Character arcs

Discuss South Park characters with all your friends, buddies and guys.

Moderator: Big-Will

triplemultiplex
Posts: 5891
Joined: Sun Jan 30, 2005 11:24 pm

Character arcs

Postby triplemultiplex » Wed Jan 16, 2013 5:20 pm

Over the first 12 seasons of the show, Herbert Garrison went through this elaborate and very funny story arc that advanced a little bit every few episodes:
Homophobic closeted homosexual with a hand puppet
Homophobic closeted homosexual with a different hand puppet and a silly love triangle
Homophobic closeted homosexual reunited with his earlier hand puppet
An almost-pedophile
He gets fired
An out homosexual
He gets re-hired
He later gets 'promoted' to be the boys' teacher again.
A trans-gendered woman
A trans-gendered lesbian
A man with his genitalia restored and his sexuality not really defined anymore.

Butters had a cool character arc where he was promoted from background character to Kenny's replacement, then rejected by the other guys and entered into his Professor Chaos phase, which still pops up occasionally, but that has been mostly sidelined so he can be a foil for Cartman's bullshit.

Kenny has had a recent resurgence with an arc that delves a little into his Mysterion alter ego.

I really enjoy these kind of character arcs in the show and I'd love to see more of them. I can accept that we can't keep doing it with the same characters all the time. Otherwise you get Mr. Garrison coming almost full circle, but it's interesting to have that kind of continuity over time, even if it was unplanned (which I assume is the case with Garrison and Butters).

So I'm contemplating what possibilities exist in doing something like that with the show's three main characters; Stan, Kyle and Cartman. Stan and Kyle have been virtually static throughout the show and Fatass has become a bigger assh*le as time goes by, but only because it takes more dickitry to make him look like a ridiculous assh*le over time. Every time they try and play with the established dynamic between the three main characters, it immediately resets.

It's really not the point of South Park for its protagonists to go through something like that over the course of the series since it clashes with the stream-of-consciousness writing style Trey has and it's kind of cliche. But it's still interesting. I think it would be really cool if some other supporting or main character went through a Garrison-esque, make-it-up-as-you-go story arc that you don't realize is going on until like 5 episodes into it. Plus it'd be a good B story to flesh out episodes where your main plot doesn't quite fill 22 minutes the way you'd like.
__________________________________________________

You read it! You can't unread it!
Lyon82
Posts: 142
Joined: Thu Feb 16, 2012 4:14 pm

Re: Character arcs

Postby Lyon82 » Wed Jan 16, 2013 10:53 pm

I think you're seeing some divergence with Stan in particular in that he started as a typically bratty kid to being a voice of reason for quite some time. The last couple seasons had him get depressed and become increasingly self centered. In several respects he's showing a couple subtle signs of being Randy's son after all (just less moronic). And keep in mind that "You're Getting Old" pretty much spun Randy's antics as acting out as a result of his own unhappiness.

Kyle is the one that probably got written into a corner. As they diverged him from Stan (because in the beginning they were the same character sans religious affiliation) he became more of a foil to Cartman. As Cartman's antics became more obscene and absurd, most of what he's done has been to balance that. But in the mean time he lost a lot of the childish behaviors that the other boys play on.

It's actually been nice to see M&T back down on the rivalry if only because it can't possibly escalate any further and might offer chances for Kyle to be decoupled from Cartman in terms of storyline. It'd actually be nice to have Kyle get something that is entirely separate from Cartman and maybe even have him start acting a bit closer to a ten year old.

Kenny was saved by the Mysterion Arc as the muffled raunchy lines was as played out as the dying every episode shtick and he was pretty much little more than a prop. It's nice to see them find weird work arounds to getting Kenny to speak and have a role in some of the episodes.
JVM
Posts: 785
Joined: Wed Mar 26, 2008 8:34 pm

Re: Character arcs

Postby JVM » Sun Jan 27, 2013 9:28 pm

I wouldn't hold your breath for new character arcs. We get our little multi-parter elaborations like YGO/AB and the Coon Saga but for the most part, character stories are a thing of the past in this show.

t's actually been nice to see M&T back down on the rivalry if only because it can't possibly escalate any further and might offer chances for Kyle to be decoupled from Cartman in terms of storyline. It'd actually be nice to have Kyle get something that is entirely separate from Cartman and maybe even have him start acting a bit closer to a ten year old.

