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Several student characters attend the fictional school South Park Elementary in the animated television show South Park. The school is one of the most prominent settings on the show, the narrative of which revolves mostly around the students.
While there have been a few characters from varying grades have been depicted in recurring minor roles, the students in the fourth grade—including central characters Stan Marsh, Kyle Broflovski, Kenny McCormick and Eric Cartman—receive the primary focus of the series. The fourth grade class is taught throughout most of the series by Mr. Garrison, with a hiatus between seasons 4 and 6 when he is replaced by Ms. Choksondik. These students also attended class under Mr. Garrison during their previous time as third graders during South Park's first three-and-a-half seasons.
In tradition with the show's cutout animation style, all characters listed below are composed of simple geometrical shapes and bright colors. Ever since the show's second episode, "Weight Gain 4000" (season one, 1997), all characters on South Park have been animated with computer software, though they are portrayed to give the impression that the show still utilizes the method of animating construction paper composition cutouts through the use of stop motion, which was the technique used in creating the show's first episode, "Cartman Gets an Anal Probe".
In addition to the main characters, other students below will sometimes give a brief monologue as a means of expressing the lessons they have attained during the course of an episode. Most of the characters are foul-mouthed as a means for series creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone to display how they claim young children really talk when they are alone. Most of the male students are amused by bodily functions and toilet humor, and their favorite television personalities are Terrance and Phillip, a Canadian duo whose comedy routines on their show-within-the-show revolve substantially around the usage of fart jokes. In response to the focus on elements of satire in South Park, Parker has said that the main goal of the show is to portray the students as "kids just being kids" as a means of accurately showcasing "what it's like to be in [elementary school] in America".
Bebe Stevens, voiced by South Park supervising producer Jennifer Howell, is Wendy Testaburger's best friend and has often been seen keeping company with fellow female classmates throughout the duration of the series. She has frizzy blonde hair and wears a red coat. Bebe first prominently appears in the season 1 episode "Weight Gain 4000", in which she is voiced by Mary Kay Bergman. In that episode, she narrates a play for Kathie Lee Gifford's visit to South Park and the play was directed by Mr. Garrison. In the season 2 episode "Clubhouses", she develops a crush on Kyle and uses a game of Truth or Dare? as an excuse to kiss him. She plays a major role in the episode "Bebe's Boobs Destroy Society", when the boys' attraction to her increases due to her newly developing breasts. She becomes disturbed by the level of attention she is receiving, and by the friction this causes between her and her female classmates, and after deciding that being given attention solely for her physique may lead to her becoming a spoiled, poorly-adjusted adult, she wears a cardboard box over her upper torso, concealing her breasts. This ends the mesmerizing effect that her breasts had on the boys, who now realizing why they were so smitten with her, and decide not to allow themselves to be so affected any longer. She later plays a large role in the season 11 episode "The List", where she abuses her powers within the girls' List Committee to rig a list ranking the boys by attractiveness so that Clyde is ranked the cutest boy, in order to acquire free shoes from his father's shoe store. She is arrested after a brawl with Wendy and accidentally shooting Kenny.
Leopold "Butters" Stotch, voiced by Matt Stone, is cheerful, naïve, optimistic, and more passive than the show's other child characters, and can become increasingly anxious, especially when faced with the likelihood of punishment by his parents. He is often treated poorly by other characters and put in painful or humiliating situations. Though he is treated with slightly more respect by Stan and Kyle in later seasons. As a result of his increasing popularity with the show's staff and fans, Butters was given a more prominent role beginning with the show's fifth season (2001). He sometimes takes the place of Kenny as Cartman's sidekick.
Clyde Donovan (originally Clyde Goodman and briefly Clyde Harris), voiced by Trey Parker, maintains a friendship with the show's main characters and is among the most often-seen of the boys' extended group, playing small roles in several episodes. He is known for his nasal voice and constant crying at "the drop of a hat". He is known in various episodes to be thinking highly of himself, while not really caring about how others really think of him. He made his first prominent appearance in the season 3 (1999) episode "Tweek vs. Craig" where he told everyone that both Tweek and Craig wussed out and went home instead of fighting each other. In the season 4 (2000) episode "Cartman's Silly Hate Crime 2000" as "the second fattest kid in class" besides Cartman, and is chosen to replace him in the sled race. The season 11 (2007) episode "Lice Capades" focuses heavily on Clyde and a group of anthropomorphic lice, who are portrayed as living in a civilized society on Clyde's head. Clyde was so embarrassed when a girl at the doctor's office asked what he was going in for that he said he had AIDS.
