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South Park

I chose South Park as a show to examine through the lens of media grammar because it’s one of my favorite shows and it always changes in relation to subtext. Usually each episode has an underlying message that the writers of the show are trying to get across to the audience, but not necessarily a specific subtext. A general subtext that the show exhibits in its fundamental structure and with its continuing themes is usually racism, sexism, and downgrading religion. Although most of this seems to be pretty sarcastic, it is implied to the viewers that these topics are what the show is meant to be about. The sarcasm and mockery of each of these ideas provides a larger level of entertainment, while the setting of the show and/or the demographic of its characters focus on the issues and topics we as a society usually deal with in everyday life. Thus the subtext of the episodes in general are not meant to be taken seriously, but to provide a new viewpoint to the viewers. One episode could be making fun of news or a show on television that has been receiving lots of coverage, while another could be making fun of a culture “fad” or celebrity. South Park has been featured in magazines, newspapers, and sometimes books. Usually when South Park is featured in print media, it receives a lot of negative and sometimes positive criticism. This is due to the extent of mocking the show does in order to get its point across to the viewer. It even contains a sarcastic warning message at the beginning of each episode not to take it seriously.

The music in the show varies from time to time, but usually each episode starts off with a folk country song that mixes with the characters voices. Throughout the episode, the music varies from serious orchestra music to happy tunes. The genre of this show is comedy, but the authors add a bit of cleverness to the humor in each episode. They carefully try not to subject themselves to contradictions and aim to get as little negative criticism from viewers, but it still manages to offend a select few every time. The point of view in the show is generally done in a 3rd person view, but it really depends on the episode because the producers like to switch it up a lot. I feel that the audience they’re trying to aim at is anywhere from a high school level to anyone in baby boomer generation because it contains pieces of culture from different eras. It borrows from the online environment because they see that since the Internet has become a big phenomenon, they want to interact in a more personal way with their audience. One example is an episode known as “Canada On Strike”, in which they make fun of YouTube stars and the fame they have acquired over time. Though it is a bit graphic in parts, it is still an enjoyable episode to watch for anyone that knows of these people.

Categories: #3, Uncategorized Tags: , ,
  1. tessdoez
    January 17, 2011 at 4:08 am

    Subtext does indeed vary from episode to episode for most shows, but perhaps you can identify some subtext that the show exhibits in its fundamental structure and with its continuing themes. How do the sarcasm and mockery, the setting of the show and/or the demographic(s) of its characters create the subtext of the show as a whole?
    There are also some grammatical and sentence structure errors that need correcting (look up the meaning of the word “accordance”). Please revise and repost for credit.

    • alex7283
      March 2, 2011 at 9:57 pm

      Hey Professor, I just edited and revised my post.

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