1.4 “Was South Park Ever Good?” – South Park Season 1

Noah and Elizabeth head on down to South Park and revisit its very first season from 1997. South Park has been continuously produced to the present day by its original creators, Trey Parker and Matt Stone. The 23rd Season premieres this Wednesday.

The show’s legacy is. . .complicated. Trey Parker and Matt Stone made (and continue to make) most episodes week-to-week – literally over the course of six days before they air, and rely heavily on episodes that riff on current events in almost real time. Because of this episode content as well as the fact that it’s been the same two primary people making the show since its inception, you can track a fairly clear worldview through much of the series. In South Park’s heyday, this worldview was that of mean-spirited adolescent nihilism: everything sucks, everybody sucks, and screw everyone who claims to care about something, they’re lying.

Noah, a long-time South Park viewer, wants to see if South Park was always like this from the beginning. Elizabeth, not a fan of South Park, discovers to her surprise how much early South Park she actually remembers from her childhood despite never having really watched it. We discuss South Park’s origins as an brilliantly inventive use of construction paper, the cultural phenomenon of its early seasons, how it curdled into bitterness, and how its sensibility overlaps with the modern internet reactionary movement.

Outro Music: “Pokerface” – Lady Gaga

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