Clyde is featured in a few episodes. "The List", where the girls vote him the cutest boy in class, turning him into a superficial ladies' man (although this list is later revealed to be false). Clyde has another major appearance in the three-part story arc "Coon 2: Hindsight", "Mysterion Rises" and "Coon vs. Coon and Friends" appearing as his alter-ego Mosquito. Clyde is also the focus of the episode "Reverse Cowgirl", in which he causes his mother Betsy's death when he doesn't put the toilet seat down, causing her to fall in and have her organs ripped out by the pressure. The episode also reveals Clyde's father's name to be Roger, and that he has a sister.
Other episodes give more information about Clyde. It is revealed in "Crack Baby Athletic Association" that Clyde is part Dutch. In "Mystery of the Urinal Deuce", it is revealed that Clyde had a colostomy at the age of 5. In the episode "Quest for Ratings", Kyle reports that Clyde has only one testicle. Also, he is very good friends with Craig Tucker, often seen with him in many episodes.
Craig Tucker, voiced by Matt Stone, commonly characterized by his blue chullo hat and nasal monotone voice, is one of the more prominent members of the children's classroom. Cartman once claimed that Craig was the "biggest troublemaker in [their] class", and parents of his classmates have cited him as a "bad influence". In a running gag during the show's earlier seasons, establishing shots of Mr. Mackey's office would feature Craig waiting outside. But his activities were never seen. In the first several seasons, Craig has a habit of giving people the finger, a trait the show's official website attributes to his learning the behavior from his family, all of whom frequently use the gesture as well. This trait was last seen in the season 6 (2002) episode "Fun with Veal".
Craig dislikes the four main characters and rivals them in several episodes. Craig is a pragmatist and has no wish to become involved in any extraordinary adventures the other main characters on the show customarily experience. In the season 12 (2008) episodes "Pandemic" and "Pandemic 2 - The Startling", Craig repeatedly castigates the main characters' propensity for engaging in schemes that catastrophically backfire upon them. He also complains that they just seem to blindly accept that these things happen to them. He decides that he will no longer participate in such schemes, and walks away from the one in which they find themselves in the latter episode. However, by taking this action he fulfills an ancient prophecy, by stepping on a mysterious platform that allows him to defeat the giant guinea pig monster responsible for that story line's conflict. He concludes from this that just because there are things in life that cannot be controlled does not mean that one should accept them without protest.
Despite his dislike of the main characters, particularly Cartman, he is often depicted as one of the boys who repeatedly join Cartman in his many schemes, at times serving as a right-hand man.
Eric Cartman, voiced by Trey Parker, is commonly referred to as just Cartman. He is one of the show's four main characters and one of the most popular and iconic. He is obese, obnoxious, racist, homophobic, anti-Semitic, and practically sociopathic in his attitude. Most other students are alienated by Cartman's insensitive, often misogynistic, and bigoted behavior, though they are occasionally influenced by his obtrusive, manipulative, and propagandist antics.
Jimmy Valmer (formerly Jimmy Swanson and sometimes spelled Vulmer), voiced by Trey Parker, is physically handicapped, requiring forearm crutches in order to walk. His disability has never been specified on the show but seems visually and functionally similar to Cerebral palsy. In Season 7 Episode 2 "Krazy Kripples", it is made clear that both Jimmy and Timmy were born with their disabilities. In any case, hampered by his legs, which in many cases he appears not to be able to use, Jimmy primarily uses his crutches both as substitutes for his legs and sometimes even as extra (weaponized) extensions for his arms. He prefers to be called "handi-capable". Jimmy is able to speak coherently, and his various aspirations on several different levels of journalism over time also sometimes even makes him more articulate than any of the other children, though his speech is largely affected by his stuttering, and sometimes also his tendency to end some of his sentences with "...very much". He aspires to be a stand-up comedian, and is often featured performing his routines. His catchphrase during his routines is "Wow, what a terrific audience!"
Jimmy first appears in the season five (2001) episode "Cripple Fight", in which he moves to South Park from a neighboring town and antagonizes Timmy. Parker and Stone initially intended for this to be Jimmy's only appearance, but decided to include the character in subsequent episodes. Now portrayed as a South Park resident, student, and good friend of Timmy, Jimmy has been a recurring character ever since. Jimmy's parents had made fun of handicapped children in high school, and believe that Jimmy's disability is a punishment from God. The season eight (2004) episode "Up the Down Steroid" ends with Jimmy addressing the issue of anabolic steroid use in athletic competitions, declaring it as "cheating" while suggesting that professional athletes who use steroids voluntarily reject the accolades and records attributed to them. The episode also reveals that Jimmy has a cute girlfriend named Nancy. Melanie McFarland of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer describes Jimmy and Timmy's capabilities and portrayal in the show as Parker and Stone declaring their opposition to political correctness as social restriction. When praising the show for both its depiction of Jimmy and Timmy and its coverage of disability-related issues, The Seattle Times columnist Jeff Shannon, a quadriplegic, describes Jimmy and Timmy as "goodwill ambassadors".
