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Kenny McCormick

Kenny McCormick

Overview
Kenneth "Kenny" McCormick (sometimes spelled as McKormick) is a fictional character
Fictional character
A character is the representation of a person in a narrative work of art . Derived from the ancient Greek word kharaktêr , the earliest use in English, in this sense, dates from the Restoration, although it became widely used after its appearance in Tom Jones in 1749. From this, the sense of...

 in the animated television series South Park
South Park
South Park is an American animated television series created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone for the Comedy Central television network. Intended for mature audiences, the show has become famous for its crude language, surreal, satirical, and dark humor that lampoons a wide range of topics...

. He is one of the four central characters along with his friends Stan Marsh
Stan Marsh
Stanley Randall "Stan" Marsh is a fictional character in the animated television series South Park. He is voiced by and loosely based on series co-creator Trey Parker. Stan is one of the show's four central characters, along with his friends Kyle Broflovski, Kenny McCormick, and Eric Cartman...

, Kyle Broflovski
Kyle Broflovski
Kyle Broflovski is a fictional character in the animated television series South Park. He is voiced by co-creator Matt Stone. Kyle is one of the show's four central characters, along with his friends Stan Marsh, Kenny McCormick, and Eric Cartman...

, and Eric Cartman
Eric Cartman
Eric Theodore Cartman is a fictional character in the American animated television series South Park. One of four main characters, along with Stan Marsh, Kyle Broflovski, and Kenny McCormick, he is generally referred to within the series by his last name...

. His oft-muffled and indiscernible speech—the result of his parka
Anorak
An anorak or parka is a type of heavy jacket with a hood, often lined with fur or fake fur, so as to protect the face from a combination of freezing temperatures and wind...

 hood covering his mouth—is provided by co-creator Matt Stone
Matt Stone
Matthew Richard "Matt" Stone is an American screenwriter, producer, voice artist, musician and actor, best known for being the co-creator of South Park along with creative partner and best friend, Trey Parker....

. He debuted on television when South Park first aired on August 13, 1997, after having first appeared in The Spirit of Christmas
The Spirit of Christmas (short film)
The Spirit of Christmas is the name of two different animated short films made by Trey Parker and Matt Stone. They are notable for being precursors to the animated series South Park. To differentiate the two, they are often referred to as Jesus vs. Frosty and Jesus vs. Santa .- Jesus vs. Frosty...

shorts created by Stone and long-time collaborator Trey Parker
Trey Parker
Trey Parker is an American animator, screenwriter, director, producer, voice artist, musician and actor, best known for being the co-creator of the television series South Park along with his creative partner and best friend Matt Stone.Parker started his film career in 1992, making a holiday short...

 in 1992 (Jesus vs. Frosty) and 1995 (Jesus vs. Santa).

Kenny is a third- then fourth-grade student who commonly has extraordinary experiences not typical of conventional small-town life in his hometown of South Park, Colorado
Colorado
Colorado is a U.S. state that encompasses much of the Rocky Mountains as well as the northeastern portion of the Colorado Plateau and the western edge of the Great Plains...

, where he lives with his relatively poor redneck family.
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Encyclopedia
Kenneth "Kenny" McCormick (sometimes spelled as McKormick) is a fictional character
Fictional character
A character is the representation of a person in a narrative work of art . Derived from the ancient Greek word kharaktêr , the earliest use in English, in this sense, dates from the Restoration, although it became widely used after its appearance in Tom Jones in 1749. From this, the sense of...

 in the animated television series South Park
South Park
South Park is an American animated television series created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone for the Comedy Central television network. Intended for mature audiences, the show has become famous for its crude language, surreal, satirical, and dark humor that lampoons a wide range of topics...

. He is one of the four central characters along with his friends Stan Marsh
Stan Marsh
Stanley Randall "Stan" Marsh is a fictional character in the animated television series South Park. He is voiced by and loosely based on series co-creator Trey Parker. Stan is one of the show's four central characters, along with his friends Kyle Broflovski, Kenny McCormick, and Eric Cartman...

, Kyle Broflovski
Kyle Broflovski
Kyle Broflovski is a fictional character in the animated television series South Park. He is voiced by co-creator Matt Stone. Kyle is one of the show's four central characters, along with his friends Stan Marsh, Kenny McCormick, and Eric Cartman...

, and Eric Cartman
Eric Cartman
Eric Theodore Cartman is a fictional character in the American animated television series South Park. One of four main characters, along with Stan Marsh, Kyle Broflovski, and Kenny McCormick, he is generally referred to within the series by his last name...

