • Obfuscating Disability:
  • Obfuscating Stupidity:
    • Ike of all people if you skipped a few seasons. It is most obvious in "About Last Night...", but by "Fatbeard", it has either become canon or Only Sane Man territory with nobody noticing.
    • Also from "About Last Night...": Sarah Palin, who has a highly technical role in the heist, and a Faux British accent.
  • Oblivious to His Own Description: In "Cartman Gets an Anal Probe", Cartman is watching a news report on Crop Circles and the camera pulls back to show that the circles form an exact portrait of him.
    Cartman: "Hey! That looks like... Tom Selleck."
  • Oddball Doppelgänger: In "An Elephant Makes Love to a Pig", Mephisto's son creates an Off-Model clone of Stan. It's got an oversized head, one arm is elongated, and about all it can say is "Bachamp, bachamp."
  • Odd Name Out: "Who built the pyramids? Was it the Babylonians? Barbrady? Samaritans?"
  • Off on a Technicality: To avoid being arrested for illegal hunting, Jimbo always claimed his game was about to attack him. When a new law made it impossible to use that excuse, Jimbo started claiming he was reducing the animal population to save the whole bunch from starving to death.
  • Off-Model: Tended to happen a little more often in earlier episodes. Notable examples include Kyle being briefly animated with a vertical mouth in "Fat Camp", and Pip having three arms in "Two Guys Naked in a Hot Tub".
  • Off to See the Wizard: "Christmas in Canada".
  • Once an Episode: Turns into an Overused Running Gag.
  • One-Person Birthday Party: The first Christmas Episode ends with Jesus singing "Happy Birthday" all by himself.
  • One Steve Limit: Subverted, there are several characters throughout the series that share names with others.
    • Kyle has a cousin from Connecticut who is also named Kyle. When he visits in "The Entity", Sheila starts calling her own son "Kyle 2".
    • There have been three different Scotts in the series; Scott Tenorman: a local teenager and enemy of Cartman, Scott Malkinson: a kid at South Park Elementary, and Scott the Dick: A rude Canadian who the rest of Canada hates.
    • In "Butt Out", two members of the anti-smoking group are named Kyle and Randy.
    • Clyde Donovan: a student at South Park Elementary and Clyde Frog: one of Cartman's dolls.
  • One-Winged Angel: The leader of the guinea pigs in "Pandemic" turns out to be the Director of Homeland Security, whose true form is... a Guinea Pirate. What would happen if he he met a Guinea Ninja is not discussed.
  • Online Alias: In "Make Love, Not Warcraft": "We are looking for a great knight by the name of... lovestospooge."
  • Only Sane Man: Stan Marsh, save for the episodes where he gets thrown the Idiot Ball, leaving the role to Kyle.
    • When he was around, Chef was usually one of the very few adults with any kind of common sense.
      • Sharon has become the closest to fulfilling this in Chef's absence.
    • Though, as Craig pointed out in "Pandemic", Stan has a tendency to mire himself in insanity and exacerbate an already absurd situation into a Zany Scheme of pure destruction, so he's not entirely a victim.
    • President Bush, ironically enough, especially when compared to his cabinet and the press. "A Ladder to Heaven" contains a particularly infamous example.
    • By this point, it appears that Kenny is the only one that has showcased routine common sense throughout the series. This is arguably lampshaded by Butters (of all people) in Going Native where, after chewing out most of the others kids for their quirks, claims that Kenny is the only one with "any sense of dignity."
    • Apparently, Father Maxi is the only catholic priest who doesn't rape boys.
  • Only Six Faces: The kids are defined almost entirely by their wardrobe, while the adults are only marginally more varied. In the episode "Super Best Friends," when the cast ends up in the same outfits and shaved heads, Stan and Kyle lose track of which of them is which and have to put on their hats to figure it out.