Kenny McCormick, voiced by Matt Stone, is one of the four main characters in the show. He comes from one of the poorest families in town, and almost always wears a parka so that the hood covers most of his face and muffles his speech. He often shows a precocious interest in and knowledge of sex, unlike his friends, often providing Stan, Kyle and Cartman with a graphic (albeit muffled) definition of such confusing sexual terminology as "dildo" and "fingerbang". As a running gag, he dies in most episodes of the first five seasons before returning in the next. This gag has become occasional following Kenny's absence through season 6, and is explained in the season 14 (2010) episode "Coon vs. Coon and Friends" as resulting from his parents dabbling in the Cult of Cthulhu around the time of his conception.
Kyle Broflovski, voiced by and based on Matt Stone, is one of the main four characters in the show. He is distinctive as one of the few Jewish children on the show, and because of this, he often feels like an outsider amongst his friends and classmates. Kyle is also the child who clashes the most often with Cartman.
Phillip "Pip" Pirrup, voiced by Matt Stone, was featured mostly during the first few seasons of the series. He was later relegated to being a background character after his role in the show was replaced by Butters. Pip is originally from England, and shares his name with the main protagonist of the Charles Dickens novel Great Expectations. Wearing a bow tie and flat cap, he was often teased by his classmates. While largely passive, the only thing that would drive him to anger is when fellow students mistake him for being French. The show's official website has noted that this is in reference to the animosity shared between some natives of Britain and France. A similar gag is seen in South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut, in which The Mole, a young French boy, is called "British" by Cartman. Pip is the central figure of an eponymous episode during the show's fourth season. The episode, which does not feature any of the show's other characters, was a comedic retelling of Great Expectations, with Pip assuming the role of his character's namesake. After this titular episode, Pip became a background character with only two further speaking appearances—as a candidate for the new fourth boy in "Professor Chaos" and then being a background character for the rest of the sixth season - until season eleven when he disappeared completely from the series. Three seasons later, Pip made his final appearance on the show in the episode "201" to beg the Mecha-Streisand to spare South Park; the mecha responds by crushing him to death with her foot as he tried to run away.
Stan Marsh, voiced by and based on Trey Parker, is the most level-headed and convivial of the four boys. Stan is generally kind, honest, smart, well-meaning, assertive, and often shares with his best friend Kyle a leadership role as the main protagonist of the show. Stan is portrayed as the everyman among the show's four central characters.
Timmy Burch, voiced by Trey Parker, is a mentally and physically handicapped boy who uses a motorized wheelchair. He is based on an elementary school acquaintance of South Park art director Adrien Beard. Timmy's exact condition has never been specified in the show, though South Park's official website describes it as "a strange combination of palsy and Tourette's". Timmy's spoken vocabulary is mostly limited to the enthusiastic shouting of his own name which could be conduction aphasia.
Timmy first appears as a minor character in the season four (2000) episode "The Tooth Fairy Tats 2000". Parker and Stone had to push hard for the inclusion of the character, as Comedy Central was originally reluctant to allow the show to feature a character with a cognitive disability. The duo asserted their intention of portraying other children as treating him as an equal, while stressing the importance of both including a mentally impaired character who is "happy to be [himself]", and representing him "as part of the gang and not as the subject of cruel schoolyard humor". Two weeks after his debut, Timmy was a central figure in the episode "Timmy 2000", where doctors and school faculty erroneously attribute his behavior to ADD in the show's condemnation of the rampant diagnosis of the disorder. "Timmy 2000" also shows his parents, Richard and Helen, to have similar disabilities including being confined to wheelchairs and their vocabularies mostly limited to their own names.
Timmy quickly became a fan favorite, and was once voted "The Greatest Disabled TV Character" in a poll conducted by a BBC-sponsored webzine named Ouch!, where he was more popular among disabled voters than among non-disabled voters. IGN ranked Timmy second in a list of the "Top 10 South Park Peripheral Characters", stating that "South Park's most controversial character may be one of the funniest and most enduring". Parker noted that soon after Timmy debuted, fans he encountered began mimicking the character's exclamation of "Timmy!" as opposed to their earlier habits of impersonating Cartman and repeating the show's other popular catchphrases. When the handicapped Jimmy was introduced in the season five (2001) episode "Cripple Fight", Timmy becomes jealous of Jimmy's newfound popularity with the main characters, and the two later got into a violent brawl in a parking lot. The two make amends, and are depicted as good friends in subsequent episodes.
