Despite context being provided for instances of Cartman saving Kyle, as well as many actions Cartman has taken against Kyle due to hatred, there still is a subgroup in the South Park fan base that strongly believes otherwise.



My question is: Is there any substantial evidence, not theoretical, that may back up claims of Cartman sincerely caring for or having deeper feelings for Kyle?

  • 6
    Is there an actual question here? This sounds more like a rant. This is not a forum but a Q&A site.
    – BCdotWEB
    Mar 29, 2018 at 18:46
  • It's a question in the sense that I want an answer as to why people think that, something that in a way might rebuttal what I've said
    – user62898
    Mar 29, 2018 at 20:23
  • Even if it asks an actual question, it's looking for an opinion. Mar 30, 2018 at 16:11
  • Questions are allowed to ask for opinions. As long as something is asked, whatever it is, it still holds as a question. Nonetheless I can see that I definitely should of phrased it better, and I'll make sure to do so in the future
    – user62898
    Mar 31, 2018 at 15:07
  • The question has been edited and details pertaining to said question are slightly different (asking for evidence that isn't theoretical). Could the post be reopened for this reason?
    – user64662
    Aug 3, 2018 at 7:58

2 Answers 2


Similar to BCdotWEB, I'm a bit on the fence of whether there's an underlying valid question. However, you stipulated what part you specifically want an answer on:

Why do some people believe Cartman genuinely cares for Kyle?

It's a question in the sense that I want an answer as to why people think that, something that in a way might rebuttal what I've said

The short answer is this:

Because there have been instances where Cartman did something for Kyle that came from a place of wanting to help a friend. These kind moments also help prove that Cartman's usual hurtful comments are not the literal truth.
As much as Cartman can rip on Kyle and say that he wants him to die; at the end of the day, he chose to save Kyle in Smug Alert. That indirectly proves that he doesn't hate Kyle as much as he claims he does.

Yes, you're somewhat correct that this kind gesture is tainted by the fact Cartman misses Kyle as his favorite victim, not just as a friend.

However, it does still prove the point that Cartman's usual hateful anti-Kyle rhetoric is not true to begin with. It showcases the point that when Cartman rips on Kyle, he's exaggerating.

This ties into a larger part of Cartman's personality. Cartman has hateful opinions about certain groups of people (Jews, hippies, ...). But when you observe Cartman over all of the seasons, you start to see that his bark is much worse than his bite.

Cartman has learned to act offended when it helps him get what he wants. Cartman doesn't hate for hate's sake, he acts hateful because it benefits his true goal.

When Cartman wore the "Token's Life Matters" T-shirt, he wasn't trying to bring focus to racial issues. He was trying to bring focus to the fact that he is standing up to racial issues. Cartman's goal was self-aggrandizement; not social change.

In "Kenny Dies", Cartman attempts to get stem cell research (using aborted fetuses) legalized in a feigned attempt to save Kenny's life. It is revealed at the end of the episode he really wanted to use stem cells to clone his favorite pizza restaurant.

In "Ginger Cow", Cartman actually proves my point by completely pulling a 180 when it benefits him. Initially, Cartman keeps up the prank that the ginger cow is real. When confronted with an outraged Kyle, the school, the media... Cartman holds to the claim that the cow is real.
But then, peace in the Middle East is created specifically because the ginger cow is thought to be real. Cartman suddenly feels the need to come clean, but he confides that in Kyle, specifically. It's not all that subtle that what Cartman really wants is to extort Kyle, by making Kyle his servant in exchange for not revealing that the cow is a fake.

Cartman's actions change based on what benefits Cartman the most.
He first upheld the lie for personal amusement. He was enjoying it way too much to give up on it. But when he realized that he could instead extort Kyle (which would bring him even more joy), he changed his position so it helped him get what he wants (Kyle's reluctant obedience).

When Cartman victimizes Kyle, this is nothing more than a power play. Cartman wants to conversationally drag Kyle through the mud and retain social control over him.

As Cartman's advocate, I could argue that Kyle has a different-but-similar need for social control over his friends. Kyle is the one who most likes sitting on his moral high horse and behaves like the bringer of wisdom, even if others (sometimes including Stan) get tired of Kyle's harping on.

In that sense, Kyle and Cartman's treatment of each other is balanced. Kyle gets to act morally high and mighty (which most commonly consists of explaining why Cartman is being a dick), and Cartman gets to drag Kyle down and ridicule him (by trolling him).

Cartman and Kyle are two extremes at opposite ends. Based on a given topic, we can usually already predict what Cartman and Kyle's opinions are going to be. But Stan is the wildcard, and the more interesting character to observe. His opinion is not set in stone. He evaluates things independently and then makes his own choice.

  • Cartman has no problem with amorality. He does what he wants. To Cartman, there is no boundary that you can't cross if you want to.
  • Kyle is the opposite. He often argues the point that there are moral lines which cannot be crossed at any cost. Kyle takes this too far sometimes, holding on to a principle to a degree that is not healthy or helpful anymore.
  • Stan is the mediator here. He simply sides with whoever seems to be the most correct in this particular case. There are times where Stan actively agrees with Cartman. There are other times where Stan tries to stick with Kyle, but eventually has to concede that Kyle takes it too far. Other times, Stan completely sides with Kyle. But there are also times where Stan, while agreeing with Kyle, ignores Cartman and doesn't actively feel the need to prove Cartman wrong (which Kyle is less capable of).

