South Park Moments Only True Fans Understood

South Park has been around for twenty seasons and counting, so probably many fans are convinced they know everything about the show by now. Very likely, not so, as many of the show's classic moments are inspired by real-life events only the truly hardcore of quiet mountain town nuts would grasp. Such as ...

The real Casa Bonita

Cartman's favorite restaurant, Casa Bonita (a place so magical, he was willing to kidnap Butters and make him think the world is ending, just so Cartman can take Butters' place on the guest list), isn't a potty-mouthed fairy tale. Yes, Casa Bonita dreams really exist — just a cool, 90-minute drive from the actual, real life South Park, stands the actual, real life Casa Bonita. Even better: all those wacky attractions that Cartman was obsessed with? From Black Beard's gold to the puppet show, every bit of this awesome fever dream still exists, hallmarks of the restaurant's 40 year-plus history.

Empowered by their own childhood memories of, as they out it, "the Mexican Disneyland," Trey Parker and Matt Stone included Casa Bonita as a tribute. While the location initially questioned if they would be ripped, as South Park is wont to do with everybody, they still gave South Park permission to use their name and image, which Parker said made the place even cooler. In return, Casa Bonita was presented as this magical paradise by the series, which opened the door for a new generation of patrons. Thanks to being immortalized by the series, "we are now cool with the 18-25-year-olds," Casa Bonita general manager Mike Mason told the Denver Post. Parker and Stone even flirted with the idea of buying the place.

Casa Bonita is still going strong, so feel free to trick your friend into thinking the world is ending to get there. It will all be worth it.

What Parker and Stone really think of ginger kids

In the South Park universe, being a ginger is so bad, one character mentions his ginger friend is marrying a Japanese woman because, by doing so, it would become impossible for his recessive ginger gene to pass on to his children, as his wife wouldn't have it. Damn — soulless and savage.

That "friend" is actually SP creator Trey Parker, who at the time was engaged to his first wife, Emma Sugiyama. In fact, Parker admitted in the DVD commentary for "Ginger Kids" that he was so freaked out about the idea of having a ginger child, he once broke up with a woman he really enjoyed being with, after discovering her mother was a redhead.

Many twisted things have come out of the brain that spawned Cannibal! The Musical, but the pitter-patter of redheaded children's little feet was too much even for him. Unfortunately, since the episode first aired in 2005, "Ginger" has become a derogatory term for redheads, and at least one school has been inspired to have "Kick A Ginger" Day, so Parker may have inadvertently set the stage for a redheaded army to rise up and destroy us all. Thanks, Trey.

A friend remembered

South Park's third season brought us the series' take on '70s musical variety specials, with Mr. Hankey's Christmas Classics, featuring singing piece of magical Christmas poo, and Mr. Garrison singing the now-holiday standard "Merry F***ing Christmas." Bing Crosby, eat your heart out.

Near the end of the episode, however, was a genuinely touching, unadvertised tribute. The kids sing "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas," and a series of clips featuring female characters from the series – Cartman's mother, Wendy Testaburger, Stan's sister Shelly, Kyle's mom Sheila, and Principal Victoria (among others), all of whom then joined the kids to sing together in chorus. There was a very pointed reason for this — it was a tribute to the woman who performed all of those roles, as well as countless other female voices during the formative years of South Park.

All of those voices belonged to Mary Kay Bergman, who had passed away a month before the episode aired at age 38, after her battle with mental illness led to her taking her life. Bergman's loss was a massive one to South Park, and the series of clips were meant as a pointed tribute to the woman who helped bring life to so many vibrant female characters for the series in a quiet, classy way.

Why Cartman's mom is such a dirty ... you know

South Park has changed a lot over the years, but there has been one constant — Eric Cartman's mother, Liane, gets around. She's been with, well, everyone, from beloved cafeteria wizard Chef, to Native American Chief Running Water, to Cartman's teacher Mr. Garrison, to the entire 1989 Denver Broncos, to .. well, everyone else who ever lived or visited the quaint mountain town.

As it turns out, Liane's endless sexual exploits were Trey Parker's unique way of getting back at someone he felt wronged him many years before. Prior to creating South Park, Trey Parker was engaged to an actress named Liane Adamo, who appeared in several of Parker and Matt Stone's early projects, including Orgazmo. The pair broke up a month before getting married, after Adamo allegedly cheated on Parker and dumped him for an acapella singer. In order to enact some revenge, Parker named Cartman's mother after her, proceeding to paint her as one of the most promiscuous animated characters in television history. Burn.

The moral of the story? Don't cheat and dump someone before they become super-rich and mega-successful. They might just shove that right back in your face forever, from the relative safety of their guarded mansion.

Why all the Streisand hate?

While South Park has always mocked celebrities, Barbara Streisand seems to earn a large share of their ire. She was the evil Mecha-Streisand, for one, and in the Bigger, Longer, and Uncut movie, Cartman shouts "BARBARA STREISAND" as the ultimate vulgarity, far above even the f-word.

Streisand gets this major dump-on, because Trey Parker and Matt Stone take issue with her knocking Colorado. Streisand had claimed that, while she owned a mansion in Aspen, she would boycott Colorado and never return if it passed Amendment 2, which would have prevented homosexuals from being recognized as a protected class by the state's government. In a DVD commentary, the pair admitted they "had to do something to rip" Streisand, offended by her in general, but mostly her attempt to force-feed us her opinions on a political matter when she was just, "at best, an actor and singer." Indeed, the creators admitted South Park tried to create the most "disgusting" image of Streisand, but claimed they couldn't match what was like in real life. Ouch. One can feel the bruises forming from here.

