Truly horrific things have happened in the town of South Park for more than 20 years, and all the country has done is watch. But despite all the horror, “South Park” continuing to broadcast these hilariously nightmarish acts for so long is still kind of magical in itself.
The show debuted on Aug. 13, 1997, with a pilot titled “Cartman Gets an Anal Probe.” It was the first weekly series to earn the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) distinction of “TV-MA” ― a parental warning that the show should only be viewed by mature audiences.
Twenty years in, and the show is still as crass as ever. In recent years, however, creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker have also explored more emotionally mature themes. The main characters ― Stan, Kyle, Kenny and Cartman ― might still be kids, but the philosophical ideas they tackle have been literally worthy of college study.
Last year, as parents struggled to find the right way to talk to their children about the rise of Donald Trump amid the president’s many offensive statements and actions, “South Park” felt like just the right show to parody Trump’s rise and offer proper contextualization for weekly White House antics. Maybe the kids still couldn’t watch it (without being sneaky), but for adults, it was “cathartic,” as Slate wrote.
The show returns for Season 21 on Sept. 13 and you’ll soon be able to see how Stone and Parker tackle Trump’s ongoing presidency. But before then, take a few minutes to indulge nostalgia and watch the above video, which Comedy Central created to recap the “massively NSFW” moments over the last two decades.
The network originally released this video around the debut of Season 20 last year, but as this weekend was the true 20th anniversary of the show, this still seems like an apt time to share.
Just be warned that this video is a compilation of cartoons committing some truly awful crimes against humanity against each other. But it’s also, of course, very funny.