The iconic show that is South Park has produced a total of 237 episodes over 16 seasons and has entered the pantheon of the greatest shows ever (I put it as no.3 comedy of all time). Although often ignored for the impact it had South Park spoke for and helped define the late 90’s early 2000’s generation.
So I hear you scream (I have good hearing) how can you whittle so many classic episodes down into a top 10? Well somehow I have managed it and trust me it was tough. It is incredible how many episodes that I heartbreakingly had to leave off the list. Episodes that I remember incredibly fondly have been discarded as if they were dirt as I pick the elite of the elite for the top 10.
Here is a look at the other episodes that I made a list of to help me pick the top 10 but sadly did not manage to make the top 10 themselves:
Mr Hankey the Christmas Poo, Cartman’s Mum is a Dirty Slut part 1 & 2, The Passion of the Jew, Chef’s Chocolate Salty Balls, Cow Days, Jewbilee, Mr Hankey’s Christmas Classics, Cartman’s Silly Hate Crime, A Very Crappy Christmas, Terrence and Philip Behind the Blow, Cartmanland, The Entity, It’s Christmas in Canada, Good Times with Weapons, The Jefferson’s, Die Hippie Die, Ginger Closet, The Return of Chef, The Coon, The Death of Eric Cartman, Terrence and Philip in Not Without My Anus, Super Best Friends, The Biggest Douche in the Universe, The Return of the Fellowship of the Ring to the Two Towers, Do the Handicapped Go to Hell & Cat Orgy.
Damn looks how long that list is. Look at all the classic episodes of South Park I have left out the top 10. It is incredible the vast amount of quality episodes South Park have produced. If it were many other shows these would have walked into a top 10 but the quality of South Park is high and they miss out.
As a side note I would like to point out that I think that South Park really do produce the greatest Christmas episodes of any TV show. They just get it. The South Park Christmas episodes are so good that instead of going ‘ugh a Christmas episode in July’, you go ‘aw I love this episode’.
Anyway enough babbling here is the Top 10.
Trapper Keeper. 10
An episode that combines the movie series Terminator with the 2000 US Presidential election controversy, showing that the way that South Park is produced allows for excellent satirical comedy, Trapper Keeper is the perfect example of this.
The main half of the story is based upon Cartman getting a Dawson’s Creek Trapper Keeper (which is better than Kyle’s) which has the potential to absorb other technologies and will one day take over the world (so far sounds like a very South Park plot). Enter the cyborg from the future called Bill Cosby (a common name in the future apparently) who is trying to steal and destroy the Trapper Keeper (and just happens to bang Cartman’s mum along the way [as you do]) so he succeeds only for Cartman to buy another one and have it absorb him so that he becomes a massive blob that wants to take over the world.
Kyle climbs up the gas tube (probably anus) of the new Cartman before being stopped. All hope is lost until an irate Rosie O’Donnell gets in the way and is absorbed by Cartman (which in itself sounds super gross, if you don’t know what Rosie O’Donnell looks like go take a look just now this article will still be here…………ewwww I know) and it allows Kyle to disable the Trapper Keeper and save the day.
In the other half of the episode it is Ike’s first day of kindergarten and there are elections to be held (hurray). The episode takes a dig at the lack of clarity and decisiveness of the 2000 US Presidential elections which had happened only a week prior (the embarrassment of a nation that preaches to the world about fair and proper elections). It is an excellent example (maybe the best) of how satirical South Park can be; the episode also does its best to insult everything about American politics, from the two party system to the lack of voter decisiveness and the general pettiness of American politics. Throw in a guest appearance by Rosie O’Donnell (again? Yes again) to help split the political divide and you have an amazing example of political satire.
The New Terrance and Phillip Movie Trailer. 9
The episode centres on the boys (sans Kenny who is dead) desperately trying to watch the new trailer for the new Terrance and Phillip Movie (because the last one was such a success and definitely didn’t start any wars or anything) which is showing during Fightin’ Around the World with Russell Crowe.
