The thirteenth season of South Park, an American animated television comedy series, originally aired in the United States on Comedy Central between March 11 and November 18, 2009. The season was headed by the series creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, who served as executive producers along with Anne Garefino. The season continued to focus on the exploits of protagonists Stan, Kyle, Cartman, Kenny and Butters in the fictional Colorado mountain town of South Park.
The season was the first of three new seasons Parker and Stone agreed to produce for the network under a renewal deal. It consisted of fourteen 22-minute episodes, which aired in two groups of seven episodes separated by a six-month gap. Prior to the season’s premiere, all South Park episodes were made available for free viewing on the official series website, South Park Studios. The 13th season was the first to be broadcast in high definition and in widescreen. Continuing their practice from previous seasons, Parker and Stone wrote and produced each episode within the week before its broadcast date.
The 13th season satirized such topics as the ACORN scandal, Japanese whaling, piracy in Somalia and the marketing tactics of the Walt Disney Company. Celebrities were spoofed throughout the season, including the Jonas Brothers, Kanye West, Carlos Mencia, Paul Watson and Glenn Beck, all of whom publicly responded to their portrayals. The episode “Fishsticks” attracted particular media attention due to rapper Kanye West’s declaration that its jokes about his arrogance were funny but hurt his feelings. “The F Word”, in which the central characters attempt to change the definition of the word “fag”, was especially controversial and prompted complaints from the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. A broadcast of “Pinewood Derby” in Mexico was pulled, allegedly due to its depiction of Mexican President Felipe Calderón. “Fatbeard” was praised by the crew of the USS Bainbridge, which was involved in the 2009 rescue of the MV Maersk Alabama from Somali pirates.