Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Low Graphics

Monday, August 30, 1999 Published at 09:12 GMT 10:12 UK


Cartman as a role model? Your reaction

Read your views on whether South Park's Eric Cartman is a suitable role model for children

Of course Cartman is not a good role model, but he wasn't designed to be one.
D. K. Andrew, England

Parents.....PLEASE remember one important element in this issue...These kids are not and do not have the same attitudes and respect that children had 10/20/30 years ago. The children today are all very fast learners and can act independent at a very early age. We must STOP thinking with naive attitudes that kids cannot be really interested in cartoons like this when in fact, they can actually relate to them. I think the REAL problem is that when parents actually see it on tv, they receive a rude awakening as to how kids behave in today's society and, realistically, it should be accepted and dealt with accordingly and not brushed away as something kids shouldn't watch.......they'll always find a way!!
Jason, UK

I'm 15 and I watch South Park, and because I and many others like it doesn't mean that Cartman is my role model in fact I don't have a model there's no one out there that I want to be like. This doesn't mean that there aren't any models in the world it's just that I want to be me not someone else. Cartman isn't a role model and never will be, no matter how funny he is no one would really want to be him in real life. South Park like many other TV shows are just there to take you away from the stresses of life, 'A break form the norm' so chill out wait for it to come on and just laugh at the stupidity that is South Park.
Nelson Sa, England

This movie is garbage and should be banned.
Fran, USA

It seems that kids aspire to be like animated and rigid role models with little personalities it is hardly surprising that listed in those is Becks and Brittany....Cartman at least is able to make decisions without aid of partner or mum!
Bonnie Knight, United Kingdom

I have grown so weary of the interminable debate between the fatuous liberal element and the entertainment industry. Surely if we allow children of sixteen to smoke, join the army and marry they might also be permitted to watch a cartoon. As to younger children, it really ought to be parental responsibility that is the guiding force in this issue. South Park is a crude satire and in an increasingly crude liberal environment it is appealing.
Ruaidhri Magee, Costa Rica

There is no way I would let my 6 or 3 year olds watch this show. Most TV and unfortunately Radio programmes seem to be littered with words you would not hear in our house; South Park is no exception. By the way, we're not religious zealots or Mary Whitehouse moralists, just normal 30 somethings!
Gary Grayson, England

As a 50 something with grandkids I must say I really enjoy SP and I watch it with the whole family. We all seem to get something out of the show. Don't over intellectualise it, it's just Tom and Jerry for today.
Keith Battye, Zimbabwe

I think that South Park is generally funny both to children & adults and that peoples objections to its suitability says more about their own inhibitions than the quality of the program. I understand that people feel a responsibility to protect their children, but what are they actually protecting them from? I think that the answer to this question is that they are sheltering them from the truth of modern living, which cannot be a healthy practice.
Kym Overy, UK

There are more important things to worry about than this.
James, London

South Park is to the '90's what the Young Ones was to the '80's. If it works and it is funny what is wrong with it. Kids will learn foul language regardless, if the parenting is good in the first place there should be no problems.
David Powell, United Kingdom

Most kids, not just these days but when I was 10 upwards swore and used rude gestures. Watching their favourite cartoon won't make them swear more. It's ridiculous to think that this will influence in any way. These moaning do-gooders should find something more useful to do with their time. Age 34
Craig, UK

Why doesn't anyone ask the previous generations who were supposed to have been influenced by cartoons/films/music what they think now? Personally they've made no difference to how I've turned out. It's really about adults who like to perceive their children as being "little angels" and prefer to blame any bad influence they have on their children on something else. It's a guilt trip thing.
John Buchan, UK

I believe South Park is an example of the WORST that America has to offer the world!!! It promotes incivility, encourages a break down in family values, and, these cartoons glorify and encourage our youth of today to disregard any and all forms of authority. I'm grieved over the "success" of this despicable cartoon.
Joe Gates, USA

The language that Eric Cartman uses is mild in comparison to what comes out of the mouths of many 8 years olds today in the UK
Mark Steven, UK

Get a grip! Kid's are revolting creatures! When I was a kid I loved Obelisk and Vitalstatistix, whose philosophies of life were to thump anyone who got in their way - and look at me; I'm fine (give or take). Anyway, I'd rather my children admire Cartman than some ghastly sanitized, weak, dullsville saphead like they are supposed to.
Wendy, UK

Honestly I think that the idea of role model is a poor one. In my experience most people do not truly have role models, especially children, and the ones that do tend to have more personal ones. I really don't think that children intend to model their lives on Eric Cartmen, I think they just like sounding funny to interviewers and their peers.
David Beffert, USA

