By Jake Moross:
Something that is not a secret is the overwhelming tendency for South Park to depict real world occurrences in crude and politically incorrect ways. Definitely offensive, these portrayals are ultimately what many argue make South Park the hilarious, laugh-out-loud comedy show that it is. And arguably, what have made South Park the 19-season show that it is. But how does something so taboo and something seen so negatively in almost every other realm of society gain so much popularity on television? What is it about political incorrectness that is so hilariously appealing in a cartoon television show, but so distasteful and seemingly repulsive in real life?
Shows like South Park – and I say “shows” carefully, as I don’t think there is any show that comes even close to rivaling South Park – allow us to almost escape reality into a world where there are no boundaries. As we render ourselves over to a two dimensional screen and are captured and brought into the world of Stan, Kyle, Eric, and Kenny in South Park, Colorado our minds naturally take a leap into a space where we accept, with open arms, the idea of having no rules. Political correctness, if we think about it, is a generally followed rule that has been instilled in us to follow in order to remain unoffensive and respectful to everyone. We’ve been raised to follow this rule, as we have many other rules that are seemingly inviolable. When given the opportunity to indulge, without getting in trouble, in the taboo realm of political incorrectness, we cease the moment, just as we would if given the opportunity to break another rule with no major consequences. Watching South Park allows us to laugh and enjoy jokes that in reality, should probably not be spoken out loud, in a space where there are no rules or consequences. As human beings we are naturally inclined to seek out what in against the rules or “risky” and indulging in the crude humor of South Park gives us a little taste of just that.