While the episodes of South Park are always humorous on the surface, each show usually has a deeper, much more profound meaning and moral. One episode of South Park entitled Manbearpig, named after the monster in the episode, has a particularly potent deeper meaning. On the surface, the episode pokes fun at monster stories, politics, and specifically Al Gore. Deeper down, however, this monster story can be read as a national allegory alluding to the dangers of global warming, the problems with the politics behind global warming, and the eventual doom we will all faceif we do nothing about it.
The story of South Park is centered around four fourth graders, Eric Cartman,Kyle Broflovski, Stan Marsh, and Kenny McCormick, who attend South Park Elementary School in South Park, Colorado. While much of the humor in South Park is scatological in nature, the show is well known for its political satire. That is, “no matter how nasty and scatological South Park gets, it’s never just dumb and dumber. Besides all the bathroom humor, the show is built on clever, equal-opportunity satire” (Johnson-Woods 25). Strauss 1Jeffery Weinstock asserts in his book Taking South Park Seriously that South Park “intrepidly wades into the American ideological fray” (14).
The episode Manbearpig utilizes a simple monster story to address an important ideological issue facing America. Much like stories about werewolves arose from fears regarding feudal society, and how the story of Godzilla arose from fears about nuclear warfare, the story of Manbearpig arises from issue of global warming. The episode Ma. . plifies the use of monsters in literature.
On the surface, Manbearpig is a man-animal hybrid monster. However, like many monsters throughoutStrauss 7literature, Manbearpig has a deeper, more profound meaning. This episode of South Park can be seen as a national allegory alluding to the dangers of global warming, the problems with the politics behind global warming, and the eventual doom if nothing is done about the problem. South Park uses this monster story to illustrate the problem with politicizing global warming. It suggests that to solve the problem, we must step away from our political parties and actually examine real facts and data.
The episode also shows how blindly believing in global warming can also be just as dangerous as disbelieving in it. Hopefully, someday, the world can put aside political differences and we all can be eradicated from Manbearpig.