October 19, 2005

"Now it's like, 'What's "South Park" going to do this week about Hurricane Katrina?' "

The tribulations of Matt Stone and Trey Parker:
"I don't know what we're going to do. We should do an episode about how the town can't wait to see this show and what they're going to do about Hurricane Katrina." (They may complain, but they can't help themselves: on tonight's episode, a beaver dam breaks, causing a flood in a neighboring town. Assigning blame becomes the top priority.)
Sounds great. I'll watch. I'm so ready to see everyone skewered re Katrina, especially those who so self-righteously skewered exactly the people they were already politically opposed to.
Doug Herzog, Comedy Central's president, said: "For Matt and Trey, life is still a term paper. They put it under the professor's door at 11:59."

This crunch is what allows "South Park" to comment in real time on zeitgeist themes, from news headlines to video-game releases, but it's a harried process. Mr. Stone and Mr. Parker begin the Thursday-to-Wednesday week in the writers' room, where they throw around ideas. When they hit on ones that might work, Mr. Parker writes individual scenes so that the animators can begin creating the actual episode. As days pass, those scenes add up to 21 minutes with, eventually, a beginning, an end and a plot. As for how they arrive at an episode's larger narrative, Mr. Parker described the different approaches: "Do we come at it from, 'Remember this from third grade'? Do we come at it from, 'This happened on the news'?"
It must be that part what gives the show its spirit is the dash to clip diverse ideas together -- riffing on the news and pop culture and tossing it together with things from one's own life.

You can see why it's just what a blogger would love.


mamalujo1 said...

Interesting last sentence. I'm a fairly new blogger, and I love it. Love South Park too. My wife doesn't understand why I want to blog, to expose myself like I do, and from what it seems she lets herself think about blogging, she is very leery of it. To each his own, yes, but it does bother me that we have this difference. I love the Three Stooges and Monty Python as well, and she can't stand them.

DaveG said...

Wow, justthinking, you must be my brother-in-law! I didn't know my missus had a clone, but the Monty Python/Three Stooges evidence is irrefutable!

Ron said...

"South Park as proto-blogging: a semiological/historical analysis"

Put a million grad students at a million typewriters....

Too Many Jims said...

"They put it under the professor's door at 11:59."

Makes me wonder if that is by the "close of business."

bill said...

When it comes to "South Park," I'm sure close of business is much like Joan Cusack's obstacle course run in "Broadcast News." As long as the tape is in the machine when it's time to hit play, Comedy Central is happy.

XWL said...

They were on Kimmel last week talking about their penchant for pushing deadlines and the subject of tonight's South Park.

I would like to make three main points about South Park's creators.

Firtstly, I think the deadline thing is a ruse to prevent the suits in NY from meddling in their process. Some episodes have had minor changes after the first showing and they have hinted before that they were beset with 'suggestions' when they provided their episodes in a timely fashion. They have rightly realized that the only way to prevent the scourge of 'notes' and 'suggestions' is to give them the finished product at the last possible moment, and even if they have everything figured out ahead of time, final assembly must be done at the last second.

Secondly, on the same appearance they mentioned that the episode was about '2 days before the day after tomorrow' (in other words today). That suggests to me that the target won't be so much FEMA as it will be Roland Emmerich's piece of crap disaster film from last year (just as the hippie jam episode was mostly a rip on 'The Core').

Thirdly, Parker and Stone hate Barbra Streisand passionately and on the same Kimmel they mentioned that this episode would involve the 'global warming emergency' which was what she had said after Katrina/Rita so expect a Streisand (or MECHABarbra) guest turn.

And Fourthly, (insert portions of the Monty Python's 'Spanish Inquisition' sketch here) hopefully they won't decide (or the executives in NY will decide for them) that with Wilma forming that this episode should be shelved.

(and since lists are floating around this website, any top 50 list of great american films of the last 25 years must include three of their films (Orgazmo, South Park, and Team America)