Matt Stone and Trey Parker Interview with Charlie Rose Reveals Zen Buddhism at the Heart of South Park

I really enjoyed this interview between Matt Stone and Trey Parker and Charlie Rose.  Not only was it fun and interesting, but Trey Parker said something that vindicates the very title of my book. The Zen of South Park.

He said:

“The people screaming on this side, and the people screaming on that side are the same people.” After watching South Park, “all in all, at the end of the day they’ll be a little more Zen Buddhist.”

Well, if calling my book The Zen of South Park doesn’t make more sense than putting peanut-butter and jelly in the same jar, I don’t know what does.

What did you think of the interview?

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It’s the Classic First Episode of South Park, “Cartman Gets an Anal Probe” (101)!

Wow! – Talk about a throwback to the beginning. This episode was actually made out of cardboard, it’s covered in shadows and the voices and art are primitive. And it’s in all of those things that it’s so awesome. Parker and Stone had to work so hard to produce this episode. Now they can throw them together in a matter of days with computer animation and a huge team of worker-bees. Not so for episode 101. They did it all themselves, by hand, with cardboard cut-outs. Does that make it better? No. But it does make it really neat.

That’s in part why I really like the episode in which Steven Spielberg and George Lucas are mocked for updating their movies. Episode 101 is recalled and the guys say that they meant to have different things in it but just couldn’t make it happen within the budget and technology at the time. Now, however, they can update it and make it better. No! This episode is great just like it is (which is, of course, their entire point).

The episode is also funny – and I don’t mean funny in South Park‘s profound and socially commentary-y way. Funny in that it’s filled with cursing eight-year olds and fart jokes and toilet humor. Funny in that when it was released, this sort of thing wasn’t on television. There were very few adult cartoons at the time, save the Simpsons. This was before the days of Adult Swim. At the very least, adult cartoons didn’t feature children. This was something new and fresh and though the show has become more ‘refined’ and profound over the course of the last decade plus, I’ll always love this first episode for its total ‘id’ quality.

What did you think about this episode? What was your favorite part?

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Cartman and Kyle Argue Over Jew-Gold in South Park Episode 908, “Two Days Before The Day After Tomorrow”

The Day After Tomorrow – blech what a craptastic movie. “Two Days Before the Day After Tomorrow” – what an awesome episode.

When Stan and Cartman wreck a dam with a stolen speedboat, thereby flooding a town in a valley below the dam, the entire country freaks out that global warming has caused this flooding and everyone starts panicking. I’ve already explored some of South Park‘s thoughts and skepticism about global warming in my post on episode 1006, “Manbearbig” and in episode 505, “Terrance and Phillip Behind the Blow,” so I will refrain from elaborating in great detail here except for to say that, to whatever degree Trey Parker and Matt Stone appreciate the importance of not obliterating the environment, they don’t wholly subscribe to the terror of global warming.

In any case, despite mocking global warming fanatics, this episode is particularly memorable for a hilarious exchange between Kyle and Cartman when they are trapped in a collapsing and burning building in the flooded town. Cartman refuses to allow Kyle to pass him and move to safety on the roof of the building where a helicopter awaits unless Kyle cedes his Jew-gold. What is Jew-gold, you ask? It is the bag of gold that all Jews carry in a small sack around their necks.

Obviously, Kyle contests the notion that he has such a thing or that it even exists, and what is even more hilarious than the banter between the two is when Kyle finally reveals the Jew-gold and gives it to Cartman. The ridiculousness of this scenario exposes the absurdity of many anti-Semitic beliefs, like that Jews used to use Christian blood to make their matzas, a Middle Ages belief called blood libels.

Mmmmm, matza.

What did you think about this episode? What was your favorite part?

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The Male v. Female Battle About Farting v. Queefing Rages in South Park Episode 1304, “Eat, Pray, Queef”

This was definitely the first totally asinine episode of the season, all about farting and queefing. The incredible part was the degree to which it played on South Park lore and history.