    • This trope is a major gag in "The Coon". Though Mysterion reveals his face at the end, the rest of the costume obscures any other identifying features and the individual is not identified by name. Characters talk about the shocking reveal in generic terms, leaving the viewers in the dark. Cartman mentions that he guessed Mysterion's identity, but he had guessed several different secret identities for Mysterion earlier, and the viewer is not told which guess was correct. It isn't until "Mysterion Rises" where he is revealed to be Kenny.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: In "Cartoon Wars Part 1", Cartman seemed to be genuinely concerned about Family Guy offending Muslims with their portrayal of The Prophet Muhammad. It isn't until long after Kyle joined his cause that Cartman reveals he just wanted to take Family Guy off the air entirely.
  • Open the Door and See All the People: In "Trapped in the Closet", Stan was just trying to take out the garbage, and he unexpectedly finds a huge throng of people waiting for him as the reincarnation of L. Ron Hubbard.
  • Opinion-Changing Dream: In "I'm a Little Bit Country", Cartman specifically says he's "uninterested in American history", yet still has to contribute to the gang's book report. He decides to give himself a "flashback" by rendering himself unconscious, invariably putting him in a dream taking place during the American Revolution. The dream gives him the information he needs to write his book report, which changes the entire town's opinion's about the war in Iraq.
    • Happens a second time with "Jewpacabra", where Cartman's tranquilizer-fueled dream of the Book of Exodus has such an effect that he converts to Judaism.
  • Ostrich Head Hiding: In "Cartoon Wars", the citizens are so frightened of Family Guy showing The Prophet Muhammad and the reactions this will create in the Muslim world that they decide to use the ostrich tactic by burying their heads underneath the sand.
  • Other Me Annoys Me: The giant dragon in "It Hits the Fan" has Cartman's voice—when it's defeated, Cartman says "What a lame voice..."
  • Outgrown Such Silly Superstitions: In both parts to the "Go God Go" episode, Cartman finds himself in a future where everyone was inspired by Richard Dawkins to give up their religious beliefs, thus making everyone but him an atheist.
  • Out of Focus: Kenny, as well as most of the original supporting characters.
  • Overly Long Gag: Used on occasion, such as when Cartman has to smuggle cigarettes and other items into prison up his anus. His grunting when... taking them out off-screen take a... disturbing amount of time.
    • Also in "Cartman's Mom Is a Dirty Slut" and "Catman's Mom Is Still a Dirty Slut", this trope was used.
    • "Now that's what I call a sticky situation." in "City on the Edge of Forever"

  • Painting the Medium: In "201", when Tom Cruise steals Muhammad's goo, a Censor Box appears over him just like Muhammad. When Stan makes a joke at his expense during the final battle, the box disappears.
    • Also in 201, there were two main plots; one was a political plot about censorship, the other was about finding Cartman's true father. Cartman and Kyle argue with each other about which is more important, then look straight at the camera.
    • The "Coon & Friends" arc initially got bad reviews after the first episode, in part because the boys (playing superheroes in silly outfits) couldn't be recognized due to the Only Six Faces art style. And then it turns out to be done on purpose, deconstructing the secret identity aspect of superhero stories, and the characters' identities are very slowly revealed throughout the episode trilogy. And then the story takes a few very dark turns once Mysterion's is revealed.
  • Pals with Jesus: His show isn't named Jesus and Pals for nothing, you know.
  • Panda-ing to the Audience: Or else they'd be a bunch of sad pandas.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Used effectively quite a few times, with "AWESOM-O" making a full episode out of it.
    • Possibly the best is Towelie using a hat and mustache to pass for human. No one notices this until Oprah's "minge" conspires to expose him.
  • Parallel Porn Titles: Inverted, as they copied the title "Bigger, Longer & Uncut" from John Bobbitt's (Yes, THAT one's) porno.
  • Parental Obliviousness: On the rare occasions when their parents know what they're doing, they either punish them for all the wrong reasons (for example: "Butt Out", in which the boys get grounded for smoking as opposed to burning their school down) or fail to realize that they're doing anything all that bad (like in "Pandemic", when Sharon and Sheila claim that Craig is a bad influence on Stan and Kyle; according to Craig, it's the other way around, since Stan and Kyle tend to suck everyone around them into the insanity they get swept up in).
  • Parody Episode: Again, so many.
