1) Matt Stone’s Memo to the MPAA, 1999
This is a memo written by Matt Stone to the MPAA before the release of the South Park movie. They’re struggling to get an R rating, and not a NC-17 stamp of death. I want to use this memo to highlight some of the issues these writers have with trying to be funny, maintain profitability and still have to bargain with the higher authorities.
2) Secrets of South Park, Nightline Interview, 2006
This is a great interview where the guys from South Park talk about how their personal lives leak into their writing, their ongoing issues with censorship and free speech and how they can still enjoy doing the show at the start of their 10th season. It highlights the writing process they go through and it should be helpful in showing how difficult it is to stay funny, relevant and not have your message misunderstood.
3) Still Sick, Still Wrong: 10 Years of South Park, Rolling Stone Article, 2007
This article is similar to the ABC article. It pulls the curtain back on the writers and gives people a glimpse into what it takes to write an episode and get it on the air in a way that doesn’t compromise the quality. The writers seem to express a strong love for the show at the same time as a growing disinterest and hatred for what it’s become. Both the ABC and the Rolling Stone article make the point that at any point these head minds behind the series are ready to walk away, and apparently want to, but they want to keep making it even more.
4) The Deep End of South Park: Critical Essays on Television’s Shocking Cartoon Series, Leslie Stratyner, McFarland, 2009
This is an analytical text about why South Park exists, how it was started and the direction the author thinks it is headed. The author argues that South Park is an extremely relevant source of cultural satire and, despite bad taste and shocking antics, it’s a series worthy of academic study. But is all of that something Matt Stone and Trey Parker would appreciate hearing or is it just mangling what they set out to do with this series?
5) South Park Webcasters Told To Stop, Wired, 1997
The show that got its start online grew too big for the fledgling, mostly 56k at best, method of delivery. Comedy Central’s lawyers had to step in and shut down sites that were streaming the show and helping it spread. This is significant to take a look at how the Internet helped a show like South Park get started, how it might have been impossible for it to happen earlier or later in history even with a similar show and Matt Stone and Trey Parker’s long term plans for digital distribution.
6) South Park to Offer All Episodes Free, Wired, 2008
10 years later, after shutting down all streaming sites, Matt Stone and Trey Parker took it upon themselves to offer their content for free online. This is a very progressive attitude towards digital distribution, isn’t greedy at all and shows how they’ve come full circle from their origins. It’s also the kind of thing that you couldn’t do unless you had complete control over your show in the way they have for over 10 years.
7) Comedy Central makes the most out of irreverent, and profitable, new cartoon hit, New York Times, 1997
This article takes a look, form the persepctive of the New York Times, at the very popular and profitable new series for Comedy Central. Comedy Central wasn’t a network known for large amounts of original programming, and it looks like South Park really shook up the whole network in a way The Simpsons did for the early Fox network.
There are a ton of articles and interviews out there and I plan on finding more, but this is a start for the ones that stood out to me.