Melanie McFarland of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer describes Jimmy and Timmy's capabilities and portrayal in the show as Parker and Stone declaring their opposition to political correctness as social restriction. When praising the show for both its depiction of Jimmy and Timmy and its coverage of disability-related issues, The Seattle Times columnist Jeff Shannon, a quadriplegic, describes Jimmy and Timmy as "goodwill ambassadors", while commenting that "Timmy appears, at first glance, to uphold the condescending disability stereotypes that are gradually fading from mainstream entertainment. But like everything else in 'South Park,' he's actually challenging preconceptions, toppling taboos and weaving his singularity into the fabric of the show".
Token Black (previously Williams), voiced by Adrien Beard, was the only African American child in South Park until the introduction of Nichole in "Cartman Finds Love" in season 16. His name is a reference to tokenism. The name has been interpreted as an example of the anti-political correctness attitude of South Park and as an implication that the tokenism phenomenon is outmoded enough to be a laughing matter. Despite the role that his name implies, Token will sometimes play a significant part in an episode, and has been a recurring character since his first major role in the season four (2000) episode "Cartman's Silly Hate Crime 2000". His next came in the season five (2001) episode "Here Comes the Neighborhood", where he is picked on for being rich. He invites several other wealthy families to move to South Park (who all happen to be black), leading the townspeople to refer to them as "richers".
Episodes in which he plays a major role often address ethnicity-related topics. In "Cartman's Silly Hate Crime 2000", his father declares hate crime legislation to be "a savage hypocrisy". In the season 11 (2007) episode "With Apologies to Jesse Jackson", Stan is perplexed by Token's rebuffs of his attempts to make amends with Token after Stan's father reluctantly exclaimed "niggers" when attempting to solve a puzzle as a contestant during a live taping of Wheel of Fortune. When Stan has an epiphany, he tells Token "I've been trying to say that I understand how you feel, but I'll never understand. I'll never really get how it feels for a black person to [hear] somebody use the N-word", to which Token accepts Stan's apology by saying "Now you get it".
Parker and Stone had originally taken turns providing their voices for the few lines Token had as a minor character. Token is now voiced by South Park art director and co-producer Beard. When trying to find a new voice actor for Token during production of "Cartman's Silly Hate Crime 2000", Parker said he recruited Beard "because he was the only black guy we had in our building at the time".
Tweek Tweak is a boy characterized by his hyperactivity, paranoia and anxiety, due to his mass consumption of coffee. His strained voice is provided by Stone, and he tends to scream, "Oh God!", "Oh, Jesus, dude!", "GAH!", and "Too much pressure!". His name is taken from a slang term referring to recreational users of methamphetamine, as well as hyperactive or dysfunctional people in general.
While Tweek's parents—who run a coffee shop—attribute his hyperactivity to ADHD predominantly inattentive, it is actually a result of giving Tweek coffee too frequently to "calm him down." This has the effect of increasing his caffeine levels and worsening his mental state. As a result, Tweek is constantly shaking or twitching and is always depicted with spiky, disheveled blond hair and an incorrectly buttoned shirt.
Tweek is introduced in the season two (1998) episode "Gnomes", and is as prominent as one of the four main characters throughout the middle portion of the sixth season (2002). The character Kenny is absent during the majority of the season, which allowed the show's creators and writing staff an opportunity to provide larger roles for both Tweek and Butters, both of whom were growing more popular with both the viewers and staff of the show. Kenny ultimately returns in the season finale "Red Sleigh Down", and though Butters has continued as a significant presence, Tweek had very few lines until The Stick of Truth.
Wendy Testaburger is the show's most prominent female student. Her best friend is Bebe Stevens, and her boyfriend is Stan, though their relationship as such has received less focus in the show's later seasons. Wendy has previously been voiced by Karri Turner (in the unaired pilot), Mary Kay Bergman, Mona Marshall, Eliza Schneider, and is currently voiced by April Stewart. Fellow co-creator Matt Stone has also cited the name of Wendy Westerberg, the wife of an old friend from his childhood. She wears a pink beret and a purple coat. She has long black hair with uneven bangs. Wendy made her first appearance unnamed, but clearly recognizable, in "The Spirit of Christmas".
