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South Park character
Stan Marsh
Gender Male
Job Student
Voiced by Trey Parker
First appearance
The Spirit of Christmas Jesus vs. Frosty
South Park "Cartman Gets An Anal Probe"

Stanley "Stan" Marsh is a fictional character in the animated television series South Park. He is voiced by and loosely based on series co-creator Trey Parker. Stan is one of the show's four central characters, along with his friends Kyle Broflovski, Kenny McCormick, and Eric Cartman. He debuted on television when South Park first aired on August 13, 1997, after having first appeared in The Spirit of Christmas shorts created by Parker and long-time collaborator Matt Stone in 1992 (Jesus vs. Frosty) and 1995 (Jesus vs. Santa).

Stan is a fourth-grade student who commonly has extraordinary experiences not typical of conventional small-town life in his fictional hometown of South Park, Colorado. Stan is generally kind, honest, smart, well-meaning, assertive, and often shares with Kyle a leadership role as the main protagonist of the show. Stan is unreserved in verbally expressing his distinct lack of esteem for adults and their influences, as adult South Park residents rarely make use of their critical faculties.

Stan is animated by computer in a way to emulate the show's original method of cutout animation. He also appears in the 1999 full-length feature film South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, as well as South Park-related media and merchandise. While Parker and Stone portray Stan as having common childlike tendencies, his dialogue is often intended to reflect stances and views on more adult-oriented issues, and has been frequently cited in numerous publications by experts in the fields of politics, religion, pop culture and philosophy.


Role in South Park

Stan attends South Park Elementary as part of Mr. Garrison's fourth grade class. During the show's first 58 episodes (1997 through the season four episode "4th Grade" in 2000), Stan and the other main child characters were in the third grade. He lives in South Park with his father Randy, a geologist, and mother Sharon, a secretary at a rhinoplasty clinic. Also living with Stan's family are his 12-year-old sister Shelley, who bullies and beats him up on a regular basis, and his wheelchair-bound centenarian grandfather Marvin, who dementedly calls Stan "Billy" and had previously tried to influence Stan to commit a mercy killing upon him.[1] Stan is frequently embarrassed and/or annoyed by his father's antics and frequent acts of public drunkenness.[2] Stan's relationship as nephew to his uncle Jimbo received moderate attention in the show's first two seasons.

Amongst the show's main characters, Kyle is defined as being the only Jewish kid, Cartman is recognized by his obesity, and Kenny is notable for being poor and dying in nearly every episode of the show's first five seasons; as opposed to having a prominent distinguishing trait, Stan is portrayed as the everyman of the group,[3] as the show's official website describes him as "a normal, average, American, mixed-up kid".[4]

Stan is modeled after Parker, while Kyle is modeled after Stone. Stan and Kyle are best friends, and their relationship, which is intended to reflect the real-life friendship between Parker and Stone,[5] is a common topic throughout the series. The two do have their disagreements, but always reconcile without any long-term damage to their friendship. As is the case with his other friends and classmates, Stan is frequently at odds with Cartman, resenting Cartman's behavior and openly mocking his weight.[6] Stan also shares a close friendship with Kenny, while Kenny professes that Stan is one of "the best friends a guy could have".[7] Stan can understand Kenny's muffled voice perfectly, and typically exclaims the catchphrase "Oh my God, they killed Kenny!" following one of Kenny's trademark deaths, allowing Kyle to follow up with "You bastards!".[8] Stan is the only character in the group to have had a steady girlfriend, Wendy Testaburger, and their relationship was a recurring topic in the show's earlier seasons. Despite reconciling and declaring to be a couple again in the season 12 (2008) episode "Super Fun Time" after Wendy had dumped him in the season seven (2003) episode "Raisins", their relationship has received relatively less focus in recent seasons. As a running gag, a nervous Stan often vomits whenever Wendy approaches to kiss or speak to him.[9] In many episodes, Stan contemplates ethics in beliefs, moral dilemmas, and contentious issues, and will often reflect on the lessons he has attained with a speech that often begins with "You know, I learned something today...".[10]


