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‘South Park’: How Trey Parker, Matt Stone Keep Show Relevant After 20 Years

The Paley Center for Media hosted “South Park” creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone on Thursday evening for a special panel in honor of the series’ upcoming 20th season.

Held at the Paley Center in Beverly Hills, Calif., the pair sat down with Doug Herzog, president of Viacom Music and Entertainment Group, to discuss the past, present, and future of the long-running animated series. With two decades under their belt, one might assume that it’s difficult to keep the commentary fresh and original.

“We don’t try to make social commentary,” said Parker. “We get into a room six days before we go on the air, and that’s why it ends up being somewhat relevant.”

The series, which is also known for its political commentary, will address the upcoming presidential election. Stone, however, said not to expect anything similar to previous seasons.

“This is our fourth or fifth season that we’ve done an episode dedicated to the election,” Stone said. “It’s tough to come up with new ideas, but we also don’t want it to take over the season. We need to do more than that.”

It’s only inevitable that the format of “South Park” has changed over the span of 20 years, the most obvious shift being its focus on the town’s adults.

“A lot of the jokes moved from the boys to the adults,” Stone stated. “So instead of Stan or any of the other boys having this big voice, it’s Randy [Stan’s father] who has this big voice, and it’s because that is who we relate to now. Luckily Stan has a grandpa, because the jokes will probably move to him eventually.”

Season 20 coincides with the South Park 20 Experience, an exhibit at the Paley Center that features 2D and 3D life-sized replicas of “South Park” characters, as well as famous moments over the last 20 years. The gallery also includes 20 original works by pop culture artist Ron English. The South Park 20 Experiences runs through Sept. 25, and is free and open to the public.

“South Park” season 20 premieres Sept. 14 at 10 p.m. on Comedy Central.

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