'South Park' mid-season finale: Is this the beginning of the end?

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Image Credit: Comedy Central

Did Trey Parker and Matt Stone just put making South Park on their Murtaugh List? If last night’s mid-season finale of the animated series was any indication of things to come, then it could very well be that Parker and Stone are getting too old for this, well, you know.

The episode titled, perhaps rather fittingly, “You’re Getting Old,” was all about the fallout from Stan’s 10th birthday party. When he begins to bug his friends off with his intolerable, and apparently incurable cynicism, everything — from music to his doctor’s advice — literally turns to s—.

And while they had fun poking at Stan’s cynicism about pop culture (How is playing L.A Noire supposed to be fun? Doesn’t Zookeeper look like a microwaved turd?), it turned, as it so often does on South Park, into something else entirely.

In the aftermath of Stan’s parents fight about ‘tween wave (Sharon thinks it sounds like crap, officially making her an old person, while Randy, desperate to hold on to his youth, lies and says he likes it), they realize it’s not the music that’s tearing them apart. It’s each other. After their many years together, they tell each other they’re now unhappy and that every week it’s the “same s— over and over” and that it’s only getting more ridiculous as time passes. (See clip below.)

Not to be cynical here, but did this sounds like a not-so-thinly-veiled way of Stone and Parker telling us they had a similar discussion about their very show? Or was it simply their way of giving a nudge to the fans, many of whom have expressed their dismay with the uneven season? Either way, the episode ended on a feeling of uncertainty of what’s to come of the Emmy-winning series.

It’s not that Parker and Stone won’t — and already kind of have, thanks to the brilliant, Tony-nominated Book Of Mormon — move on to better things, but is it too soon to say goodbye? Sure the show has it some snags, but as many EW fans would agree (South Park was named by you as the greatest animated show of all-time), it’s still better than most of the crap out there.

Do you think Trey Parker and Matt Stone were indicating the second half of the 15th season will be their last, PopWatchers? Or were they simply poking fun at the fans who have become cynical? Let us know in the comments section.

Read more:
‘Family Guy’ vs. ‘The Simpsons,’ Part 2: Is ‘South Park’ better than both of them?
Is there anyone left for ‘South Park’ to offend?
‘South Park’: 21 They Did What?! Episodes


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Comments (232 total) Add your comment
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  • Buffy Freak

    I think it was as much a rebuttal against alot of the “fans” who think the show isn’t good anymore.

    • But… but… I love South Park (sob)

      Well, if they DO go out, at least it will be on a high note (I’m looking at YOU, “Simpsons”). Not as high as Season 8, but high nonetheless. I could move on… eventually.

      • Bill

        Remember the old days when people would discuss the inner meaning of theatre and poetry. Now we’re doing the same South Park and their meaning of their use of poo. .

    • Ryan

      I just thought of something. Could Stan’s parents not letting him listen to his music be similar to Comedy Central censoring last year’s 200 & 201 episodes? Am I reading too much into it?

      • Mark

        Yes you are. No, I’m not being sarcastic. I think you’re looking for shadows in the dark with that one.

    • Mark

      Why put “fans” in quotes? I’ve been watching since the beginning and I adore the first eight seasons, but the last 4 or 5 have just been garbage. I guarantee I know far more about South Park than you do. While that’s not necessarily something to be proud of, it does prove my fandom.

      • LOL

        You sound like the cynical a$$hole that Stan has become.

      • dwayne o

        Agreed. Mark is an A$$hole.

        “Back in my day, things were better,” huh Mark. Mark is either totally post-modern and playing along here, or he’s a dumbsh*t as well.

      • Skip182

        Lol, Mark is totally proving the point the SP was making. If only his name were Scott…

      • DeJesus

        But Mark, if you win a “knowing more about Southpark” prize, don’t you really lose? In life, I mean.

      • smokegreen

        hahaha wow marky mark you got that cynical sh!t dead on

      • Mark

        I would imagine fans are in quotes because once you start griping about a show how can you still be considered a fan?

