Cartoons that aren’t for kids. When should kids watch them? What would Brian Boitano do?
South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut starring, written, and directed by Trey Parker and Matt Stone. The 1999 film takes the animated cartoon show from Comedy Central and allows them to become unfiltered and take on many of their critics. The movie takes on a censorship in hyper satirical fashion by pitting Canada and America in a war of over television. Terence and Phillip made a movie with foul language which caused the kids from the show too start using bad language. With this being said when should kids (yes older ones) be introduced to this satirical comedy?
The biggest reason the movie has an R rating is for its language. South Park starts with its artistic use of bad language early and doesn’t let up for the entire film. I say artistic because I believe it is. Language is used in the movie to make a point. Yes it is abrasive and in your face, but it is supposed to be. The main point is we can say all of these horrible things because we have the right to in a country with free speech. Parker and Stone think it is ridiculous for them to be villainized for using foul language when violence is promoted so freely and isn’t as penalized by the rating system. Language for me is one of the lowest denominators for when to let my kids watch a film. The unique combinations and amount of language used in South Park isn’t for a young audience, but I don’t see any reason young teens or pre-teens should be limited. As long as they are mature enough to know not to use it or when not to use it, I don’t see an issue.
The movie also has some animated breasts and a hilarious sexual relationship between Satan and Saddam Hussain. I personally love this aspect of the movie. I think many teens could enjoy the funny take of having Saddam being dominate over Satan, but any younger and the joke will probably go over their head. The joke is also a little dated sense Saddam is now truly dead. There is also animated violence in the film with people exploding and catching on fire. Nothing in the movie is for a young audience and the violence is right in line with the rest of the film. It is animated violence, but it is graphic and isn’t something I would want a young audience exposed too. Which is one point the film tries to make. Violence gets a free pass, while language and sex are judged harsher by the rating system.
When can kids appreciate the biting satire South Park throws at society? The main point the movie tries to make is still relevant today, maybe more so. The plot brilliantly has Cartman save the day by using foul language. Combine the satire with making this movie a musical and I think an older audience is more likely to appreciate the nuance the film has. Yes the plot is simple. Terrance and Phillip make a movie using bad words. The kids see it and start using the language. The Moms of South Park form a group to get Terrance and Phillip banned because they don’t like what they are saying. This causes Canada to defend their countrymen and the film escalates until both countries are at war with each other. It is a totally off the wall story, but it works within the world Parker and Stone have created. Some of the best scenes are in Hell between Saddam and Satan and the relationship the two of them have. It isn’t hard to understand, but the full weight of what Stone and Parker are trying to get across needs to be viewed by an older audience. As far as the actual story there isn’t a barrier, it’s what the film is trying to get across that’s important.
The language of the film doesn’t bother me, but making sure my kids understand what the message behind the film is saying is important. For me I think an appropriate age range to watch South Park is anywhere between thirteen to fifteen years old depending on the kid. Kids of this age would have been exposed to any language found in the film, and they should understand the satire behind the movie. This in one I want to show to my boys because of how much I enjoy it. I still laugh at many of the jokes found in the film. I know I still have to wait a few years before they can fully appreciate it though.
When would you let your kids watch South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut? When was the first time you remember watching it and how old where you?