Just to not exclude him: Kenny generally swings the same way as Stan; he picks a side based on the options in front of him.
However, if the plot requires the boys to split off in two teams of two each, since Kyle and Cartman are practically always on opposing teams; Stan and Kenny divide themselves to even out the groups. Most often, Kenny and Cartman group up, because Kenny has a "naughty" side to him that connects with Cartman's amorality.

Come to think of it, Kenny actually proves the point. Especially in earlier episodes, Cartman ripped on Kenny (for being poor) as much as he did on Kyle (for being a Jew).

But Cartman still likes Kenny at the same time. They often pair up. They genuinely have fun together. But when Cartman takes a joke too far, Kenny can (and will) lash out at Cartman. Kenny does have a thicker skin than Kyle, he doesn't get upset as easily.

Essentially, Kyle is a more sensitive Kenny. And because he's more sensitive, it's easier for Cartman to upset him, which is why we see Cartman/Kyle rivalry more than Cartman/Kenny rivalry (Kenny has no issues just walking away if he's fed up).

  • 2
    Thanks Flater. That was a really great response, but just one thing- hasn't Cartman actively shown his hatred of Kyle before? Mainly due to the fact that he constantly ruins his schemes, critiques his delusions of grandeur, and often calls Cartman out on the mistakes he makes (example, Fractured But Whole with the whole "parents fucking thing"). Cartman, as a narcissist, hates to have his superiority challenged. There's also the matter of Cartman helping (Like you said) when it suits him, so it's not so much of him helping Kyle out as friends would then it is using assets a goal
    – user62898
    Mar 31, 2018 at 14:37
  • 2
    Well yeah they play together, it goes back to Cartman's overall character. He will override anything- even hatred- for what he wants at the moment. If he wants to have fun and role play, he'll do just that. But the hatred is too evident to ignore: it's why Cartman thinks Kyle is constantly out to get him when he isn't. Why he actually sees him as a sneaky, dishonest, overreaching opponent when Kyle in actuality is none of those things. We can see this in Doubling Down, Insecurity, The Poor Kid, etc. Kyle most certainly doesn't hate him (genuinely at least) but it isn't vice versa.
    – user62898
    Mar 31, 2018 at 17:42
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    There's also the matter of Cartman's attempted genocide of the Jews in Passion of the Jew. If anything, his actions go much farther than his insults and words. I get what you're saying, and I think we can at least agree on the fact that Cartman's dislike of Kyle doesn't stem from him solely being a Jew.
    – user62898
    Mar 31, 2018 at 17:49
  • This...isn't really accurate. What you're missing when talking about Cartman's friendships is the fact that Cartman himself is a sociopath. And as such, It's important to note that what he prioritizes is much different than most people's standards. These biggest priorities are, by far...himself, and entertainment. Now, Cartman doesn't JUST get entertainment from the suffering of others or malicious acts in general, he also gets short term entertainment from simple actions such as roleplaying, video games, etc. But...he's still a sociopath. And as such, beyond playing with his friends-
    – OP_rah
    Oct 19, 2018 at 20:57
  • -there really isn't anything there beyond that surface level of friendship. This is how Cartman is able to hang out with Kenny yet not care a single bit in regards to his death in Best Friends Forever. The same can be applied to Kyle. Cartman can switch his hatred for him on and off if it suits him...that's just how he works. He isn't normal, and because of this he really CAN save someone for a selfish reason and not truly think of them as a friend yet rather as something to provide stimulation.
    – OP_rah
    Oct 19, 2018 at 20:59

After thinking it over for a while, I finally have an answer: Is there any substantial evidence, not theoritical, to prove Cartman secretly cares for Kyle or sees him in a romantic light? No- however, there is evidence to back up a very clear fixation- a fixation that has led to others such as the groups above theorizing his feelings to be something...more.

Cartman, as we know, has the tendency to remain determined in the face of something he desires, and him hating Kyle is no exception to this. This hatred has culminated into a very strong desire to get one up on his rival and feel superior, which can lead to Cartman going through...questionable means in order to humiliate his enemy. A good example of this is the three parter Imagination Land, one where Cartman dedicates his time to making sure Kyle sucks his balls, as their previously made bet had stated. There's a lot to be said on the topic of Cartman and sexuality- it's implied during the course of the series that Cartman views sexual instances as a means to demean and humiliate rather than anything intimate as most would. Regardless of motives or not, the sexual implications of it are clear, and contribute to the theories. Another episode, one that basically defines the source of Cartman's fixation with Kyle, is Smug Alert. It provides the basis as to why, despite hating his rival, Cartman most certainly needs him. Kyle provides angry and overblown outbursts in response to Cartman's bullying. These reactions provide negative attention that not only sustain Cartman's narcissism, but his sadisim as well. This desire for entertainment is a bigger priority than his hatred, and so in turn Cartman saves Kyle. Now although certainly a selfish reason, this does prove without a doubt that Cartman needs Kyle around.

While there are many rivalries in media, very few contain the intensity and fixation that Cartman and Kyle's dynamic have, despite being just a sitcom. This, coupled with the implications of episodes such as Imagination Land, are enough to have plenty theorizing about the two.

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