South Park Has Changed Cartoons
You've heard of South Park before. My 55 year old father knows what it is, he thinks it's disgusting, but he knows what it is. South Park debuted on Comedy Central in 1997 and focused on 4 third graders from South Park Colorado. The difference between this show and many others is that these weren't your typical 3rd graders. They were foul mouthed and dealt with everything from anal probes to aliens.
Stan, Kyle Kenny and Cartman captured the audience by storm in 1997 and soon enough you would be able to find them on everything from shirts to pillows. Initially the show started off as a vehicle to shock it's viewers with how gross it could be, but at the end of each episode there was a little lesson. Simple enough formula. Somewhere along the line though, South Park became an excellent social commentary. You could take an episode as silly as Ike Broflofski having an affair with his kindergarten teacher. While this episode is hilarious and is extreme since Ike is so young, the point is made. The episode also points out the difference men and women have when they find out a good looking female teacher is having an affair with a student. The women are appalled and the men wonder why a sexy woman would get intimate with a student saying "but, she's hot?"
There is a problem with adult cartoons where they end up getting stale and viewers begin to lose interest. South Park has been going strong for 21 seasons now, so the question remains, what did they do? A reason show get stale is lack of a good story line or a tiresome plot, South Park never has to worry about this because they use the greatest plot of all, world events. If there is something that keeps America's interest, it's other people's lives and the stupidity of other people. South Park finds these events, as well as serious stuff like not wanting to commit to your loved one, and absolutely rips them for how dumb they actually are.
If we look at an episode where the kids form a boy band, South Park does an excellent job of pointing out how this is a dream of many, but there are consequences to achieving it. The messages on the show became very true and started to show us how stupid we were being over certain issues.
South Park has come a long way from being a foul mouthed show about fart jokes, but at some point they came up with a winning formula and have been successful ever since. There honestly isn't an end in sight either since the world isn't going to run out of ridiculous events any time soon