Several other students appear as recurring background characters, while also having minor roles in various episodes, including:
Ike Moisha Broflovski is Kyle's younger adopted brother, and the only Canadian-born student at the school. He is a gifted three-year-old, and received advanced placement in the school's kindergarten class. Ike is voiced by the children of the people who work at the South Park Studios.
Fillmore Anderson is a kindergartner who is sometimes featured in small roles in a variety of episodes, particularly where younger students are featured. He sometimes an antagonist, like in "Trapper Keeper" where he bullies Ike.
Dougie is a red-haired, freckled, second-grade boy with glasses, who first appeared in "Two Guys Naked in a Hot Tub". His most prominent appearances come when he assumes the role of General Disarray, sidekick to Butters's alter-ego Professor Chaos. He wants to be a TV news reporter when he grows up. In "Simpsons Already Did It", he displays a thorough knowledge of the TV show The Simpsons, pointing that all of Professor Chaos' schemes resemble plots of that show. He was also the one to let Butters know that freezing oneself in the snow was actually not a good idea when Butters helped Cartman to do so in the episode "Go God Go".
The Goth kids are a group of stereotypical goths composed of four members. The four members of the Goth kids are: Michael, a tall, curly-haired boy who sometimes walks with a cane and who is revealed by the creators of South Park to be a sixth grader; Pete, a boy with black hair with dyed red streaks who constantly flicks his long fringe out of the way when it gets in his eyes and appears to be a fourth grader; Firkle, the youngest member and a child who appears to be a kindergartner, and the last member of the Goth kids is an overweight girl named Henrietta Biggle, who also appears to be in fourth grade. In season 14, they were finally added to the title sequence of the show after making several appearances since season 7. The Goth kids were first introduced in the episode "Raisins" from season 7 and Stan briefly became the fifth member of their group, his nickname being "Raven". The Goth kids frequently stereotype everyone else and display double standards in their talks about conformity; however, they are also often portrayed in a sympathetic light. The Goth kids are easily provoked  and are very protective of their image. However, they have been seen to be open about welcoming new members to their group, such as Stan, and on one occasion, offered Butters a chance to join. The Goth kids find it annoying to be confused with the Hot Topic "vampire" kids from the episode "The Ungroundable" in season 12. and even more frustrating to be compared with emo kids. The Goth kids were seen taking part in a talent show in season 9 performing a song about never taking part in a talent show. The eldest Goth boy was in Stan's dance crew in "You Got F'd in the A" and he was also seen in the episode from season 15 "T.M.I." when Cartman attended an anger management class. The Goth kids are never seen attending school lessons but it is indicated by Pete that they do as he complained about going to P.E. class. The Goth kids are usually seen listening to goth music, drinking coffee, and smoking. Despite the attitudes of the Goth Kids, there are moments when they have been seen to be cheerful. For example, both Pete and Henrietta were seen grinning or waving during the South Park opening theme. Also Michael was seen cheering during the ending of "You Got F'd in the A" and celebrating during the song "America is Back" in the episode "T.M.I.". All the Goth kids appeared as followers of Cthulhu in "Mysterion Rises", though they became disillusioned in the following episode because Cthulhu had not lived up to their expectations. The two eldest Goth boys were seen in the episode Goobacks during the "Work for a better future" song when they were helping clean up litter. They are prominent characters in the episode "Goth Kids 3: Dawn of the Posers" where the Goth boys are shocked to discover that Henrietta has become an emo after having been sent to a special camp by her parents. The episode demonstrates the loyalty and close friendship between the Goth kids, as they go to extreme measures to ask their sworn enemies (the vampire kids) for help.
The Sixth-graders are a group of older students who tend to bully the fourth-graders. They are usually seen riding their bicycles. They were originally depicted as fifth graders, but moved to sixth grade in the fourth season. Their leader is a boy with a distinctive haircut who is always depicted wearing a shirt with a logo of his own face, he also appears to be Asian American. He regularly refers to the fourth-graders disparagingly as "Fourthies". Episodes concerning the sixth-graders' interactions with the main characters have become less frequent in later seasons.
Wendy and Pip were multi-player characters in the video game South Park. The preceding two characters, along with Tweek, Bebe, and Damien were playable in South Park Rally. All aforementioned characters with the exception of Damien, along with Craig, Clyde, Token, Jimmy, Timmy, and Red are unlockable characters along with Butters Stotch and Professor Chaos (only available as an exclusive Downloadable Content code) in South Park Let's Go Tower Defense Play!.