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Dude, South Park starts Season 21 Wednesday

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Here's an idea. Let's get together with a bunch of buddies and watch the South Park marathon on Comedy Central leading up to the Season 21 premiere.

The marathon of 26 episodes begins at 8 a.m. Wednesday and the season premiere arrives at 9 p.m. If you watched all 26, that would leave you only 251 episodes to view in order to have seen them all. New episodes will air through at least 2019.

We'll be lucky if we hear them shout, "Oh, my God! They've killed Kenny!" That running gag where Kenny died in almost every episode hasn't been used much after the first six seasons.

Kenny, of course, is Kenny McCormick who, along with his friends Stan Marsh, Kyle Broflovski and Eric Cartman, are the foul-mouthed fourth-graders of South Park, Colo., invented by Trey Parker and Matt Stone.

The duo first created the characters for a pair of animated shorts titled The Spirit of Christmas in 1992 and 1995. The series pilot debuted on Aug. 13, 1997, on Comedy Central.

Twenty seasons is a long time to be stuck in the fourth grade, but it's no more bizarre than the 30 years (first appearance, April 19, 1987) that Bart has been 10 years old on The Simpsons.

In case you haven't watched South Park in 10 or 15 years and forgotten about the guys, Kenny is the one in the parka that covers most of his face and muffles his voice. He is depicted as living in poverty and is frequently teased by Cartman.

Cartman was originally modeled after Archie Bunker and is emotionally unstable, fat and usually angry.

Stan, loosely based on Parker, is a fairly normal kid.

Kyle, modeled somewhat after Stone, is the most mature and intelligent.

Dozens of other characters have appeared over the years, with Parker and Stone voicing most of the males.

In a pre-season interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Parker and Stone said they were ready for a fresh start after the unexpected outcome of November's presidential election threw a monkey wrench in the series' plans.

Unlike most animated shows, the South Park crew is still working on each episode up until the week before air time.

"Last season we really tried to do a serialized thing, and it was just really hard," Stone said. "In some ways it was cool and in some ways it trapped us."

"Last year was such a [confusing mental process], and we were so happy when it was done," Parker added. "And we just wanted to go back to the kids, which we still do."

Hurricaner help. A one-hour telethon to benefit Hurricanes Harvey and Irma survivors will air at 7 p.m. today on ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and CMT, The Associated Press reports. Headliners include Beyonce, Blake Shelton, Barbra Streisand and Oprah Winfrey.

The event, which also will be streamed live on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, will feature taped or live appearances by celebrities such as George Clooney, Jamie Foxx, Matthew McConaughey, Dennis Quaid, Julia Roberts, Jamie Foxx, Ryan Seacrest, Michael Strahan, Kelly Rowland and Reese Witherspoon. Journalists Matt Lauer and Norah O'Donnell also will take part.

Airing live from Los Angeles, the telethon will have stages in New York and Nashville, Tenn., as well as show a performance from George Strait's Harvey benefit concert in San Antonio.

The telethon will benefit organizations including United Way of Greater Houston, Habitat for Humanity, Save the Children, Direct Relief, Feeding Texas and The Mayor's Fund for Hurricane Harvey Relief.

Broad City, 9:30 p.m. Wednesday on Comedy Central. The season premiere of South Park is followed by the Season 4 debut of Broad City. The half-hour scripted series was created by and stars Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer as young women trying to make it in New York. It's based on their real life friendship.

Jacobson plays 26-year old Abbi Abrams, a fitness teacher for senior citizens. Glazer portrays Ilana Wexler, a 23-year-old self-absorbed slacker.

Making it in New York is hardly a ground-breaking premise for television, but these two have enough wacky adventures that you might find them a bit more entertaining than the ladies of the now canceled 2 Broke Girls.

Another plus for the series is that Amy Poehler (Parks and Recreation) is an executive producer and has guest starred along with such talent as Fred Armisen, Rachel Dratch, Janeane Garofalo, Michelle Hurst, Jason Mantzoukas and Amy Sedaris.

The series, for mature audiences, began life on the internet and has already been renewed for a fifth season.

The Mindy Project. Season 6 is available today for streaming on Hulu. If you thought this was a Fox comedy, you were right. It moved to Hulu after Fox canceled it after Season 3.

The TV Column appears Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Email:

mstorey@arkansasonline.com

Style on 09/12/2017

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