  • Parody Sue: Mint-Berry Crunch, who turns out to be a living Deus ex Machina.
  • Peek-a-Bangs: Thad Jarvis from "Guitar Queer-O".
  • Perpetual Poverty: Kenny's family.
  • Pet the Dog: Cartman is a really bad person, but he goes to extremes to protect the cats in the neighborhood in "Major Boobage".
  • Phony Psychic: The Biggest Douche in the Universe.
  • Physical God: Apparently, Mickey Mouse is a powerful godlike entity limited only by his need to slumber in Valhalla after his destructive, fire-breathing rampages.
    • Cthulhu also makes an appearance.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: "201" reveals Eric's revenge over Scott Tenorman in Season 5 to be this.
  • Pick on Someone Your Own Size: Rather than an adult opposing a teenager, we instead get a little kid opposing a teenager. It's also inverted, in that Kid Hero Cartman is the one who's determined to get even with the teenage villain Scott Tenorman.
  • Pig Latin: In "Cartman's Silly Hate Crime 2000", Kyle brings a cake as a gift to Cartman when visiting him in juvenile hall, mentioning that there's an "ailnay ilefay" baked inside of it, which will enable Cartman to "eakbray out of isonpray". When Cartman informs him that they're not allowed to accept gifts, Kyle goes into a lengthy rant while still speaking Pig Latin. Stan, on the other hand, just calls Cartman "umbassday".
  • The Pig-Pen: Dogpoo, a minor character.
  • Ping-Pong Naïveté: Very. They swear like sailors, but they don't know that you don't have to wear a condom if you don't have sex.
    • In one episode, Jimmy remarks that he and his girlfriend took ecstasy and stayed up all night having sex. Later on, in "Erection Day", he gets his first erection and doesn't have a clue what he's supposed to do with it.
  • Pink Is Erotic: Most of the strippers in the Peppermint Hippo have pink as part of their uniform. Classi also drives a car that has her name written in pink with a penis logo. According to Classi, her name is written with an I, and a little dick that hangs off the C that bends around and fucks the L out of ASS; CLASS-I.
  • Pious Monster: This is a town where aliens serve as Roman Catholic priests.
  • Place Worse Than Death: At the end of "Probably", Cartman gets punished for his sins by Jesus sending him to a place worse then Hell - Mexico.
  • Planet of Steves: Marklar, home of the Marklar, who like to Marklar on the Marklar with plenty of Marklar to Marklar.
  • Playful Otter: "Go God Go".
  • Pleasure Island: Several episodes.
    • "Chinpokomon" is about a Bland-Name Product version of Pokémon that turns out to be an Imperial Japanese indoctrination tool.
    • "South Park Is Gay!" reveals that the metrosexual subculture was started by evil crab people to turn all men into effeminate sissies and make taking over the world easier.
    • "Die, Hippie, Die": A large contingent of hippies arrives in town from Colorado's big cities for a massive 1960s-style music festival; they claim that the purpose of the festival is to stick it to all the corporate bigwigs and other "little Eichmanns" who supposedly run America. Stan, Kyle, and Kenny naively join in the "fun" at first, donning their best "student protester" outfits and learning to play the guitar. But as the festival drags on they start to become bored, and they realize the message of social activism preached by the college kids is, well, pretty much b.s. And on top of it all, all the marijuana smoke is starting to make them sick. They try to leave, but the crowds have become much too thick...
    • "You Have 0 Friends" portrays Facebook this way when Stan gets sucked into a TRON-esque digital world and has to fight the embodiment of his own Facebook profile.
  • Plot Immunity: In "Whale Whores", when the Japanese bomb the Whale Wars ship, the entire crew of the ship dies. But somehow, the three 10-year-olds (even Kenny) make it out just fine.
  • Plot Coupon: One draft of The Movie's script had Saddam Hussein sending Kenny out to find some Snacky S'mores proofs-of-purchase so he can get a wish granted. This is really a Snipe Hunt, however, as there are no proofs-of-purchases in Hell. When Terrance and Philip's blood is spilled on American soil and the Legions of Hell emerge on the Earth's surface, Kenny takes the opportunity to get the proofs-of-purchase and presents them to Saddam, only to be told, "I Lied." After Satan gets rid of Saddam, he accepts the proofs-of-purchase and grants Kenny's wish as in the final movie.
