Kenny McCormick is a fictional character in the animated television series South Park. He is one of the four central characters along with his friends Stan Marsh, Kyle Broflovski, and Eric Cartman. His oft-muffled and indiscernible speech—the result of his parka hood covering his mouth—is provided by co-creator Matt Stone. 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 Stone and long-time collaborator Trey Parker in 1992 (Jesus vs. Frosty) and 1995 (Jesus vs. Santa).
Kenny 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, where he lives with his relatively poor family. Kenny 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.
In a running gag most prevalent during the first five seasons of the series, Kenny would die in many episodes before returning in the next with little or no definitive explanation given. Other characters' accompanying exclamation of "Oh my God, they killed Kenny! ...You bastards!" became a catchphrase. Several people in the world of media and academia have published their interpretations of the many aspects of the running gag from philosophical and societal viewpoints. Since the show began its sixth season in 2002, the practice of killing Kenny in each episode has been seldom used by the show's creators.
Kenny attends South Park Elementary as part of Mr. Garrison's fourth grade class. During the first 58 episodes (1997 until the season four episode "4th Grade" in 2000), Kenny and the other main child characters were in the third grade. Kenny comes from a poor household, presided over by his violent, alcoholic and unemployed parents, Stuart and Carol McCormick. Kenny has an older brother, Kevin, and an unspecified younger female sharing Kevin's features has been shown amongst his family in the season nine (2005) episode "Best Friends Forever", without having made an appearance in another episode before or since. When addressing fan speculation that the girl was Kenny's sister, series co-creator Matt Stone merely stated that the character was a "mystery". Kenny is friends with Stan and Kyle, and has indicated that he maintains a friendship with Cartman solely out of pity. Kenny is regularly teased for living in poverty, particularly by Cartman. When it comes to sexually related subjects, he is the most knowledgeable of the group, and the others will typically ask for his explanation of sexual matters unknown to them.
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