Stan, Kyle, Butters and Cartman bounce around different areas (including the running from place to place where Cartman runs slower than the others because he’s so fat but leaves no doughnut behind) in South Park in an attempt to catch the advert (including an old folk’s home where the old people shit themselves to get rid of the boys [old people are gross]). Eventually they run out of options only to discover that the reason they can’t go to Butters’ how because he doesn’t have a baby sitter (what a nerd).
In the end they get to Butters’ house just in time and see the advert which is essentially lots of words flying at the screen followed by about a second of farting. It was total shit, but the boys love it (probably because kids are odd) and phone up some of their friends to talk about it before going round to their house to watch it again on tape, surely posing the question of why didn’t they go there to begin with.
My favourite part of the episode though is the whole Russell Crowe thing. It’s brilliant because if you have ever seen Russell Crowe be interviewed he is a fanny. It is really well done as Crowe goes fightin round the world with his faithful companion Tugger (a tugboat that shoots himself [who could blame him]). Another example of how ridiculously brilliant South Park can be when they take a dislike to a celebrity.
Scott Tenorman Must Die. 8
It isn’t often that Cartman is outsmarted however when it comes to buying pubes it is difficult to know if you are being conned or not (trust me I know [I don’t know]). So in an attempt to get revenge Cartman tries to train a pony to bite his wiener off (as you do) in front of his favourite band Radiohead.
Anyway as the show progresses and Cartman is betrayed by Stan and Kyle when they tell Scott Tenorman of his devious plan and Scott devises his own plan to further embarrass Cartman by making him eat some pubes that he cooked in chili.
So on the day of Cartman’s chili cook off Cartman is fed Scott’s yummy chili as Scott eats Cartman’s chili. After cleaning his plate Scott reveals his prank only to discover that it was actually Chef’s chili Cartman was eating and that in fact Scott was eating chili with his parents ground into it (I think the pubes one sounded nicer). Turns out that Cartman had gotten them shot by claiming they were pony killers (apparently a big problem in Colorado) and then stole their bodies. The episode ends with Cartman drinking Scott’s tears which apparently were delicious and were the perfect way to was down Chef’s delicious chili.
An amazing episode that showcases what a sick little bastard that Eric Cartman actually is, somehow grinding dead bodies up and feeding them to someone isn’t a crime in Colorado (crazy American’s). Not only a great episode but Scott Tenorman Must Die is also considered as the episode that changed the tone of how South Park considered and wrote for Cartman, as he became a bit of a psychopath (a loveable psychopath but a psychopath nonetheless).
Some guy is going around town and molesting chickens (must have a small penis) and it just happens at the same time the Booktastic Bus is in town……(probably not linked).
So Officer Barbrady is illiterate and somehow the town turns into chaos (why is there only 1 cop in the whole town? What happens if he goes on holiday? Where did Officer Barbrady go recently?). So Barbrady goes to school to learn how to read (and does a great job) and gets his job back (hooray). To help Barbrady installs Stan, Kyle, Cartman and Kenny as deputies to help him police the town and the episode really begins.
Cartman runs the town in his big wheel as he tramples any sign of crime (whether or not it existed). He beats up Stan’s dad for speeding, solicitates a man for prostitution and splits up a domestic at the McCormick’s house as he makes the town of South Park ‘RESPECT HIS AUTHORITA!’. The whole thing is a very nice depiction of the TV show COPS which is about police work or something.
In the end it turns out that the chicken lover was actually Richard Nixon in a mask of the Booktastic librarian (or the other way about I can’t remember), Cartman dutifully beats Nixon up around the ankles before Barbary shows him how real cops do it and smashes him over the head causing lots of blood and possible death. The episode all ends in a parade (which is always fun).
What’s not to love about this episode? There is chicken sex, cop kids, illiteracy and Richard Nixon, everything a man (or woman or small children or dog) could hope for.
Casa Bonita. 6
Casa Bonita Casa Bonita dah dah dah dah dah dah dah, great song. It’s Kyle’s birthday and he is being taken to Casa Bonita! (apparently a real place, who knew) However he is not taking Cartman and instead is taking Butters (are you serious bro?). Cartman starts acting nice (sort of) and Kyle tells him that if Butters can’t make it then Cartman could go in his place.