      • Shayne

        You sound like a moron Mark. The last 4 or 5 seasons have been better than anything they did prior.

      • Brad

        first 8 season? ive seen every episode and the seasons from 11-12 were the best ever. Id say from season 8-12 thats when south park peaked but i agree the show has lost its humor in the last couple seasons

      • derek

        The show has always been hit and miss. For every hilarious episode, there’s another weak one. It’s been that way every season. But the hilarious ones make up for the weak ones.

      • balls in marks mouth

        mark you know nothing about southpark

      • JV

        “I guarantee I know far more about South Park than you do.” holy balls, dude you sound like a f_ucking douchebag!!!

      • Cartman-Lover

        i don’t know what else to say but ditto to what everybody has said, sorry mark but you sound like a total turd.

      • Lucas

        You are an idiot, the past 4 or 5 seasons have given us some of the best episodes yet! Im tired of people like you who say south parks recent episodes have not been that great, south park has stayed consistently funny for all of its 14 and a half seasons! Dont agree, then your just a GAY FISH! To call south park garbage how dare you, call youreself a fan? you should be ashamed!

      • Brandon

        I agree, man. The first 8 seasons are the best; seasons 9 and 10 are pretty good, too. And season 11 had its moments. However, Season 11 is where it turned, and everything since has been hit or miss: moments of brilliance (Such as “Eat, Pray, Queef”) and moments of garbage (Pinewood Derby, for example).

        I’ve been watching for all 15 years, and it the show has gotten stale. They need to do a second movie and end the series. “The Red Badge of Gayness” and “Woodland Critter Christmas” are tied as my favorite episodes ever.

      • richard

        What about to me the 3 best episodes.
        Major boobage
        Over logging and
        Tiger woods episode

      • Derek

        Listen, anyone bitching about the new seasons of south park is probably the type they rip on. Simple minded people like the older episodes because they often did not have an underlined theme to them, they were funny for the sake of being funny. I think the new seasons are better because they are more intelligent. The people who don’t understand them are likely simple minded and would rather just laugh at it without truly understanding what they are laughing at. In the newer seasons you have to often know something about current events or pop culture to truly understand

    • steve kloss

      the shows always been good, even the seasons without kenny

  • LP

    The lines you are reading in-between seem to be very wide.

    • Mitch Logan

      Agreed

  • Matt W

    I think this might be it for them. They are only contracted for 7 more eps.

  • jessica

    As a huge fan of the show, this ending seriously concerns me. This is unmistakably the creators’ way of telling us the end is near. Say it ain’t so Matt and Trey!

    • JDW

      I agree. I’m genuinely sad about this – I’m an old dude and a fan from day one, but I still love this show – even the crappy episodes. I hope they never stop making it, but they’ve said themselves that it’s more of a burden. The success of The Book of Mormon may really seal the deal. DAMN!

    • Shayne

      If that was the series finale, it was brilliant! In every way!

      • P

        How can you say that!?

    • Jason

      It may be the end, or it may just be a huge joke with the creators making fun of dramatic season finales

  • Shakespeare

    They can’t quite, the world needs South Park. Besides it there major force of income, I hope they were just messing with the fans.

    • Marlowe

      Spelling errors, Will? Really?

      • Swift

        Literary nerds for the win!

      • Orwell

        full of win.

      • ty

        that’s how they spelled quit in olden times.

    • Matt

      That is true i dont think i could watch tv anymore without south park….:P PLEASE DONT END SOUTH PARK I personally think that the book of mormon is GAY if its going to end south park..if it doesnt i might actually watch it…idk i just dont want south park to end its like the only good tv show left

      • tell me abut it

        i agree the episode your getting old at first i was excited then the last part made me cry :_( dont end it

  • Shakespeare

    They can’t quit, the world needs South Park. Besides it there major force of income, I hope they were just messing with the fans.

