South Park has been called a “love it or hate it” show, but the “love it” crowd is loyal enough that the show has been outraging or delighting viewers for nearly 25 years. The show, shepherded by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, will do anything for a laugh — and more to the point, it will do anything to make viewers’ jaws drop.
In between all the shocking and/or funny moments, the show likes to jam in its Easter eggs, just like any pop culture phenomenon – only South Park takes turns its Easter eggs into aliens – actual aliens.
How did ‘South Park’ get started?
When people think of South Park, one of the first images that crops up is the deliberately crude animation. Now the characters are only designed to move like paper cut-outs, but at the show’s very beginning, they actually were.
According to Screen Rant, South Park has something in common with the holiday classic It’s a Wonderful Life: both have their origins in short Christmas greetings. It’s a Wonderful Life was adapted from a short story called “The Greatest Gift”, which was initially sent out in a very small printing as a Christmas present. Similarly, South Park started as “The Spirit of Christmas,” with animated construction paper figures, as a gift for a Fox executive.
That evolved into the television show about Colorado kids Stan, Kyle, the ill-fated Kenny and Cartman, and it debuted on Comedy Central in 1997 with the lovingly titled episode “Cartman Gets an Anal Probe.” The show has extended to 23 seasons with more than 300 episodes, plus the theatrical feature, Bigger, Longer and Uncut, which scored an Oscar nomination for its song “Blame Canada.”
Where are the aliens in ‘South Park?’
Having run for so long, the showrunners have developed a tradition for eagle-eyed viewers, inviting them to spot the alien. Just as director Alfred Hitchcock made a cameo in almost all of his movies, so do aliens in many episodes of South Park.
The aliens don’t always appear in the flesh. They sometimes appear on posters and the like. But when they do appear, they somewhat resemble the aliens at the end of the movie Close Encounters.
It’s important to note that the aliens do not appear in every single episode, but the rumor that they do has become so persistent, the show addressed it in a Q&A on the official site. Here is the official response:
“Although Visitors do appear in SOME episodes, they definitely are not hidden in every single episode. But that doesn’t mean they don’t pop up randomly — like driving limos in “Cow Days”, or going drag in the crowd of a beauty pageant (in “Dead Celebrities”). As for WHY the aliens are there — we learned in “Cancelled” that the Visitors work for a universal TV company called Nerzod Productions, and they are there to help fix the thousands of satellite dishes hidden in Earthling’s rectums.”
The show stays current because the crew works fast
Because South Park has been around for so long, there’s a general feeling among some fans that, not unlike The Simpsons, which is in season 32 and counting, South Park isn’t as funny as it used to be.
A ScreenRant ranking of the best South Park seasons has the later ones ranked toward the bottom. If the show’s shock value has worn off and generated fewer headlines, maybe that’s part of being around as long as it has.
All the same, the show still manages to stay topical because it operates on such a short schedule. Each episode is made in under a week, which explains why a recent episode called “The Pandemic Special.” With any luck, maybe the aliens will show up with a vaccine.
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