Now like any normal child Cartman decided to kidnap Butters by telling him that a meteor was about to hit Earth (sounds fair) and hides him in Jimbo’s bomb shelter (why do people in Colorado need bomb shelters? A state that has never been bombed and has no significance). The days pass by and Cartman gets his invite but Casa Bonita is postponed because of smelly Butters going missing.
The police get in the way of Cartman’s plan by checking bomb shelters, so Cartman decides to move Butters to the safe confines of a discarded fridge (that’s where I like to spend my spare time). Butters then takes a short trip to the dump in a bin lorry (a lorry that collects rubbish for those who don’t know). He eventually attempts to repopulate the Earth with a dog and some fat chick (I won’t tell you which he tries it with).
On the other side of Colorado the guys have arrived at Casa Bonita and the news has broken that Butters has been found and Cartman’s at fault. Cartman runs as fast as he can (which isn’t very fast cause he’s fat but still faster than the cops because they are also fat) to Casa Bonita and has as much fun as he possibly can before being cornered at the top of a waterfall and taking the plunge for the totally worth it finale.
The first episode on the list that takes advantage of the excellent Cartman Butters dynamic, it is one that South Park has went to many times over in recent years and it isn’t hard to see why.
If you are going to the beach, gym or a car wash, don’t forget to bring a towel (I want one of those Towelie towels). Cartman finds an aborted fetus (or tampon) in Stan’s bathroom (which is funny in itself) and buys the boys an Okama Gamesphere to distract them. Towelie comes in and starts talking about getting high and stuff (just usual towel stuff) and the episode progresses nicely.
At the bus stop on the Monday some weird guys show up asking about Towelie and the boys ignore their parents and talk to strangers (which is the real crime) telling them Towelie is in town. When they get home their Okama Gamesphere has disappeared and the and someone has stolen it and will return it to them for Towelie (total pricks I’d go ape shit if someone stole my PS3, I’d be like ‘hey you gee us ma Playstation back ya bawbag’).
The episode then centres around the boys taking Towelie back and forth between the military and Tynacorp in an attempt to get their Okama Gamesphere back. It turns out that aliens are trying to take over the world with super towels (which makes sense cause I can never find towels I’d do anything to get a clean towel).
Eventually the fighting gets too much and there is a big explosion putting the Okama Gamesphere at risk! Kenny falls into some lava (which apparently hurts) as the other boys dangle precariously as does the Okama Gamesphere! Thankfully Towelie is there to save the day but the super Towelie shows up offering Towelie a chance to get high (a very tough choice if you ask me) but Towelie uses his super towel abilities to do both and see the end of the Super Towelie.
In the end everyone agrees that Towelie is the worst character ever, and I agree. Look at Towelie he sucks. Think of any other Towelie episode where Towelie was actually a main character they are all shit. This one however is a classic, go figure. The character is ridiculous the episode was ridiculous but South Park does this stuff so damn well.
Cartman Joins NAMBLA. 4
First off I would like to explain just how confused I am that NAMBLA (North American Man-Boy Love Association) is actually a real thing. America is as confusing as fuck. In normal countries people keep their paedophilia to themselves but in America they make a group about it and campaign to the government about removing age restrictions. I honestly thought that this was made up by South Park but I guess I shouldn’t be surprised there are a lot of crazy people about.
Anyway onto the point Cartman decides he is too grown up to hang about with the boys and decides to go searching for new adult friends but they keep getting arrested by the police for soliciting Cartman (including Mr. Hat and Mr. Garrison). Soon Cartman visits Mephesto to ask him about stuff and he tells him all about NAMBLA and how he would be perfect for joining, so he does.
The sub plot of the episode is actually based on Kenny (Kenny had a storyline?) and how his mum wants another baby and Kenny ain’t best pleased about it. So she gets knocked up like only people who have no money can and Kenny does his best to abort her the only ways he knows, including making her favourite drink (vodka and chocolate milk) mixed with morning after pills and taking her on some crazy ride but sadly Kenny’s dad takes all the damage from these antics and does all sorts of things to a public bin. Kenny decides that the only option left is to do a Glasgow abortion (plunger) and chases her around the town.
