Why it's finally time to cancel South Park

South Park used to be a fun, profane, unpredictable show, but it's become about as old and dependable as your uncle's broken hip. For many, many reasons, it should be chopping block time for this show. So let's go down to South Park, where we're not going to unwind, but burn everything in that small mountain town to ashes.

It's finally swung to the conservative side

Excuse us as we quote The Dark Knight: "You either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the villain."

When South Park started, it was profane, offensive, and overwhelmingly liberal. It was pro-choice, pro-gay rights, pro-stem cell research, and made dozens of episodes making fun of people who were against that — because, in their minds, why would you be?

Eventually though, the show began getting a bit more conservative. Gone was Big Gay Al, and in came Mister Slave. Instead of Mister Garrison being a repressed homosexual, he was actually a transgender woman. Then he wasn't. Then he was, then he wasn't. Oh, and he was only gay because his father never molested him. Oh, and "political correctness" is the villain now, because of course it is.

The entire show began as an almost drunken rambling, espousing — more or less — liberal values, and slowly turned into a conservative show. The problem is, it's hard for a show to be profane, edgy and F-the-Man if it's conservative. What is it rebelling against? Sadly, South Park's time came and went, a long long long long long long long long long…

It's twenty seasons long, and counting

… Long long time ago. We're not exaggerating. For those of you who haven't kept up with the show, there are now more episodes of the show than human beings on Earth. It's been around for twenty years. Kenny has died so many times that, if you stacked his corpses, they would reach the Moon. Cartman's mom has had sex with more people than Casanova.

This show was started by two young kids who were making profane, weird fiction about touchy subjects. But twenty years later, that show is about as edgy as Nine Inch Nails, and about as played out. But at least Trent Reznor realized that, at a certain point, you can't just keep repeating your weird, whiny rants and expect people to listen. You need to grow up. But here's what's funny about that …

Parker & Stone's non-South Park stuff is better

Trey Parker and Matt Stone (the show's erstwhile creators) have actually done other things before. For instance, The Book of Mormon is a Broadway hit and Team America: World Police is maybe the weirdest movie about terrorism made with puppets ever. See, Parker and Stone actually already have grown up and made other things, but haven't let go of South Park.

That's a shame, because the stuff they make that isn't South Park is so much funnier. South Park has a closed-system formula — these things have to happen and this character has to be like this, so even with all of the weirdo ideas the duo attempt to do, the show can't help but be a bit repetitive and stifling. However, if the two started working on other things, creating new characters, perhaps Parker and Stone could find their voice again, and make yet more awesomeness. After all, the last non-South Park thing they made is a Broadway hit. Imagine how much great stuff the duo could make if South Park didn't take up all of their time?

However, we're not saying end South Park stuff entirely…

The games are better

For those of you not in the know, there are now two good South Park games (in addition to the eight million bad ones, but nobody's perfect). These games — which took years to make — are RPGs set in South Park, allowing you to play as the kids and explore a typically South Park adventure. The Stick of Truth is an unbridled delight, while the as-yet-unreleased Fractured But Whole is the same idea, only with superheroes, so we already know it too is delightful.

But whereas an episode of South Park is made in one week (yes, really) the games take a long time to finish, and so they're refined, developed, and made as funny as possible. Plus, they're not topical, so they don't grow stale in a week's time. The games are the best and purest version of South Park since the movie. So don't stop making South Park, just stop making the show — that way, we get more Stick of Truth and Fractured But Whole. (*snicker*)

Oh, and you know what's another great thing about the games? Censors haven't destroyed them yet …

It's already fallen to censorship

See, despite South Park still being on, it died a long time ago. Namely, it died in 2010, when it tried to air a two-part episode for its 200th episode anniversary. That's when South Park, which got away with cursing, depicting some of the most heinous things on Earth, and being just generally crude, crass, and badash, finally got done in by the censors.

See, there was a long plot that involved the prophet Muhammed, and so he was going to be depicted on the show (as he had been before). However, the network censors decided that, since that'd be insensitive to Muslims, he wouldn't be shown. Or, well, that's what the group said. What actually happened was terrorists threatened Comedy Central and the censors got spooked, so they pretended they were being sensitive.

Now, we're not saying a show shouldn't respect its audience, and we're not saying that changing a show because of censor's feedback is always a bad thing, but … well … Check out the video above. Instead of actually changing anything, Parker and Stone just put a black screen up with a small description. It wasn't funny. It wasn't challenging. It was just giving in to the fact that they were defeated. There are dozens of things they could have done when faced with this feedback, but instead the two just said, "Hey, uh, we got censored, sorry, bye."

Of course, the show had already started bleeding earlier, with some of its staples going away, such as …

We know why Kenny dies and comes back, so who cares?