    • DFSF

      Need a couple more edits there, Einstein.

      • Kingsbridge

        lol

      • Tim

        Not Einstein, Shakespeare.

      • P

        ROFL

    • Keegs,

      “They can’t quit, the world needs South Park. Besides its their major force of income….” Also, Their major force of income is their musicals now,

      • P

        I think you people might be looking for “Source of income.” haha

  • RMW

    There was almost certainly a message in there about their experience working on the show … but it was inserted into one of the funniest episodes they’ve done in a while.

  • Stan Darsh

    Well it could be seen as a nudge to the fans but then why would they (seemingly) remove Stan from the main group? He is generally the main protagonist of the show and his moving away from South Park indicates to me that the series will end soon.

    • T

      I disagree, Stan is not the main protagonist at all. If anything, that role goes to Kyle. It’s Kyle who most of the episodes hinges on, usually with him in conflict with Cartman. Kyle and Stan are just along for the ride.

      • Aaron

        I disagree. Stan is more of a protagonist. As of late, his father is a main staple to the show as well.

      • Bizzy

        Umm I think you meant “Kenny and Stan are just along for the ride”

        But yea you’re right. To be the protagonist you need an antagonist which is what Cartman is to Kyle. Stan sometimes fills in for Kyle but he’s not the heart of the show.

        And as for Kenny, Butters replaced him long ago.

      • Maddie

        I disagree with you. That rivalry between Kyle and Cartman is exactly what disables Kyle from being the main protagonist. Their rivalry is often a B Story in various episodes, and Stan is just an average kid who is watching it unfold. You are supposed to see the world through Stan’s (a normal person’s) eyes. That is why he is not given many strange features that you would not be able to relate to. Kyle is also not the main character because (although it sounds racist, I will explain later), he is Jewish. This is often brought up in his interactions with Cartman, but because it is so much of a part of him (with his “daywalker” Jewfro and Cartman’s constant mocking of him) he is made unable to be the main protagonist. Not everyone is Jewish, therefore they cannot relate to the way he often feels. Although church is sometimes brought up in Stan’s every day life, Kyle is constantly reminded of his religious views. Stan also has a family that is supposed to be similar to what yours may have been. A normal yet annoyed mother, annoyING sister/sibling, and an embaressing father. Kyle works as a protagonist, but to a significantly smaller demographic. When it comes right down to it, not as many people are Jewish which hurts Kyle as being THE main character. However, to the people who are Jewish, they get significantly more out of Kyle’s family because they have a family extremely similar to his. I am Jewish and that is why Kyle is my favorite character. Now that Stan is gone, I don’t know what they are going to do. They can’t have Kyle step up as the main character for those reasons. Even if they do have many more seasons to come (which unfortunately, does not look perticularly likely), have they forgotten that they have another half season left? Sure for the first episode they can describe what happened to Stan and then MAYBE drag that out for another two or three episodes after that. Even so, there would still be another three episodes left to fill up. I’m also assuming that Matt and Trey would want to have a great season/series finale. Especially if it is the end of such a significant and important series! I’m sure that they’ll come up with something. As they said, “things just get more and more rediculous every week”, this reassures me that (whether or not it is realistic) they will find a way to fill up every one of those 7 episodes. Also they kind of have to because their contract isn’t quite up yet and Comedy Central would be really mad…

      • derek

        Yeah bizzy, I would have to agree, Kyle is pretty much the main character of the show.

      • Jezmund

        sorry but stan is indeed the main protagonist .. i’d agree that kyle has been focused on a tad bit more as of late.. but if you look at the entire history of the show.. kyle has always played second fiddle to stan.. (much like how Matt Stone has played second fiddle to Trey Parker which is why Kyle represents Stone and Parker represents Parker) … for one, we simply know more about Stan than we do Kyle.. His family is focused on several times more than Kyle’s family… but like i said.. Kyle has been featured a lot more in recent episodes

      • derek

        Nah, it’s Kyle. Yeah, they focus on Stan’s dad a lot because he’s such a funny character, but if any of the kids could be considered the main character, it’s definately Kyle.

