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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

All In The Family vs. South Park

The two shows that I chose to compare and contrast are All in the Family and South Park. One is a show that involves real people and the other is a foul mouthed toliet humor cartoon that has a message in just about every episode assuming you can sit through it based on your tolerance. All in the Family was a breakthrough t.v. show for its time. It blazed the trail for popular t.v. shows like Married With Children, The Simpsons, Family Guy and of course South Park. All in The Family centered around main character Archie Bunker, a loud mouthed, arrogant biggot who saw the world through narrow eyes. The show was set in the 70's and dealt with real world issues such as civil rights, womens rights, political and social changes such as liberals and mixed marriages. Archie often times dealt with these issues in a commical fashion with his bumbling and sometimes idiotic points of view but for the time that was the mindset. The show was ahead of its time when it first hit the air, many saw it as the downfall of t.v. since most programming was family oriented (Dick Vandyke, I love Lucy, etc...). All in The Family brought what was happening in the real world right to your living room and was handled in ways that sometimes made you feel uncomfortable. For instance when I was watching a rerun of the show Archie and his white friends were discussing ways to get more funding for their lodge. Archie suggessted letting in a minority and someone who wasnt a Christian to get extra funding. He chose a black guy who worked at the same factory as him, this man happened to be jewish as well. When he told his friends one replied "hes black and a jew?" Archie responded "yep hes a two time loser." Wow!!! many in my generation would find that funny as we have learned to laugh at almost anything and we are conditioned againist most violence and racist jokes. However, for that time period that was really pushing the envelope.

Now for the foul mouthed four little fourth graders that live in Colorado. South Park hit t.v. like Mike Tyson used to hit anyone who stepped in the ring with him. South Park is a cartoon that deals with everything from politics, to every religion imanginable, homosexuality, and Hollywood. South Park despite its reputation has won multiple awards for shows that deal with these issues. For instance in season two the one boy Stan has a dog that is gay. Stan does not understand homosexuality but trys to love the dog anyway. However, the other characters on the show tease him about it and he finally decides he does not want a gay dog (stay with me). After Stan realizes that his dog ran away he is heartbroken because he lost a friend so he goes looking for him. Stan finds the dog who has been living with a gay man and homosexuality is explained and Stan learns to except his friend for who he is. The show won an Emmy. The other two characters Kyle a jewish boy is always at it with Cartman an Archie Bunker clone. Cartman is a biggot and is always harrassing Kyle for being jewish and the two are often arguing religion and politics. The show deals with everything and no one or no thing is safe from being made fun of. The show basically says what most people are thinking and trys to show that you shouldnt take yourself to seriously no one is perfect.

Although both shows are from different time frames and deal with different social and political issues they are one in the same. Both shows have their characters face everyday challenges and try to show the audience different perspectives on how to view them. All in The Family did not have as much foul language as South Park but the characters in each show learns something at the end of every episode and becomes a better person. Both shows casts are primarily white with christian backgrounds. However, each show has characters that are of other religions, races, and sexual prefernces, how else would the characers learn? All in The Family dealt with many issues but never really touched on drugs as it was a norm for the time frame. South Park deals with everything including drugs, obesity, homosexuality, etc... All in The Family was an original idea and set the tone for the shows that many people enjoy today. South Park took the idea about 5 steps further.


  1. Wow. I have to say that I never delved that deeply into the workings of South Park. I have watched some episodes of South Park and also the South Park movie and never realized that there was any redeeming value to it. I just saw it as a nice offensive way to get a laugh out of people. Great post. I may have to go back and look more closely at this series. You have opened my eyes.

  2. Great comparison, Cowboy!
    I love both shows. I watched "All In The Family" 30 years ago, and I occasionally watch South Park today. Both shows are/were on the cutting edge of commenting on current issues. Despite its crude language, South Park always makes some pretty sharp observations.

  3. Thanks to both of you for the comments. It is hard to get people to watch South Park because of the language and crude sense of humor but if you look past it almost every episode has a message. The movie did deal with religion, acceptance of others differences, racism and overcoming your fears. However, it did make it into the Guiness Book of World Records for most pfrofanity in an animated film...go figure