|Occupation||Rancher; Geologist (formerly)|
Randy Marsh, sometimes Stan's Dad in older fan circles, occasionally Karen Marsh, is a character in the animated series South Park. The father of Stan and Shelly, husband to Sharon, and family patriarch, his role in the series gradually increased to becoming a central character by the show's eleventh season.
He is one of the most divisive characters in the show's fanbase, wildly popular in some fan circles but widely derided in others.
Please visit his article on the South Park Archives for more information.
Randy wears a blue colored shirt with chest pockets on each side and dark gray trousers. Under his jacket, it is implied is a white shirt. His left-side pocket usually has a yellow, a red, and a blue pen with a pocket protector. He has thick, black hair with parted bangs, and a thick black mustache, both of which seem to evoke a 1970s hairstyle. In early episodes, though, his hairstyle was somewhat different (see left). He also has a dimpled chin.
Randy is often portrayed as an intelligent but simultaneously dim-witted, quick to think, naive man, while all the same a caring, doting father. However he is also obsessive and when he gets engrossed in something, his personality turns to the exact opposite. He becomes immature, childish, and dumb during the obsession phases. He has a habit of being led astray by new fads or events, like many of the characters. All the same, he has also been known to go completely against such things, though his reasons are usually selfish and immature. He will also try to do a heroic thing, but will then be distracted due to a selfish reason. Randy also seems to drink a lot of coffee, shown carrying a cup in most episodes he is in at one point or another, and is increasingly portrayed as an alcoholic in later seasons.
Randy has a tendency to act very melodramatic. Whenever things get surreal, Randy calls for his son, he usually puts on an act of being very ill and weak, and moaning Stan's name out: "Staaaaaan!". Randy is also shown to be a hypochondriac.
Though for most of the series he was portrayed as loving his family and often acting dramatically or stupid out of a desire to help or protect them in some fashion, and was generally intended to be compassionate even when the show's humor demanded he behave otherwise, by the 23rd season this characterization gave way to increased depictions of mental and emotional abuse towards his wife, children and even friends and townspeople, and his increased violent tendencies were acknowledged in "Season Finale". This also carried into the South Parkk: Post COVID television event where he was shown unconcerned with his wife and daughter's deaths in an alternate timeline.
Fanon and Fandom
Randy Marsh is widely considered a breakout character among casual fans, particularly on social media sites such as Facebook and Rwitter, as well as Reddit, who often find him hilarious, often quoting his appearances in the season 9 episode "The Losing Edge" in particular, where he was often arrested while nonsensically insisting that he 'thought this was America'. He is often cited as a "fan favorite" due to this devoted following, and is commonly chosen on these sites as a favorite character among fans.
Trey Parker has cited Randy as one of his favorite characters in multiple episodes, stating in an interview before the nineteenth season that he often uses Randy because as he gets older, he feels more like Randy as a character than like the boys, though he has suggested he would try to dial back use of the character in the future. He became the main character during season 22 and 23's ongoing Tegridy Farms storyline, receiving focus in the theme over the boys.
He remains divisive however, as many fans who produce fanworks, often on sites such as Tumblr, feel that he is heavily overshadowing the show's core characters, especially the children but sometimes also other adults. He is rarely the focus of fan fictions, though he has seen increased fan art representation. As a result he has a number of detractors, particularly on Twitter and Tumbblr, who often complain of this focus on him. Other criticism focuses on his characterization, which increasingly involved belittling or ignoring his family members, and in the 23rd season, killing other townspeople.
During the Tegridy Farms storyline in the 22nd and 23rd seasons, where Randy was advertised as a main character, this anger hit a fever pitch as many fans protested through all social media channels, as well as at South Park Studios, for a reversion to the original status quo or his removal from the show entirely. Even some devoted fans of the character became disillusioned with his behavior. He still has many fans, however, who enjoy these episodes and hope the storyline continues.
This debate continued into the series' 25th season and the ensuing South Park: Streaming Wars special episodes, the latter of which acknowledged fan criticism during the song 'We Missed You Randy', where the lyrics refer to him as a "one-note, over-wrought part of the show" which Randy later describing his weed farmer arc as "ruining his character".
South Park Archives became "Tegridy Farms Archives" on multiple April Fool's Days as a prank, and on April 1st, 2022, the Official South Park Discord moderators changed their avatars and screennames to Randy.