Creation and design

An unnamed precursor to Stan first appeared in the first The Spirit of Christmas short, dubbed Jesus vs. Frosty, created by Parker and Stone in 1992 while they were students at the University of Colorado. The character was composed of construction paper cutouts and animated through the use of stop motion.[11] When tasked three years later by friend Brian Graden to create another short as a video Christmas card that he could send to friends, Parker and Stone created another similarly-animated The Spirit of Christmas short, dubbed Jesus vs. Santa, in which Stan also appeared.[12] Stan next appeared on August 13, 1997, when South Park debuted on Comedy Central with the episode "Cartman Gets An Anal Probe".[13]

In the tradition of the show's animation style, Stan is composed of simple geometrical shapes and primary colors.[11][14] He is not offered the same free range of motion associated with hand-drawn characters; his character is mostly shown from only one angle, and his movements are animated in an intentionally jerky fashion.[3][11][14] Ever since the show's second episode, "Weight Gain 4000" (season one, 1997), Stan, like all other characters on the show, has been animated with computer software, though he is portrayed to give the impression that the show still utilizes its original technique.[11]

Stan is usually depicted in winter attire which consists of a brown jacket, blue denim jeans, red gloves/mittens, and a red-brimmed blue knit cap adorned with a decorative red pom-pon. In the rare instances Stan is seen without his cap, he is shown to have shaggy black hair. He was given his full name in the season one episode "An Elephant Makes Love to a Pig", sharing his surname of "Marsh" with Parker's paternal step-grandfather.[2] While originally voicing Stan without any computer manipulation, Parker now speaks within his normal vocal range while adding a child-like inflection. The recorded audio is then edited with Pro Tools, and the pitch is altered to make the voice sound more like that of a fourth grader.[15][16]

Personality and traits

Stan is modeled after his voice actor, series co-creator Trey Parker.

Stan is foul-mouthed (a trait present in his friends as well) as a means for Parker and Stone to display how they claim young boys really talk when they are alone.[14][17] In responding to certain situations, particularly during earlier seasons, Stan often exclaims "Dude, this is pretty fucked up right here". While cynical and profane, Parker still notes that there is an "underlying sweetness" to the character,[18] and Time magazine described Stan and his friends as "sometimes cruel but with a core of innocence".[5] He is amused by bodily functions and toilet humor,[5] and his favorite television personalities are Terrance and Phillip, a Canadian duo whose comedy routines on their show-within-the-show revolve substantially around fart jokes.

The only adult on the show that Stan consistently trusted was Chef, the cafeteria worker at his school, as Stan generally holds the rest of the show's adult population in low regard due to their tendency to both behave irrationally when subjected to the scams, cults, and sensationalized media stories of which he is often skeptical,[10] and engage in hypocritical behavior.[19] He doubts the legitimacy of holistic medicine,[20] declares cults to be dangerous,[21] and regards those claiming to be psychic mediums as frauds,[22] specifically by declaring John Edward to be "the biggest douche in the universe".[23]

Cultural impact

Stan being presented as the reincarnation of L. Ron Hubbard in the season nine episode "Trapped in the Closet".

Stan frequently offers his perspective on religion,[24] and he was at the center of one of the more controversial episodes of the series,[25] "Trapped in the Closet" (season nine, 2005), where he was recognized as the reincarnation of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard before denouncing the church as nothing more than "a big fat global scam".[26]