      • Dave

        People actually consider Kyle to be the main character? Lol, that’s new to me. It’s definitely Stan, no doubt about it.

      • derek

        Well, it’s an ensemble, but if one of them could be considered the main character, it’s definately Kyle.

      • Bizzy

        Lol, gotta love the team Stan vs. team Kyle back and forth.
        @Maddie, you made some good points and I can’t completely disagree with what you said but think about this.
        Kyle is usually the one who gives the moral of the story at the end of episodes (although he does sometimes split it with Stan) so he is at least portrayed as more of a protagonist.
        And as for everyone who mentioned how important Stan’s family is to the show this wasn’t always the case. In the early days Shelia (Kyle’s mom) was probably featured more than any other parent. In recent seasons, Randy has become so goofy that he’s basically another one of the boys but his role has grown significantly from what it once was.

      • P

        Doesn’t anyone think Stan isn’t gone? South Park does some crazy shi_t and then it’s normal two episodes after that at the most. You know how South Park is if you watch it. I’m not saying I’m right, or that there wasn’t a message in there, but it could definitely be something of the sort.

      • kean

        you guys are all retards, they are both the protagonists, stan is based after trey parker and kyle after matt stone, who is a jew…… and cartman is the embodiment of all that is wrong with people

      • kean

        hence kyle being a jew…

    • Mitch Logan

      The “main group” will all turn ten and then they’ll all like the same things again.

  • Matt

    I think they’ve still got it when they really want it. I thought Crack Baby Athletic Association was classic and last season had You Have 0 Friends and Medicinal Fried Chicken which I also think are great. If they’ve been dragging this year then it’s probably their already tight production schedule mixed with Book of Mormon stuff wearing them down. The only reason they should end the show is if they really aren’t into it anymore. I’d rather it end then have it passed off and carried on without Stone and Parker.

    • LOL

      Thanks for mentioning the CBAA episode. One of the best!

    • Lyndsey

      Crack baby is the one episode I’ve missed this season. It looks really good with cartman. This season has been the worst in my memory, but that said, I still love South Park and would be sad if it ended. I agree that if they aren’t into it anymore, then I get them wanted to end it. But just because they haven’t been at their best lately, doesn’t mean that they still can’t write great episodes. I liked most of the episodes last season. This just hasn’t been their best season, but every show goes through a little slump. Don’t end it Matt and Trey!

      • Neil

        Although I haven’t been the most faithful viewer for the last few years, I am a huge fan and watched from the very first episode. Even if this season is a little weaker than most, the 15-season run has long proven they have what it takes…to say nothing of 2 hugely successful feature films and now a Tony sweep. I mean, who the ___ would have predicted that, even a few years ago?? Plus, does anyone remember way back, 2nd or 3rd season, when Trey and/or Matt speculated in an interview how funny it would be when, in 5 or 10 years, the show had changed so radically that they could say “remember when South Park was about a group of foul-mouthed kids?” Here we are, over a decade later, and this beloved show has hardly changed at all. Other than becoming even more sociopolitically sharp and satirically relevant. I wouldn’t blame them for being tired of it, and wanting to move on to bigger things. We certainly know they are more than capable.

        I have to wonder, though, if Matt and Trey are going their separate ways and they used Stan’s parents as a metaphor…

    • Trey

      South Park can’t be done without Stone and Parker. It’s their baby. Do you think Parker would let anyone take over?… um no! I have been a fan for a long time. I feel that if they are unhappy making the show, they shouldn’t continue. But by all means, I would love to see it go on! If they end it after this season (which is what I feel is going to happen) then at least they have more time to do more Broadway, if that’s what they want to do. They seem to enjoy it =)

      • Ed

        It actually can’t continue without them because they do some of the voice-overs like Cartman is voiced by Trey Parker.

