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Eric Theodore Cartman, often referred to just by his surname, is one of the main characters of the animated television series South Park, created by Matt Stone and Trey Parker, and voiced by Parker. Cartman is one of four central characters in South Park, along with Stan Marsh, Kyle Broflovski, and Kenny McCormick. Cartman first appeared, originally in prototypical form in a 1992 animated short Jesus vs. Frosty, and a 1995 animated short Jesus vs. Santa, and first appeared on television in the pilot episode of South Park, "Cartman Gets an Anal Probe", on August 13, 1997.
Cartman is an elementary school student who lives with his mother in the fictional town of South Park, Colorado, where he routinely has extraordinary experiences atypical of a small town. Cartman has been portrayed as aggressive, prejudiced, arrogant and narcissistic since his character's inception; Stone and Parker describe the character as "a little Archie Bunker". These traits are significantly augmented in later seasons, particularly following the episode "Scott Tenorman Must Die", as his character evolves and he begins to exhibit extremely psychopathic, sociopathic and manipulative behavior and also be depicted as highly intelligent, able to execute morally appalling plans and business ideas to get success, but most of his plans usually end up in defeat, mainly due to something or somebody ruining his plans.
Cartman is considered to be the most popular and famous character on South Park. Parker and Stone state that he is their favorite character, and the one with whom they most identify. South Park has received both praise and criticism for Cartman's politically incorrectbehavior. Prominent publications and television channels have included Cartman on their lists as one of the most iconic television and cartoon characters of all time.