Back to the main story, Cartman becomes the poster boy for NAMBLA and takes some very nice pictures in his tight red speedos. NAMBLA make Cartman invite all his adorable friends to one of their parties and duly obliges (excluding Stan and Kyle obviously). The cops are mean and decide to invade the NAMBLA party but it turns out they invade the other NAMBLA (North American Marlon Brando Look-Alikes). They get pissy because they don’t like the other NAMBLA so the cops and this NAMBLA (I’m confused) run to the other NAMBLA’s party to save the boys (also there was a skinny black guy in the Brando NAMBLA, hahahaha how silly).
Stan and Kyle show up to the party anyway with other NAMBLA members and the party moves to the next stage of the proceedings and the boys find out that NAMBLA members want to be more than friends it seems…. After some chasing around it is decided that Butters should be thrown to the wolves and take more than one for the team which he duly accepts (what a trooper).
However luckily (or unluckily depending on your feelings) for Butters Kenny’s dad shows up and happens to stumble into the room with all the naked NAMBLA guys and takes several anal poundings against his will (sounds sore or enjoyable depending on your feelings). In the end Kenny accepts his fate but then dies and the McCormick’s have another baby and call it Kenny for the 52nd time (maybe they don’t know any other names, they are hicks).
I ask you what is not to love about this episode of South Park? Cartman, paedos, anal rampage and a Glasgow abortion. What a perfect formula for a TV show about 8 year olds.
Another (and the best) Cartman and Butters centred episode. Cartman dresses up as a robot (AWESOM-O 4000) and sends himself in a crate to Butters so he can find out his secrets and then make fun of him accordingly however events turn as Butters confides in AWESOM-O and tells him that he is being bullied by a kid called Eric Cartman and that he has a special video of him dressed up as Britney Spears and dancing with a Justin Timberlake cut out (odd hobby).
Cartman decides that he must keep pretending to be AWESOM-O until he can find the tape (that Butters has misplaced) and has to continue doing Butters’ chores such as inserting suppositories and the like. Eventually Butters is going on a trip to LA to visit his Auntie and AWESOM-O joins him.
In LA Cartman becomes a hit and comes up with thousands of awful sounding films mainly starring Adam Sandler (yes that awful, remember when he used to make good movies? It seems like so long ago). After the head executive tries to make sexual advances (Cartman does have a type) AWESOM-O runs off and is kidnapped by the US military.
Cartman tries to explain to the military that he is actually a kid inside a robot not an actual robot. However they don’t believe him and just before he makes the reveal Butters breaks into the base and saves AWESOM-O before Cartman farts and ruins the whole thing for himself.
In the end we (and the whole town) get to see the very exciting Cartman as Britney (all fat and not fitting into her clothes) dancing with a lovely cut out of Justin Timberlake as the townsfolk laugh on and Cartman sits in despair (poor guy).
AWESOM-O shows that South Park can do a very good job of following one plot line, and regardless of how ridiculous the story is (and most of them are) they can still pull it out and show a very comprehensible narrative.
Coming up one place short is Pinkeye the crazy assed episode which showed the world what would happen if Worcestershire sauce was used as embalming fluid on Halloween (it is pretty bad and dangerous). Kenny dies (as always in these days) and is accidentally filled full of Worcestershire sauce turning him into a zombie who likes to bite folks.
The next day at school everyone is dressed up for Halloween with Cartman notably dressing up as Hitler (early signs) but Kenny has no costume because he’s dead after all (I’m not sure if I came back as a zombie that I would go to school, partially because I no longer go to school but even if I did I doubt I would go I’m sure I’d have better things to do). Chef tells Cartman that his costume isn’t cool (although funny) and that he should get a new one which Principal Victoria agrees with, instead making him a spooky ghost costume (looking pretty similar to a KKK outfit [another psycho American group (a la Republicans), there seems to be a lot of them]).
The pinkeye outbreak worsens and there are zombies all over the place and Chef (I miss Chef) tries to warn the mayor but she’s up to all sorts of no good with Officer Barbrady.
