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'South Park' Celebrates Show's 10th Season

Talk about a star-studded arrivals line. There they were: Tom Cruise, Jennifer Lopez, Steven Spielberg and Paris Hilton. Mel Gibson even showed up.

But this was the launch party for the 10th season of "South Park" and the celebrities were A-List — A for artificial. As in cardboard.

No matter, the smiling caricatures still loomed large along the red carpet at the Thursday-night affair to celebrate the controversial Emmy- and Peabody-winning animated Comedy Central series. The program first aired Aug. 13, 1997, and begins its new season Oct. 4.

Series creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone topped the Hollywood back-lot party's real A-List, as in authentic.

"I remember when we started the show, we had an order for six episodes, and we're like, `This is great, because, when we're older, we'll always have these six shows,"' Parker told AP Television.

"And, it was actually Brian Graden (the executive who commissioned the original short film that became "South Park") who told us, `I think some day these will be six of 100.' And we're like, `You're crazy. There's no way.' And we're up to 150-something."

"South Park" spins around four elementary-school boys who slog out their days and nights in the quiet Colorado mountain town of South Park. Over the last decade, the boys have had to grapple with everything from problematic parents to the apocalypse.

Virtually everything and everyone in politics, pop culture and religion have been fair game for Parker and Stone's sharp satire. Tom Cruise and John Travolta got it on the chin in last season's Emmy-nominated "Trapped in the Closet" episode, which took on the Church of Scientology.

"We have not personally heard from any of them," Stone said.

"No, Tom hasn't called," Parker added.

"No, hasn't called us. We used to go over to his house for Friday-night dinners, but not any more," Stone joked.

Yet for all its craziness and cussin', the "South Park" franchise is nothing to laugh at, with top-selling DVDs, CDs, dolls, albums, a movie, reruns in worldwide syndication and soon-to-be 10 years and counting on Comedy Central's prime-time schedule.

Coinciding with next month's 10th-season launch is a DVD of Stone and Parker's 10 favorite "South Park" episodes, "South Park the Hits: Volume 1," which arrives in stores Oct. 3.

"We've said in a lot of interviews, `There's no way we're going to be 35 or 40 doing this show,' and here we are at 35, and we're doing the show," Stone said. "Now we'll say, `There's no way we're going to be 45 to 50 doing this show."'

"I think when I have kids, it'll be over," Parker added. "Because that'll be the day, we'll have kids, and then one of us will come in the office and be like, `I think we should take the show in a different direction. I think we offended some people last night, and I don't know that that's good."'

Stone: "Once we have kids, we'll do the George Lucas thing, and we'll go back and change all the old episodes."

Parker: "All the guns out of people's hands and stuff."

Stone: "Get all weird and wimpy."