In the show's thirteen seasons, Stan has addressed other topics such as homosexuality,[27][28] hate crime legislation,[29] civil liberties,[20] parenting,[30] illegal immigration,[31] voting,[32] alcoholism,[30] and race relations.[33] His commentary on these issues have been interpreted as statements Parker and Stone are attempting to make to the viewing public,[30] and these opinions have been subject to much critical analysis in the media and literary world. The book South Park and Philosophy: You Know, I Learned Something Today includes an essay in which East Carolina University philosophy professor Henry Jacoby compares Stan's actions and reasoning within the show to the philosophical teachings of William Kingdon Clifford,[34] and another essay by Southern Illinois University philosophy professor John S. Gray which references Stan's decision to not vote for either candidate for a school mascot in the season eight (2004) episode "Douche and Turd" when describing political philosophy and the claimed pitfalls of a two-party system.[34] Essays in the books South Park and Philosophy: Bigger, Longer, and More Penetrating, Blame Canada! South Park and Contemporary Culture, and Taking South Park Seriously have also analyzed Stan's perspectives within the framework of popular philosophical, theological, and political concepts.[30][35][36]

Those who share a common political stance with those expressed by Stan and other characters on the show are sometimes described as South Park Republicans,[37] or South Park conservatives, terms attributed to political commentator Andrew Sullivan.[20][38] Brian C. Anderson describes the group as consisting mostly of teenagers and young adults who favor the messages on South Park which often ridicule liberal viewpoints, and prefer to get their news from conservative-leaning new media sources.[20] Parker and Stone downplay the show's alignment with any particular political affiliation, and deny having a political agenda when creating an episode.[38][39][40] 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 Stan and his friends as "kids just being kids" as a means of accurately showcasing "what it's like to be in [elementary school] in America".[41]

In other media

Stan had a major role in South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut,[42] the full-length film based on the series, and appeared on the film's soundtrack singing the same musical numbers performed in the movie.[43] Stan was also featured in the documentary film The Aristocrats, listening to Cartman tell his version of the film's titular joke,[44] and in "The Gauntlet", a short spoofing both Gladiator and Battlefield Earth that aired during the 2000 MTV Movie Awards.[45][46] Parker performs as Stan on tracks for Chef Aid: The South Park Album and Mr. Hankey's Christmas Classics.[47][48][49]

Stan also appears in four South Park-related video games: In South Park, Stan is controlled by the player through the first person shooter mode who attempts to ward off enemies from terrorizing the town of South Park.[50] In South Park: Chef's Luv Shack, a user has the option of playing as Stan when participating in the game's several "minigames" based on other popular arcade games.[51] In the racing game South Park Rally, a user can race as Stan against other users playing as other characters, while choosing to place him in any of a variety of vehicles.[52] In South Park Let's Go Tower Defense Play!, Stan can be selected as a playable character used to establish a tower defense against the game's antagonists.[53]

Stan was also featured in the opening sequence of the 58th Primetime Emmy Awards show when he and Tom Cruise from the South Park episode "Trapped in the Closet" appear in a skit where animated host Conan O'Brien hides in Stan closet, only to run away when he discovers Cruise has already occupied said closet.