The episode begins with the boys’ excitement of the second in a two part Terrance and Philip episode. However, as today is April 1st (i.e. the air date of South Park episode 1304), as an April Fool’s joke, the continuation of the Terrance and Philip episode is not aired. Why is this awesome?

Because 12 years ago on April 1st, instead of showing South Park fans the much-desired first episode of season 2, which would have answered the season finale cliff hanger of season 1’s “Cartman’s Mom is a Dirty Slut” episode – i.e. who is Cartman’s father? – Trey Parker and Matt Stone aired a totally bogus episode all about Terrance and Philip doing some pointless stuff. Fans were insanely furious and protested vehemently.

And that’s exactly what the boys did in this episode 12 years later when their episode of Terrance and Phillip was replaced with an episode of The Queef Sisters – a show about two women who do the female version of farting, queefing!

The entire episode – which is very funny, filthy and silly – is about men being grossed out by women’s queefs and fighting to stop women from queefing. Of course, women defend their queefs and protest men’s farts. And that’s where we see the strong divide between the sexes.

After the men succeed in banning women’s farts, Sharon Marsh makes an impassioned speech about how far women have come and how queefing was the one little thing they had to gross out men with – and how men took that away from them. Realizing their mistake, the men record a strong about how strong women are and how they deserve to queef. As a backdrop during the song we see pictures of women doing various things, including one of Hilary Clinton with an air poof coming out form between her legs.

Other hilarious part: Martha Stewart having festive queefs. Recalls episode 608, “Red Hot Catholic Love,” when interoretrogestion has her shoving an entire turkey up there.

Ridiculous episode! What did you think? Leave your comments below.

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Barbra Streisand is set to Rule the World in South Park Episode 112, “Mecha-Streisand”

Years ago I watched some special with Trey Parker and Matt Stone, who said that, despite making fun of most everyone, they only truly hated Barbra Streisand. I thought that was pretty funny, especially in light of this episode, which depicts her as a hideous, power-hungry monster with designs to take over the world.

After the boys find the special, magical, Triangle of Zinthar, Streisand comes to town in search of it, hoping to unite it with her other triangle, transform into Mecha-Streisand and conquer the world. The only way to stop her after she transforms is through the help of Sidney Poitier, film critic Leonard Maltin, and The Cure’s Robert Smith.

After they defeat the evil Mecha-Streisand, Jesus is seen jumping up and down alongside the boys as they shout, “Our Savior.”

What a great episode. Do you like this one?

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South Park Sings, Dances, Offends and Celebrates in Episode 315, “Mr. Hankey’s Christmas Classics”

This is a ridiculously silly episode and not a conventional one by any means. When I first started watching it, I expected to be bored, and I was pretty annoyed that Trey Parker and Matt Stone thought that they could get away with giving me some bs songs instead of a real Christmas episode. As it turns out, these had to be a lot harder to compose and produce than a regular episode and they were really funny, at that.

The episode is set up like a pitch for a Christmas album by Mr. Hankey, and he share his ten favorite Christmas songs with us, each of varying length but all sung by South Park characters in hilarious and new ways.

Cartman’s rendition of Silent Night that celebrates Jesus’ birth and lets him get presents is quite good. My personal favorites are the Hanukah song that opens everything up (a new take on the Dreidel song) and Mr. Garrison’s around the world explanation of how most people fail to celebrate Christmas adequately. He visits all kinds of eastern religions and countries and pretty much behaves like a bigoted, American asshole. Shocking!

A very amusing episode overall.

What did you think? Which was your favorite song?

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Michael Jackson Comes to South Park in Episode 807, “Mr. Jefferson”

When Michael Jackson and his son come to South Park disguised as Mr. Jefferson and company, the local children are amazed at all the wonderful toys in his house and his generosity in regards to sharing them. Stan and Kyle, however, grow concerned at Mr. Jefferson’s neglect of his son, Blanket, in order to play with other children.

