Subject matter in South Park

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South Park has attempted to cover and satirize a large number of topics over the course of its run. South Park Studio's use of computer animation allows it to edit episodes in days, quickly commenting on recent events, including Elián González, 2000 U.S. presidential election, the capture of Saddam Hussein, and the election of Barack Obama/Donald Trump. The creators also have engendered a mix of socially liberal and fiscally conservative viewpoints, espousing a libertarian ideology in both real life and on the show. However, the show's creators call themselves "equal opportunity offenders",[1] and reject the notion that they are trying to put forth any consistent ideological agenda through the show.[2][3]



Abortion is heavily lampooned in South Park.

  • "Cartman's Mom Is Still a Dirty Slut": Cartman's Mom attempted to get her son a "42nd trimester" abortion, and finds out that such a late abortion is illegal, she says "Well, I think you need to keep your laws off of my body." Later in the episode, Mrs Cartman says "I should've thought of raising a child before having sex." She was later informed that she confused the word "abortion" with "adoption".
  • "Cartman Joins NAMBLA": Upon learning that his parents want to have another child, Kenny attempts to prevent the event of having a younger sibling. He attempts to give his mother morning-after abortion pills, tries to get her to drink liquor and encourages her to ride on an intense amusement park attraction in order to provoke a miscarriage. None of his attempts work, however, leaving the newborn child to become a miniature reincarnation of Kenny himself.
  • "Chef Goes Nanners": The substitute teacher shows that the class had participated in different debates, with one being "Pro-Choice vs. Cartman".
  • "Kenny Dies": Cartman attempts to get stem cell research (using aborted fetuses) legalized in a feigned attempt to save Kenny's life. It is revealed at the end of the episode he really wanted to use stem cells to clone his favorite pizza restaurant.
  • "A Ladder to Heaven": Upon realizing that Kenny's soul is inside his body, Cartman decides to go somewhere where they "remove living souls from inside" of him. He then proceeds to go to an abortion clinic where he gets into an argument with the lady at the counter, stating that he can't live this way and demanding that they just suck Kenny's soul out. A couple walk in and upon hearing Cartman's rant, the girlfriend states that she "can't do this" and runs out. At that point, the visibly angry boyfriend throws a rock at Cartman.
  • "Woodland Critter Christmas": The mountain lion cubs are taught at an abortion clinic how to stop the Antichrist porcupine from being born. During the episode's final confrontation, they give Kyle an "abortion", expelling the Antichrist from his body so that Santa can crush it with a sledgehammer.
  • "Mr. Garrison's Fancy New Vagina": The newly sex-changed Mrs. Garrison becomes convinced she is pregnant because she doesn't start menstruating. She asks the doctor whether he would "vacuum it (the fetus) out or scramble its brains" because "a woman can do whatever she wants with her body," only to find out at the abortion clinic that uteruses are not created in sex change operations; therefore she cannot get pregnant.
  • "Eek, a Penis!": Cartman spends most of the episode teaching inner-city kids that it is okay to cheat. In counseling a pregnant teenager, he says that "Abortion isn't wrong...abortion is the ultimate form of cheating. You're cheating nature itself. Why do rich white girls get ahead in life? Because they get abortions when they're young. They get pregnant, but they still want to go to college, so, whatever, they just cheat. They cheat that little critter in their belly out of a chance at life."
  • South Park: The Stick of Truth: A section of the game takes place in the abortion clinic, named Unplanned Parenthood, as the New Kid goes undercover dressing as a girl to recover a girl's abortion records for Wendy's crew. Along the way, he has to perform an "abortion" on Randy Marsh in disguise to fool the government agents and deal with an outbreak of Nazi Zombie Fetuses that overrun the clinic. This section was censored in the release of the game in certain regions.



The primary subject of South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut is censorship, also a repeatedly cited concern in multiple episodes. Notable episodes involving censorship include "Death", "It Hits the Fan", "Cartoon Wars Part I", "Cartoon Wars Part II", "200", "201", and "Band in China".

