it’s amazing how edgy and politically incorrect All In The Family was. if it was a new show today it wouldn’t last a season before thumb sucking watchdog groups got it canned. i don’t agree with Archie’s way of thinking but i fully support anything that pushes the envelope…
I don’t agree that South Park only does stuff like that to appear edgy. A lot of their episodes have a really intelligently thought-out message. Not so much in the early years but it got smarter and smarter over the years. Of course they still have their silly episodes and the “message” shows are still really humorous and involve silly humor.
South Park is a mixed bag for me. What I like about it is the imagination, the storytelling. They have pretty tight narratives, especially compared to Family Guy and later seasons of the Simpsons. A lot of their stuff is original, I will give them props for that.
But the shocking stuff - I don’t know. I think they often do things just to be daring. I’m not sure what message things like “Cherokee tampons”, or Satan having sex with Adolf Hitler, or Kenny’s Dad having diarrhea/vomiting from abortion pills, could really have. Some of that stuff makes me laugh, some grosses me out; it’s a matter of taste where that line goes, but it doesn’t exactly contribute to political discussion.
Basically, my problem with the show is that everything is a joke, from HIV to religion to rape. I’m sure Parker and Stone don’t have a lot of experience with the things they so gleefully joke about, or they would realize there’s trauma in these issues and it’s important to be empathetic. I’ve had my eating disorder issues triggered by some episodes (e.g. Fat Camp), and I could imagine people with trauma from abuse etc. could have been triggered too.
I’d give them a pass if they only made fun of bigotry and the ruling class, but it’s all over the place - it’s funny that Mr Garrison is gay, it’s funny he’s in the closet, it’s funny when he’s out of the closet and is discriminated against, it’s funny he has a “sex change” operation… You know? It’s easy to laugh at and that’s the problem. If they wanted to, they could have made the show gay- and trans-positive, they could have included more stuff about bigotry. I’m not sure what to say about the disabled characters - is Timmy the joke or one of the heroes? Sometimes the line is too blurred to tell.
I also think that, judging by the more intelligent material and insightful parody, they could do a lot better than some of the episodes. If their sense of humor weren’t so juvenile, the messages would carry a lot more impact.