My Favorite Characters: Eric Cartman

phillysports
Eric Cartman is one of the evilest characters ever created. He's racist, narcissistic, insane, unsympathetic, delusional and is overall a despicable human being. He also happens to only be in grade school, which makes all of these character traits so hilarious. Cartman isn't your typical mean bully. He's evil in adult standards. Eric Cartman is one of the four main characters of South Park, a show that has offended pretty much everybody since its debuted in 1997. And much of that offense was generated from Cartman itself, who has done things that would have him serving the rest of his life in prison in real world. He is such an entertaining character that has made me laugh so hard over the years.

If you were to look back on the earlier seasons of South Park, you'd notice that the show was a lot more tame than it is right now. And I mean "tame" in the lightest possible way. The show still had loads of profanity, adult themes, and loads of violence. It was the first TV show to get a TV-MA rating for reason. One major difference between the show back in the late 90s and the show now was that it was a lot simpler back then. Each episode typically had a normal sitcom structure with the only difference being the overload of raunchiness. The show did not usually spoof current events or US society like it does on a weekly basis today. As a result from the earlier season's style, Cartman was written as a common, everyday spoiled fat bully. Sure, he was still an awful person. But he only really was a typical bully that you'd see in a normal grade school class. He was rude, insecure, and resorted to petty name calling when something didn't go his way. That all changed when the episode "Scott Tenorman Must Die" aired in 2001.

Like I said before, Cartman was written as just a spoiled, annoying brat in the earlier seasons of the show. In the previous episodes of the show's fifth season, however, something was changing in Cartman's characterization. He was acting a lot meaner and darker than he had been in seasons past. For those of you that have not seen "Scott Tenorman Must Die", Cartman tirelessly works to enact revenge on ninth-grader Scott Tenorman, who had tricked him into buying his pubic hair at the beginning of the episode. After several of his revenge plans had been thwarted by Scott, Cartman spends an entire night forming one of the most diabolical schemes any character has ever concocted. He causes Scott to inadvertedly have his parents shot and killed after trespassing on a farmer's property. Before the corpses could be found, he chopped them up and used them as ingredients in a bowl of chili he made for Scott. So yes, Eric Cartman, a third-grader, forced another human being to eat their own parents only because they played a practical joke on him. He even licks up Scott's tears and calls them yummy. That moment will go down in history as one of the most disturbing and yet most hilarious moments in all of television. "Scott Tenorman Must Die" is regarded as a landmark moment in the history of the show. On top of relying on a single plot to carry a whole episode, everybody's favorite psychopathic grade-schooler was born.

Like I said with Rick Sanchez, it is very difficult to make a jerk character likable and sympathetic. It's nearly impossible to make to a character that does and says the things that Cartman does enjoyable. It's a good thing that Trey Parker and Matt Stone are two of the smartest people working in the entertainment industry. The duo know how to write a television series, and due to them voicing nearly every character on South Park, they have complete control over their characters. Both of them have said that Cartman is their favorite character on the show and he is the character they most identify with. The reason why Cartman is such a better character than other despicable characters such as Peter Griffin on Family Guy is that the show ALWAYS says that he is in the wrong. Whatever evil thing Cartman does in an episode, the other kids disagree with and fight against him. In many ways, Cartman is the springboard for the show to create some of its most compelling messages. As fun as it is to see Cartman be a terrible person, it's even funnier when he gets his comeuppance. And all of that is being expertly provided by Trey Parker's iconic high-pitched nasally voice.

Cartman, in many ways, represents the worst of humanity. He's privileged, selfish, narcissistic, and is just a terrible human being. Parker and Stone are so skilled in their craft that they get the audience to laugh at the worst that we as a species have to offer. South Park is a show that has been so fantastic for longer than I have been alive. Eric Cartman is South Park all encapsulated into one character. He's dark, politically incorrect, but above all else, hilarious and supremely entertaining.

And there is only one way for me to end this post:

Screw you, guys! I'm going home.

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