'In Character' On the Air

Cartman Gets an 'In Character.' No, Really.

» Hear the 'Weekend Edition Saturday' story

Cartman in cop attire.

Respect his authori-tah: South Park's Eric Cartman isn't taking any crap from you. South Park Studios hide caption

toggle caption South Park Studios

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to In Character, NPR health-care policy reporter Julie Rovner ponders one of the most pressing questions about our national mental health:

Why do we find a filthy-mouthed, foul-tempered fourth grader so %*#&@ irresistible?

We've got South Park co-creator Trey Parker and author Toni Johnson-Woods on tape to help explain, and I've loaded up the page with Cartman's ... er, "finest" moments doesn't seem quite the right word, but y'know.

Plus: Cartman answers the Proust Questionnaire. (Hey, we did it with Cookie Monster, so why not with an arguably less-bridled id?)




Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

I would like to nominate Renton Thurston from the anime series Eureka Seven: Psalm of the Planets. He is a 14 year old boy, who is bored with his current situation, joins a revolutionary group, and changes civilization when he meets an alien girl, who is part of this group. This series has many things going on, and is one of the best in its genre. It makes South Park look like the drivel that it truly is.

Sent by Rocco Rizzo | 9:54 AM | 4-5-2008

I am not a male between 18 and 24, but I immediately recognized the voice on your "in-character" intro. I am, in fact, a female and as far as age? to mis-quote Bette Davis, somewhere between 35 and death -- and I admit, I love Cartman. In fact, I had an ex-boyfriend who told me that the only "man" in my life of whom he was jealous was Eric, (note the ex).

Sent by Nicole Halmos | 9:58 AM | 4-5-2008

This did not air on my local NPR station, WILL 530AM, but was instead preempted for a pledge drive. As was much of the news content this morning.

Sent by PissedAtWILL | 10:35 AM | 4-5-2008

Hi. Great subject. Southpark is refreshing in this world of extremes. I love the 'extended' interview streamed. I wish there were more...something like the Tao of Cartman.

I found the Cartman charater refreshingly stupid. It helps me laugh at the faults within people and society.

Personally, i'm NOT offended by high lighting this character and all his glorious offensiveness.

Sent by Peter W in Cleveland | 11:07 AM | 4-5-2008



Sent by shrike, Atlanta, Ga | 12:06 PM | 4-5-2008

Nicole: That's Mame Dennis's line, not Bette Davis's -- which I point out only because I'm pretty sure we'll be celebrating her later in the series. Have you seen the Roz Russell movie? It hasn't got "Bosom Buddies," but otherwise it's by far the best thing ever.

Sent by Trey Graham | 12:35 PM | 4-5-2008

Cartman is so popular simply because he's so funny. He is literally the funniest fictional character ever created. If you want to look for a more high-brow reason for his appeal, I would suggest that it's the fact that he taps into the part of us that just wants to do whatever the hell we want to do without anyone questioning it, or us having to deal with the repercussions. I think the Cartmanland episode is a good example of this. He really does just want to be completely alone, riding whatever rides he wants. It's when the reality of mainting and staffing a theme park intrudes upon his dream that things start to go wrong for him.

Sent by Eric Filipkowski | 4:50 PM | 4-5-2008

I am wondering how did NPR come up with the 18-24 age bracket. What's the source of that piece of info? IMO, South Park's appeal is much wider than that.

Sent by AK | 10:21 PM | 4-5-2008

Cartman is the ultimate a******. He never, ever deviates from this premise and as a result we've got the best cartoon character ever created. One or two times throughout the twelve seasons, it looked like he might have a good side after all. He doesn't, and I love him for it.

Sent by Damien McGrath. Dublin, Ireland. | 1:02 PM | 4-6-2008

Nothing I have ever seen ranks as obnoxious, disgusting and unfunny as the "South Park" characters.
Except for "Jon Stewart" the Comedy channel is becoming less and less so with its truly stupid shows such as "L'll Bush", "Reno",
Futura" and others . Time to cut this really awful channel from my list.

Sent by arthur Wegweiser | 1:57 PM | 4-6-2008

You forgot to mention Cartman's singing career. "Come Sail Away" is a great moment, and his "Oh Holy Night" has to be one of the funniest Christmas Show songs ever. Put some links up for those!

Sent by keri | 11:25 AM | 4-7-2008

I'm glad NPR choose to do Eric Cartman, it shows they are reaching out to the younger crowd, myself including and are putting an educational twist on it.

Sent by Benjamin, College Station TX | 11:33 AM | 4-7-2008

South Park is not drivel ... South Park touches on issues that nobody will touch. Japanese animation is not popular culture, and it is not enjoyable to watch.

Sent by KiledeMuerte | 2:22 PM | 4-7-2008

I am wondering about the age bracket too. I am 35 male and have enjoyed SP for years. Still Tivo every week.

Sent by SG | 2:43 PM | 4-7-2008

@ Keri --

Your wish is our command: Here's Come Sail Away. And here's O Holy Night, complete with presents, pie, and the startling (yet somehow spine-tingling) chorus of mildly annoyed angels.

Sent by Trey Graham | 3:09 PM | 4-7-2008

I'm a 27 year old female who loves South Park! I jumped on the bandwagon only a year ago, but consider myself a die hard. It's one of the smartest shows on television. Cartman rocks my world and I kind of have a crush on Stan =)

Matt and Trey are geniuses! I look forward to the rest of this season and many many more!

Sent by JAG | 3:46 PM | 4-7-2008

I really enjoyed hearing the weekend edition story on Cartman. South Park is much more than most people realize, it is brilliant social satire and is very funny. I encourage anyone disgusted or horrified by the show to actually watch it and decide for yourself. Of course it wouldn't be nearly as much fun as it is without Cartman, he makes the show!
Thanks for a great story on a great character.

Sent by TetonBadger | 12:31 AM | 4-9-2008

Cartman for president!

Sent by bryan2369 | 9:04 PM | 4-9-2008

Thanks so much for interviewing Trey Parker (genius!) and Cartman. It made my Saturday. I just listened to the interview and watched some of the past Cartman highlights -- I found myself over and over laughing out loud (and I'm at work).

Sent by Cebo Price | 10:05 AM | 4-11-2008


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