South Park is a very curious and unique artistic achievement, but totally inappropriate for a lot of people who would be naturally attracted to it — children specifically. It's a cartoon about a bunch of fourth graders with exceedingly foul mouths which are among the least objectionable elements of the show, what with the drug and sexual and violent themes.
Of course, it's labeled MA for "Mature Audiences." It's not really designed for children, who really don't need to be seeing the tale of Lemiwinks and his mystical journey through Mr Slave's colon. No parent with any sense of responsibility would be letting their pre-teen children watch South Park.
But you know that a lot of young kids nonetheless do watch South Park – but that's probably good. Parents who would be letting their children watch South Park are probably letting them watch a lot of other crap that they really shouldn't be seeing. Plus, such kids are probably seeing a lot of stupid crap in their own home that they definitely should not.
But to the extent that kids are taking South Park to heart, it's likely to be something of an antidote to some of the other bad things they're seeing. Note how the chillen of South Park tend to have to show better judgment very often than their foolish parents.
Yes, Eric Cartman says and does a lot of mean, evil stuff – but mostly ends up hurting and humiliating himself consistently worse than anyone else as a result of his wickedness – and his assumption that other people are as bad as him. Consider his slide show at the end of the "Cartman Sucks" episode, for example. The idea of the photo that Cartman engineered to humiliate Butters by supposedly proving him gay only ended up utterly humiliating himself. It's raw and funny — but even a pre-pubescent child would probably get the point that Cartman was a jerk, and that you wouldn't want to be like him. The joke pretty clearly ends up being totally at his expense.
I've had the idea of South Park as being unfortunately appropriate to some young kids coping with dysfunctional homes for some time, but I recently heard fourth or fifth hand of what I'm sure is an all too common example that would illustrate the point. This involves the ignorant ass cracker ex-husband of a friend of a friend.
Said cracker has 10- and 12-year-old daughters around the house, but apparently gives not a second thought to routinely leaving porn videos laying around or even in the DVD player. This is obviously not good — and not uncommon.
But if this 12-year-old girl is inevitably going to be watching nasty pornos, I suspect that she's watching South Park as well. I hope those girls are in fact watching South Park.
In particular, I hope they've seen the "Stupid Spoiled Whore" episode with Paris Hilton's titular boutique shops. Among other things, her Stupid Spoiled Whore boutique shop sells toy video cameras so little girls can make their own pretend homemade porn videos, like Paris Hilton.
But the show doesn't make Paris Hilton out to be cool. It is by far the most withering condemnation of Paris Hilton and everything she stands for ever made. By the end of the episode, as the just desserts for her sins, she ends up in Mr Slave's colon, just like the gerbil Lemiwinks. Even a 10-year-old would likely get that they're intending to say that the likes of Paris Hilton are disgusting and bad, fit and deserving of ridicule and ostracism rather than emulation.
That's really raw and crude. That's pretty strong medicine for a 10-year-old girl to see the final images of Paris Hilton crawling through Mr Slave's colon, most likely to a particularly yucky death. You shouldn't let your little kids watch South Park. And if you've got enough judgment and control to limit your kids from watching things as rough as South Park, they probably don't need it. But for kids wading unsupervised in the cesspools of modern culture, strong medicine like South Park might be needful.