Needless to say, Streisand, not happy with her portrayal as a giant mechanical dinosaur, told Mirabella, "I wonder if shows like South Park and Beavis and Butt-head don't add to the cynicism and negativity in our culture, especially in children. These youngsters are formulating their attitudes and maybe they come away feeling that any woman who dares to accomplish something is the incarnation of self-centeredness and greed."

In response, Parker and Stone had their next episode feature Spooky-Vision, with pictures of Babs in each corner of the screen. Later on, they would add her monstrous dinosaur to the opening of the show, so viewers were reminded of it every single time they watched. Game, set, match.

How "Make Love, Not Warcraft" almost broke Trey Parker

While Trey Parker and Matt Stone are known to turn around episodes in just six days, a remarkable amount of time, one episode nearly did the series in. In Make Love, Not Warcraft, the boys become obsessed with playing World of Warcraft, and then later on, Stan's dad, Randy, also joins in the addictive fun because he, like virtually every other adult in the show, is an bigger child than the children.

While the episode remains a popular one, featuring specially-created footage from the game featuring characters played by the cast, it also represents the breaking point for Trey Parker, who tried to prevent the episode from airing. In an interview with The Independent, Parker admitted he begged Executive Producer Anne Garefino to prevent the episode from airing, feeling it was going to not just suck, but destroy the entire legacy of the series. Forget nuclear war — Parker thought MLNW was going to be Jar Jar Binks-level destructive.

With no real choice, as they had to go on the air, Parker finally relented and let it happen. He resigned himself to the inevitable and went to bed depressed, only to learn the next day that the episode was well-received. Years later, it's considered a classic. Warcraft remains a reminder of how far Parker pushed himself and his team to get it right, but didn't realize they actually did until the fans spoke up. Ain't no pressure like self-pressure, yo.

Why Kenny dies so much

For the first few seasons of South Park, one of the few assured elements of virtually every episode was the death of Kenny McCormick. In fact, the ever-suffering Kenny became one of the aspects of the series that helped fuel its initial momentum. Fans all have their favorite Kenny death scenes, but what they may not know is Kenny was real.

Yes, Kenny was based on a real person named Kenny. This kid also wore an orange coat, mumbled, and was the poorest kid in the neighborhood. No worries about lawsuits here. As Trey Parker explained in an appearance at the Payley Center in 2000, the real-life Kenny was a friend from school who would often disappear for long periods of time. This would cause rumors to spread that he had actually died, only to see Kenny return to school as if nothing had ever happened.

So, somewhere out there is a long-lost friend so fondly remembered by Parker, that the man kills him over and over. That high school reunion won't be awkward at all.

The show's problem with Robert Redford

While the episode may have been titled Chef's Chocolate Salty Balls, South Park is actually under siege in the episode, thanks to Robert Redford bringing the Sundance Film Festival to the quiet little town, threatening to change it into a major mecca under the guise of the festival, ruining it forever. While Chef's tasty treats certainly inspired a great tune, the real climax is Mr. Hankey, inspired by Disney's The Sorcerer's Apprentice, using his magic to flood the festival and drown Redford in poo, wiping the threat out. Quite the cleanse.

So, why did South Park fire away at Redford and Sundance? As it turns out, their film Cannibal! The Musical was rejected by the Festival back in 1992, something the duo did not forget. Beyond that, Parker and Stone had a distaste for the convention of what the Festival claimed to be, and what it really was. "Sundance is the ultimate gimmick," Parker once told CNN. "There is nothing independent or artistic about it and it's ridiculous." Parker claims there's only one true purpose for film festivals: "look, we all like movies, we're all in entertainment. We all like getting drunk. Let's hire some strippers, get some beer, and party." So, they zinged some poo-stained arrows at Redford's baby.

It also appears that, at some point, Redford took aim and dismissed the series. While hard evidence is hard to find, Parker and Stone were asked about it during a 2007 Q&A Session at The Amazing Meeting, and they didn't shoot that statement down. In any event, the smelliest mudhole imaginable was still stomped across Sundance. Take that, cinema snobs!

The real-life sister that inspired Shelly to be so abusive

It's less of a thing now, but the earlier seasons of the show regularly featured Stan being beaten mercilessly by his angry older sister, Shelley. His parents, oblivious overgrown children that they are, are completely oblivious to the abuse. Sadlt, Shelly wasn't a work of pure fiction.

See, the entire Marsh family is based on Trey Parker's real-life family. For example, his father, Randy, is really a geologist, just like Stan's dad. There's a real-life Shelley too and, well, Trey claims she used to beat and abuse him. At one point, he even tried to calm Shelley much like Stan did in "An Elephant Makes Love To A Pig," by reassuring her that, despite all the problems, she was his sister and he loved her. That outpouring of affection only incited a bigger beating, much like Cartoon Shelly did to Stan. Yep, sounds like home.

According to Parker on a DVD commentary for the episode, the mutant Stan clone from the "Pig" episode came from his childhood fantasy of having his sister beaten up by a larger, stronger version of himself. Even the scene where Shelley took the blame for something he did, then beat him up after he thanked her for her sacrifice, was all based on real-life events. Now, with the power of animation and a hit show, he joked, "It's my turn!" At least, until Shelley corners him at the next family gathering. Take that, teeeerrrrrrd.