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South Park

South Park Biography

South Park exploded into the national consciousness in 1997, becoming the most popular, outrageous and controversial animated series to hit airwaves since Beavis and Butt-Head. The brainchild of creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, South Park began in 1995 as a five-minute animated short commissioned by a Fox network executive and distributed throughout the industry as a video "Christmas card." The short, titled "The Spirit of Christmas," was endlessly dubbed as it pa**ed hands throughout Hollywood, becoming an underground sensation; ironically, Parker and Stone -- fearing their depiction of hand-to-hand combat between Santa Claus and Jesus Christ would incense many viewers -- did not even add their names to the finished product to avoid /br /"The Spirit of Christmas" introduced both South Park's distinctively primitive animation style -- its figures and backgrounds all created on construction paper cut-outs -- as well as the show's primary characters, foul-mouthed third-graders Stan, Kyle, Cartman and Kenny. Stone and Parker ultimately signed with the cable network Comedy Central to produce a weekly South Park series which debuted on August 13, 1997 with the episode "Cartman Gets an Anal Probe; " seemingly overnight the program became a national phenomenon, its characters even appearing on the cover of Newsweek magazine. The series' raunchy language and off-color plotlines also became the target of considerable controversy, which of course only made it more popular, particularly among the younger set. br /br /By early 1998, South Park was everywhere -- the highest-rated program in Comedy Central history, it was also one of the highest-rated series on cable, drawing unprecedented viewership. A deluge of merchandising soon flooded the market, including T-shirts and home videos; rumors also circulated about a feature film. South Park's connection to the pop music scene was a major element of the series from its inception -- Primus' Les Claypool performed the theme song, Isaac Hayes voiced the recurring character Chef, and guest stars included the Cure's Robert Smith -- and so it came as little surprise when Chef Aid: The South Park Album was released in late 1998. The record featured contributions from Elton John, Master P and Ween, among others. ~ Jason Ankeny, All Music Guide

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