Just because a show's medium is cartoon, doesn't necessarily mean it is suitable for children. The creators of South Park would be the first to admit that their show is unsuitable for children. Adults who are concerned about their youngsters emulating Eric Cartman et al, should be more discriminating about what they watch.
John Strange, United Kingdom

In the South Park film, Cartman defeats Saddam Hussein, promotes good relations with Canada, and helps another character (Kenny) get into heaven. What's the problem? Sounds like a good role model to me. If people payed more attention to what a person does for his fellow beings than what sort of language he uses and what he does with his private life, the world would be a much better place... don't forget, Hitler was a polite monogamous vegetarian and a snappy dresser.
Jamie Blackman, USA

I do not agree with children choosing fictional characters as role models. It seems to give them a warped sense of reality. If they were exposed to more worldly important figures than sports stars, entertainers and cartoons, maybe they would aspire to be something more noble, like a doctor or a world leader.
Beth D'Angelo, USA

ok there's bad language and tons of violence (most of which happens to Kenny!) ..but it's just a cartoon aimed at open minded adults, and just a lot of fun (dude!)
Anthony Stern, United Kingdom

South Park is the worst television show that I have ever seen. I can not believe that people can find a show chock full of swearing etc. amusing. I watched it once to see what I thought and decided never to watch it again. What the co-creator said about children is utter rubbish. People like him make children like that. If there was not so much swearing etc. on television radio and internet then children would have "social tact or etiquette." I am also disgusted that the show is on only just after the watershed as many children are up at that time. I went to my sister's friend's house and her younger brother (a 7 year old) was watching it. Matt Stone and all those other prats should think about just what they are doing to society. When I am older I will never let my kids watch this mind numbing garbage and neither will I watch it. The new South Park film is no. 1 on my films to not see list.
Mark Children, England

The show is extremely offensive on so many levels that it is funny. With the media forcing political correctness down everyone's throats its nice to have something there that shows that it's ok for there to be differences in people both socially and economically.
JW Garner, USA

I certainly would not want my daughter to be watching the film due to the explicit content. I certainly would not want my children to hold these characters up as role models. I have watched the show myself and the film and really enjoyed them, and found them to be funny. I am old enough however to make a distinction between right and wrong and understand that this is an animation and not real life. A lot of children cannot make that distinction and is the problem. If they toned down some of the language then fine. After all the content is really based at adults and as such a lot of children do not understand the true content of the jokes.
David Williams, USA

There is nothing wrong with the program provided it is watched by the people it was intended for. I'm currently working with children at my local leasure centre and some 8 year olds have said that their parents have bought them a South Park video. Don't go blaming the kids if it is the parent buying them the videos to watch
Bob, UK

Yeah he's a good role model. Usually it's fat kids that get bullied - but now they're worshipped. Anything anyone else says is a load of tree hugging hippy rubbish.
Duncan, UK

Heh, this really cracks me up. I mean let's all blame South Park that your kids are foul mouthed obscenity spewing oiks and not blame yourselves for being hopeless parents. That's what the show and the film are trying to get across. Don't blame a TV show with a mature audience warning on it. You let your kids watch it so you're to blame. Heck that's what being a parent is a responsibility if you're not up to it then don't! But heck this argument has been around for ages, maybe if you go see the film and hear its message you might learn but I doubt it - you are doomed to be Shella Broflovski's.
Mike McClay, UK

Children can be some of the most vicious, irritating little people in the world. South Park is more true to life than we would like to imagine.
Portia, UK

It's not for us to say who should be the children's role model. They are perfectly capable of choosing for themselves.
Nicolas Jarraud, Europe

What's depressing about South Park is less the scatology than the sheer witlessness of it all. I would far rather that Bart Simpson was held as a role model for children, in that his show is consistently intelligent, inventive and funny. South Park, like Beavis and Butthead before it, has one joke: cartoon characters being rude. It really is boring once you've seen one episode.
Roland E O'Durrant, UK

Can someone tell me why children under the age of ten are even allowed to watch this, it's on at a time after the official watershed. Standards of behaviour of young children have fallen dramatically over the past few years and entertainment that is far beyond their comprehension is no help. Once again the mentality of parents must be called into question, is it the usual easy option just to let them watch it to stop the complaining. Matt Stone's comments about children today are entirely correct and the media cannot be held responsible. As always the off button is the only way to regain control.
Just in case you are wondering I love this show and can see where the inspiration comes from, but allowing children to view the worst aspects of their behaviour is only adding fuel to the fire. Children are what they see!!!
Alan G. Manson, Scotland