  • "Cartoon Wars Part II": Cartman wishes the President a major news corporation to prevent an episode of Family Guy from airing, and to prevent Kyle from interfering with his plan, Cartman states, "okay, I'll make it easy for you", and pulls out a gun and aims it at the President. When the President responds with, "okay, I'll listen to you", Kyle states to the President, "you can't do what he wants just because he's the one threatening you with violence!" When the president then responds with, "I can't be responsible for people getting hurt. Especially me", Kyle states, "yes, people can get hurt. That's how terrorism works. But if you give into that... you're allowing terrorism to work. Do the right thing here".


  • "Ike's Wee Wee": Mr. Mackey is forced out of his job for losing a marijuana bud in a drug-education class. Ironically, he goes through a cycle of experimentation (ending up in his adopting hippie ideology and happily marrying a woman he meets), before an enforced treatment (after being captured during his honeymoon in India by the A-Team, no less) and reverting to his position as a spokesman against drugs.
  • "My Future Self n' Me": Stan and Butters' parents find an indirect and strange way to try to prevent their children from using drugs. They hire representatives to act as though they were future versions of the children, who travel back in time to tell them how the use of drugs has made their lives miserable. While the episode does condemn the use of drugs, it parodies the tendency of people (especially parents) to overreact to the substances and deceive their children to ensure their safety.
  • "Towelie" and "A Million Little Fibers": Towelie is forced to confront his marijuana addiction in times of crisis, eventually coming to the "conclusion" that he should only partake in drug use when he accomplishes something good, not in order to.
    • Towelie later puts his marijuana addiction to good use as he is a state government inspector that approves and later works at Randy Marsh's marijuana farm in Season 22.
  • "Up the Down Steroid": Jimmy Valmer is chronicled through his use of steroids; combines the subject of performance-enhancing drug controversy frequently seen in baseball and other sports with a Lifestories: Families in Crisis episode about steroid use.
  • "Die Hippie, Die": The hippies have their Jamfest in South Park to "Stop Corporations" and Kenny, Kyle and Stan join the hippies. In the end, the boys realize the hippies smoke way too much pot and are just as selfish as the corporations they complain about by trying to forget about their troubles when they don't have any.
  • "Major Boobage": Kids across the nation, particularly Kenny, have found a new way to get high. The episode references the glue-sniffing, paint snorting, and marker sniffing epidemics.
  • "Quest for Ratings" To get ideas for South Park Elementary's closed-circuit television system, the boys decide to get high on cough medicine. Remembering that they had seen Craig's program while high and thought it to be brilliant, they conclude that a majority of the school must be perpetually high on cough medicine, accounting for his ratings. They then decide to produce a special report that gets cough medicine banned from school.
  • "Medicinal Fried Chicken": Medical marijuana becomes legal while KFC is portrayed as a newly illegal addictive drug, featuring a Cartman subplot that parodies the film Scarface.
  • "Best Friends Forever": An archangel presenting a battle strategy to Kenny on a whiteboard while casually sniffing the marker he's using.
  • "Guitar Queer-O": Stan plays a video game called "Heroin Hero", in which the only objective was to shoot up heroin and chase a dragon around.
  • "Hummels & Heroin": When a number of costumed characters begin to overdose on painkillers at children's birthday parties, Stan discovers that the drugs are being trafficked out of Grandpa Marsh's nursing home, stored inside German Hummels. The episode parodies the growing opioid epidemic, while also comparing retirement homes to prisons.
  • "Tegridy Farms": Randy and Sharon move out to a cannabis farm, where he harvests the plant and manufactures a variety of products from hemp.