In the meantime, local cops realize that a rich black man has moved to town and, like all cops when they see that rich black men live near them, they try to frame him for a series of heinous crimes. Unfortunately, they see Mr. Jefferson (i.e. MJ) come home and are startled that he is white! What to do?

One cool thing in this episode is that we see Kenny without his jacket on but don’t know for sure that it’s him until he is killed by Mr. Jefferson during some rough play time. Though Kenny is no longer getting killed regularly on South Park by the eighth season, Parker and Stone are always willing to kill him when it adds something different like this. A weird Mr. Jefferson and the boys in bed scene also appears as well as a variety of scenes in which MJ’s face is falling off.

In the end Kyle and Stan tell us that it doesn’t matter what Michael Jackson may or may not have done (in regards to the framing) but what is important is that he grow up and stop acting like a child because he has one that needs taking care of. It is time, we learn, for Michael Jackson to act like an adult.

What did you think of this episode?

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April Fools! Trey Parker and Matt Stone Yelled with “Terrance and Phillip in ‘Not Without My Anus,'” South Park Episode 201

Definitely the funniest thing about this episode is why it exists. As you may have noticed, it’s the first episode of the second season. Well, the cliffhanger “to-be-continued” season finale of the first season was “Cartman’s Mom is a Dirty Slut,” and was all about learning who Cartman’s father was.

Fans eagerly awaited the second season so that they could learn who Cartman’s father was and when it turned out that this episode was supposed to be aired on April 1st, Trey Parker and Matt Stone thought that a little April Fool’s joke was in order and so they made this totally ridiculous episode that was all about Terrance and Philip and a whole bunch of other nonsense.

The fans were pissed off (I wasn’t a viewer at the time). They were on board when it came to ragging on other people but when the joke-stick was pointed their way, they were not amused. I think that’s hilarious, though if I’d cared at the time I’d probably have been pissed off too.

One notable moment in this episode is Terrance and Philip and the person at the airport having no ability to differentiate between Middle Eastern countries like Iran and Iraq, insisting that they’re all the same. A comment on American (or Canadian?) ignorance about important regions of the world, hmm?

What did you think of this episode? Did you want to see the other one back in the day?

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San Francisco, George Clooney and South Park’s Hybrids Collide in a Smug Storm in South Park Episode 1002, “Smug Alert”

Goodness gracious is this an awesome episode. Mr. Broflovski gets a hybrid and becomes so high and mighty that he moves his family to San Francisco where everyone loves the smells of his and her own farts. To get his best friend back to South Park, Stan writes a song that inspires everyone to become more environmentally conscious and buy hybrids. Then they all become equally as smug.

Smug clouds start gathering over South Park and San Francisco and when those smug clouds combine with the smugness from George Clooney’s Oscar acceptance speech (all about how advanced the people in Hollywood are), it’s a smug storm of epic proportions.

When Kyle leaves, Cartman makes Butters his Jew to rip on, but Butters doesn’t fight back like Kyle. He just laughs, and so Cartman has to go to San Francisco to rescue Kyle and his family from all the terrible hippies and bring him back. Cartman needs Kyle but doesn’t tell him that he saved his family from the Smug Storm. The way Cartman goes into the city all hazmat style is great, as is the children’s use of acid to escape their parents enjoyment of their own farts is hilarious.

I love this episode. First, I recently moved to San Francisco for a year and it is indeed an incredibly smug city. It’s a great place and I love it here but boy do we love the smell of our own farts. Second, hybrids, as much of a nice step as they may be, are not a permanent solution and people who drive them should not be so proud of themselves. And notably, Parker and Stone will mock anyone, friend or foe. George Clooney loves South Park, so much so that he wanted to be on it in the first season (he was only granted the role of Sparkey, Stan’s gay dog in episode 104). However, despite this, they tore into him for his obnoxious speech.

What did you think of this episode? What was your favorite part.