. His oft-muffled and indiscernible speech—the result of his parka
Anorak
An anorak or parka is a type of heavy jacket with a hood, often lined with fur or fake fur, so as to protect the face from a combination of freezing temperatures and wind...

 hood covering his mouth—is provided by co-creator Matt Stone
Matt Stone
Matthew Richard "Matt" Stone is an American screenwriter, producer, voice artist, musician and actor, best known for being the co-creator of South Park along with creative partner and best friend, Trey Parker....

. He debuted on television when South Park first aired on August 13, 1997, after having first appeared in The Spirit of Christmas
The Spirit of Christmas (short film)
The Spirit of Christmas is the name of two different animated short films made by Trey Parker and Matt Stone. They are notable for being precursors to the animated series South Park. To differentiate the two, they are often referred to as Jesus vs. Frosty and Jesus vs. Santa .- Jesus vs. Frosty...

shorts created by Stone and long-time collaborator Trey Parker
Trey Parker
Trey Parker is an American animator, screenwriter, director, producer, voice artist, musician and actor, best known for being the co-creator of the television series South Park along with his creative partner and best friend Matt Stone.Parker started his film career in 1992, making a holiday short...

 in 1992 (Jesus vs. Frosty) and 1995 (Jesus vs. Santa).

Kenny is a third- then fourth-grade student who commonly has extraordinary experiences not typical of conventional small-town life in his hometown of South Park, Colorado
Colorado
Colorado is a U.S. state that encompasses much of the Rocky Mountains as well as the northeastern portion of the Colorado Plateau and the western edge of the Great Plains...

, where he lives with his relatively poor redneck family. Kenny is animated by computer in a way to emulate the show's original method of cutout animation
Cutout animation
Cutout animation is a technique for producing animations using flat characters, props and backgrounds cut from materials such as paper, card, stiff fabric or even photographs...

. He also appears in the 1999 full-length feature film South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut
South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut
South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut is a 1999 animated musical comedy film based on the animated television series South Park, created by Matt Stone and Trey Parker. The film was directed by Parker, who also stars along with the rest of the regular voice cast from the series, including Stone, Mary...

, as well as South Park-related media and merchandise.

In a running gag
Running gag
A running gag, or running joke, is a literary device that takes the form of an amusing joke or a comical reference and appears repeatedly throughout a work of literature or other form of storytelling....

 most prevalent during the first five seasons of the series, Kenny would die in many episodes before returning in the next with little or no definitive explanation given. Other characters' accompanying exclamation of "Oh my God, they killed Kenny! ...You bastards!" became a catchphrase. Academics and media commentators have published their interpretations of the many aspects of the running gag from philosophical and societal viewpoints. Since the show began its sixth season
South Park (season 6)
Season six of South Park, an American animated television series created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, began airing on March 6, 2002. The sixth season concluded after 17 episodes on December 11, 2002. This season is notable for being the only one without Kenny as a main character, as he was...

 in 2002, the practice of killing Kenny in each episode has been seldom used by the show's creators. Various episodes have set up the gag, sometimes presenting a number of explanations for Kenny's unacknowledged reappearances.

Role in South Park


Kenny attends South Park Elementary as part of Mr. Garrison's fourth grade
Fourth grade
Fourth grade is a year of education in the United States and many other nations. The fourth grade is the fourth school year after kindergarten. Students are usually 9 or 10 years old, depending on their birthday. It is a part of elementary school. In some parts of the United States, fourth grade...

 class. During the first 58 episodes, Kenny and the other main child characters were in the third grade
Third grade
In the United States, third grade is a year of primary education. It is the third school year after kindergarten. Students are usually 8 – 9 years old, depending on when their birthday occurs....

. Kenny comes from a poor household, presided over by his violent, alcoholic and unemployed parents, Stuart and Carol McCormick. Kenny has an older brother, Kevin, and younger sister was shown with his family in the season nine
South Park (season 9)
Season nine of the American animated television series South Park began airing on March 9, 2005. This season is home to two of the show's most controversial episodes : "Trapped in the Closet" Season nine of the American animated television series South Park began airing on March 9, 2005. This...

 episode "Best Friends Forever
Best Friends Forever
"Best Friends Forever" is the fourth episode of the ninth season of the American animated television series series South Park. It was written and directed by co-creator Trey Parker and first aired on Comedy Central in the United States on March 30, 2005....

