Cartman has always been South Park’s most morally dubious antihero, but his mother’s refusal to enable his antics in The Streaming Wars could completely change this dynamic in season 26. South Park has changed a lot since its early seasons, but the core characters of the show remain largely the same. While South Park might have retconned ManBearPig’s origins, the show has kept Stan as its hero, Kyle as its level-headed pragmatist, Butters as its well-meaning goofball, and Cartman as its greedy, selfish anti-villain.
However, South Park’s latest special The Streaming Wars made Cartman a lot less effective as a villain by depriving the character of his most reliable enabler. When Cartman’s mother Liane refused to give into her son’s demands that she get cosmetic surgery, she broke a cycle that Cartman has been relying on for years. It is not yet clear whether Cartman’s mom will really stop enabling him in South Park season 26, but what is clear is that this would have a big impact on the show’s plots. Cartman is often effectively South Park’s villain and, if he were unable to get away with as much, South Park season 26 could end up feeling very different from its predecessors.
How Cartman’s Mom Changed His Story In The Streaming Wars
Since the early seasons of South Park, Cartman has vacillated between being spoiled and immature and acting like an outright monster. Depending on the episode’s plot, Cartman’s misdeeds can range from something innocuous to straight-up murder. However, Liane proved that she could stop her son from getting out of hand when she refused to get breast implants at his demand in The Streaming Wars Part 1. Granted, this resulted in Cartman himself getting breast implants to spite her but, even after this, Liane’s refusal to concede victory to her son resulted in Cartman dealing with his own problems and accepting that he couldn’t get what he wanted.
This was a big, unexpected step for the character and one that could reshape his persona in South Park’s upcoming feature-length specials and season 26 of the series. If Cartman were to be forced to grow up and stop undertaking absurdly ambitious schemes solely for his benefit, this could make the character less unpleasant to his friends. In turn, this could also completely throw the show’s dynamic, since South Park has come to rely on Cartman acting like a jerk almost as much as the show relies on Kyle being the voice of reason or Stan being the audience insertion persona in most episodes.
Cartman’s Mom Could Reshape South Park Season 26
Cartman’s appeal is partially rooted in his villainy. It is tough to imagine a version of the character who isn’t at least a little evil, just like Rick and Morty needs Rick’s manipulative edge to keep its formula working. South Park’s two-part Post-Covid Saga gave viewers an interesting idea of what an authentically decent, selfless version of Cartman would be like, and it was a welcome surprise. However, this was not necessarily a character who could sustain an entire season of the show. That said, this future Cartman who scarcely resembled his usual self-interested incarnation might become a regular fixture on South Park if season 26 follows through with this character shift and Liane continues to treat her son to some tough love.