  • Poe's Law:
  • Pokémon Speak: "TIMMY!"
  • Political Correctness Gone Mad: South Park is fond of making fun of people who make the left-wing look bad by taking political correctness too far. "The Death Camp of Tolerance" and "Sexual Harassment Panda" are just two episodes.
    • When Chef attempted to inform Principal Victoria about Garrison's inappropriate in-class demonstration of what to do with a gerbil, Chef is the one who gets punished for being "intolerant".
      Victoria: I believe the word you used to describe him was... "Sick Queer."
      Chef: He is a sick queer!!
      Mr. Garrison: Yeah!!!
      • Chef has stated on multiple occasions that there is a big difference between gay people and Mr. Garrison, and even Randy Marsh knows that he is seriously fucked up.
    • Season 19 has been tackling the topic even more with the introduction of the character PC Principal, an obnoxious stereotypical frat boy who is a mockery of social justice warriors and politically correct urban culture in general. In particular the controversial topic of "safe spaces" was ripped apart in "Safe Space".
  • Pooled Funds: Cartman once proves Kyle wrong and wins money in the process, so he turns it into dollar notes, and then quarters, just so Kyle can see him dance and swim in it.
  • Pooping Food: In "Cancelled", the boys meet an alien who tries to take on A Form You Are Comfortable With, eventually settling on Cartman's suggestion of a taco that poops ice-cream.
  • Poor Communication Kills and all its subtropes: Very commonly used.
  • Postmodernism: Given that the show is all about social satire, this is a given.
  • Potty Failure: On the worldwide level in "Worldwide Recorder Concert", and on a graphic level in "I Should Have Never Gone Ziplining".
  • The Power of Rock: Eric uses a Slayer CD to rid the town of hippies in "Die Hippie, Die".
  • Precision Crash: Kenny is killed in the opening scene of the episode "Pinkeye", when the space station Mir crashes into him.
  • Precision F-Strike: Some of the characters who don't swear very often will drop these in extreme circumstances. See: Butters in "Christian Rock Hard" and "Breast Cancer Show Ever". And there was also that time Kenny was eaten by a giant bird that busted through the ceiling after the plot of the episode was already resolved.
    • Parodied in "It Hits the Fan." The whole town is buzzing about how a show called Cop Drama is going to use the word "shit" on TV. What we hear of the show itself is a heated argument between two cop characters, which is where one would logically expect the word to be used. Indeed, Jimbo mishears the word "shipped" during this part and gets excited, only for Randy to tell him what was actually said. It's only AFTER the argument when one of the cops casually uses the word:
      "You've got some shit on the side of your mouth right there."
  • Premature Encapsulation: In "Red Hot Catholic Love", people learn how to eat with their butt after becoming atheist and abandoning the Catholic church due to child molestation allegations, and not the earlier episode entitled "How to Eat with Your Butt" where Kenny poses for his school picture in his parka upside-down and attracts the attention of a family with real butts for faces who lost their son.
  • Pretend Prejudice
  • Preview Piggybacking: In-Universe in "The New Terrance and Philip Movie Trailer". The only reason why the kids of South Park were watching through Fightin' Around the World with Russell Crowe was because a trailer for Asses of Fire 2 was playing during one of the commercial breaks. None of the boys cared for Fightin' Around the World, and the show also attracted criticisms from most anyone around them.
  • Pride Parade: In "South Park Is Gay!", all the males in town have turned metrosexual. Once the women of the town start getting fed up, the men put on a Metrosexual Pride Parade, which includes the chant, "We're here, we're not queer, but we're close, get used to it!"
  • Product Placement: The show uses real brand names just as often as Bland Name Products, but given the tone of the show, it's probably not because they're getting paid.
