Depending on who you ask, South Park is either not real or it’s a fictionalised version of a real place that is located in Colorado called Fairplay.
One of the best adult animated series has to be South Park. First premiering in 1997 on the Comedy Central television network, the animated series has become a flagship show for the network with 25 seasons and counting to date.
One of the biggest questions that has been asked surrounding the show is if South Park is an actual place that can be located on a map. The answer to this question is yes and no. This is as there is a place called South Park, however, the animation has taken liberties with the fictionalised version.
What is South Park about?
South Park was co-created by Trey Parker, Matt Stone and Brian Graden, with co-creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone also lending their voices to some of the characters featured in the series.
According to IMDb, South Park “Follows the misadventures of four irreverent grade-schoolers in the quiet, dysfunctional town of South Park, Colorado.”
After premiering in 1997, it did not take long until the animation satirised socio-political situations in the country to cater to a more mature audience. In the 26 years since it first aired, it has won a total of 18 awards, including five Emmy Academy awards.
Is South Park a real place?
Due to the pastiche stylistic choice of the animation which blends animation with 2D images of real places, fans have continually wondered if South Park is actually a real place. The simple answer is, yes and no. Although inspired by an existing place, South Park is not a real place which can be visited.
However, it is inspired by an existing town. Specifically, it is believed to have been inspired by a town in South Park National Heritage Area called Fairplay, in Colorado. Fairplay is located in Park County. It is considered the largest town for miles in whatever direction you take.
Moreover, while Fairplay does not have a Walmart, even visitors of the area that are South Park fans can always find similarities, such as the mountain backdrop and colourful A-frame buildings and the configuration of the streets.
South Park confirms the real location
During season 22 of South Park, there was an episode titled The Scoots, which worked to confirm the speculation that the fictional world was inspired by Fairplay and its surrounding areas. This is as during the episode, a map is displayed which clearly showcases that South Park is located within the South Park National Heritage Area.
However, instead of being placed where Fairplay is, South Park is imagined as being in the middle of the heritage area and surrounded by the other towns including Fairplay, Hartsel, Breckenridge, Leadville, Como, and Mala Vista.
Why is South Park inspired by Colorado?
South Park is believed to have been inspired by the small town of Fairplay due to the birthplace of two of the co-creators of the animation series. Trey Parker and Matt Stone, who also voice the characters, Stan Marsh and Kyle Broflovski respectively, hail from the area.
However, despite this knowledge of their place of birth, both Parker and Stone have never confirmed that the inspiration of choosing South Park as the geographical location for their series was inspired by them growing up in Colorado.
South Park versus Fairplay
While it is understood that South Park as a geographical location was inspired by Fairplay and its architecture, this does not mean that the characters or events are inspired by Fairplay. This is as Fairplay is a small town with hundreds of people.
South Park on the other hand is imagined as a town of thousands, hence the Walmart.
Additionally, even the characterisation of the people that live in South Park is seen as inspired by the mentality of the people of Boulder rather than Fairplay. Besides, in some episodes of South Park, Fairplay is referenced as being just “four miles away.”
South Park is one of Comedy Central’s flagship shows. The animated series that is meant for a more mature audience has been part of the network’s roster for 26 years since it first premiered on the network in 1997. Its cultural relevance is undisputed, as it is considered one of the best series of all time.
The series was created by Matt Stone and Trey Parker, who both hail from Colorado. This very fact is why it is believed that they were inspired by their place of birth to create the fictionalised world of the story. Specifically, Fairplay, located in Park County in the South Park National Heritage Area.