We continue our definitive never-to-ever-be-listed-again list of the best episodes of the Comedy Central institution ‘South Park’. This is sure to spark debate about what episodes got in and which ones did, not but in the words of a great man “Oh I’m sorry, I thought this was a America!”
Get inside the South Park writer’s room with former writer Jon Kimmel (now working his brother on ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’) in this new episode of Not Ready for Broadcast where he dishes on what episode the writer’s like the most, the idea he pitched that upset his mom, and how he would end the series.
25. The Passion of the Jew (Season 8 / Ep 3) One of the most controversial episodes of the series (and that’s saying a lot) is this tale which touches on a religious movie by Hollywood star Mel Gibson which allows Cartman go full blown villain mode and Kyle goes into a mental breakdown. Meanwhile, Gibson whose actual face is displayed in his animated version here is portrayed like a Looney Tunes cartoon in his Bravehart make up. Highlight: The over-the-phone NSFW exchange between Cartman and Stan about trying to get $18 back from Gibson because they didn’t like ‘the Passion’.
24. Professor Chaos (Season 6/ Ep 6) After being fired from the group, Butters creates a villainous persona who wears a tinfoil helmet like Dr. Doom from Marvel comics, and with the cutest look on his face threatens revenge. He’s the most adorable arch-nemesis the boys could ever have
23. Trapper Keeper (Season 4 / Ep 12) Trey and Matt must be big fans of ‘Terminator’ as this is a pretty tribute to it, as Cartman and Kyle battle over who has the coolest trapper keeper but it unfolds into a time-traveling apocalypse tale with humankind in the balance. The time-traveller does not understand how to keep his undercover status.This episode also features lil’ Ike interacting with Kindegarden students who are all voiced by real kids with a sidestory covering the debated 2000 Election results. Highlight: “Can we play some Hu-Man Tether- ball?”
22. It’s a Jersey Thing (Season 14 / Episode 9) MTV’s reality TV cole sore known as ‘the Jersey Show’ was quite the rage a few years back, and anything that breaks into a certain level of questionable popularity seems to be an easy target for the SP crew to sneak their teeth into. This episodes though took the idea of these Jersey Shore type characters into the wild extremes as their invading the nice little Colorado town like a sci-fi zombie type infection that turns people into jerks with a lot of gel in their hair. Highlight: Snookie is treated like a Gollum like monster who wants “smoosh smoosh” with it’s unfortunate victims.
21. The Return of the Fellowship of the Ring to the Two Towers (Season 6 / Ep 13) An epic quest in the vein of the Lord of the Rings, the boys set out on a mission to return a video to a video store except that video is the most powerful adult film of all time. Butters turns into a proverbial Gollum trying to get the tape back after he loses it. Highlight: The look on Butters face after he sees the tape by mistake, saying simply “Neat-O”.
20. “Die Hippie, Die” (Season 9 / Ep 2) When hippies start to become a nuisance to the town, there is one person who can save the town from these hackey-sacking hordes: Eric Cartman. It sneaks in allusions to JAWS, The Core, and other disaster/event movies.
19. SEASON 19, THE WHOLE FREAKING SEASON This past season kickoff was one of the show’s strongest in terms of working in local characters (not just celebs) to satire modern pop culture driven by political correctness.It also had overarching themes but not isolated to 2 or 3 part trilogies like we had seen in the past, so picking one was tougher to do than waiting for an Nintendo Wii to come out. So here are few to seek out for my PC bros. It shows how South Park never needed to be rejuvenated, it just needed to remind it’s always been “kewl”.
Stunning and Brave ( Ep 1) This season kickoff goes meta on the series as it’s under the microscope as a proudly politically incorrect show in a time in American culture when their is a demand for more political correctness with a ton of confusion as to what that actually is to everyone. Introducing P.C.Principal who is easily the most impactfull new side character on the show in years, a broken Cartman, a brainwashed Randy Marsh and powers flipped from where they once were. In all this upheaval, they take NFL’s ‘Deflategate’ over the coals as well. It’s like the show’s own version of ‘The Empire Strikes Back’. Highlight: The P.C. Bros yelling “Whoo! Whoo! Whoo!” and their frat house chant.
Naughty Ninjas (Ep 7) This episode culminates as a denial of the past with the fall of Officer Bob Brady and calls out the double standards you see when people are so insistent to let you know their “progressive” while acting the completely opposite of the ideal. It shows Brady as this heartbroken hero who makes a mistakes, with a side story about the town boys turning into Ninjas who the adults think is an ISIS terror cell. Highlight: “Wow. We’ve only had a Whole Foods for a month, and already we don’t need cops. So Cool.”