Whilst out trick or treating Kenny keeps biting people so he gets ditched and the boys run into Chef and they go clue hunting in regards to the pinkeye outbreak. It leads them to the realisation that Worcestershire sauce is the cause and that they must phone some hotline number but just as they prepare to do it Chef has transformed! It is followed by a pretty tasty rendition of Michael Jackson’s Thriller (with cool Chef based lyrics).
So with chainsaws at dawn Cartman and Stan start sawing many different zombies at once whilst Kyle is on the phone before Stan is confronted by a pinkeye infected Wendy (Wendy sucked). However Kyle saves the day by sawing the original pinkeye sufferer in half (that’s Kenny by the way).
I know what you’re thinking ‘how does killing one pinkeye sufferer cure every other pinkeye sufferer?’ well I don’t really know but if you really think about any of the South Park episodes none of them really make sense. It is also one of the many great Halloween episodes that South Park has produced and should probably produce more often.
Make Love Not Warcraft. 1
Here we go the greatest ever episode of South Park ever. The synopsis is pretty simple really; some guy is being a dick and ruining everyone’s World of Warcraft experience by killing them all the time. The boys try everything they can to bring him down but the guy just has such a lack of life that he is ending the world….of warcraft as an enjoyable experience for anyone. Eventually Stan, Kyle, Cartman and Kenny join together to do some crazy ass boar hunting so that they can level up to tackle the beast incarnate, in doing so the boys become very fat and greasy looking (much like their counterpart) in their quest for epicness.
Back at WoW central, the games bosses are bricking it about the loser that is ruining the game for everyone and turn to the hope that 4 more losers (Stan, Kyle, Cartman and Kenny) from Colorado can save the day. Through the use of the Sword of a Thousand Truths they attempt to reach them but they are nowhere to be found. Thankfully for everyone in the world Stan’s dad is there to log into his account (because the two executives have lives) and hand the Sword over (with difficulty) to Stan.
Stan receives the sword 17 hours into the epic battle (and shortly after Cartman has shit all over his mum and Kyle has had some serious Carpal Tunnel issues) at Goldshire and is able to reduce the guy’s mana to a non-existence factor and Cartman smashes his brain to smithereens. The crowds burst with excitement and now everyone will finally be able to just play the game.
Why is this episode the greatest episode of South Park ever? Well not only is it really funny, it also throws in the excellent scenes where the boys are super fat and do nothing but play the game to Live to Win. The general internet gaming based comments are really well done and it feels like a subject area that the writers have actually fully examined before making the episode.
However the best thing about the whole episode is the World of Warcraft experience. It took tremendous foresight from Blizzard to work together with South Park and help them create this episode because I’m sure a lot of people bought WoW after seeing this episode (I know I did). I also love how they slag the game to bits (it is a good game btw) by saying things like people who play the game have no life (which is sort of true, it’s pretty addictive). Make Love, Not Warcraft is just that magical thing of a TV show trying something new and different, going against the curve and being rewarded for it by producing something special in the end.
So there you go the 10 greatest episodes of South Park ever, if you’ve been counting (I’m sure you have) there has been 1 episode from seasons 1, 2, 6, 7, 9 and 10 and 2 from seasons 4 and 5. I think it says a lot about the drop off in quality of South Park after season 10; I also only had 1 episode between seasons 11-16 for an honourable mention (The Coon) and it wasn’t really that close to the top 10 in comparison to other options which failed to make it. I think it says a lot about how the tone and quality of South Park has dropped off considerably, and it is no longer the must see voice of a generation that it once was in the late 90’s or early 2000’s. You wonder if Trey Parker and Matt Stone will be able to recover what really is one of my favourite TV shows of all time.
Cartman the word that I have written the most amount of times so far (63 to be exact) in this list and for me further evidence that he is by far the best and most important character in South Park (5/10 episodes concentrate on Cartman as the main character). Much like he is the poster boy for NAMBLA he is also the poster boy for the show and is a well deserved one at that too.
When I started this I really didn’t intend it to be so long but then I started it and I couldn’t stop. I’m sure that I have left lots of peoples favourite episodes off the list (because there so many good ones) leave a comment and express your views, all are appreciated.