Heres why South Park season 25 is so short. South Park has never been a typical television show and season 25 ending after only six episodes might be ringing some serious alarm bells for fans of the long running adult animated comedy heres what the development means for the future of the series. Most television shows particularly prime time cartoons would be in trouble if a season ran only 6 twenty minute episodes long. The Simpsons season 33 for example is scheduled to contain over twenty episodes and that number is normal for most sitcoms on American network television.However there has never been anything normal about South Park. From the fact that the series began life as a viral email Christmas card to its boundary pushing content and shockingly swift production schedule South Park is an outlier in terms of most television traditions. The risqué animated satire has produced 25 seasons and a theatrical movie but in its time on air South Park has been protested praised challenged awarded and banned in equal measure.
Now the controversial series faces a new challenge. South Park season 25 is already over after only six episodes leaving fans with the shows shortest season so far. What does this mean for South Parks future? Although the shows prospects may seem dire the future of South Park as a series is not at risk. In August 2021 South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone signed a deal valued at an eye watering 900 million dollars with Paramount guaranteeing that they would provide another fourteen movies and six seasons of the franchise. Four of the feature length South Park movies mentioned in the deal have already aired as South Park season 24 and it looks like South Park season 25 was likely cut short to facilitate the writing and production of the next batch. However while South Park isnt going anywhere any time soon this format shift will likely change the style of the series for good.
South Parks 6 Episode Season 25 Explained
Ending with Credigree Weed St. Patricks Day Special South Park season 25 was cut short for the same reason that South Park season 24 consisted of four feature length specials instead of a larger number of shorter episodes. The creators of South Park are still navigating the territory of splitting their plots between long form movies and standard sitcom episodes which is also why South Park season 25 is the shortest season by runtime but season 24 is the shortest by episode count. While South Parks experimentation resulted in a truncated season 25 with only six episodes season 26 may return to a larger number of episodes after a long hiatus or a smaller number after an even briefer break only eight weeks passed between season 24s end and South Park season 25s premiere. Half of South Park season 25s episodes were timely political satires about current events and half were character based adventures a paradigm shift that shows South Park still isnt certain where to focus its energy as a series.
South Park Can Focus On Feature Length Stories Now
With ten more feature length specials ordered by Paramount Plus South Park can now turn toward the shows long form storytelling format. Without worrying about keeping up to the moment South Park can tell more timeless stories that take longer to write but feature less intensely of the moment satire. Interestingly this was not the approach that South Park took with its first four specials. The first two specials The Pandemic Special and The South ParQ Vaccination Special both focused on current events and acted as longer versions of normal South Park episodes while the second two the Post Covid saga were more akin to earlier feature length animated television movie spinoffs like The Simpsons Movie or South Park Bigger Longer and Uncut. The Post Covid saga although still concerned with then recent events was a more ambitious story that took advantage of the feature length format and felt more like a movie in terms of scale and story scope.The two part movie was similar to both South Park Bigger Longer and Uncut and the earlier Imaginationland trilogy in terms of telling a larger story with a longer narrative. However it is still not clear whether South Park will continue to tell these sort of bigger more cinematic stories with the remaining ten feature length specials. South Parks unique production process means the creators have an extraordinary amount of creative freedom meaning the show could continue to produce feature length specials centering on hot button issues like Ukraine/Russia conflict and use their shorter episodes to tell more timeless stories. However this wouldnt necessarily be the best allocation of South Parks resources.
South Parks Atypical Production Schedule Explained
Telling bigger stories over a longer period is a break from South Parks normal routine. Unlike almost all other television South Park is traditionally written produced and directed from scratch the week before each episode airs. This gives South Park an edge on satirical competitors as its response time for current events was incredibly quick something that is inevitably lost in more ambitious feature length specials. Sometimes this quick response results in superb satire as evidenced by the critical success of South Parks Back to the Cold War season 25 episode 4. However this approach can just as often cause the creators of South Park to come up with poorly conceived plots and misjudged jokes to meet a deadline resulting in misguided efforts like the transphobic episode Board Girls season 23 episode 7.
South Park Should Use Its Movies For More Timeless Stories
South Parks fast paced production schedule gives the series an opportunity shared by a few other television institutions. South Park can comment on current events as they happen but this can ironically make episodes of the series that focus on characters alone feel like a wasted endeavor. Viewers can reasonably wonder why South Park opted to parody World of Warcraft rather than one of many news stories happening in the week the episode aired resulting in some classic outings of the show earning less praise than they deserve for not being sufficiently timely. However the luxury of feature length specials that are divorced from the shows production schedule is that they allow South Park to tell these less timely stories and give their characters a chance to shine. Going forward South Park can use its longer specials to tell bigger less easily dated stories and use its shorter episodes to mock current events as they happen but season 24 and season 25 have proven that the show does not know how best to balance these two diverging storytelling styles so far.