Thank you. Kyle's been royally f*cked in recent seasons IMO
OFFICIAL SOUTH PARK STUDIOS WIKI MODERATOR
My SP Forums | My Fanfics | My Fanart | My Wiki Talk Page
Favorite Characters: Kenny and family, Wendy, Tweek, Kevin Stoley, Mephesto, Pip (RIP)
Favorite Episode: "The List" (s11e14)
Pip Tweek
Posts: 5101
Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2007 7:15 pm

Re: Character arcs

Postby Pip Tweek » Fri Feb 01, 2013 8:27 pm

JVM wrote: character stories are a thing of the past in this show.


I agree - it seems as though M&T's recent statements about the future indicate a trend toward making each episode a standalone property - accessible anytime, and independent of a larger context.
Unassumption
Posts: 3849
Joined: Tue May 24, 2011 2:49 pm

Re: Character arcs

Postby Unassumption » Sat Feb 02, 2013 4:57 pm

I'm convinced they wanted to do this to Stan on the episode before Assbergers but the drama put them off actually doing it. The desire of the audience seems to drive the writers, weather they admit it or not. I just wish they'd use established characters more, rather than invent new ones every episode =/

Accessibility is good but I don't see how evolving characters stop you accessing the show, it doesn't need references to previous episodes to have the character change as shows like red dwarf show.
Even when we get character arcs they get ignored after the fact.
AND BY THE WAY, I WIN
JVM
Posts: 785
Joined: Wed Mar 26, 2008 8:34 pm

Re: Character arcs

Postby JVM » Sat Feb 02, 2013 6:13 pm

Unassumption wrote:I'm convinced they wanted to do this to Stan on the episode before Assbergers but the drama put them off actually doing it. The desire of the audience seems to drive the writers, weather they admit it or not. I just wish they'd use established characters more, rather than invent new ones every episode =/

Accessibility is good but I don't see how evolving characters stop you accessing the show, it doesn't need references to previous episodes to have the character change as shows like red dwarf show.
Even when we get character arcs they get ignored after the fact.

Ha! Be glad they don't listen to the fans.
OFFICIAL SOUTH PARK STUDIOS WIKI MODERATOR
My SP Forums | My Fanfics | My Fanart | My Wiki Talk Page
Favorite Characters: Kenny and family, Wendy, Tweek, Kevin Stoley, Mephesto, Pip (RIP)
Favorite Episode: "The List" (s11e14)
Stanluv25
Posts: 2780
Joined: Sat Jan 23, 2010 2:32 am

Re: Character arcs

Postby Stanluv25 » Sun Feb 03, 2013 4:58 am

^ Well they should. We as fans deserve to be heard, if it weren't for us they wouldn't have lasted this long. It would be so awesome if we had things come up again that haven't been in years. Cartman's extended family. Stan's asthma. Boy scouts. Mr. Slave and Big Gay Al's married life haha. Revisiting these things would rock. It doesn't have to be a show where something new happens every single time and it's never seen or heard of again. :roll:
I love: Stan, Butters, Cartman, Sharon.

I ship: Stan/Cartman <3

Stan: MMOOMM!!
Sharon: What is it honey? (gasp!) My baby's killed again!
Haa, I love that line.
BRMBug
Posts: 18500
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2006 11:43 pm

Re: Character arcs

Postby BRMBug » Sun Feb 03, 2013 11:10 am

I think that Garrison has had the most radical character arc over the entire series so far. I thought that Randy might be second, but when I stopped to think about it, he always winds up right back where he was to begin with; at home with Stan, Sharon & Shelley, and working as a Geologist. I guess he's just the most dynamic character I can think of... well, next to Cartman anyway.

I think just once, I'd like to see Trey structure a whole season as one big story arc, but that may be asking too much of him, the way he likes to work.
Big-Will
Board Moderator
Posts: 17616
Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2003 2:57 am

Re: Character arcs

Postby Big-Will » Sun Feb 03, 2013 1:38 pm

BRMBug wrote:I think just once, I'd like to see Trey structure a whole season as one big story arc, but that may be asking too much of him, the way he likes to work.