", without having made an appearance in another episode until the 15th season episode The Poor Kid
The Poor Kid
"The Poor Kid" is the fifteenth season finale of the American animated television series South Park, and the 223rd episode of the series overall. It first aired on Comedy Central in the United States on November 16, 2011. In the episode, Kenny and his brother and sister are sent to a foster home...

 where we learn her name is Karen. When addressing fan speculation that the girl was Kenny's sister, series co-creator Matt Stone
Matt Stone
Matthew Richard "Matt" Stone is an American screenwriter, producer, voice artist, musician and actor, best known for being the co-creator of South Park along with creative partner and best friend, Trey Parker....

 merely stated that the character was a "mystery". Kenny is friends with Stan and Kyle, and has indicated that he maintains a friendship with Cartman solely out of pity. Kenny is regularly teased for living in poverty, particularly by Cartman. When it comes to sexually related subjects, he is the most knowledgeable of the group, and the others will typically ask for his explanation of sexual matters unknown to them.

Kenny's superhero
Superhero
A superhero is a type of stock character, possessing "extraordinary or superhuman powers", dedicated to protecting the public. Since the debut of the prototypical superhero Superman in 1938, stories of superheroes — ranging from brief episodic adventures to continuing years-long sagas —...

 alter ego
Alter ego
An alter ego is a second self, which is believe to be distinct from a person's normal or original personality. The term was coined in the early nineteenth century when dissociative identity disorder was first described by psychologists...

, Mysterion, first appeared in the Season 13 episode "The Coon
The Coon
"The Coon" is the second episode of the thirteenth season of the American animated television series South Park, and the 183rd overall episode of the series. It originally aired on Comedy Central in the United States on March 18, 2009...

", as a rival to Eric Cartman's titular superhero alter ego, revealing himself at the end of the episode to the characters, but his identity was not revealed to the viewers until the Season 14 episode "Mysterion Rises
Mysterion Rises
"Mysterion Rises" is the twelfth episode of the fourteenth season of South Park. It aired on Comedy Central on November 3, 2010 and is the second of a three-part arc that began with the episode "Coon 2: Hindsight"....

", the character's third appearance as part of a story arc.

Deaths


Prior to season six
South Park (season 6)
Season six of South Park, an American animated television series created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, began airing on March 6, 2002. The sixth season concluded after 17 episodes on December 11, 2002. This season is notable for being the only one without Kenny as a main character, as he was...

, Kenny died in almost every episode, with only a few exceptions.Exceptions include "Mr. Hankey, the Christmas Poo" and "Fat Camp
Fat Camp (South Park)
"Fat Camp" is the fifteenth episode of the fourth season of the animated television series South Park, and the 63rd episode of the series overall. "Fat Camp" originally aired in the United States on December 6, 2000 on Comedy Central...

". He also seems to die (but turns out to be alive) in some episodes, including "Rainforest Shmainforest" and the two-part episode "Do the Handicapped Go to Hell?
Do the Handicapped Go to Hell?
"Do the Handicapped Go to Hell?" is the ninth episode of the fourth season of the animated television series South Park, and 57th episode of the series overall. "Do the Handicapped Go to Hell?" originally aired in the United States on July 19, 2000 on Comedy Central. It is the first part of a two...

" / "Probably".
The nature of the deaths were often gruesome and portrayed in a comically absurd fashion, and usually followed by Stan and Kyle respectively yelling "Oh my God, they/you/he/she/I/we killed Kenny!" and "(You) bastard(s)!". Shortly afterward, rats would commonly appear and begin picking at his corpse. Stone and Parker revealed that when Stan exclaims "They killed Kenny!" and Kyle exclaims "You bastard(s)!", it is apparently not directed towards anyone in particular; they are actually referring to Stone and Parker themselves, as though they were an omnipresence within the show's universe. In a following episode, Kenny would reappear alive and well, usually without any explanation. Most characters appear oblivious or indifferent to the phenomenon, although occasionally one will acknowledge an awareness of it. In "Cherokee Hair Tampons
Cherokee Hair Tampons
"Cherokee Hair Tampons" is the sixth episode of the fourth season of the animated television series South Park, and the 54th episode of the series overall. "Cherokee Hair Tampons" originally aired in the United States on June 28, 2000 on Comedy Central....

", Kenny gets irritated and offended when Stan laments Kyle's critical condition while utterly ignoring Kenny's past demises.

Near the end of the production run of the show's fifth season
South Park (season 5)
Season five of South Park, an American animated television series created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, began airing on June 20, 2001. The fifth season concluded after 14 episodes on December 12, 2001...

, Parker and Stone contemplated having an episode in which Kenny was killed off permanently. The reasoning behind the idea was to genuinely surprise fans, and to allow an opportunity to provide a major role for Butters Stotch
Butters Stotch
Leopold "Butters" Stotch is a fictional character in the animated television series South Park. He is voiced by series co-creator Matt Stone and loosely based on co-producer Eric Stough. He is a fourth-grade student who commonly has extraordinary experiences not typical of conventional small-town...

