Butters and Jimmy: Favorite South Park Characters
I have an obsession with South Park. I never even watched the show when it was at its original peak of popularity. Just seemed kind of ludicrous to me. I didn't know I was missing out on a treasure trove of insights into humanity and unusual but biting political statements. I mean, if there is no meaning behind these stories a person would have to conclude that the creators are themselves just irredeemable jerks. Or you would have to think that they are smashing through the intolerable pretense of humanity and peeling back the layers to reveal what is there, with nuance and insights that mostly elude people who are thoughtless.
One thing that is noticeable is that the characters are mostly irredeemable. Cartman represents humanity's worst characteristics; Kyle, while having an inkling of integrity, is still often self righteous and joins Cartman and the rest of them in self-serving evil exploits; Stan is the same, when he is not just grossly neutral, he is self-serving and as grotesque as the rest of them, joining in the degrading back and forth that the kids almost continuously engage in. They are a mess.
But two characters stand out in this garbage dump of juvenile sludge: Butters Stotch and Jimmy. They are not like the rest.
Incurably optimistic and positive, sharp as a tack, willing to work hard and shoot for the stars, Jimmy is a stand-apart character from the rest of his gruesome cohorts. He has a disability, cerebral palsy, which would seem to be another example of the show making fun of those subjects and people that are not supposed to be made fun of, but somehow the fact that he has a disability adds to this incurable optimism and strange positivity.
Jimmy doesn't hurt anyone, doesn't want to hurt anyone. Well, he's not a complete innocent. He's highly competitive and, like a lot of competitive people, will trample on others to win. In this way, he isn't necessarily better than the others but his motives are different. He wants to actually be better; more athletic and skilled. The others are more or less just greedy. They want more to consume, the average citizen, just grabbing up as much as possible. It appears Jimmy's competitiveness is rooted in psychology more than materialism.
Well, like all the characters, though, Jimmy has his moments; like when he gave his girlfriend a steroids-induced beat down. Not good, I realize. I suppose everyone forgave him like we forgive our highly-paid celebrity athletes for their gross transgressions.
It appears that this is something of a theme on the show: That there is always something hidden beneath the surface.
Butters is a true innocent; kind and caring, also dangerously pliable. He is led into one disaster after another by the callous gang of boys in South Park, often to his own extremely terrifying detriment. He is gullible.
He represents what society does to the innocent, the kind, the sensitive. Such people in our society are to be used, they are weak; the strong survive and the weak perish or will be used as needed. Butters innocently goes along with it. Interestingly, sometimes he lashes out and there is no doubt he has hidden rage; which is also a fair characterization of those who are kind and innocent who get victimized.
Now it is tempting to think that maybe this portrayal is just trying to show the cruelty of children; as it is often his supposed friends who are continuously victimizing him. Except that it is also such people as his parents, grandmother and counselor who are doing it to him too. The ones he trusts most.
Like Jimmy, Butters has his moments.Like when he started a prostitution ring. Of course, this all depends on how you view sex work. He was a pretty fair employer, let's just put it that way.
Bottom line is these are my favorite characters. Because they are a departure from the "standard" character on the show; which is mostly a grotesque self-serving monster of some kind. Unlike that standard, Jimmy and Butters are mostly good, have significant substance and are interesting. They are hilariously portrayed too. Butters is possibly the cutest of all characters, seemingly even wider-eyed than the rest of them, with that funny little voice with a Southern accent. And Jimmy has that hilarious stutter and a stand-up comic delivery of every line he speaks. He pops in with quick insights periodically which adds to the hilarity of his character.
Hands down, all the characters are hilarious but these guys are stand-outs. God bless 'em!