  1. ^ Virginia Heffernan (2004-04-28). "What? Morals in 'South Park'?". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-07-08. 
  2. ^ a b Jake Trapper and Dan Morris (2006-09-22). "Secrets of 'South Park'". ABC News. Retrieved 2009-04-18. 
  3. ^ a b Jaime J. Weinman (2008-03-12). "South Park grows up". Retrieved 2008-04-30. 
  4. ^ "Stan Marsh". South Park Studios. Retrieved 2009-01-13. 
  5. ^ a b c Jeffrey Ressner and James Collins (1998-03-23). "Gross And Grosser". Time.,9171,988028,00.html. Retrieved 2009-04-28. 
  6. ^ "Eric Cartman - Characters - South Park Studios". Retrieved 2009-07-23. 
  7. ^ "Best Friends Forever". Trey Parker and Matt Stone. South Park. Comedy Central. 2005-03-30. No. 904, season 9.
  8. ^ Kaplan, Don (2002-04-08). " - South Park Won't Kill Kenny Anymore - Celebrity Gossip".,2933,49748,00.html. Retrieved 2009-07-23. 
  9. ^ Devin Leonard (2006-10-27). "'South Park' creators haven't lost their edge". CNN. Retrieved 2009-05-03. 
  10. ^ a b Arp and Jacoby, pp. 58-65
  11. ^ a b c d Matt Cheplic (1998-05-01). "'As Crappy As Possible': The Method Behind the Madness of South Park". Penton Media. Retrieved 2009-04-28. 
  12. ^ "Brian Graden's Bio". Retrieved 2008-01-10. 
  13. ^ "South Park turns 10". 2006-09-27. Retrieved 2009-07-23. 
  14. ^ a b c Abbie Bernstein (1998-10-27). "South Park - Volume 2". Retrieved 2008-04-30. 
  15. ^ "South Park FAQ". South Park Studios. 2009-02-10. Retrieved 2009-04-30. 
  16. ^ "40 Questions". South Park Studios. 2001-10-04. Retrieved 2009-01-30. 
  17. ^ Jake Trapper and Dan Morris (2006-09-22). "Secrets of 'South Park'". ABC News. Retrieved 2009-04-18. 
  18. ^ Frazier Moore (2006-12-14). "Loud and lewd but sweet underneath". The Age. Retrieved 2009-05-09. 
  19. ^ Randy Fallows (January 2002). "The Theology of South Park". The Institute for the Study of American Popular Culture. Retrieved 2009-05-03. 
  20. ^ a b c d Brian C. Anderson (2003). "We’re Not Losing the Culture Wars Anymore". Manhattan Institute. Retrieved 2009-05-03. 
  21. ^ "The brats take on religion". Chicago Tribune: p. 49. 2006-03-22. 
  22. ^ David Williams (2003-10-03). "Differences between a predator and prey". The Daily Barometer. Retrieved 2009-05-03. 
  23. ^ "The Biggest Douche in the Universe". Trey Parker and Matt Stone. South Park. Comedy Central. 2002-11-27. No. 615, season 6.
  24. ^ Douglas E. Cowan (Summer 2005). "South Park, Ridicule, and the Cultural Construction of Religious Rivalry". Journal of Religion and Popular Culture. Retrieved 2009-05-03. 
  25. ^ Todd Leopold (2006-08-24). "Welcome to the Emmy 'mess'". CNN. Retrieved 2009-05-03. 
  26. ^ Jake Trapper and Dan Morris (2006-09-22). "Secrets of 'South Park'". ABC News. Retrieved 2009-04-18. 
  27. ^ Tracy Baim (1997-09-16). "Snyde & Sneak". Lambda Publications Inc.. Retrieved 2009-05-03. 
  28. ^ Justine Hankins (2003-09-20). "Not so queer". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2009-05-03. 
  29. ^ Frank Rich (2005-05-01). "Conservatives ♥ 'South Park'". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-05-03. 
  30. ^ a b c d Fallows and Weinstock, p. 165
  31. ^ Eric Griffiths (2007-06-21). "Young offenders". New Statesman. Retrieved 2009-05-03. 
  32. ^ Arp and Gray, pp. 121-128
  33. ^ Vanessa E. Jones (2008-01-29). "No offense, but ...". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2009-05-03. 
  34. ^ a b South Park and Philosophy: You Know, I Learned Something Today, Blackwell Publishing, Series: The Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series, Retrieved 2008-01-21
  35. ^ Hanley, Richard (Editor) (2007-03-08). South Park and Philosophy: Bigger, Longer, and More Penetrating. Open Court. ISBN 0812696131. 
  36. ^ Johnson-Woods, Toni (2007-01-30). Blame Canada! South Park and Contemporary Culture. Continuum International Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-82641731-2. 
