Who is the Main Character in South Park?

Pull up a chair, buddy, and we'll tell ya.

by J.R. Waugh
South Park Main Characters
Image: South Park Studios

South Park has been churning out laughs and quotes since 1997 and is still going strong. It’s one of the most irreverent, crude, recognizable, iconic animated comedy series ever made, commonly cited as among the all-time most popular Comedy Central shows. But more than that, it has distinctive characters, many of whom are the favorites of its fans for different reasons. But who is the main character of South Park, for those just checking it out for the first time?

South Park Protagonist: Who is the Main Character of the Show’s Cast?

Image: South Park Studios

There is no single main character in South Park, but 4 main characters as part of an ensemble: Stan Marsh, Eric Cartman, Kyle Broflovski, and Kenny McCormick. The 4 characters are voiced by the series’ co-creators, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, with the former 2 being Parker’s voice, and the latter 2 being Stone’s.

Related: South Park: The Fractured But Whole Review

Of these characters, many could argue that Stan is the most central or “main” character as he and his family are often at the center of many of the show’s stories. Stan is also the least amoral character, the “straight man” trope to the otherwise wacky antics of the rest of the cast. But Stan, while being typically seen as the favorite, still pales in comparison to someone who might represent the show’s appeal even better.

Why Eric Cartman Might Be a More Popular Main Character in South Park

While Cartman is a vile, brilliant schemer who is more of an antihero if he were to be considered the protagonist, he epitomizes the show’s primary appeal. He is often the most-quoted and popular character in South Park, and despite also being a particularly unhinged, prejudiced character, he has remained at the top for decades. When you see him regularly topping popularity polls, you’ll find yourself forced to respect his authority in the show and as he appears in games.

Image: South Park Studios

This isn’t to say there aren’t characters you should focus on. Stan’s father, Randy, has had some wild, unmissable misadventures including intentionally giving himself testicular cancer. Towelie is a sentient towel that is just really into controlled substances. The characters are out there, and even just one of the arguably “main” characters has been constantly killed in various manners for laughs. But as for Cartman and Stan, they are likely the top candidates for the primary protagonist, so it appears Trey Parker wins that contest, for those of you who are keeping track.

- This article was updated on March 20th, 2023

About The Author

J.R. is a content creator with AOTF and has been covering gaming and entertainment in the industry since 2022. Along with a B.A. in History from the University of Cincinnati, he has studied at the University of Birmingham, UK, and part of his M.A. at the University of Waterloo. You'll find J.R. particularly at home writing about the hottest manga and anime. He is highly passionate about horror, strategy, and RPGs, and anything about Star Trek or LOTR. When not ranting about fan theories or writing guides, J.R. also manages his local movie theater.