Should Stan Marsh have been the one to be written off in 2001 instead of Kyle or Kenny?

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Should Stan Marsh have been the one to be written off in 2001 instead of Kyle or Kenny?

Postby FilipoSooa » Sat Nov 05, 2016 5:35 pm

I think it was somewhere around the 2001 or 2002 seasons that the classic era of South Park was at a crossroads: Trey Parker and Matt Stone originally planned to center South Park (debut in 1997-98) around Stan Marsh and Kyle Broflovski as the show's co-starring protagonists with Eric Cartman and Kenny McCormick as the complementary characters to the main guys, with the main go-to-adults on the show being composed of Liane Cartman, Sheila Broflovski, Chef, Uncle Jimbo, Veronica Crabtree, Principal Victoria, Mr. Herbert Garrison, Officer Barbrady and Mayor McDaniels. Thus, the classic South Park era had Stan, Kyle, Cartman, Kenny, Liane, Sheila, Chef, Jimbo, Crabtree, Victoria, Garrison, Barbrady and Mayor McDaniels as their most valuable characters of the late 1990s.

However, with the emergence of Cartman as a more popular fan favorite because most people liked his attitude to life, and his way of dealing with things in general; plus his antics in his earlier incarnation as a bratty child despite being an anti-hero for most of the time, and Butters Stotch rising from being initially a wallpaper fodder-type character to the show's breakout child character to become a valuable key character too, plus the emergence of Randy Marsh as a breakout adult character for his Homer SImpson-esque temperamental antics, character/role changes were on the horizon for SP.

Come 2001, it looked like Kyle was originally intended to be written off of South Park permanently, because for creative reasons he looked way too similar to Stan outside of the Jewish pride, since Kenny was still popular enough as a sympathetic character for his habit of being dead in every episode of the early seasons, and because Cartman eclipsed the initial main lead duo of Stan/Kyle popularity-wise. Not only that, but South Park was about to evolve from the classic, brashy in-your-face jokes to political satire meant to tackle and lampoon the real-life world issues soon.

However, it was ultimately decided that Kenny McCormick would be the one to be written off permanently. For creative reasons, Trey Parker and Matt Stone were bored to death about having to come up with every single different elaborate idea on how Kenny McCormick dies every episode at that point. The main issue surrounding Kenny being written off was Comedy Central losing money, merchandise and ratings because Kenny (like Cartman) was more of a fan favorite than Kyle at the time, and while they were doing storylines where Cartman, Stan and Kyle were trying to add a new fourth friend to their clique, looking at adding either Butters, Tweek and/or Bebe to fill the void left behind by Kenny. As it is, Kenny was eventually brought back to the show after massive fan outrage against Matt and Trey, and massive fan support for Kenny.

In the wake of Kenny's apparent permanent death; Butters became just as valuable as Cartman and Kenny. Kyle gradually became more valuable as the sole fully-fledged protagonist in the later years when Stan lost his own appeal by being reduced to cynicism, and Randy became the main Marsh of his own family. From 2001 onwards, it became The Eric Cartman Show for the rest of the majority of the 2000s, with Cartman, Kyle, Stan, Kenny, Butters, Randy & Sharon, Garrison, Ike, Bebe and Wendy as the most valuable South Park characters of the 2000s decade.

And now here in the 2010s decade, we see Stan, Kenny, Bebe, Liane, Sheila, Principal Victoria, Garrison (IDK), and Sharon being reduced to glorified wallpaper fodder for each various reasons (Stan more for his cynicism, Kenny for being revealed as the guy behind the Mysterion superhero gimmick, Liane for having renounced her past life as South Park's resident sexually active person in favor of being a full-time parent, Sheila for mellowing out as a person so she can be bearable for Kyle to deal with, Garrison for losing his outrageous insane antics following his reverting back to Mr. Garrison, and Sharon for Randy becoming the main voice of reason for the Marsh family).

Surprise, surprise! Mr. Garrison recaptured his outrageous insane antics when he got fired from South Park Elementary School for the last time as PC Principal and Mr. Mackey basically own the whole place following the ouster of Principal Victoria, which led to Garrison being on his current path of being the next United States President after Barack Obama. Because of the show now dealing with PC issues, I'm surprised Sheila didn't recapture some of her classic era characteristics due to her past reputation as a frequent protester.

Nowadays, South Park's most valuable characters in the mostly-PC era decade of the 2010s are built around Cartman, Randy, Butters, PC Principal, Gerald Broflovski, Mr. Garrison, Heidi, Wendy, Craig, Tweek, Token, Kyle and Mr. Mackey as the show's only remaining characters who have yet to lose their relevance anytime soon, with Stan, Kenny, Bebe, Liane, Sheila, Ike, Victoria and Sharon having already seen their best exceptional years in the rear view mirror unless each of them took a page out of Garrison's book on Garrison's drastic change from a crazy school teacher to an outspoken presidental candidate.

Makes you wonder in hindsight from 2001 to today, should Stan have been written off from South Park for good, knowing that Kyle would go on to take over the sole fully-fledged protagonist role Stan held from 1997-98 to 2000-01?
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Re: Should Stan Marsh have been the one to be written off in 2001 instead of Kyle or Kenny?

Postby HAcoreRD » Mon Nov 07, 2016 12:22 am

FilipoSooa wrote:Makes you wonder in hindsight from 2001 to today, should Stan have been written off from South Park for good, knowing that Kyle would go on to take over the sole fully-fledged protagonist role Stan held from 1997-98 to 2000-01?
I think it was the right call to kill Kenny. It allowed Butters/Tweek to be developed and pushed the Cartman/Butters duo to the front. However, Stan is still as vital to the show today as he was then. If anything, Kyle should've died.

Back prior to season 5 the show used Wendy or a parent as the voice of reason or the person who saw past the insanity to steer the ship. They took that role and began giving it to Kyle, which started more in Season 7/8 in order to make him something besides Jewish Stan.

As the show progressed, Stan evolved away from Kyle. Almost every episode before Season 11, Stan and Kyle supported each other, regardless about what was going on. The change became where Kyle became overwhelmingly good, and Stan had a grey area to his moral compass. Episodes that show this would be "Butterballs" where Stan was oversold on pushing Butters and the movie for his own gain, and Kyle was absolutely against it. Another being "A Scause For Applause" where Stan immediately took the Nike ad deal and downright opposed Kyle's advice of coming clean.

Stan this season 20 is not being used properly, imo. Stan and Wendy breaking up should've prompted his own story arc, though I'm guessing it was dropped because there is 4 active stories going on (Garrison Election, Member Berries, Cartman/Heidi, Skankhunt). From a character stand point, Stan should be trying to atleast communicate to Wendy, but instead silently joined the wiener's out movement. If anyone should end the gender war, it should be Stan reaching out to his ex, who was not fully on board prior to the break up.

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