Environmentalism and global warming[edit]

Homosexuality and gay marriage[edit]

  • Big Gay Al is used in several episodes and the movie to promote tolerance and acceptance for homosexuals.
  • Mr. Garrison later comes out as gay for several seasons, and lives with Mr. Slave until he undergoes a sex change operation in "Mr. Garrison's Fancy New Vagina". After the sex change, "Mrs. Garrison" briefly becomes a lesbian in "D-Yikes!".
  • Big Gay Al and Mr. Slave are later married in "Follow That Egg!". South Park parodies the real-life "civil union" compromise by proposing gay couples be allowed to have the same rights as married groups, but be called "butt buddies".
  • The 2007 episode "Cartman Sucks" parodied and criticized the ex-gay movement, focusing on children whose parents force them to attend conversion therapy.
  • Stan's dog 'Sparky', who is voiced by George Clooney, is gay, and humps other male dogs in "Big Gay Al's Big Gay Boat Ride".
  • In "The F Word," the word fag is used quite satirically to reference middle-aged men who ride Harley-Davidsons and even the homosexuals petition for the word's definition to be changed from meaning homosexuals to middle-aged bikies.
  • In "Trapped In the Closet", many references are made about the rumors of Tom Cruise being gay. He locks himself in Stan's bedroom closet and the characters say "Tom Cruise won't come out of the closet." John Travolta and R. Kelly also join in.



  • "Starvin' Marvin in Space": Christian missionaries and Pat Robertson attempt to cajole Starvin Marvin's people and the Marklar into accepting their faith. This episode in general portrays missionaries in a rather unfavorable manner, as when the missionary character attempts to get the Africans to read the Bible. "Remember, reading the Bible plus accepting Jesus equals FOOD", suggesting that the Christians would have let the emaciated Africans starve if they did not convert.
  • "Are You There God? It's Me, Jesus" addresses the Year 2000 hype/hysteria and introduces God (in a non-stereotypical visage) to the series.
  • "Super Best Friends" has the key members of the world's faiths join together to fight a cult.
  • Christian rock music is the subject of "Christian Rock Hard": Cartman attempts to start a Christian Rock band as a scheme to win a bet with Kyle.
  • "Red Hot Catholic Love" parodies the Catholic sex abuse scandal (the town's pastor is seen trying to convert other Catholic priests from molestation) and the separation of church and state as demanded by atheists; the issue of sex abuse was lampooned again in "A Boy and a Priest", which came in the wake of renewed scrutiny of the Church following an extensive Pennsylvania grand jury report. In the latter episode, the archdiocese in Denver sends three priests to South Park in order to clean up Father Mackie's mess when he is only having a non-sexual relationship with Butters. The episode involves the pastor becoming the butt of jokes by the townspeople.
  • Cartman Sucks features Butters' stay in a Christian conversion therapy camp, where he, completely oblivious to the euphemisms used to designate homosexuality ("confusion", "bi-curious"), witnesses suicides and the psychological pressure applied on homosexual children. The episode ends with Butters realizing that "If I'm bi-curious and I'm made from God, then I think your God must be a little bi-curious too."
  • "All About the Mormons?" chronicles the arrival of a Mormon family in South Park, and lampoons the story of Joseph Smith. Yet in conclusion to the episode, Gary, Stan's Mormon friend, tells Stan, "Look, maybe us Mormons do believe in crazy stories that make absolutely no sense, and maybe Joseph Smith did make it all up, but I have a great life. and a great family, and I have the Book of Mormon to thank for that. The truth is, I don't care if Joseph Smith made it all up, because what the church teaches now is loving your family, being nice and helping people. And even though people in this town might think that's stupid, I still choose to believe in it. All I ever did was try to be your friend, Stan, but you're so high and mighty you couldn't look past my religion and just be my friend back. You've got a lot of growing up to do, buddy. Suck my balls".
  • "Bloody Mary" was criticized for its portrayal of a Virgin Mary statue as bleeding from her anus (later found out to be from her vagina, as declared by Pope Benedict XVI in the episode). It also addressed the religious origins of Alcoholics Anonymous.
  • "Do the Handicapped Go to Hell?" and "Probably" depicts Stan, Cartman, and Kenny being frightened by the town Priest's descriptions of hell and those who are headed there. Determined to save their souls and those of their friends, including Kyle, a Jew and Timmy, who is mentally handicapped, they seek out advice from the local clergy. When the boys find the priest having sex in the confessional, they decide to make their own church aimed at salvation. They continue this course until it is revealed that Cartman, in an obvious nod to televangelism, only did it to make ten million dollars, and Jesus shows up to bring an end to Cartman's prosperity gospel church. The episode pokes fun at charismatic evangelicals.
  • Scientology is the subject of "Trapped in the Closet" where Stan is declared the reincarnation of L. Ron Hubbard.
  • "Go God Go" and sequel, "Go God Go XII" attempt to show that atheism can be just as radical as religion. In the future, all religion has been destroyed by Richard Dawkins and Mrs. Garrison and everyone is atheist in hopes that reason will prevent war. However, fanaticism nonetheless grows and there are several warring factions trying to decide whose logic is correct in determining their name. They also use 'Science' as an alternative to 'God' as a curse, e.g. 'Science Damn You', 'Science H Logic!'.
  • In "Fantastic Easter Special", the episode suggested (lampooning The Da Vinci Code) that Saint Peter was a rabbit and that God wanted all the popes to be rabbits so they would keep their mouths shut. It also villainizes Bill Donohue, the controversial leader of the Catholic League, who previously criticized the show after the "Bloody Mary" episode.
  • "Canada on Strike": A husband and wife driving are witness to Ike holding a sign: "Honk if you support Canada", the husband honks twice, and upon his wife confirming to him "Oh, we're supporting unions" he states to her "That's right; we're a very progressive couple", and later "Well we've done our good deed for the week. I think now I can make love to your anus without making God angry".
  • "Imaginationland Episode III": Within a plead to US generals not to "nuke our imagination" despite it having gone wild in the Pentagon's Operation Imagination Doorway, Kyle states that "I mean, whether Jesus is real or not, he... he's had a bigger impact on the world than any of us have. And the same could be said of Bugs Bunny and, a-and Superman and Harry Potter. They've changed my life, changed the way I act on the Earth. Doesn't that make them kind of 'real'. They might be imaginary, but, but they're more important than most of us here. And they're all gonna be around long after we're dead. So in a way, those things are more realer than any of us"
  • "Ginger Cow": Cartman's prank, dressing a cow as a "ginger", fools Christians, Muslims, and Jews into thinking it is a doomsday prophecy. They come together in peace and harmony, while Cartman blackmails Kyle to hide the truth to keep the peace going.


