DENVER, Colorado — "South Park" is celebrating its 22nd birthday. Considering its age, the four main characters — Cartman, Kyle, Stan and Kenny — look pretty good.

Colorado natives Matt Stone and Trey Parker created the show. Exhibit developer and public historian of History Colorado Julie Peterson told 9NEWS that Stone and Parker met in a film class at the University of Colorado. 

“That’s sort of where their creative juices got flowing and the rest is history,” Peterson said.

Peterson wasn’t kidding with her mention of history. She said that Stone and Parker have been cleverly weaving pieces of Colorado history into their show since the beginning. 

Even the name itself has a “little nugget of history there about the creators really honoring Colorado’s past,” Peterson said. 

While South Park is a fictional town, it’s based on the real town of Fairplay. However, for a short time in the 1800s Fairplay was known as South Park City.

The animated South Park is fictional, but it’s impact on popular culture and the state of Colorado is very real. Peterson said “more than 600,000 people have arrived to Colorado since 2010 and I think a lot of that can be contributed to the popularity of shows like South Park.”

It manages to “play in the moment” with a quick turnaround for every episode. 

“I think that’s one of the reasons the show is so successful. It tackles current events in real-time which is really unique for a TV show, especially a creative animated TV show,” Peterson said.

Coloradans have embraced it. 

“The way that the creators depict both the town of South Park as kind of a typical mountain town, it’s heritage as a mining area, and sort of the way the tourism industry has shown up in mountain towns," Peterson said. "I think is really true to the experience of many Coloradans."

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