    • The show seems to have an uncanny obsession with Dr Pepper. Nearly any drink that has a label on it is going to be this, and dinner parties will very often consist of nothing but it as a beverage. It also plays a major role in "The Poor Kid" as the foster father has a fridge consisting of nothing but it, and explicitly states that it is the only beverage allowed (though only because no one knows what's in it). A possible explanation is that Trey is just a big fan of the drink, and expresses his partiality to it via the show.
    • Many references are made to the Xbox and Xbox 360, often in situations where the kids would usually just talk about Video Games in general. In "Tonsil Trouble", Kyle attempts to break everything that Eric owns, including his most treasured stuffed animal, but is stopped at his Xbox. Trey himself has mentioned "playing Xbox" as something he does during off-time, so this is almost certainly a case of expressing his choice of products through his work, much like the theoretical Dr. Pepper example.
  • Progressive Instrumentation: The rendition of "Dreidel Dreidel Dreidel" from "Mr Hankey's Christmas Classics", which layers in more and more vocal parts from various characters as it goes.
  • Properly Paranoid: Tweek, partially because of his coffee habit.
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: Invoked in "Coon vs. Coon & Friends".
    The Coon: It's not my fault you guys turned evil, Kenny!
    Mysterion: You are the bad guy, fat boy. You!
    The Coon: I'm going around making the world a better place!
    Mysterion: For you! You're making the world a better place for you!
    The Coon: ...right, that's what superheroes do?
    • This is Cartman's sociopathy at work again - his total Lack of Empathy means that he thinks by making the world better for himself, he is also making it better for everybody else. It doesn't make his teaming up with Cthulhu any more excusable though.
  • Pro Wrestling Episode: "W.T.F."
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Satan falls somewhere between this and extremely Affably Evil. He's got a job to do, and while he seems to take pride in it he's seldom mean. He gets genuinely angry when he discovers the "Canadian Devil" is behind the freemium game Stan was addicted to, because he considers that type of evil to lack style.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!:
    • Don't. Fuck. With. Wendy. Testaburger. Or else she'll send you into the sun on a rocket ship.
    • "This. Is. LES BOS!"
    • During "The Poor Kid", when Cartman goes on a tirade against Kyle about the poor jokes he is(n't) making, we get this response: "My name. Is not. 'Kee-yle'."
    • Later in the same episode, when Cartman is sent to a foster home, and tries his usual "Mee-em!" routine on his foster mother, we get this: "My name. Is not. 'Mee-em'." Cartman's slowly dawning Oh, Crap! expression sells it.
  • Punny Name: Aunt Flo Kimble, the 50/60-year-old relative of the Marshes (Sharon's direct aunt, Stan and Shelly's great-aunt), who was introduced and unceremoniously disposed of in Season 2's Halloween Episode "Spookyfish". Even after the one-shot character's death came and went, it seemed as though the writers could not resist the urges to throw one more pun related to the poor woman's name into the mix.
  • Putting the Pee in Pool:
    • A water park is thrashed by a tidal wave of urine when the pool is peed on one time too many.
    • In "Summer Sucks", Cartman is forced to take swimming lessons with first graders, and he complains because he says that they'll pee in the pool. True to his prediction, whenever Cartman must pass by them, the water turns yellow as the children pee in the pool. Many "Oh, weak!" comments from Cartman ensue.
  • Put on a Bus:
    • Officer Barbrady announces at the end of "Toilet Paper" that he needs to take a long vacation, and his role is soon replaced by an actual police department. He still shows up from time to time, though.
    • Many recurring characters who were prominent in the early seasons, such as Dr. Mephesto note , Jesus and Satan, have similarly had their roles severely reduced in the later seasons.
  • Put on a Bus to Hell: When Chef's voice actor left the show, Chef became a mentally ill child molester.


  • Queer Establishing Moment: An odd case regarding Tweek and Craig, who were shipped by the entire town in "Tweek x Craig" despite their claims of not being gay. They decide to start fake dating, and the episode has them reconcile and hang out together, but it's still unclear if it's for them or the town. However, it becomes unambiguous in "Put it Down" when not only does Cartman refer to Tweek as Craig's boyfriend, but Craig refers to Tweek as "babe" even outside of school. This confirms that the two are actually gay.


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