South Park (Comedy Central)
2005 | Comedy Central
No aspect of modern society is exempt from the scathing satirical campaigns mounted by the raucous children of South Park. Institutions, individuals, and ideologies—all are targets. So, too, is the series itself. Constantly doing battle with critics, with those whose values it challenges or lampoons, and with its own network, this cartoon for adults continues to push the boundaries of what is meant by “freedom of speech.” Censorship, the largest thorn in the side of creators/executive producers Trey Parker and Matt Stone, is attacked regularly, and in its ten years, South Park has broken down the barriers of television censorship, created new ones, and subsequently shattered them again. Victims of the show’s irreverence range from religious leaders and icons of all faiths to presidents and political leaders to celebrities. Moses and Mel Gibson, Saddam Hussein and Paris Hilton all have taken their lumps. In the process of unapologetically ridiculing individuals and groups, the series pushes viewers to confront broader issues such as racism, war, mob mentality, consumerism, and religious fanaticism. Simplistic yet surprisingly expressive animation enables the show’s creators to produce episodes in less than a week, blending immediately topical subject matter into each installment. In addition to Parker and Stone, who write, direct, produce, and provide voices for each episode, South Park relies on the work of producers Frank Agnone and Jennifer Howell, executive producer Anne Garefino, and director of animation Eric Stough. For pushing buttons and envelopes with stringent social commentary, South Park receives a Peabody Award.