Given its intentionally offensive material, it was really just a matter of time before "cancel culture" made its way to South Park. From its very start in 1997 (has it really been that long?!), South Park has been rocking the boat as one of the most controversial shows on television. That's to be expected from an animated series following a group of foul-mouthed schoolchildren with one of them dying horrifically on a weekly basis, especially when nothing like it had ever been seen on television before. As the series progressed, its controversial nature remained, and over two decades later, some people have had enough.
Dana Schwartz, a professional writer whose work includes Disney and Marvel's upcoming She-Hulk series, has created a bit of a stir on Twitter after a recent series of anti-South Park tweets went viral. Obviously, fans of South Park were none too happy with the tweets, with many responding with their own criticisms of Schwartz and her opinion. Still, there are others who are taking Schwartz' side in this situation, with one person commenting she "made some great points" and another claiming the tweet "hit the nail on the head." However, the majority of the responses are certainly of the former.
In her original tweet, Schwartz writes this about the hit Comedy Central series.
"In retrospect, it seems impossible to overstate the cultural damage done by SOUTH PARK, the show that portrayed earnestness as the only sin and taught that mockery is the ultimate inoculation against all criticism."
In a series of follow-up tweets, Schwartz also adds some additional South Park criticisms.
"Smugness is not the same as intelligence; provocation isn't the same as bravery. The lesser of two evils aren't the same. It seems [like] South Park has been trying to reckon with this-I admit I haven't been watching the show in recent seasons, but I'm fascinated to see [the South Park creators apologizing]. To be clear, I don't blame the show itself as much as I do the generation of boys who internalized it into their personalities. Which maybe isn't the show's fault! "
Created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, South Park is set in a snowy Colorado town and follows the misadventures of schoolkids Stan, Kyle, Cartman, and Kenny. Originally, the series mostly explored the boys' lives at home and at school, though the show has since evolved to serve as a social commentary on some of the biggest real-life news stories. Despite its vulgar content and controversial nature, South Park has even been recognized many times at awards season as well, with big wins including five Primetime Emmy Awards and a Peabody Award. It was also given a theatrical movie adaptation in 1999 and has since aired on Comedy Central for 23 full seasons.
Schwartz might want South Park to finally come to an end, but unfortunately for her, the network doesn't agree. Last fall, Comedy Central officially ordered three more seasons of the series, guaranteeing South Park will be on the air through 2022. Season 23 wrapped this past December and season 24 is expected to premiere later this year. If the past several years are any indication, the new episodes will likely premiere in September.
Many of those responding to Schwartz have highlighted the fact that South Park takes aim at everyone with its satirization, rather than focusing on any one particular person or group of people. To that, Schwartz responded that this observation was exactly her point. "South Park IS a political show, but one whose message is: both sides are equally terrible so the only correct thing to do is nothing, while mocking it all from your position of intellectual superiority," she adds. South Park has certainly endured worse controversies than this and will likely come out of this unscathed, but I doubt Schwartz will be watching next season. This story originates from Dana Schwartz on Twitter.