South Park is arguably one of the most controversial cartoons on television right now, but it is for this reason that it has much to offer the public sphere. The fact that one episode can take under a week to create means that most of what South Park airs is current and relevant to the happenings of the world and in particular, The United States.
IGN posted a beautiful little article ‘Why South Park Still Matters‘ stating that it is some of the best social commentary on T.V (scroll down on the page a little for full reasoning) and I can not help but agree. South Park treads where no one else dares, and ideally tells it like it is. I could list pages instances of when they do this but all you need to know is that South Park holds up a mirror to society and asks them to question what is really happening.
Within the mediated public sphere, South Park offers just about everything there is to offer. As it is not marketed to children South Park has remained largely uncensored (although it has been censored a little) so the whole idea of “telling it how it is” is reinforced. Within the public sphere, South Park raises questions for discussion, debate and criticism reflecting what Jürgen Habermas had in mind when he defined the public sphere, but also not refining it to white land-owning males. No topic is off limits for South Park, from Religion to sexual identity to the death of Steve Irwin, everything has been covered, and then re-covered as “controversial” on the next nights news.
Yes South Park can be controversial due to its content, but if you wade through the toilet humour and sometimes off putting adult themes, you will find a satirical show with no restraints or boundaries for anything, and that is just what the public sphere needs.