Top 10 Things You Didn't Know About South Park

Top 10 Things You Didn't Know About South Park
VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Spencer Sher
Just like Mysterion, there are a lot of things you didn't know about South Park.

There’s so much we don’t know. Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Things You Didn't Know About South Park

For this list, we’re taking a look at things you probably never knew about the Comedy Central animated sitcom, “South Park”.

#10: Archie Bunker Served as the Inspiration for Eric Cartman

In media, it’s commonplace for one fictional character to inspire another. However, we doubt there have been many times throughout the history of television that the result of this glow up was as unique as Eric Cartman. Cartman is a truly vile human being, whose unredeeming qualities are played for enormous laughs week in and week out. In this way, he’s very similar to “All in the Family’s” Archie Bunker, a character that “South Park” creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone say Eric Cartman was directly modelled after. Ironically enough, many of Cartman’s lines are improvised, whereas characters like Kenny rarely break script. In season 7, “All in the Family” co-creator Norman Lear made an appearance on the show, bringing Cartman and Archie Bunker’s connection full circle.

#9: Parker and Stone Had a Plan Just in Case John McCain Was Elected President

The season 12 episode "About Last Night…" aired just one day after the 2008 United States presidential election, an impressive feat considering the show correctly depicted Barack Obama’s victory. However, it turned out that Parker and Stone banked on Obama winning and had made the episode a week earlier. Of course, not wanting to look foolish, lest John McCain emerge victorious, Parker and Stone devised a backup plan. They claimed that had McCain won, they were going to get drunk and provide voice-over commentary on the episode. “About Last Night…" was a great episode but listening to Parker and Stone dissect it over drinks would have been legendary.

#8: A “South Park” Parody Influenced “Game of Thrones”

In season 17, “South Park” gave us a three-part parody of “Game of Thrones”, and it did a fantastic job of critiquing the show’s more obvious tropes - one of which was the constant need to depict characters walking and talking in gardens. Parker and Stone decided to spoof this, and the results were predictably hilarious. However, one thing no one could have predicted was that it would inspire “GOT” showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss to limit the number of garden walks that took place on their show. They claim that their decision stemmed from having viewed the three-episode arc. It makes you wonder whether Olenna Tyrell’s quip about hating garden walks was Benioff and Weiss’ way of acknowledging this…

#7: “The Simpsons” Sent “South Park” a Gift for Dissing “Family Guy”

In season 10’s “Cartoon Wars”, Trey Parker and Matt Stone infamously delivered a biting critique of “Family Guy” and its penchant for cutaways and cheap pop culture references. As a result, Parker claimed, "...the day after that episode aired, we got flowers from The Simpsons and calls from King of the Hill, saying we were doing God's work." Apparently flowers weren’t enough, as the writers behind “The Simpsons” also decided to call Parker and Stone to congratulate them on their effort. It would appear “Cartoon Wars” was the perfect title for this two-parter.

#6: The Tourette Syndrome Association Praised “Le Petit Tourette”

“South Park” has never shied away from their status as “the show willing to take on everyone and anyone”. The Tourette Syndrome Association assumed the worst when they discovered the show was planning an episode that revolved around the disorder. In fact, prior to the episode airing, the TSA issued a press release stating that they “fully expect[ed] it to be offensive and insensitive to people with TS". So you can imagine their surprise when Parker and Stone delivered a well-researched look at the often misunderstood affliction. In response to the episode, the TSA admitted “there was a surprising amount of accurate information conveyed" and that it did a good job of disseminating information in an easy to digest manner.

#5: The Church of Scientology Tried Digging up Dirt on Trey Parker & Matt Stone

Despite a plethora of options to choose from, season 9’s “Trapped in the Closet” is easily in the pantheon of “South Park’s” most controversial episodes. In it, Stan decides to join the Church of Scientology, providing Parker and Stone with the perfect opportunity to critique everyone involved with the religion; from founder L. Ron Hubbard, to well-known Scientologist, Tom Cruise. In response, the Church tried digging up dirt on the pair, going so far as to rummage through their trash in search of evidence that could be used against them. However, perhaps the most surprising consequence was how the episode influenced former Scientologist Jenna Miscavige Hill, who claimed it had a profound effect on her decision to leave the church in 2005.

#4: The Casting of A-List Celebrities in Insignificant Roles

Shows like “The Simpsons” and “Family Guy” have long featured celebrity cameos. Whereas these cameos are often a major selling point, “South Park’s” celebrity sightings are considerably more subdued. In fact, you probably won’t even notice they’re there. Take George Clooney. In the season one episode “Big Gay Al's Big Gay Boat Ride” he provided the “voice” of Sparky the Dog. And by voice we mean he barked a few times and was never seen again. Another cameo you probably missed was Jay Leno. The former late-night talk show host appeared in season one as Cartman’s cat, providing a few crucial meows. However, some celebs weren’t down for the background treatment, as Jerry Seinfeld famously refused the part of Turkey #2.

#3: The Show Helped Popularize Mature Television

There’s no denying that “The Simpsons” is the OG of adult oriented cartoons. However, when we think of shows like “Rick and Morty”, “Archer” and “BoJack Horseman”, a big fat “thank you” should be served towards “South Park.” The Comedy Central series was the first weekly program to be rated TV-MA, making it clear from the start that this was a show by adults, for adults. Other than “The Simpsons,” adult-targeted cartoons weren’t really a thing in the 90s, so “South Park” was effectively breaking new ground with each passing episode.

#2: Kyle Was Supposed to Die in Season Five

One of “South Park’s” most famous running gags is Kenny’s many, many on-screen deaths. However, in the episode “Kenny Dies”, Parker and Stone decided to off him for good (or at least until the end of season 6). And yet, the story goes that just weeks before the episode was set to air, the plan was to kill Kyle, not Kenny. According to Trey Parker and Matt Stone, Kyle was viewed as being too similar to Stan and was going to be permanently replaced by Butters. Wow, what a world that would have been! In the end, they decided that killing off Kenny was a better play, especially because they were running out of new ways to kill him each week.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are some honorable mentions:

The Show Collaborated with Blizzard Entertainment for "Make Love, Not Warcraft"

The Show Won a Peabody Award in 2005

The First Episode Cost $300,000 and Took Months to Make

“South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut” Was Almost Rated NC-17

There Are Hidden Aliens in Many of the Episodes

#1: Kenny Was Inspired by Trey Parker’s Childhood Friend

“South Park” constantly takes inspiration from the real world to fuel its narrative, but perhaps the craziest example of this is the character of Kenny McCormick. According to Trey Parker, Kenny is modelled after a kid he grew up with who, much like the fictional version, was poor, wore an orange parka, and regularly missed school (causing the other children to joke that he’d died), only for him to reappear a couple days later. Other characters inspired by real people or events include Stan and Kyle’s parents, (who were modelled after Parker and Stone’s own parents), as well as Mr. Hanky; who is based on a story Trey Parker’s dad told him when he was a child so that he’d remember to flush the toilet.