South Park: 10 Storylines That Have Aged Poorly

Trey Parker and Matt Stone's South Park is a cultural institution, but not all of the adult animated sitcom's storylines have stood the test of time.

It's safe to say that after 22-years on air, South Park refuses to discriminate when it comes to who it plans on insulting. Written by the brilliant Matt Stone and Trey Parker, the animated sitcom is most often designed to offend the offenders rather than the oppressed.

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After all, this is what makes for good satire. Yet sometimes the series will use jokes that are in poor taste for the sake of "shock humor" and it can often feel rather unnecessary to the story at large. Most often the humor lands smoothly, but when it doesn't, it really doesn't.

Here are 10 storylines from South Park that just don't seem to work anymore.


In the earlier seasons of South Park, Liane Cartman was a poorly developed character whose sole existence on the show was to portray a one-dimensional "slut." There were even two whole episodes dedicated to this concept called "Cartman's Mom is a Dirty Slut" and "Cartman's Mom is Still a Dirty Slut". Comparatively, Chef has just as great of a sexual appetite as Liane, yet he never gets reprimanded for this behavior in the same way as Cartman's mom.

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There was nothing to her character other than the fact that she enjoyed sex and this seemed to be frowned upon not only by the townies but by Matt and Trey as well. Perhaps this has to do with the fact that Trey Parker's ex-fiance who cheated on him was also named Liane so there is clearly a personal element behind the hate. Yet, in more recent seasons, Parker seems to have let bigons be bigons because Cartman's mother is much more caring and compelling than she originally was.


Sometimes when storylines don't age well it has nothing to do with the concepts being too insensitive for today's audience. Every so often on the comedy central series, episodes won't age as nicely simply because they're centered around outdated references.

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"The Ring" centers around The Jonas Brothers, who aren't nearly as relevant as they used to be. Sure, the band is back together and they're creating radio smash hits, but they aren't the same kiddie band that they once were back in 2008. The episode just feels catered towards a period that has long since past.


"The Hobbit" is a wonderful episode which accurately acknowledges the pressures young women must face in order to satisfy societal standards of beauty. Wendy, who often represents the voice of reason, is trying her best to convince the school that nobody is perfect when it comes to their appearances. Girls have flaws and should be comfortable with their looks even if they fail to meet the impossible beauty standards of the era.

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Yet as Wendy preaches the idea that women should be comfortable with their looks, she goes on to criticize Kim Kardashian for her appearance. It seems hypocritical that Wendy would emphasize the importance of not putting your looks above everything else while at the same time actively attacking Kardashian's appearance. Overall, it's a brilliant episode which tackles important and relevant issues, but this part seemingly takes away from the point they are trying to get across.


2006's "Manbearpig" is hilarious, yet the message behind it feels very outdated. Matt and Trey have even actively admitted to their mistaken beliefs. In the episode, it targets Al Gore's views on climate change and presents his beliefs as mythical and absurd.

Over a decade later, the creators of South Park made a follow-up episode called "Time To Get Cereal" in which they apologized to Gore. Parker and Stone even went so far as to make fun of themselves, showing a willingness to admit when they aren't right.


Here is another example of a South Park episode that simply feels outdated due to the fact it targets a pop culture fad that is no longer relevant. As expected by the title of the episode, it creates a parody out of the once overly crazed High School Musical.

Although there's nothing too offensive about "Elementary School Musical," especially by South Park standards, in 2019, the parody feels too dated to be worth much.  Sure, the episode worked fair enough back when you couldn't go anywhere without hearing about the Disney Channel Musical, but now it fails to have the same effect that it once did.


Isaac Hayes voiced the character Chef and allegedly left the series after the airing of "Trapped in the Closet," an episode which poked fun at Scientology. Hayes himself was an active member of the church of Scientology. He was said to have claimed the show had crossed a line from satirical to bigotry.

In "The Return of Chef," South Park killed off the loveable character in a way that was absurdly crude and disrespectful. Although this is to be expected (because it's South Park and crass humor is a staple of the series), it feels rather tasteless and uncomfortable considering Isaac Hayes' passing in 2008.


"The Ungroundable" tackles scene/emo culture, along with the 2009 craze of Twilight. Although a funny episode, it feels rather antiquated.

The episode makes fun of the whole "hot topic" era, and although a fun watch for the sake of nostalgia, "The Ungroundable" ultimately has little else to offer a 2019 audience. If scene kids ever make a comeback though, this episode will be first on our list to devour.


Does anyone still play Guitar Hero? It was a huge part of 2007, sure, but nowadays the majority of people haven't picked up one of those fake guitars in over a decade. Nowadays, this episode works perfectly for the sole purpose of nostalgia, but that sort of depends on how much the game played a role in your everyday life.

Most individuals have no personal relationship with guitar hero, so it can, therefore, be difficult for people to find a personal connection with the episode.


Unfortunately, South Park has a history of transphobic storylines. This is most apparent in the episode titled "Mr. Garrison's Fancy New Vagina," in which Mr. Garrison (now Mrs. Garrison) goes through a sex change. In the episode, Gerald Broflovski decides he wants to transition as well, only he wants to transition into a dolphin.


The episode just doesn't sit well with modern beliefs. Thankfully, in more recent years, the series released a more progressive episode titled "The Cissy," which shows support for trans rights.


Although the episode titled "Canada on Strike" surely has its hilarious moments (and created the highly popularized phrase "I'm not your buddy, guy!"), several parts are extremely outdated. Mainly, this comes from the fact that the episode heavily focuses on popularized youtube videos circa 2007-2008, which are so irrelevant now that we barely recognize a handful of these references.

This is what happens when you write content centered around popular fads. It's great for about a month, then, unfortunately, it grows stale.

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