PC Principal Final Justice(Ep 10) All of the big themes of Season19 culminate with PC Principle, Internet Advertising, gentrification, and everyone gets a gun. It’s all going down in a big way with almost character in the town tied together in this plot that reminds me of the scale of the Marvel’s Civil War but instead of super powers, everyone gets a gun. Highlight: The Gun Show is played out like a dog show with soft toned commentators narrated the entire thing and then everyone takes out their guns.
18. Cartman Gets an Anal Probe (Season 1 / Ep 1) The one that started it all with aliens making Cartman doing ridiculous including random dance routines and the obvious stuff with a butt. It introduced us to these four boys who talked the way kids sometimes talk when the adults are not around at all.
17. Timmy 2000 (Season 4 / Ep 3) Comedy Central reportedly did not want this episode which starred a handicapped character Timmy who can only say his name ‘Timmy’ who quickly becomes the singer of a band and gets into a feud with you guessed it, 80’s pop singer Phill Collins. It’s one of the more prominent musical moment in the series. Plus it teaches us that if any medication you’re taking makes you see little tiny Christina Aguilera, you should probably stop.
16. Cartoon Wars ( Season 10 / Ep 3+ 4) It has long been a comparison that the SP faithful have despised with a venomous denial, that the show is nothing like a similar risque cartoon show Family Guy. So just like the fantasy battles comic book fans pit between DC and Marvel superheros, we get this large scale battle that involves the world nearly collapsing because Family Guy plans to air a depiction of the prophet Muhammed. The dialogue in this is over-the-top in it’s meta territory. Highlight: The reveal of how every Family Guy joke is created behind the scenes.
15. Goobacks (Season 8 / Ep 7) Immigration issues with people traveling from the future hit South Park so this of course leads the working class people of the town to worry for their jobs and devolve into xenophobic yokels who can’t say the word “jobs” correctly. It shows here how acceptable hate can be in our culture when times get tough or challenging. Plus the geeky homages to ‘the Terminator’ will make you smile as well. Highlight: “THEY TOOK OUR JORBS!”
14. Handicar (Season 18 Episode 4) Never a show to shy away from current fads, South Park address the Uber and Lyft phenomena that has swept the world! But in typical South Park fashion they turn the subject matter upside down, and make it all about Wacky Races. Featuring Timmy and Nathan in the leads. Mimsy!!!!!!
13. The Cissy (Season 18 Episode 3)One character that has really grown and developed over the course of the series is Randy Marsh. Originally just Stan’s dad, we’ve seen him mature and develop to drunkenly fight other dads at little league baseball games, bro down against Andrew Lloyd Weber, and try to give himself cancer, just so he can buy some “Purple Yurple”. But it is this episode where Randy emerges as the international pop star Lorde. This literally maybe the greatest Randy Marsh moment ever. The culmination of the character moving from the background, to arguably one of the funniest characters on the show. And that is saying something.
12. AWESOME-0 (Season 8 / Ep 2) The uber-innocence of Butters and the non-stop conniving Cartman pair up as an odd couple again here. Cartman dressing up as a robot and pretends to be Butter’s best friend to learn his deepest secrets. Cartman has the robo-buddy, then becomes the reason that bad Adam Sandler movies get made. Highlight: The way that ‘Awesome o’ has to give Butter’s medication in a specific part of the body.
11. Mystery of the Urinal Deuce (Season 10 / Ep 9) One of the more controversial entries on the list is this one which features Cartman playing a 9/11 truther, a pair of very aroused detectives, and Mr. Mackey describing what awful thing was left in a urinal. With the very real sadness around the events of 9/11, it’s not easy to make light of anything related to it but this episode effectively did that with grace.
10. Woodland Critter Christmas (Season 8 / Ep 14) Cuddly adorable critters from the forest who appear to be anything but evil turn out to be just that when Stan gets tied their Satanic plot. And there’s a sex scene involving blood that you can’t unsee it while at the same time it’s also absolutely gut-bustingly funny.
