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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Kings of Offensive TV

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Approximately 10 years ago, Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s “South Park” was the de facto ruler of television comedy. Through the evolving story of four animated elementary school friends, it broke established rules about what was allowed on TV, pushed cable TV as being the real place to go for cutting-edge content, and taught us how good laughing at inappropriate things can feel.

“South Park” often pulled both the best and worst out of us as human beings, and in the end, it’s kept us coming back for fifteen seasons (and counting). Lately, however, other sitcoms and comedies on TV have pushed “South Park” to the brink of losing its title of the most offensive and hilarious show on TV. In this special feature, the Daily Wildcat explores the newest challengers, an old favorite, and awards the championship to a deserving winner.

THE REIGNING CHAMPION

_“South Park” _

Fifteen seasons, a musical feature-length film, putting Comedy Central permanently on the map, viewers consistently averaging in the millions, winning a place in Time’s “100 Best TV Shows of All Time” list and being nominated for the Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program 11 times (and winning four). It’s all in a day’s work for Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s divisive program.

Famous for its smart satire, clever structure, gross-out humor, and outright rude language, “South Park” has been at the top of the comedy charts forever, and with good reason: You don’t get that kind of following for that long without fully deserving it.

Consistently one of the best shows around, “South Park” created the template for modern TV sitcoms in various different ways, and without it, it’s almost a certainty TV wouldn’t be the same today.

NEW COMPETITION

_“Archer” _

In terms of animated 20-minute comedies about dysfunctional spy agencies and all sorts of cultural taboo, “Archer” stands alone as the premiere example of how to do it right. Outlandish situations mark “Archer” as spots mark a Dalmatian, and the snappy writing provides the type of moment-to-moment spontaneity most modern television shows severely lack. The quick and witty jokes guarantee you’ll be chortling, often suddenly and out of nowhere, despite your most sincere attempts not to.

There are times when “Archer” almost gets too close to crossing the line; a certain situation involving an amazingly horny underage girl in one episode comes to mind.

It’s impossible to fault “Archer” for this when it does so many things right, and this indeed is its greatest strength: The show does what it wants, when it wants, and it’s not afraid to do it. For some, that sounds like a sick kind of paradise, and if that’s you, “Archer” will please you in ways you’re ashamed to like.

*LONG-RUNNING CONTENDER *

“It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”

Offensive and uncomfortable TV doesn’t get much more offensive or uncomfortable than this. A sitcom about four guys and a gal who run a bar in Philadelphia, “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” features exceptionally well-crafted situational awkwardness and compellingly funny pseudo-dramatics from the cast.

There are often moments that are so tough to swallow for the average viewer that it becomes difficult not to squirm in your seat, just a little. That’s the type of envelope-pushing that makes this a contender, and if you’re a fan of extremely uncomfortable moments (and if you cried the day “Arrested Development” was canceled), you’re bound to love “It’s Always Sunny.”

The show is easily the elite among shows that force awkward moments down your throat, whether you want to choke on them or not.

WINNER: “South Park”

Without “South Park,” there’s frankly no reason for this argument to even exist at all, and no amount of controversy changes that fact.

While shows like “Archer” and “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” do their best to contribute and create compelling TV their own way (and, it deserves mention, stand up absolutely fine on their own), “South Park” doesn’t look to run out of steam until Parker and Stone say it’s all over.

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