, a breakout character whose popularity was growing with the viewers and creators of the show. In the episode "Kenny Dies
Kenny Dies
"Kenny Dies" is the thirteenth episode of the fifth season of the animated television series South Park, and the 78th episode of the series overall. "Kenny Dies" originally aired in the United States on December 5, 2001 on Comedy Central. In the episode, Cartman comes across a truckload of fetuses...

", Kenny dies after developing a terminal
Terminal illness
Terminal illness is a medical term popularized in the 20th century to describe a disease that cannot be cured or adequately treated and that is reasonably expected to result in the death of the patient within a short period of time. This term is more commonly used for progressive diseases such as...

 muscular disease, while Parker and Stone claimed that Kenny would not be returning in subsequent episodes. The duo insisted they grew tired of upholding the tradition of having Kenny die in each episode. Stone stated that thinking of humorous ways to kill the character was initially fun, but became more mundane as the series progressed. When they determined that it would be too difficult to develop the character because he was too much of a "prop", Parker and Stone finally decided to kill off Kenny permanently.
For much of season six, Kenny remained gone from the show, though both Stone and Parker entertained the idea of eventually bringing the character back. According to Stone, only a small minority of fans were significantly angered by Kenny's absence, with some even threatening to boycott Comedy Central
Comedy Central
Comedy Central is an American cable television and satellite television channel that carries comedy programming, both original and syndicated....

, the cable channel on which South Park is aired. For most of the season, Stan, Kyle, and Cartman fill the void left by Kenny by allowing the characters Butters Stotch
Butters Stotch
Leopold "Butters" Stotch is a fictional character in the animated television series South Park. He is voiced by series co-creator Matt Stone and loosely based on co-producer Eric Stough. He is a fourth-grade student who commonly has extraordinary experiences not typical of conventional small-town...

 and Tweek Tweak into their group, paving the way for the characters to receive more focus on the show. Nevertheless, Kenny returned from the year-long absence in the season six finale "Red Sleigh Down
Red Sleigh Down
"Red Sleigh Down" is episode 96 of the Comedy Central series South Park. It originally aired on December 11, 2002. The episode is notable for the return of Kenny from his death in Season Five...

", and has remained a starring character ever since. His character no longer dies each week, and has only been killed occasionally in episodes following his return.

The first explanation given for Kenny's deaths and reappearances was given in "Cartman Joins NAMBLA
Cartman Joins NAMBLA
"Cartman Joins NAMBLA" is the fifth episode of the fourth season of the animated television series South Park, and the 53rd episode of the series overall...

", wherein the McCormicks have a baby exactly like Kenny, including the characteristic orange parka, shortly after the former Kenny dies. Mr. McCormick exclaims, "God, this must be the fiftieth time this has happened", to which Mrs. McCormick quickly replies, "Fifty-second". (The episode is the fifty-third in the series, but Kenny was spared in the first season Christmas episode.) This explanation is expanded upon in the Season 14 episodes "Coon 2: Hindsight
Coon 2: Hindsight
"Coon 2: Hindsight" is the eleventh episode of the fourteenth season of animated television series South Park, and the 206th episode of the series overall....

", "Mysterion Rises
Mysterion Rises
"Mysterion Rises" is the twelfth episode of the fourteenth season of South Park. It aired on Comedy Central on November 3, 2010 and is the second of a three-part arc that began with the episode "Coon 2: Hindsight"....

" and "Coon vs. Coon and Friends
Coon vs. Coon and Friends
"Coon vs. Coon and Friends" is the thirteenth episode of the fourteenth season of Comedy Central's series South Park. It originally aired on November 10, 2010...

", in which Kenny, while playing superheroes with his friends, claims his "super power" is immortality. He actually dies several times during these episodes—even committing suicide more than once—reawakening in his bed each time. He is annoyed and angry that no one can remember him dying every time he regenerates, and longs to know the source of his power. Unbeknownst to him, his parents were previously connected to a Cthulhu
Cthulhu
Cthulhu is a fictional character that first appeared in the short story "The Call of Cthulhu", published in the pulp magazine Weird Tales in 1928. The character was created by writer H. P...

-worshipping death cult. After shooting himself the second time, Mrs. McCormick awakes with a scream, shrieks "It's happening again!", and minutes later, is shown gently placing a newborn Kenny in his bed. "We should never have gone to that stupid cult meeting," she grouses as she and her husband return to bed.

Creation and design



Kenny is closely based on a childhood friend of Parker who was also named Kenny, with whom he shares several attributes; he was the poorest kid in the neighborhood and would wear a tightly-drawn orange parka that muffled his speech and brown gloves. When developing the character, the show's creators had observed that most groups of childhood friends in small middle-class towns always included "the one poor kid", and decided to portray Kenny in this light. The practice of killing off the character in each of the show's earlier episodes was inspired by events associated with the real-life Kenny's tendency to skip school
Truancy
Truancy is any intentional unauthorized absence from compulsory schooling. The term typically describes absences caused by students of their own free will, and usually does not refer to legitimate "excused" absences, such as ones related to medical conditions...

