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South Park is an American animated sitcom created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone for the Comedy Central television network. Intended for mature audiences, the show has become famous for its crude language and dark, surreal humor that lampoons a wide range of topics. The ongoing narrative revolves around four boys—Stan Marsh, Kyle Broflovski, Eric Cartman and Kenny McCormick—and their bizarre adventures in and around the titular Colorado town. Parker and Stone, who met at college, developed the show from two animated shorts they created in 1992 and 1995. The latter became one of the first Internet viral videos, which ultimately led to its production as a series. South Park debuted in August 1997 with great success, consistently earning the highest ratings of any basic cable program. Subsequent ratings have varied, but the show remains Comedy Central's highest rated and longest running program; a total of 226 episodes have aired, and the series is slated to run through at least 2016.

Each episode bar the very first one, which was produced by cutout animation, is created with software that emulates the cutout technique. Each episode is typically written and produced during the week preceding its broadcast. Parker and Stone continue to perform most of the voice acting, and Parker is the primary writer and director. The series has received numerous accolades, including four Primetime Emmy Awards, a Peabody Award, and a #3 ranking in the 2004 documentary The 100 Greatest Cartoons. The series' almost instant popularity resulted in a feature-length theatrical film, South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut which was released less than two years after the show's premiere, in June 1999 and became a box office success. Almost all episodes of the series feature a TV-MA rating, however, in syndication and in reruns on Comedy Central before 8:00 PM the episodes are altered to be TV-14.

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"Cartman Gets an Anal Probe" is the first episode of the American animated television series South Park. It was originally broadcast on Comedy Central in the United States on August 13, 1997. The episode introduces child protagonists Eric Cartman, Kyle Broflovski, Stan Marsh and Kenny McCormick, who attempt to rescue Kyle's younger brother Ike from abduction by aliens. At the time of the writing of the episode, South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone did not yet have a series contract with Comedy Central, and Parker later commented that they felt "pressure" to live up to the internet shorts that first made them popular. Short on money, the duo animated the episode using cut paper stop motion techniques. As such, "Cartman Gets an Anal Probe" remains the only South Park episode animated without the use of computer technology. When the episode was first broadcast in Canada, "objectionable" material was cut; it was later restored in subsequent showings. Initial reviews of the episode were generally negative; critics singled out the gratuitous obscenity of the show for particular scorn and compared South Park unfavorably with what they felt were the more complex and nuanced The Simpsons and Beavis and Butthead.

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Stan Marsh is a fictional character in the animated television series South Park. He is voiced by and loosely based on series co-creator Trey Parker. Stan is one of the show's four central characters, along with his friends Kyle Broflovski, Kenny McCormick, and Eric Cartman. He debuted on television when South Park first aired on August 13, 1997, after having first appeared in The Spirit of Christmas shorts created by Parker and long-time collaborator Matt Stone in 1992 (Jesus vs. Frosty) and 1995 (Jesus vs. Santa). Stan is a third- then fourth-grade student who commonly has extraordinary experiences not typical of conventional small-town life in his fictional hometown of South Park, Colorado. Stan is generally friendly, down-to-earth, knowledgeable, helpful, laid back, and often shares with Kyle a leadership role as the main protagonist of the show. Stan is unreserved in verbally expressing his distinct lack of esteem for adults and their influences, as adult South Park residents rarely make use of their critical faculties. Stan is animated by computer in a way to emulate the show's original method of cutout animation. He also appears in the 1999 full-length feature film South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, as well as South Park-related media and merchandise. While Parker and Stone portray Stan as having common childlike tendencies, his dialogue is often intended to reflect stances and views on more adult-oriented issues, and has been frequently cited in numerous publications by experts in the fields of politics, religion, popular culture and philosophy.

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