Respecting 'authori-taw' : narrative, authorship, and the parodic impulse in South Park
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This project explores the relationship between the narrative strategies and discursive techniques of parodic texts via a case study of the television series South Park. I argue that series co-creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone create parodic meaning concurrently with an episode's narrative, a process made possible via their self-figuration into both discourses of publicity surrounding the show and into the show's diegesis itself. While existing theories of parody describe its moments of extratextual targeting as disruptive to the source text's narrative, I contend that South Park allows viewers to simultaneously construct both narrative and parodic meaning without disruption to the narrative. The combined authorial persona of Parker and Stone serves as the catalyst in this relationship, playing with viewers' expectations of the show and of themselves. In the end I suggest that South Park's careful manipulation of narrative and discursive techniques of parody opens new spaces for viewers to understand multiple meanings in a text, a dynamic indicative of shifting trends in narrative paradigms and viewership strategies.