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“South Park” is an animated television show created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone. The plot tells about the adventures of four boys and their friends living in the small town of South Park, Colorado. Even though “South Park” is a cartoon, it is orientated on the adult viewer. The cartoon makes fun of American culture and disadvantages of current world events. It also criticizes the set of deep beliefs and taboos through parody and black humor. Nevertheless, “South Park” is marked to be an adult cartoon; while the question if children can watch it is still open.
On the one hand, the show is known for its coverage of current world events. It is very educative and can enrich the outlook. Thus, the themes that are considered unethical are freely broadened up in the cartoon. A characteristic feature of the cartoon is the constant mockery of all kinds of stereotypes. Lots of characters and situations exaggerate to show the limit of the expressions of certain stereotypes prevailing in America and around the world. For example, stereotypes about Jews: Eric Cartman is a rabid anti-Semite, and he believes all the stereotypes about Jews. Stereotypes about the English: one of the characters, Peep, is stereotypical English man, he wears a bow tie and turns to classmates “gentlemen”. Stereotypes about Canadians: all Canadians in the show are much coarser than American characters. Thus, the revealing of the stereotypes in the cartoon can prevent their appearance in the reality, which is one of the pluses for the children audience.
Secondly, the cartoon depicts the details many things differently. The show has regularly mentioned or ridiculed different political ideas and political figures. The US presidents repeatedly appeared In “South Park”: two times - Bill Clinton, eight times - George W. Bush, a single episode (“The Last Night”) was devoted to the presidential elections in 2008, which has parodied main contenders for the post, including the current president Barack Obama (Fallows page). This can force people to think more about the current situation in life, to evaluate things and to create the independent outlook.
On the other hand, the way that the material is depicted in the cartoon is very harsh. The show always involves controversial topics and all sorts of taboos. The characters often use obscene language, ridicule religion and cults, and discuss issues such as sexuality and global warming. Gross abuse is often used in the show, which makes it impossible to watch for children. Nevertheless, the obscene vocabulary is not the only reason the cartoon is censored. The constant ridicule of religion cause more protests and bans. The series has repeatedly derided Judaism and Mormonism: Kyle is Jew and Cartman is anti-Semite, so the attack on Judaism is a frequent phenomenon in “South Park”. Moreover, in December 2005, the US Catholic League protested against a series of “Bloody Mary” because of her statue of the Virgin Mary bleeding from the anus (Lake). All these can have a great negative impact on children`s mind.
To conclude, “South Park” is definitely the cartoon that attracts attention for many reasons. However, even though the cartoon is very educative, it is impossible to show it for children. The themes brought up in the cartoon are very serious and should be deeply evaluated by the adult person to understand them correctly. Children would perceive the information as it is shown in the cartoon. They would not try to find the hidden theme or perceive the information like sarcasm. Thus, it would only make negative impact on children, who receive the information, even if it is educative, correctly. This cartoon is not for children.