I completely agree with Matt Stone and his closing view on children. Anyone who wholly disagrees with these has obviously not been out in the last 10 years. THE OVALTINE KIDS ARE DEAD!. That representation of children is very outdated. Kids are no longer like with it. The headmaster of the Cambridgeshire school mentioned in the report obviously doesn't spend any time in his own school playground. I expect he like the safety of his own office, and only ventures out when everyone has left.
Gray, England

To say that South Park pollutes young minds any more than they are already is fanciful. My young brother and sister, 11 and 9 are avid fans. They can quote whole scenes from the series, and have been watching it since it started on Sky. They watch it with my parents, who also love it, and so to an extent it is controlled, but the only time they get told off is when using the language and terms in reference to other people or in anger instead of humour. But to say it has had a bad effect is ridiculous, they are both top of their forms at school and repeatedly get glowing report cards.
Keith, UK

It's not up to cartoon characters to influence children and become their role model. It's up to the parents to educate their children enough to realise that they should look up to the people around them, not the images on TV to decide how they live their lives. And why are children, young enough to be influenced, watching South Park, obviously intended for older audiences who know better. Aside from that Eric Cartman is hilarious, he's just a good laugh!
David Scally, UK

South Park is not aimed at children, and is not for children. It is a witty satirical take on the world today. If parents are so enraged then they should not allow their children to watch it!
James Majer, England

South Park is a refreshing, hilarious portrayal of what many kids are really like. Love it!
Matt Clements, United Kingdom

The Southpark movie mocks all the irrational responses against it. In the movie, Terrence and Philip hold the place in their world that Southpark holds in ours. It is intended that those who would miss the point do, and in the case of the headmaster of a Cambridgeshire public school, this is done wonderfully. These people would rather not tackle the real issues and problems which the movie raises, instead ranting off about 'banning' it or as the parents in the movie suggest "Blame Canada". There's a stupid suggestion that misses the point completely as well.
Adam Simpson, New Zealand

I really think everybody should just chill out! I appreciate that kids on the whole should be kept away from negative images and language, but to suggest that 9 year olds don't already know and use all the words used in South Park is just a little bit naive. I think it is very funny indeed, and by banning it or trying to stop people watching it, it can only serve to make kids want to watch it more. Just tell them they can watch it, laugh all they like, but be aware that using that kind of language will eventually land them in deep...trouble. Relax!
A 28 year old, United Kingdom

Since my young nephew began watching South Park (he's 10 years old) he's begun punting his sisters toy dolls over the back of the sofa and shouting 'kick ass'. I also caught him ripping the limbs off of his Action Man and dragging them away with a wind up mouse. In fact he's a far more interesting child than he ever was and I think our family Christmas will be much improved. Thanks to Trey & Parker.
Argy-Bargy Bosenchrist, England

Cartman is not a positive role model, but then he was never meant to be...It is obvious that he is a cartoon, it would be worse to see if it was a "real" child on screen. Kids aren't as stupid as we adults think they are. They can tell the difference between cartoons and real life.
Alex Ford, UK

I doubt that anyone sees Cartman as a role model. I imagine the kids like him because he's *funny*
Paul E Harbinson, UK

Just give up and go with it. Do so many people really forget what it was like as a kid? South Park is over the top, but also hits pretty close to the mark.
Jeff T, USA

Good role model? Absolutely not. Accurate depiction of typical American pre-teenage behaviour... Absolutely
Ernest Teves, USA

Lighten up, folks! If your kids sat in front of the TV and saw the horrors in Turkey, this is nothing!
Mark M. Newdick, USA

I'm 21, and love to watch "South Park," but the animation is not for young children to see. The subject matter and the language should not be viewed by children. Parents and adults need to assume responsibility and keep children from watching this cartoon. The cartoon is made for adults to see: not children.
Jenikya, USA

I don't know about a role model for kids...he's my role model too.
Jim, UK

"South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut" has to be the funniest film of the 90's. The Canadians here in Kuching loved it too. However, I don't expect to see it advertised at the local Cineplex any time soon.
Christopher Smith, Borneo

I think as a very keen viewer of South Park that Cartman is my role model. I'm 11 years old he's 8, I'm bolshy - so is he. My life's been great so far, I'm sure if everyone took a leaf out of Cartman's book everything would be great.
Oliver Woolf, UK