      • Jimmy

        Some? They do just about every voice on the show except the women and special guest voices.

  • JLC

    15 years is a long time to be doing anything. If Matt and Trey are ready to move on, I can do nothing but thank them for what they’ve given us and wish them luck in the future. I think anything else is selfish and greedy.

    • JDW

      As much as I hate to agree – I agree completely. I just hope they don’t stick strictly to musicals and that they continue to be the only guys in Hollywood who slam EVERYBODY!

      • Evan

        I agree. And who knows they may do something else we like even more. Adam Reed did sealab 2021 then did Frisky Dingo then did Archer all of which I liked.

      • Neil

        If we are really lucky they’ll run for office!

  • Marten

    About time! I was wondering when EW would cover this. I was hoping they’d also follow up with an interview with Matt and Trey, but maybe they’re being tight lipped about it. Technically their contract ends after 7 more episodes, so this COULD be their final season. But as they still have 7, and I’m sure contract negotiations are already being put together, I wouldn’t be that surprised to have everything turn around when the show returns. I don’t know, here’s hoping.

    • Evan

      I think Comedy central realizes how much they make from South Park. If Matt and Trey are serious about leaving a blank check scenario may unfold.

  • CraiginPhoenix

    If people cannot see that this very very sad episode of South Park was all about the creators and their view of their baby, you are officially swimming in the River Denial.

    Wow, I will be sorry to see it go, but it is better to go out on a high note than another 10 seasons of garbage written by writers that trey and Matt passed the show off to.

    RIP South Park. I am sure the final 7 will be amazing.

  • Josh

    It felt like part self deprecation but also a knock at the fans who, no matter they produce, will say this season sucked. This season has been pretty damn good, so if they do go out at least it will be on a high note.

    • Captain

      I must disagree. This season only had 2 truly enjoyable episodes in my opinion. The iPad episode and the Royal Wedding one. Everything else has been a let down so far.

      • LMFAO

        The college sports episode and this one were two stellar eps this season.

      • Ryan

        Funny. Those were my two least favorite. The last three have been my favorites for the season and last night’s episode will be one of my all-time favorites.

      • Loch Ness

        The Crack Baby Athletic Association episode wasn’t that funny, but it was incredibly insightful. The more you know about college sports and agents, etc. the more you’ll get out of it.

  • ries

    i know this is their guaranteed paycheck and cash cow, but the success of their play has probably diverted their attention from their baby. why wouldn’t they leave? they could easily come back for a special or two, or even a movie. they probably have enough cash to live comfortably for a while.

  • MacTheMovieguy

    I liked all the episodes this season except the Royal Wedding Episode. That was dumb…

    • Captain

      Please tell me what there was to like about the Butters episode? I’d really like to know.

      • jessica

        You didn’t find it funny when the crazy guy was chasing after Butters on a tricycle?

      • Ken

        Because Butters is cool. Even though his parents treat him poorly, he accidentally murders people with tap dancing, his friends treat him badly, and the other grown ups exhibit bizarre behavior around him he remains an innocence eternal optimist. One could learn a lot from Butters.

      • kim in kentucky

        Butters is just a nice naive kid with a great imagination – so of course, his parents/doctors think he’s crazy and medicate him – to BE normal

      • Butters

        Seriously? That twist ending was incredible. I thought that was a great episode.

      • Butters

        Really? That twist ending was incredible. I thought that was a great episode.

    • kate middleton

      I was really hoping this week’s episode would be about Anthony Weiner.

      I will be sad if South Park ends…but I can’t begrudge Matt and Trey. I can only imagine how exhausting it is.

      • jessica

        I’m sure its exhausting, but seeing as they only work 14 weeks a year roughly, One would think they would have plenty of time to recover and get rejuvinated.

      • Bisky

        Wow Jessica, 14 weeks a year? really? you don’t think they work on anything else?

      • Audega

        Jessica meant they work 14 weeks a year on South Park. use some context clues

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