|Kenneth 'Kenny' McCormick|
|Debut Episode/Fic||"Cartman Gets an Anal Probe"|
Kenneth "Kenny" McCormick is one of the central characters of South Park. He is intelligent and compassionate, but also impulsive and perverted. He is famous for his ability to die and reappear later as if nothing happened, which is a common subject of fan works and parodies. He speaks rarely in later seasons of the show.
Please visit his article on the South Park Archives for more information.
Kenny wears an orange parka, orange pants and brown gloves. Almost all of the time, Kenny has his hood on so that only his eyes and nose are seen. Underneath his hood, he has messy blond hair, which looks somewhat similar to that of Tweek's. On occasion, usually when he is scared or crying, he will pull the strings on his hood to make it tighten
Kenny comes from a very poor, violent, and alcoholic American family living on welfare. His friends, especially Eric Cartman, often tease him for his poverty. Kenny is the most knowledgeable of the group, at least when it comes to sexual matters, and the others will typically go to him if they do not know something. Kenny likes toilet humour and pornography, and especially likes women's breasts. Kenny also is the clown of the group. Stan, Cartman, and Kyle always laugh at his jokes, and smart remarks. Despite his perverted nature, Kenny is one of the kindest kids around. He thinks of others before himself, and always helps his friends. He risks his life and goes to Hell to rescue them and the rest of the world at one point.
See Kenny's deaths. Kenny's frequent death is a running gag in South Park. A typical gag features the culprit or accident killing Kenny, followed by the phrases "Oh my god, they killed Kenny!" and "You bastards!" from his friends Stan and Kyle, respectively. Kenny always wakes up in his bed unharmed the next day, and nobody else remembers seeing him die.
The reason for Kenny's deaths and rebirths have never been fully explained. It is implied that his ability originated his parents' involvement in the Cult of Cthulhu about a decade ago.
Fanon and Fandom
Kenny has consistently been seen as one of the most popular characters in the show, featuring prominently in promotion by Comedy Central and South Park on social media, driving sales of merchandise and featuring in numerous pop culture parodies even as his role in the show has been reduced, and remains considerably recognizable to casual fans who are less familiar with the show's characters.
Within the fan community, he has been an especially frequent source of popularity in fan works due to the unique storytelling opportunities opened up by his famous ability to die and come back. Fans offered various explanations, theories and interpretations of where this ability came from, how it worked, and how are other characters and Kenny are of it, drawing connections to various religions. Though the show shed some light on this in the Coon saga episodes, his exact nature remains mysterious and invites eager speculation by fans.
When he was killed off 'permanently' at the end of the fifth season, there was significant controversy at the South Park Studios message board, with a handful of users threatening to boycott the show and several calling for Kenny's role to be filled by Tweek Tweak instead of the initially chosen Butters Stotch. Though there were no reports of a ratings decline, reports did suggest merchandise sales went down. For several years after this incident, Butters was seen by fans as having eclipsed Kenny's role in the show.
Kenny's popularity was enhanced significantly during the fourteenth and fifteenth seasons by the reveal that he was the superhero Mysterion, whose identity had previously remained a secret, as well as new details given about his abilities, more insight into his personality through his new identity, and the revelation of his close relationship with his sister, who had previously only appeared in the background and was only known to the most devoted fans. His compassion and sense of justice soon became a focus trait for him in fan works.
There are multiple fanon interpretations of Kenny which draw from canonical elements but differ in expression. Some fans represent him as an easygoing, optimistic and cheerfully hedonistic character, drawing from his willingness to go along with the boys' activities and lack of protest, and his perverted nature and willingnes to use drugs. Some writers draw from his later focus episodes and portray him as more frustrated, both at his place in the world, his friendships, and his deaths, with varying levels of anger that come out towards others. In either case, he is often portrayed as compassionate and often as impulsive and quick to act. He is often portrayed as bisexual or pansexual. Fan art often depicts him without his hood.
Though Kenny is overall popular, he has gained an increased number of detractors in the 2020s due to having fewer focus episodes in these years, with many claiming that he is a "background character" with "no personality" and that he is "overrated" as a result.
As of July 26, 2022, Kenny is tagged in 7211 works at Archive of Our Own, making him the second most popular character in the archive.
|Stan Marsh | Kyle Broflovski | Eric Cartman | Kenny McCormick | Butters Stotch|