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Reflecting on South Park's Success

For a sitcom closing in on its fourteenth birthday, it’s hard to believe that success has not slowed one bit for South Park. Since 1997, creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone have brought a whole new type of humor to television. It is noteworthy that the humor in South Park isn’t just for one demographic; the viewer base is vast in terms of age, race, and gender. However, South Park hasn’t just attracted attention from loyal viewers. The satirical cartoon has won many awards for its achievements, especially in the latter years of the 2000’s. It’s not just Comedy Central that advertises the show’s qualities either. Several acclaimed magazines, such as Time, Rolling Stone, and Entertainment Weekly, have all sung the praises of what is perhaps one of the greatest comedy series in recent history. As with any show, it is inevitable that certain episodes will be more memorable than others. Coming off the top of my head, one recent episode sticks out above all others: Fishsticks (Season 13, Episode 5). In the “Fishsticks” episode, Jimmy creates a joke that quickly becomes famous. Everyone in the country thinks the joke is absolutely hilarious, except rapper Kayne West, who fails to get the joke. The joke is as follows: Jimmy: Do you like fishsticks? Cartman: Yeah. Jimmy: Do you like putting fishsticks in your mouth? Cartman: Yeah. Jimmy: What are you, a gay fish? After Kanye West still fails to get this joke, he is featured in a parody video “Gay Fish”, which is a remake of his single, “Heartless”. This particular episode was remarkable in the fact that it created a temporary word-fad. It seemed like everyone in my high school had tuned-in to watch “Fishsticks”. When someone asked a stupid question during class, they were immediately called a gay fish. During soccer practice, after someone missed a shot, everyone asked the shooter if they liked fishsticks. Even the coach joined in, it was great. It is memorable episodes like these that bring success to South Park. “Fishsticks” is just one example of many great episodes that South Park has made, and continues to produce. The viewer’s ability to recall happenings in episodes past has been instrumental in the success of the series. As long as Trey Parker and Matt Stone continue to do this, we will have many more “Fishsticks” to look forward to.