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Vampires and Goths Battle in South Park Episode 1214, “The Ungroundable”

It was the season finale of South Park. And now it’s over. The whole twelfth season is over. Some of you may recall that this was supposed to be the end of South Park. Fortunately, because there is apparently a God, Trey Parker and Matt Stone signed on for another 3 seasons, meaning that you and I will be enjoying new South Park through the end of 2011 – unless global warming pans out and we have to evacuate earth.

How Vampire Came and Left South Park

Vampires have come to South Park. Any regular watcher wouldn’t be surprised if real Vampires were introduced into the show considering the things we’ve seen before (zombies, Mecha-Streisand, Skuzzlebutt, Gnomes, etc.), but no, these Vampires are douchey, preppy, wanna-be dark kids who like to pretend that they are vampires. These straight-A Banana Republic wearing twerps really piss off the real goth kids, though, especially when the latter are mistaken for Vampires.

Butters, tired of being ignored by his friends and grounded by his parents, decides that instead of simply watching the vampires, he is going to join them. They dress him up like them by taking him to Hot Topic. Unfortunately, Butters doesn’t quite realize that he’s not a vampire and takes the whole thing very seriously, telling his parents he’s ungroundable, hissing at people, and trying to suck Cartman’s blood.

In the meantime, the goth kids, in an attempt to end this vampire nonsense, have kidnapped the head vampire, a popular kid whose conformist friends have all followed him to this world of dark clothes, histrionic speech and tomato juice guzzling. When that doesn’t work, Butters, no longer wishing to remain a vampire, suggests that the goth kids destroy the vampires’ lair – the place where kids are becoming vampires. He takes them to Hot Topic, which used to be a Banana Republic, and the goth kids literally proceed to burn the place down. No compunction. No wondering about what the others meant when one said, “You know what we have to do.” They knew what needed doing and they just burnt that place down.

Why This Episode Rocked

I thought this was a great episode for a lot of reasons. First, I’m reading a book called You Suck by Christopher Moore which is all about “real” vampires. More topically, there is a character in the book JUST like the Vampires in South Park – not real. Just some dramatic girl who’s upset with life and wants to become a vampire, blah blah blah. Moore mocks the same thing that this episode is mocking.

We’ve learned in other episodes – like Raisins, for instance – why the goth kids are ridiculous: they wallow in sadness and refuse to enjoy life. This episode, though it doesn’t paint the opposite picture, brings us to the worse end of that spectrum: idiotic kids who think that it’s cool to be dark and whose emotions aren’t even in it. These are vampires. More importantly, this is an actual and growing problem among America’s youth, and though I’d never heard of Hot Topic before this episode, I’m now inclined to believe that it’s involved in the making (or at least perpetuating) these stupid fads. Somebody chime in here if you know something about this.

In any case, at the end of the episode, once they’ve destroyed Hot Topic and ended the vampire craze, the goth kids ask for an assembly to clarify who they are and the differences between them and vampires. I wasn’t fast enough to get it down but it beautifully summarizes the episode’s message and here’s the gist of it: If you hate life, truly hate the sun and take what little solace life offers by drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes, then you are goth. Vampires think that dressing in black is cool and wouldn’t do anything that’s bad for their health. More importantly, if you do stupid things like wear fake vampire teeth, pretend to drink fake blood, and talk like a moron, then you are retarded, the goth kids explain. The main goth kid then looks right into the camera (theoretically at the other children) and says, Fuck all of you, as he flips them off.

Summary

The goth kids in this episode were awesome, always standing by the attitude of not giving a shit just like they said. They smoked, drank coffee, stole their parents’ cars, kidnapped another kid and immediately burned down a store in the mall. No one bitched, thought about it or pussied out. They just did it because that’s their don’t give a shit attitude. Are all goth people like this? Of course not! But South Park is showing respect to those people who claim to be something and then back up their attitude and convictions rather than being douchey, retarded hypocrites like kids who pretend to be vampires.

Great frickin’ episode and a cool ending to an awesome season – right on point and theme with another episode about cultural issues.

What did you think of the season finale? Leave comments below or rate it here:

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