Some might have thought that, with series creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone stretching creatively this year by writing a (hugely successful) Broadway musical, "South Park" might soon wind down. Apparently, though, Stone and Parker have more stories they need to tell via the medium of computer-animated paper cutouts: Comedy Central has renewed "South Park" for three more seasons.
This report doesn't contain the most relevant information about the deal — namely, how big a dumptruck Comedy Central backed up to South Park Studios, and exactly how full of money it was. But it does remind us all that "South Park" premiered in 1997 and will, as of this latest multi-season renewal, remain on the air until 2016. When you saw Stone and Parker in, say, "BASEketball," did you ever think they were the type of canny businesspeople who could keep a show on Comedy Central for almost 20 years? Because I didn't.
"Week after week and season after season [Parker and Stone] continue to surprise and delight South Park fans, and that includes all of us here at Comedy Central," said network president Michele Ganeless about the deal. Yes, "South Park" is still one of the network's unqualified hits. But "surprise"? Episodes follow a pretty predictable pattern: Cartman is going to be a monster, Stan and Kyle will try (generally successfully) to foil him, and the whole situation will directly reference something going on in the news. The last time it really "surprised" me was when I noticed that Comedy Central no longer bleeps the word "s---."
But if Comedy Central wants to keep paying Stone and Parker to tread the same ground for three more seasons — long past the point of freshness — that's the right of everyone involved. After all, as one memorable "South Park" episode put it, "'Simpsons' did it."