; noting his absence at the school bus stop, Parker and his other friends would jokingly assume that he had actually died, and then act as if nothing had happened when the character's namesake would re-join them days later to resume attending class.

An unnamed precursor to Kenny first appeared in the first The Spirit of Christmas short, dubbed Jesus vs. Frosty, created by Parker and Stone in 1992 while they were students at the University of Colorado
University of Colorado at Boulder
The University of Colorado Boulder is a public research university located in Boulder, Colorado...

. The character was composed of construction paper
Construction paper
Construction paper is a tough, coarse, colored paper. The texture is slightly rough, and the surface is unfinished. Due to the source material, small particles are visible on the paper’s surface. It is used for projects or crafts....

 cutouts and animated through the use of stop motion
Stop motion
Stop motion is an animation technique to make a physically manipulated object appear to move on its own. The object is moved in small increments between individually photographed frames, creating the illusion of movement when the series of frames is played as a continuous sequence...

. When tasked three years later by friend Brian Graden
Brian Graden
-Biography:Graden grew up in Illinois and graduated from Hillsboro High School in 1981. He graduated from Oral Roberts University in 1985 with a degree in business, and later graduated with an MBA from Harvard University....

 to create another short as a video
Video
Video is the technology of electronically capturing, recording, processing, storing, transmitting, and reconstructing a sequence of still images representing scenes in motion.- History :...

 Christmas card
Christmas card
A Christmas card is a greeting card sent as part of the traditional celebration of Christmas in order to convey between people a range of sentiments related to the Christmas and holiday season. Christmas cards are usually exchanged during the weeks preceding Christmas Day by many people in Western...

 that he could send to friends, Parker and Stone created another similarly-animated The Spirit of Christmas short, dubbed Jesus vs. Santa. In this short, Kenny is given his first name, and first appears as he does in the series. Kenny next appeared on August 13, 1997, when South Park debuted on Comedy Central
Comedy Central
Comedy Central is an American cable television and satellite television channel that carries comedy programming, both original and syndicated....

 with the episode "Cartman Gets An Anal Probe
Cartman Gets an Anal Probe
"Cartman Gets an Anal Probe" is the first episode of the animated television series South Park. It first aired on Comedy Central in the United States on August 13, 1997...

".

In tradition with the show's animation style
Cutout animation
Cutout animation is a technique for producing animations using flat characters, props and backgrounds cut from materials such as paper, card, stiff fabric or even photographs...

, Kenny is composed of simple geometrical shapes and primary color
Primary color
Primary colors are sets of colors that can be combined to make a useful range of colors. For human applications, three primary colors are usually used, since human color vision is trichromatic....

s. He is not offered the same free range of motion associated with hand-drawn characters; his character is mostly shown from only one angle, and his movements are animated in an intentionally jerky fashion. Ever since the show's second episode, "Weight Gain 4000
Weight Gain 4000
"Weight Gain 4000" is the second episode of the first season of the animated television series South Park. It first aired on Comedy Central in the United States on August 20, 1997. In the episode, the residents of South Park excitedly prepare for a visit by celebrity Kathie Lee Gifford, whom the...

" (season one
South Park (season 1)
The first season of the American animated television series South Park initially ran for 13 episodes on the US network Comedy Central, from August 13, 1997 to February 25, 1998. The creators of the series, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, wrote and directed most of the season's episodes, while Dan...

, 1997), Kenny, like all other characters on the show, has been animated with computer software, though he is portrayed to give the impression that the show still utilizes its original technique.
The effect of Kenny's speech is achieved by Stone mumbling into his own hand as he provides Kenny's lines, while the recorded audio is then edited with Pro Tools
Pro Tools
Pro Tools is a digital audio workstation platform for Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X operating systems, developed and manufactured by Avid Technology. It is widely used by professionals throughout the audio industries for recording and editing in music production, film scoring, film, and television...

, and the pitch is altered to make the voice sound more like that of a fourth grader. As the technique of Kenny's muzzled enunciation frequently implies, many of his lines are indeed profane and sexually explicit, the lengthier of which are mostly improvised by Stone.

He first appeared unobscured by his hood in South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut
South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut
South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut is a 1999 animated musical comedy film based on the animated television series South Park, created by Matt Stone and Trey Parker. The film was directed by Parker, who also stars along with the rest of the regular voice cast from the series, including Stone, Mary...