They're on after the watershed, the time children should not be watching. They're not meant to be role models.
G Simpson, UK

I know that some parents may be upset to see that Eric Cartman was named top cartoon character by British children between 8 & 9, however it is important to remember that this show is aimed at adults, not kids. All of this tells me that parents are allowing their kids to see this adult cartoon, so who should we blame, the animators who make the cartoon or the parents who let the little ones watch it. Think about it.
Richard Motroni, USA

All children swear But not in front of their parents so the adults think they have little angels, but when the kids are among their friends they could swear for the UK in the Olympics
Katy Barrimore, England

If concerned parents are so bothered about movies providing negative role models for their children perhaps they should look at the characters that condone the high-school fascism prevalent in many US schools. Movies such as Varsity Blues, She's All That and TV shows like Dawson's Creek idolise the athletic young males and perfect young girls as ideals that young kids should aspire to. In light of these elitist examples any child that models themselves on Eric Cartman should be commended for complemented for choosing a character that at least has some sense of free will.
Adam Taylor, U.K.

I think it's good that a show like this has come along and shed light on something that anybody who's ever been a child already knows. Kids are indeed "little b******s" as M. Stone, South Park's creator attests. Anything that can stop us looking back on our childhood with rose tinted nostalgia, and help us to see that period as something far more interesting can only be a good thing. If South Park is what our society needs to finally make us aware of the obvious, then that says something kind of interesting about our society, but once we are aware, hopefully we can try and do something about it. To quote Steven King, that most unlikely of all sources, "I said to my own kids, "if you think your childhood was the best years of your life, you've got a big f***ing problem."
Christian Donlan, UK

As with so many things of this nature, one either understands the humour or not. The Magic Roundabout springs to mind because a few years ago, similar issues were raised. The sad truth is that Master Stone's humour is a lot more appealing than Blue Peter to our little ones. And a lot funnier.
Nicholas Dugdale Moore, England

Of course he's not. The show is disgusting, degenerate and filthy. And that's speaking as a huge fan! I love the show. But I still couldn't argue that it was suitable for kids. But bear in mind the caveat that goes out at the beginning: "This show should not be watched by anyone." There is a reason that the show goes out as late as it does: The Watershed, which exists solely to give guidance to viewers as to the likely nature of a TV show. Take heed. This is not a show for children, no matter the fact that it is an animation. Would you let a kid watch the Manga animations from Japan (generally rated 15 and 18)?
Matt Dowson, UK

Without a shadow of a doubt, the profane drivel that goes by the name of South Park is the worst form of so-called entertainment one could possibly imagine. Having one of the main characters as a children's role model is akin to Idi Amin playing Santa Claus.
While The Simpsons was forgivable in a sense, South Park is nothing more than a serious crime against decency and moral standards everywhere.
Neil Ashurst, UK expat in Ghana

Although I find South Park funny I do not think it is appropriate for children. My partner's two children are not allowed to watch it - friends of theirs repeat the language regularly. Certainly shouldn't be a role model.
Clare Halfpenny, United Kingdom

I enjoy some episodes of the television series, but haven't seen the movie (which has been released in Australia for about five weeks). I feel that this program is for adults. Just because it is a cartoon does not mean that it is for children, as some television stations seem to think. Cartman isn't meant to be a "suitable role model". He is the opposite; a satirical and exaggerative look at the effect today's society is having on children in an adult cartoon.
Harvie, Australia

I have watched the show a couple of times, but my kids are addicted to it. Are we now so numb to violence and abuse that it is now considered mainstream entertainment?
John Atkins, Singapore

South Park is an adult show in the U.S. shown at 10pm. It was never intended for children and should not be shown in GB until adult viewing hours!
Tori, USA

Eric Cartman represents all that is good with America.
Krow, USA

That is irrelevant, the next step that always follows this question is whether or not to censor the role model. We should avoid anything in that direction
Morgan, USA

I have nothing against South Park, in fact I find it very funny. The problem is that it is an ADULT cartoon, and it was created to be for adults only. The problem we now face is that it has become incredibly popular with kids too. So the dilemma is - do we ban it because the kids watch it? Or do we keep it because adults watch it? I think the solution is to keep it. Parents should be more responsible for what their children watch.
Alex Walker, UK

The creators of this show are great, it is a hilarious show and all the adults who don't like it are to uptight and sheltering. Children hear worse in school!
John Kraft, USA

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©

Entertainment Contents

TV and Radio
New Media

Relevant Stories

26 Aug 99 | Entertainment
Cartman top with kids