He thought of doing that when Stan was "getting old" - the fall run of season 15 would have been about Stan getting out of his rut - but he just couldn't do it, and "Ass Burgers" was as far as it went.
The South Park Scriptorium

Favorite Character: Chef (RIP, for reals this time)
Favorite Episode: Anyone with Butters in it.
Need to look for something on the board? Use the search links below: US version and UK version
Stanluv25
Posts: 2780
Joined: Sat Jan 23, 2010 2:32 am

Re: Character arcs

Postby Stanluv25 » Wed Feb 13, 2013 4:37 am

BRMBug wrote:I think that Garrison has had the most radical character arc over the entire series so far. I thought that Randy might be second, but when I stopped to think about it, he always winds up right back where he was to begin with; at home with Stan, Sharon & Shelley, and working as a Geologist. I guess he's just the most dynamic character I can think of... well, next to Cartman anyway.

I think just once, I'd like to see Trey structure a whole season as one big story arc, but that may be asking too much of him, the way he likes to work.



That's the thing, Randy does indeed wind up back home with his family no matter what. He does something stupid or has a stupid idea yet somehow he is forgiven and all is okay in the end. So I wouldn't agree he is very dynamic. He hasn't changed too much, or as much as the others. Only gotten more idiotic and dramatic above anything.
I love: Stan, Butters, Cartman, Sharon.

I ship: Stan/Cartman <3

Stan: MMOOMM!!
Sharon: What is it honey? (gasp!) My baby's killed again!
Haa, I love that line.
JVM
Posts: 785
Joined: Wed Mar 26, 2008 8:34 pm

Re: Character arcs

Postby JVM » Sun Feb 24, 2013 4:48 pm

Stanluv25 wrote:^ Well they should. We as fans deserve to be heard, if it weren't for us they wouldn't have lasted this long. It would be so awesome if we had things come up again that haven't been in years. Cartman's extended family. Stan's asthma. Boy scouts. Mr. Slave and Big Gay Al's married life haha. Revisiting these things would rock. It doesn't have to be a show where something new happens every single time and it's never seen or heard of again. :roll:

I'm pleased you were able to misunderstand me.

Take one look at Fanfiction.net and you'll see exactly why Matt and Trey shouldn't listen to the fans. South Park would be a half-hour of the giant gay pig pile every single week. Wendy would be pushed off to the side, Kenny would never wear a hoodie and f*ck everything that moved, especially Butters, Cartman would rape Kyle while he lusted after Stan, Tweek would be Craig's "uke" and everyone'd talk half in Japanese.

This is why I'm glad Matt and Trey don't give a damn what fans think.
OFFICIAL SOUTH PARK STUDIOS WIKI MODERATOR
My SP Forums | My Fanfics | My Fanart | My Wiki Talk Page
Favorite Characters: Kenny and family, Wendy, Tweek, Kevin Stoley, Mephesto, Pip (RIP)
Favorite Episode: "The List" (s11e14)
nwt000
Posts: 1725
Joined: Sun Oct 19, 2008 5:47 pm

Re: Character arcs

Postby nwt000 » Tue Feb 26, 2013 10:13 pm

JVM wrote:
Stanluv25 wrote:^ Well they should. We as fans deserve to be heard, if it weren't for us they wouldn't have lasted this long. It would be so awesome if we had things come up again that haven't been in years. Cartman's extended family. Stan's asthma. Boy scouts. Mr. Slave and Big Gay Al's married life haha. Revisiting these things would rock. It doesn't have to be a show where something new happens every single time and it's never seen or heard of again. :roll:

I'm pleased you were able to misunderstand me.

Take one look at Fanfiction.net and you'll see exactly why Matt and Trey shouldn't listen to the fans. South Park would be a half-hour of the giant gay pig pile every single week. Wendy would be pushed off to the side, Kenny would never wear a hoodie and f*ck everything that moved, especially Butters, Cartman would rape Kyle while he lusted after Stan, Tweek would be Craig's "uke" and everyone'd talk half in Japanese.

This is why I'm glad Matt and Trey don't give a damn what fans think.

That would all be pretty much correct, except the Japanese part. If Trey and Matt did ever open up to fan suggestions (which would obviously be a disastrous idea) it would only be open to residents of the 50 US states, territories, DC, and maybe Canada who are at least 18 years of age or older. They would probably only take suggestions in English as well.

Return to “Character Discussion”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests