In the beginning, Cartman got an anal probe.
On Wednesday night, the potty-mouthed tyke and his snowbound South Park pals turn 100 episodes old.
Time flies, when you're testing, pushing and otherwise obliterating prime-time sensibilities.
The diamond-anniversary episode, "I'm a Little Bit Country," is scheduled to air at 10 p.m. on Comedy Central. The plot finds the boys--Cartman, Stan, Kyle and, sometimes, Kenny--caught up in antiwar protests and, for good measure, a 1776 flashback.
"In 99 episodes, we've seen [Cartman, et al.] share in the joys of childhood, learn the importance of friendship and, most importantly, call each other the rudest names ever imagined," the cable network promises on its Website.
"Don't expect the 100th episode to be any different."
The South Park faithful don't.
"I still think it's as funny as ever," says Eric Brandenberg, Webmaster of Animation Magazine . "We still feel like we're 18 again watching it in our college dorm rooms."
South Park was a campus and cult fave from the start--the start being the show's August 13, 1997, premiere, "Cartman Gets an Anal Probe."
The episode, in which aliens do unmentionable things to dear little Cartman, set the tone for a series that the Village Voice would once describe as "purposely offensive and scatologically excessive."
Yeah, that about sums it up.
South Park was born in Trey Parker 's basement over Thanksgiving weekend, circa the early 1990s, when he and cocreator Matt Stone were students at the University of Colorado in Boulder.
"It is amazing how far the show has come since sitting around cutting out construction paper," Stone said, in a Q&A posted on the official site, SouthParkStudios.com.
Their short, "Frosty vs. Santa Claus," begat "The Spirit of Christmas." That short, featuring a grudge match between Jesus and Santa, made the rounds in 1995 when a Fox exec sent it to friends as a holiday offering. ( George Clooney was an early fan.)
After Fox passed on letting Parker and Stone try their construction-paper talents at a full-blown series, South Park found its way to Comedy Central. The rest is history: Three Emmy nominations, a GLAAD Media Award (for the 1997 episode, "Big Gay Al's Big Gay Boat Ride") and the world record for utterances of the familiar form of "poop" in a prime-time half hour (162, in the 2001 episode "It Hits the Fan").
The series was immortalized in R-rated movie form in 1999's South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut and further immortalized with an Academy Award nomination for Best Song ("Blame Canada").
While South Park occasionally has shown signs of going south (a ratings dive in 2000, the endless killings and un-killings of Kenny), of late, it has shown signs of going Simpsons ( 300 episodes -plus and counting).
Last week, Parker and Stone inked a deal that keeps Comedy Central in the South Park business through 2005 (and, if an option is picked up, through 2006).
"We felt that during the last two years especially, we've hit a stride and think that South Park is better than ever," Parker said in a statement.
In a recent interview with the Associated Press, Stone sounded an even more ambitious note.
"I think we have about 865 episodes left to do," he said. "So we should be done in about ."
Imagine the cuss words Cartman will have thought up by then.
[ source: E! ]