, where it was revealed that he had messy golden hair. In a cameo appearance during this moment in the film, Mike Judge
Mike Judge
Michael Craig Judge is an American animator, film director, writer and voice actor, best known as the creator and star of the animated television series Beavis and Butt-head , King of the Hill , and The Goode Family .He also wrote, directed and in some instances produced the films Beavis and...

 provided the voice for Kenny's one line of uninsulated dialogue: "Goodbye, you guys." On a few occasions during episodes that have originally aired since the film's release, he has been seen without the parka.Including "The Tooth Fairy Tats 2000
The Tooth Fairy Tats 2000
"The Tooth Fairy Tats 2000" is episode 49 of Comedy Central's South Park. It originally aired on April 5, 2000.-Plot:...

", "Super Best Friends
Super Best Friends
"Super Best Friends" is the third episode of the fifth season of the American animated television series South Park, and the 68th episode of the series overall. It first aired on Comedy Central in the United States on July 4, 2001. The episode depicts several religious figures, including Muhammad,...

", "Lil' Crime Stoppers
Lil' Crime Stoppers
"Lil' Crime Stoppers" is 102nd episode of the Comedy Central series South Park. It originally aired on April 23, 2003.-Plot:Stan, Kyle, Cartman and Kenny decide to play detective; they go around the town solving minor "crimes" for a dollar. They first investigate the disappearance of a pie left...

", "The Jeffersons", "Good Times with Weapons
Good Times with Weapons
"Good Times with Weapons" is episode 112 of South Park. The first episode of Season 8, it originally aired on March 17, 2004. The episode's animation routinely switches from the usual cutout-and-solid-color style to a highly stylized anime theme. Asian-style ambience plays in the background.This...

", "The Losing Edge
The Losing Edge
"The Losing Edge" is the fifth episode of the ninth season of the American animated series South Park. It originally aired April 6, 2005.-Plot:...

", "South Park Is Gay!
South Park Is Gay!
"South Park Is Gay!" is the eighth episode of the seventh season of the American animated television series South Park. It originally aired on Comedy Central in the United States on October 22, 2003...

", "Lice Capades
Lice Capades
"Lice Capades" is the third episode of the eleventh season of Comedy Central's animated television series South Park, and the 156th episode overall. It first aired on aired on March 21, 2007. In the episode, all the students at South Park Elementary are checked for head lice and, to his horror,...

", "Margaritaville
Margaritaville (South Park)
"Margaritaville" is the third episode of the thirteenth season of the American animated television series South Park, and the 184th overall episode of the series. It originally aired on Comedy Central in the United States on March 25, 2009. The episode is a satire and commentary on the global...

", "W.T.F.
W.T.F.
"W.T.F." is the 10th episode of the 13th season of the American animated television series South Park, and the 191st overall episode of the series. It originally aired on Comedy Central in the United States on October 21, 2009...

", "Pee
Pee (South Park)
"Pee" is the thirteenth season finale of the American animated television series South Park, and the 195th overall episode of the series. It originally aired on Comedy Central in the United States on November 18, 2009...

", and "You're Getting Old
You're Getting Old
"You're Getting Old" is the seventh episode and mid-season finale of the fifteenth season of the American animated television series South Park, and the 216th episode of the series overall. It first aired on Comedy Central in the United States on June 8, 2011...

".
He also speaks unmuffled during some of these instances, in which case co-producer Eric Stough
Eric Stough
Eric Stough is the animation director and producer of the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning television series South Park. He was also the animation director of South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut and has worked with Parker and Stone on Orgazmo, Team America: World Police and the Broadway hit The Book...

 will provide Kenny's voice. During "The Coon
The Coon
"The Coon" is the second episode of the thirteenth season of the American animated television series South Park, and the 183rd overall episode of the series. It originally aired on Comedy Central in the United States on March 18, 2009...

" episodes of seasons 13 and 14, Kenny has his first major speaking role as the character Mysterion.

Personality and traits


While most child characters on the show are foul-mouthed, Kenny is often even more risqué with his dialogue. Parker and Stone state that they depict Kenny and his friends in this manner in order to display how young boys really talk when they are alone. While sometimes cynical and profane, Parker still notes that there is an "underlying sweetness" aspect to the character, and Time
Time (magazine)
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

magazine described Kenny and his friends as "sometimes cruel but with a core of innocence". He is amused by toilet humor and bodily functions, and his favorite television personalities are Terrance and Phillip, a Canadian
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 duo whose comedy routines on their show-within-the-show revolve substantially around fart jokes. Kenny is also lecherous, and often portrayed as being eager to do and say disgusting things in an attempt to impress others or earn money. Conversely, his alter-ego Mysterion is seemingly mature, principled, and serious-minded, the only exception being one instance in "Mysterion Rises" in which he takes delight in irritating Cartman. In all of his guises Kenny is also often depicted as being uncommonly selfless, even dying for the sake of others.