Saddam Hussein, 9/11, the War on Terror, and the Iraq War[edit]



  1. ^ Raphael, Rebecca (May 22, 1998). "Who is Kyle Broslofski?". New Voices. Archived from the original on August 15, 2012. Retrieved February 4, 2009.
  2. ^ Anderson, Brian C. (2003). "We're Not Losing the Culture Wars Anymore". Manhattan Institute. Retrieved May 3, 2009.
  3. ^ Cohen, William (November 4, 2005). "Respect Its Authoritah!". The Cornell Review.
  4. ^
  5. ^ Rozsa, Matthew. ""South Park" apologizes to Al Gore and admits it was wrong about global warming". Retrieved November 17, 2018.
  6. ^ Griffith, Janelle. "South Park issues rare apology for 'ManBearPig' skewering of Al Gore". NBC News. Retrieved November 17, 2018.

Further reading[edit]

  • Arp, Robert; Decker, Kevin S.; Irwin, William (2013). The Ultimate South Park and Philosophy: Respect My Philosophah!. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-1118386569. OCLC 940807046.
  • Simpson, Brandon (2013). The Libertarian Lessons of South Park: An Analysis of Libertarianism in South Park, How Ron Paul, Gary Johnson & South Park Created a New Generation of Libertarians & South Park Conservatives. Dry Ridge, KY: Small Town Press. ISBN 978-0981646664. OCLC 844727134.