One of the funniest jokes in the first few seasons of South Park was that Kenny died, almost every episode, and was back in the next one with no explanation. It was the type of off-the-wall, surreal humor that defined South Park in its early seasons, so of course the creators had to ruin it.

See, later on, we learn that Kenny has a connection to a Lovecraftian beast from another dimension, so every time he dies, he remembers it and comes back, but no one else does. That he's died over and over and over again, and has felt the pain, and can never stop it, is pretty funny in a sick way, but also … c'mon, why are you attempting to explain your joke?? The funny part was that there was no explanation. But now? A Lovecraftian monster? Really? Can't you just do more stuff with Mormons instead?

Chef isn't on it anymore

Yes, one of the best parts of the show hasn't been on for an incredibly long time, and honestly, when he left, it was the beginning of the end.

Basically, Parker and Stone's love of controversy had gotten to the point where it started to affect the cast, like when they decided to start making fun of Scientology. Nothing wrong with that, mind you, except Isaac Hayes, the voice of Chef, was a Scientologist. In case you're not too familiar with Scientology, just know that the group isn't exactly known for happy-fun times, and can be a bit harsh on anyone disagreeing with them. So, Hayes left the show.

Problem is, Chef was the one voice of reason on the show, the one adult who could be trusted since all the others were blithering idiots. The removal of Chef from the cast made the show undeniably weaker, and it never fully recovered from losing one of its best characters.

Everything has imitated it to the point it's not really fun or edgy anymore

One of the problems with having a long-running show is that, at a certain point, you'll get so popular that everyone else will start imitating you. At first, it's cool — a little joke that other shows watch you and like you — but eventually, it'll get to the point where it seems your show is so formulaic, almost anyone with even a passing familiarity with any media can easily duplicate your show, because literally everyone is referencing it.

See, since the show has been on so long, all of its classic staples have become mocked and homaged endlessly, to the point that when South Park actually does any of their original staples, it feels like it's just making fun of itself. Seriously, we know it's hard to say goodbye, but once you've left your mark on literally all of television, it's okay to peace out.

Now, some shows can avoid this by switching things up, but that often backfires, like with South Park's new approach to long-form storytelling …

It has boring season-long plots now

For the last two seasons, the entire ten (or so) episode run was devoted to, basically, one single joke. Both seasons had one antagonist, and built up to deal with it, and … ah, you know what serialized storytelling is, right? Of course you do! You're a smart 21st-century television consumer!

But you know what was fun about South Park before? It certainly wasn't meticulously detailed plot arcs that culminated in an end-of-season battle? It was its weird profanity, and its willingness to do bizarre stuff that didn't stick around after one episode. Plus, what happens when you devote an entire season to something topical and then something else happens? That's what the show experienced when they tried to do a whole season that relied on Hillary Clinton winning the Presidency. Except … she didn't, which threw Parker and Stone for a loop and forced them to rewrite the show, mid-season, in record-breaking time. Unfortunately, the rewrites weren't good, the creators know it, and it looks like South Park will do no more serialized anything.

However, that simply means they're going to go back to their old standards … which aren't fun or edgy anymore. Honestly, at this point, it's no wonder that …

Its ratings are falling

Yeah. While the show has never been quite as popular as it was before the Bigger, Longer, and Uncut movie, it was still pretty popular for awhile. Sadly, much like the days when it was watchable, that has seemed to fade. Despite it being one of the more popular shows on Comedy Central, it isn't that popular. Its ratings have been steadily declining for awhile, with small upticks for its season finales and season premieres. It hasn't had 3 million viewers since season 15, and it looks to be on the path to having even lower and lower seasons, which is sad, since the show is guaranteed to continue until season twenty-three.

But, please, Comedy Central, Matt Stone, Trey Parker, God, whoever is listening, please … just end it. It can't survive any longer. Just pull a Blitzkrieg Bop and shoot it in the back now.

It's not free to watch anymore

For those of us who actually enjoyed watching South Park once upon a time, we spent most of our time watching it on SouthParkStudios.com, a website dedicated to South Park episodes, behind-the-scenes interviews, and other miscellaneous bits of fun.

It was started when Stone and Parker were on the road and realized that, if they wanted to watch their own show, they'd have to pay for it. It wasn't available free to watch anywhere! See? Even the guys who made the show don't want to shell out money for it. So, South Park Studios was created, where almost every single episode of the show was available for absolutely free.

However, rather recently, South Park Studios has gone from free to watch to … not really useful for anything. See, now if you want to watch anything but the most recent season, you need a subscription to Hulu. But that goes against South Park's entire ethos! The show is supposed to be this F-the-System, pseudo-punk rock statement, and turning it from a free-to-watch show to something you need a dang Hulu account for? C'mon, guys. Even if the show was still good, this would still be a pretty harsh blow. However, with it being as bad as it is? See ya, South Park.

Recommended