9. Douche and Turd (Season 8 / Ep 8) This episode is for those of us who want to participate in the democratic process of voting for elected leader but feel like our choices are limited, at best. Yes, this irreverent and thought-provoking symbol of American politics is gracefully displayed when the kids at South Park Elementary are forced to vote between a douche and turd sandwich. This is not the America we want, but it’s the one we got. Highlight: “All right children, I have just been informed that since our school has been attacked by eco-terrorist for the 47th time, we are going to change our school mascot”
8. Fisthticks (Season 13 / Ep 5) A joke written by Timmy and Cartman (who really just sat on the couch, but claimed he co-wrote it) sparks a worldwide craze and winds up really aggravating the egomaniacal out-of-touch rapper Kanye West to an extreme level. It’s a perfect spoof on the process of comedy writing, people who steal jokes, and people who don’t get the jokes at all. It’s one of the shows many ‘meta’ moments where it’s able to satirize how people process South Park and other comedy shows in the real world. Reminder this episode came out in 2009, and Kanye West is still getting way too mad about a lot of things. The rapper did not take the satire very well, dissing SP in a song.
7. Chinpoko Mon (Season 3 / Ep 11) Pokemon Go took over our phones this year and caused all different types of weird stories to hit the web, so this episode which first aired in 1999 delivers in an unexpected revival of the ‘Catch ‘em Craze’. The boys get wound up in a fad of Chinpoko Mon toys which is actually a master plan by Japan to overthrow the United States. Highlight: The corny ass theme song for the toys that get sold to the kids and the insane failed replacement toy the town pitches to the town’s children, the Wild Wacky Action Bike.
6. Make Love Not Warcraft (Season 10 / Ep 8) The boys can’t beat this one guy on the MMORPG game ‘World of Warcraft’ and these cuts to the feared foe is shown to be a balding obese dork wearing a carpal tunnel sleeve because he just plays the game. The boys must become their enemy to defeat their enemy so they get rotund in the reverse montage. Yes, it gonna take montaaaage. Highlight: Randy acting like he’s dying in the real world when his character dies in the game.
5. About Last Night (Season 12 Episode 12) You could make an argument that this episode is one of the top 5 best episodes of all time. In fact, after re-watching it just made me wish that this was a pilot episode for a new South Park spin-off show. Even the name of President Obama,Senator John McCain crime organization is great! “Presidential Crime Syndicate”. God, what a name! But the icing on the cake of this episode is the fact that it aired the day after the 2008 Presidential Election was completed, and included snippets from President Obama’s victory speech. It really shows how up-to-the-minute SP Studios could be with their humor.
4. Imaginationland (Season 11 / Episode 10-13) A story that merges innocent whimsy and wonder of fictional characters in a pristine dimension that represents our collective dreams, insert a kidnapped Butters, a very serious military effort, the boys freaking out about it all and lots of over-the-top violence that makes what imaginary become fiercely real. It played together so well, it got it’s own DVD release. It easily could have been a feature film in theaters if they wanted to go there.
3. Trapped in the Closet (Season 9 / Ep 12) This episode saw the show draw the ire of Tom Cruise and the Church of Scientology for revealing reported secrets about the religion. It also reminded people the show was capable of a grander or even smarter level of comedy that didn’t require the sight gags of poo poo and ca ca. This episode earned an Emmy nomination and respect from Hollywood, simply out of fear that anyone in the world of show business was due to be subject of an future South Park episode. Reruns of the episodes were pulled under the scrutiny and pressure from Cruise, but fans pushed back, forcing Comedy Central to re-air the show. The fallout of the show airing saw longtime SP voice actor and music legend Issac Hayes leave the show due to his beliefs as a Scientologists.. “There is a place in this world for satire, but there is a time when satire ends and intolerance and bigotry towards religious beliefs of others begins,” said Hayes in an article published by the Assosciated Press. Highlight: The on-the-nose dialogue as the Marsh family tries to get Tom Cruise to come out of the closet.
2. Episode 200/201 (Season 14 / Ep 5) These two episodes play together as one story featuring a parade of cameos from celebs and odd side characters from the show’s earlier years threatening to sue the town of South Park unless the town can get the prophet Muhammed to meet Tom Cruise. It basically serves as symbol for the show’s creators and writers joking on the idea of everyone getting so riled up about a cartoon town making fun of them. These episodes once again pushed the limits, to show SP’s ability to put anyone in their unrivaled satirical sights.
1. Scott Tennorman Must Die (Season 5 / Ep 4) Cartman has always held his own as one of the most self-absorbed jerks in TV history, but in this episode which many fans see as show truly raised his villiny to evil levels never thought possible, when he gets a taste of his own medicine by an older bully, Scott Tenorman. Cartman’s response is plot that shows he meaner than almost than any character in comedy history, when he basically tricks Tenorman into eating his own parents. If Cartman is the “fire” that drives the show as former writer Jon Kimmel put it, this episode has most of that heat. Alternative legends Radiohead make a noteworthy cameo.