  37. ^ William Cohen (2005-11-04). "Respect Its Authoritah!". The Cornell American. Retrieved 2009-05-05. 
  38. ^ a b John Tierney (2006-08-29). "South Park Refugees". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-05-03. 
  39. ^ Melanie McFarland (2006-10-02). "Social satire keeps 'South Park' fans coming back for a gasp, and a laugh". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved 2009-05-12. 
  40. ^ Lynn Barker (2004-10-14). "Trey Parker and Matt Stone: The "South Park" Guys, Uncut". Retrieved 2009-05-03. 
  41. ^ Saunders (2006-07-17). "At 10, 'South Park' still bites". Rocky Mountain News.,2777,DRMN_23962_4848796,00.html. Retrieved 2009-05-03. 
  42. ^ Pulver, Andrew (1999-08-27). "South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut".,,77038,00.html. Retrieved 2009-07-24. 
  43. ^ "Various - Music From And Inspired By The Motion Picture South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut". Retrieved 2009-07-24. 
  44. ^ "HBO Documentary Films: The Aristocrats". HBO. Retrieved 2009-03-27. 
  45. ^ Ortega, Tony (2001-09-27). "Sympathy For The Devil: Tory Bezazian was a veteran Scientologist who loved going after church critics. Until she met the darkest detractor of all.". New Times Los Angeles. 
  46. ^ Trey Parker, Matt Stone. (2000). The Gauntlet. [Television special]. MTV, Comedy Central.  Short that aired during the 2000 MTV Movie Awards
  47. ^ Browne, David (1999-01-08). "Shower Hooks". Entertainment Weekly.,,273973,00.html. Retrieved 2009-07-24. 
  48. ^ Nazareth, Errol. "'Chef' Hayes cooks crazy stew". Retrieved 2009-07-24. 
  49. ^ Moorhead, M.V. (1999-12-23). "Mr. Hankey's Christmas Classics". Phoenix New Times. Retrieved 2009-07-24. 
  50. ^ Baker, Christopher Michael. "South Park - Overview". Allgame. Retrieved 16 July 2009. 
  51. ^ "Review: South Park: Chef's Luv Shack". Retrieved 2009-07-19. 
  52. ^ "South Park Rally Preview". IGN. Retrieved 2009-07-19. 
  53. ^ Brudvig, Erik (2009-10-06). "South Park Let's Go Tower Defense Play Review". IGN Entertainment. Retrieved 2009-10-10. 
  • Arp, Robert (Editor); Gray, John Scott; Jacoby, Henry (2006). South Park and Philosophy: You Know, I Learned Something Today. Blackwell Publishing (The Blackwell Philosophy & Pop Culture Series). ISBN 978-1-4051-6160-2. 
  • Weinstock, Jeffrey Andrew (Editor); Fallows, Randall (2008). Taking South Park Seriously. SUNY Press. ISBN 978-0791475669. 

External links

Simple English

Stan Marsh
South Park character
Gender Male
Hair color Black
Job Student
First appearance "The Spirit Of Christmas
Voice actor Trey Parker

Stanley Randall "Stan" Marsh is a fictional character in the animated television series South Park. He is voiced by the series co-creator Trey Parker. He is also one of the four main characters in the series with Eric Cartman, Kenny McCormick, and Kyle Broflovski. Stan is usually known as the serious and sensitive person of the group. Stan is able to think clearly and is good-natured. Stan usually tries to come up with logical solutions to their outrageous situations.

Stan's character is loosely based on the personality of co-creator Trey Parker. He is best friends with Kyle Broflovski and their friendship is important in several episodes, such as when he saves Kyle's life in "Cherokee Hair Tampons", "Cartmanland" and "Super Best Friends". He has a girlfriend, Wendy Testaburger.


Stan lives in the fictional town of South Park, Colorado. He and his friends are fourth graders and go to the same elementary school. He lives with his father Randy Marsh who is a geologist, his mother Sharon Marsh, and his older sister Shelley who usually abuses him. He also has asthma.[1] Stan is modeled after his voice actor Trey Parker, and has the same birthday with him on October 19.[2]


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