Tonight — at 10pm ET — the politics- and news-charged satirical cartoon, “South Park,” begins its ninth season of, as Yahoo TV guide puts it innocently enough, “The adventures of four boys who live in South Park, Colorado.”

Along with the happy news that Comedy Central plans to carry its top-rated show “into infinity,” the New York Times offers up a tribute to tonight’s premiere and its creators. Oh, and that “into infinity” phrase is not a quote from a CC executive; that’s the Times’s description of the show’s possible longevity.

“Eight years of tackling up-to-the-minute issues like the search for Osama bin Laden, the controversy over Mel Gibson’s “‘Passion of the Christ’ and the right-to-die questions raised by the court battle over Terri Schiavo have elevated Mr. Parker and Mr. Stone to a position as opinion arbiters: viewers count on divisive, newsworthy topics getting the ‘South Park’ treatment.

“Mr. Stone and Mr. Parker bristle … ‘Now it’s like, ‘What’s “South Park” going to do this week about Hurricane Katrina?” Mr. Stone said. ‘I don’t know what we’re going to do. …’ (They may complain, but they can’t help themselves: on tonight’s episode, a beaver dam breaks, causing a flood in a neighboring town. Assigning blame becomes the top priority.)”

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