Cultural impact



Kenny's deaths are well-known in popular culture, and was one of the things viewers most commonly associated with South Park during its earlier seasons. The exclamation of "Oh my God! They killed Kenny!" quickly became a popular catchphrase, while both Kenny and the phrase have appeared on some of the more popular pieces of South Park merchandise, including shirts, bumper stickers, calendars and baseball caps, and inspired the rap song "Kenny's Dead" by Master P
Master P
Percy Robert Miller , better known by his stage name Master P or his business name P. Miller, is an American rapper, actor, entrepreneur, investor, and producer. He is the founder of the popular label No Limit Records, which went bankrupt and was relaunched as New No Limit Records through Koch...

, which was featured on Chef Aid: The South Park Album
Chef Aid: The South Park Album
-Episode reference:- Singles :* "Chocolate Salty Balls "CD1# "Chocolate Salty Balls " - Performed By Chef# "Oh Holy Night" - Performed By Eric Cartman...

. The catchphrase also appears in MAD magazine's satire of TITANIC where Stan, Kyle and Cartman are shown on a lifeboat while they were supposedly escaping from the sinking ship.

The running gag of Kenny's deaths in earlier seasons was incorporated into the season nine
South Park (season 9)
Season nine of the American animated television series South Park began airing on March 9, 2005. This season is home to two of the show's most controversial episodes : "Trapped in the Closet" Season nine of the American animated television series South Park began airing on March 9, 2005. This...

 (2005) episode "Best Friends Forever
Best Friends Forever
"Best Friends Forever" is the fourth episode of the ninth season of the American animated television series series South Park. It was written and directed by co-creator Trey Parker and first aired on Comedy Central in the United States on March 30, 2005....

" when Kenny, in a vegetative state, was kept alive by a feeding tube
Feeding tube
A feeding tube is a medical device used to provide nutrition to patients who cannot obtain nutrition by swallowing. The state of being fed by a feeding tube is called gavage, enteral feeding or tube feeding...

 while a media circus erupted over whether the tube should be removed and allow Kenny to die. The episode received much attention as it served to provide commentary on the Terri Schiavo case
Terri Schiavo case
The Terri Schiavo case was a legal battle in the United States between the legal guardians and the parents of Teresa Marie "Terri" Schiavo that lasted from 1998 to 2005...

, originally airing just one day before Schiavo died. The episode earned South Park its first Emmy Award
Emmy Award
An Emmy Award, often referred to simply as the Emmy, is a television production award, similar in nature to the Peabody Awards but more focused on entertainment, and is considered the television equivalent to the Academy Awards and the Grammy Awards .A majority of Emmys are presented in various...

 for Outstanding Animated Program
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program (For Programming less than One Hour)
The Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program is a Creative Arts Emmy Award which is given annually to an animated series which is judged to have been the best...

.

Kenny's deaths have been subject to much critical analysis in the media and literary world. In the book South Park and Philosophy: Bigger, Longer, and More Penetrating
South Park and Philosophy: Bigger, Longer, and More Penetrating
South Park and Philosophy: Bigger, Longer, and More Penetrating is a non-fiction book analyzing the philosophy and popular culture effects of South Park, published by Open Court...

, an essay by Southern Illinois University
Southern Illinois University
Southern Illinois University is a state university system based in Carbondale, Illinois, in the Southern Illinois region of the state, with multiple campuses...

 philosophy professor Dr. Randall Auxier
Randall Auxier
Randall E. Auxier is a professor of philosophy at Southern Illinois University.Born in Leitchfield, Kentucky, Auxier, the younger of two children, is the son of a veterinarian and a professional church musician...

, entitled "Killing Kenny: Our Daily Dose of Death", suggests that the fashion of the recurring gag serves to help the viewer become more comfortable with the inevitability of their own death. In the book South Park and Philosophy: You Know, I Learned Something Today, University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point
University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point
The University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point is a public university located in Stevens Point, Wisconsin...

 professor Karin Fry wrote an essay concerning the parallels between Kenny's role in the show and the different concepts of existentialism
Existentialism
Existentialism is a term applied to a school of 19th- and 20th-century philosophers who, despite profound doctrinal differences, shared the belief that philosophical thinking begins with the human subject—not merely the thinking subject, but the acting, feeling, living human individual...

.

When Sophie Rutschmann of the University of Strasbourg
University of Strasbourg
The University of Strasbourg in Strasbourg, Alsace, France, is the largest university in France, with about 43,000 students and over 4,000 researchers....

 discovered a mutated gene that causes an adult fruit fly
Drosophila melanogaster
Drosophila melanogaster is a species of Diptera, or the order of flies, in the family Drosophilidae. The species is known generally as the common fruit fly or vinegar fly. Starting from Charles W...

 to die within two days after it is infected with certain bacteria, she named the gene "Kenny" in honor of the character.

