Of the many excellent animated series currently on television, few have pushed the boundaries quite in the controversial way that the acclaimed Comedy Central series “South Park” has. Created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone in the mid 90’s, the series details the lives of a group of childhood friends in South Park, Colorado. While the initial plot seems straightforward, the honestly brilliant writers of the show have used South Park as a platform to satirize and sometimes controversially mock everything from Paris Hilton to political matters to Kanye West and religions, races, sexual preferences and nationalities of all types.

 

Over the 21 years of playing on Comedy Central, South Park certainly hasn’t been a stranger to controversy, especially after their depiction of the Islamic prophet Muhammad snorting cocaine with a group of religious deities among many other incidents. The backlash surrounding those episodes with Muhammad garnered so much controversy that the episodes, called “200” and “201” were pulled from broadcasting in 2010 and, albeit with them bleeping out the prophet’s name, the episodes haven’t been seen much on television. Along with the controversy surrounding Muhammad, another major source of controversy was their satirical portrayal of the numerous celebrities, such as Tom Cruise, who’ve converted to Scientology. Their portrayals were so negatively received among Scientologists that an actor on the show itself, the man who portrayed Chef, Scientologist Isaac Hayes, left the show entirely.   

 

South Park has also expanded to other forms of multimedia, with a notoriously explicit movie in 1999 titled “South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut” as well as multiple video games. In 2014, South Park Digital Studios in collaboration with Obsidian Entertainment released “South Park: The Stick of Truth” which not too surprisingly, received mass amounts of both praise and controversy. The main sources of controversy within the game were, among many aspects, the fact that a character class was simply titled “Jew” and graphic scenes and depictions of everything from anal probing to abortion.

 

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Due to the massive success of “The Stick of Truth”, Parker and Stone, along with the popular video game company Ubisoft, have developed a sequel to the popular game that honestly was a pretty decent role playing game, albeit with a considerable more amount of risque jokes than RPG classics such as “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.”  

 

“South Park: The Fractured But Whole” was released on October 17th to overall positive reviews. Reputable video game sites such as GameSpot and IGN each ranking the game at “8/10” and “8.5/10” respectively while Electronic Gaming Monthly went so far as to award the video game a “9/10.” (1). Although, as with any South Park title, “The Fractured But Whole” didn’t steer away from controversy.

 

The prime example is the game’s difficulty setting bar. The player is free to slide the bar to their desired comfort level. However, when a player increases the difficulty, the skin color of the protagonist becomes darker. And along with that, most non-playable characters treat you with more disrespect and hatred than if your character were to be more fair-skinned. Also, the skin color difficulty determines how much money the protagonist will accrue throughout the course of the game.

 

As a huge fan of South Park due to their excellent use of satire, I understand the appeal behind this game. That, and I personally think that, even with all the jokes usually related to fecal matter or something equally as ridiculous, South Park is one of the most brilliantly written shows in terms of satire.

 

However, if you are someone who’s more easily offended in terms of jokes regarding racial or other ethnic or religious groups and other topics that could get controversial, then you might want to take “South Park: The Fractured But Whole” with a grain of salt.

 

Are you a South Park fan? If so, give me recommendations on episodes to watch at @CaptainKasoff.