|Creator:||Trey Parker, Matt Stone|
|Country of Origin:||USA|
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South Park is an animated sitcom that tells the adventures of four ten-year old boys (who had been eight and nine-years old in previous seasons). Known for its incredibly foul language, sexual references and satirical humor, it is supposedly directed toward more mature audiences, falling into the same genre as Family Guy and Futurama.
A movie for the cartoon was released in 1999, called South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut.
The four main characters are Stanley Marsh, Kyle Broflovski, Eric Cartman (usually referred to by his last name) and Kenneth McCormick, as the show normally centers around them. South Park is a small mountain town in Colorado, though it is not like other towns - strange and bizarre things often happen in South Park, such as random cavemen appearing, being attacked by a giant robot of Barbara Streisand, an affair between a five-year old Canadian and a Kindergarten teacher, as well as the constant reappearances of a Christmas poo and a towel that enjoys getting high.
The series has always had a strong undercurrent of socio-political commentary, but in the early seasons it was blended into the simple, vulgar humor the show was more known for. The socio-political leanings became stronger around season 7, and in season 18 the show went from an episodic format to season-long arcs and tighter continuity.
A season 19 episode was focused on the yaoi sector of fandom and highlighted the supposed relationship between characters Craig Tucker and Tweek Tweak, whom the Asian exchange students drew fanart of. The art featured in the episode was actually submitted by fans of the show, at the request of the writers.
South Park's general fandom has existed since 1997, when the show premiered. It quickly became deluged with OCs on early websites that have now been deleted.
It also had an RP community on Yahoo! Groups as early as 2004.
South Park's slash fandom began receiving significant attention on Fanfiction.net in 2008, where it presently has 18,600 fanworks and is the seventh most popular cartoon fandom on FFn. Notable FFn authors at the time were IndianaBeachBum, BroflovskiFan, Fermata, Seaouryou, Fletset, BratChild3, Ben Barrett, The English Professor, and Faery Goddyss. SekritOMG also remained a pervasive writer in the fandom from 2008 to 2016.
The slash fandom gained a revival in late 2011-2012, especially with the genesis of a kink meme and a big bang challenge, which debuted in 2012, with successive challenges running in 2013, 2014, and 2016.  There also was briefly a forum for South Park slash fans, as well as a South Park Prom event in the same year.
As for fanart, South Park has a sizeable fandom on DeviantArt for English-speaking fans. There has also been a large Japanese fandom on Pixiv, and a Chinese fandom on Lofter. There is also a significant presence on Tumblr.
Age and Target Audience
Though South Park's target audience is 18-24, and tends to be more classically male, the audience in fannish spaces tends to lean heavily amongst female fans (in slash fandom especially) between the ages of 13-25. There is a pattern of fans either discovering the fandom on Fanfiction.net as young as 12-13, or in early adulthood on Tumblr and AO3.
Minors and the Fandom
Because a part of the South Park fandom are underage fans interacting with a sexually explicit show and content, some adults outside of the fandom may be uncomfortable with it (see Minors in Fandom). This issue is present in many fandoms that involve minors, either as characters or as a portion of the fan base. Even when fandom members age the characters up for art and fanfiction, some would still see explicit content of the characters as problematic.[note 1]
Ships and Characters
The fandom's most popular ship is Stan/Kyle, or Style Runner-ups include Butters/Kenny, Craig/Tweek, Kyle/Cartman, and Kyle/Kenny. Other largely known ships are Craig/Kenny, Cartman/Wendy, Stan/Wendy (which is canon), Greg/Christophe, and Cartman/Butters.
Pairings are usually made by combining the characters' names, which makes several pairing names words, such as: Style (Stan/Kyle), Creek (Craig/Tweek), Bunny (Butters/Kenny), Candy (Cartman/Wendy), Bendy (Bebe/Wendy), and Dip (Damien/Pip).
In the fandom, appearances of adult characters are very rare, and they are typically minor characters. Many OCs are child characters.
- Short Stories with Tragic Endings by Faery Goddyss
- Where No Leaf Blooms by Genis Aurion
- Life is Better Under a Totalitarian Regime by Seaouryou
- Breaking Up Sucks by damianwayne
- The Scenic Route by hollycomb
Reactions to Socio-Political Commentary
Fans' reactions to South Park are largely passive in response to the socio-political commentary of the show. Some fans hold similar libertarian views as the creators, while others separate their political opinions from their enjoyment of the show.
The social justice attitude wrought by early 2010's Tumblr fandom became a heated discussion when South Park aired 'The Cissy' on October 8, 2014, an episode discussing the large discussion of gender, particularly nonbinary identities, that had been primarily on Tumblr at the time. A blog called safepark was created in reaction to the episode, and cites itself as "a place for south park fans who feel persecuted in the fandom for being critical & anxious about the issues it tackles and how it tackles them. the priority is to make you feel safe and loved in this fandom."
Coincidentally, South Park launched an episode about and entitled 'Safe Space' the following year, on October 15, 2015. safepark was also featured on /r/TumblrInAction, resulting in backlash such as:
I can't believe this is real I thought reddit was lying. You realize this is a textbook safespace right? A safespace is a place where you are free to dish out criticism but will take none, it isn't simply a place that contains no criticism. I really hope you eventually see that South Park itself is trying to show just how wrong places like this are, and how they are really fucking up social media/the internet.
One mod's response was:
I’m personally finding it hilarious that you (and south park, but that’s not my point here) find the idea of safe spaces ridiculous in that we refuse to take criticism and only criticize things ourselves - it sounds like you want to defend south park, which criticizes things, but you don’t want us to criticize it. hmm.On another note, we welcome critics of this blog, but considering they’re just as hypocritical as you in that most people who hate this blog want to censor us for bringing up the idea of censorship - or, you know, basic human decency - it kind of renders a lot of their points moot. Honestly the narrative of this whole argument is that “you shouldn’t be allowed to say whatever you want so I can say whatever I want!” It is circular and illogical. Try again.
The blog has been inactive since 2015.
Links and Resources
- Official website
- South Park Archives, the South Park Wiki
- South Park Fanon Wikia
- South Park fic recs at TV Tropes
Notes and References
- As someone in NSFW and cartoon fandom circles for some time, the concept of "aging up" characters who are minors in canon in order to draw/write NSFW of them is a hot topic of debate. If someone ends up with a "call out post," and they also have practiced aging up minors, that will usually be on the call out post among everything else. (Patchlamb 8/2/2020)
- See I was thinking about the ghosts of fandoms past
- sprpgroup on Yahoo! Groups
- southparkkink on LiveJournal
- South Park Big Bang at LiveJournal
- South Park Big Bang
- South Park Prom on Tumblr
- soft pork booru
- South Park High by Ciaxlia
- Mysterion & Friends by SkyeRockette
- "south park" search comes up with over 100,000 results
- サウスパーク OR ( south park ) on Pixiv
- "southpark" tag on Lofter
- Comedy Centra: Target Audiences on MediaWiki
- This is based on the combination of deviantART, FFn, and AO3 tags. Craig/Tweek is currently the most popular ship on AO3.
- safepark on Tumblr
- Safepark, the safe space for South Park fans who don't want reality to interfere with their headmates, mischaracterizations and shipping thread on Reddit