In other media


Kenny had a major role in South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut
South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut
South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut is a 1999 animated musical comedy film based on the animated television series South Park, created by Matt Stone and Trey Parker. The film was directed by Parker, who also stars along with the rest of the regular voice cast from the series, including Stone, Mary...

, the full-length film based on the series, and appeared on the film's soundtrack
South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (soundtrack)
South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut – Music from and Inspired by the Motion Picture is the soundtrack album to the film of the same name. The album was released on June 22, 1999, by Atlantic Records. The album inlay states that only the first 12 tracks on the album actually appear in the film...

 singing (albeit muffled) some of the same musical numbers performed in the movie. As a tribute to the Dead Parrot
Dead Parrot
The "Dead Parrot Sketch", alternatively and originally known as the "Pet Shop Sketch" or "Parrot Sketch", is a popular sketch from Monty Python's Flying Circus, and one of the most famous in the history of British television comedy...

 sketch, a short that features Kenny as a "dead friend" being returned by Cartman to a shop run by Kyle aired during a 1999 BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 television special commemorating the 30th anniversary of Monty Python's Flying Circus
Monty Python's Flying Circus
Monty Python’s Flying Circus is a BBC TV sketch comedy series. The shows were composed of surreality, risqué or innuendo-laden humour, sight gags and observational sketches without punchlines...

. Kenny was also featured in the documentary film
Documentary film
Documentary films constitute a broad category of nonfictional motion pictures intended to document some aspect of reality, primarily for the purposes of instruction or maintaining a historical record...

 The Aristocrats
The Aristocrats (film)
The Aristocrats is a 2005 documentary film about the famous dirty joke of the same name. It was conceived and produced by comedians Penn Jillette and Paul Provenza, edited by Emery Emery, and released to theaters by TH!NKFilm...

, listening to Cartman tell his version of the film's titular joke, and in the "The Gauntlet", a short spoofing both Gladiator
Gladiator (2000 film)
Gladiator is a 2000 historical epic film directed by Ridley Scott, starring Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen, Ralf Möller, Oliver Reed, Djimon Hounsou, Derek Jacobi, John Shrapnel and Richard Harris. Crowe portrays the loyal Roman General Maximus Decimus Meridius, who is betrayed...

and Battlefield Earth
Battlefield Earth (film)
Battlefield Earth is a 2000 American science fiction film adapted from L. Ron Hubbard's novel of the same name. It was directed by Roger Christian, and stars John Travolta, Forest Whitaker, and Barry Pepper...

that aired during the 2000 MTV Movie Awards
2000 MTV Movie Awards
The 2000 MTV Movie Awards were hosted by Sarah Jessica Parker. In conjunction with the success of a certain HBO Original Series at the time, the awards show presented a parody of Sex and the City and The Matrix during the program's opening...

.

Kenny also appears in four South Park-related video games: In South Park
South Park (video game)
South Park is a first-person shooter video game based on the first few seasons of the popular TV series of the same name. The game is powered by the Turok 2 game engine and was released in 1998 by Acclaim for the PC, Nintendo 64 and PlayStation. A Brazilian version was published by Gradiente for...

, Kenny is controlled by the player through the first person shooter mode who attempts to ward off enemies from terrorizing the town of South Park. In South Park: Chef's Luv Shack
South Park: Chef's Luv Shack
South Park: Chef's Luv Shack is a 2D game-show style video game based on the television show South Park. It was released in 1999 for the Dreamcast, PlayStation, Nintendo 64, and PC. It gained its popularity by having mini games and the ability to play against friends in a challenge for the most...

, a user has the option of playing as Kenny when participating in the game's several "minigames" based on other popular arcade games. In the racing game South Park Rally
South Park Rally
South Park Rally is a kart-style racing video game, based on the American animated comedy series South Park. Developed by Tantalus and published by Acclaim in 2000 – near the end of the third season of the show – for PlayStation, Windows , Nintendo 64 and Dreamcast systems, the game includes many...

, a user can race as Kenny against other users playing as other characters, while choosing to place him in any of a variety of vehicles. In South Park Let's Go Tower Defense Play!, Kenny can be selected as a playable character used to establish a tower defense
Tower defense
Tower defense is a subgenre of real-time strategy computer games.The goal of tower defense games is to try to stop enemies from crossing a map by building towers which shoot at them as they pass. Enemies and towers usually have varied abilities, costs, and ability costs...

against the game's antagonists.

External links