Iconic animated series South Park has been renewed for three more seasons at Comedy Central. Created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, South Park first debuted way back in August 1997. Set in a fictional Colorado town and centering on a group of foul-mouthed grade school kids, the adult-oriented show quickly garnered a huge fan following while also showing a penchant for courting controversy.
At one point, South Park even became huge enough to earn its own movie spinoff, South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, which improbably nabbed Parker and Stone an Oscar nomination for Best Original Song for their satiric tune “Blame Canada.” Over 20 years and nearly 300 episodes after it debuted, South Park may not be quite the pop culture phenomenon it once was, but the show keeps on pulling in solid ratings for Comedy Central and continues to occasionally get attention for crossing the line. Recent seasons have seen the show tackling its usual array of hot button topics, taking on everything from school shootings to the Catholic church sex scandals to climate change denial.
Time clearly has not blunted South Park’s satiric edge, and Comedy Central is banking that the show will maintain its creative energy for at least a few more years, handing the series a three-season renewal through 2022 (via EW). The upcoming 23rd season, which will see the show pass the 300 episode mark, marks the last year on the previous three-season renewal, so South Park is guaranteed to at least last through season 26.
In a statement about the latest renewal, Parker and Stone quipped “Apparently, our efforts to get our own show canceled have fallen short,” a reference to the series’ recent viral #CancelSouthPark campaign. If South Park somehow manages to continue failing to get canceled, it may one day challenge The Simpsons as the longest-running animated show in history, though it currently trails the FOX series by seven seasons (and The Simpsons itself shows no signs of being canceled).
Obviously, South Park is not the same show it was when it first began airing in 1997, but the one consistent thread across all those seasons has been the endless creativity of Parker and Stone, who continue writing and directing every episode while also voicing most of the characters. That the show’s creators continue to stay focused, and are able to keep the show relevant despite the huge changes in the political landscape over the past 20 years, is an amazing accomplishment. Of course, not everyone loves what South Park tries to say or how it tries to say it, but Comedy Central continues to back the show through all its ups and downs and there’s no reason to think Parker and Stone will back off from putting across their particular point-of-view in their unique way.
South Park season 23 premieres September 25, 2019 on Comedy Central.