Top Twenty South Park Episodes
South Park is one of my favorite shows and undoubtedly one of the best animated series of all time. And with the exception of the first and last couple of seasons, all of the seasons were in my opinion fantastic, each with its fair share of classic episodes. So making this list was extremely difficult for me. In fact, it is the most difficult list I’ve made so far. I tried to be more diverse and to put episodes of all types and with as many characters as possible. So without further ado, here are in my opinion the twenty best South Park episodes (because the ten slots were just not enough in this case).
20. Poor and Stupid
Coming in at number twenty is Poor and Stupid from one of the best seasons which is the fourteenth one. Here you have one of those classic episodes with Butters and Cartman. The episodes that have these two together are usually some of the best and this is no exception. But you also have Kenny and watching him get frustrated by Cartman’s ignorance toward NASCAR fans produced many great chuckles. The other subplot is also very good, but Cartman fuels this episode with a couple of instantly recognizable, absolutely hilarious lines and rarely has he amusingly insulted Kenny more than in here.
19. Over Logging
In this episode, the Marsh family joins a mass-migration when internet access dries up in Colorado. This isn’t one of the funniest episodes on this list as it only has a couple of hilarious scenes with Randy’s masturbation sequence being hysterical, but it is the episode that is one of the most relatable while also being one of the most alarming as it cleverly showcases our obsession with the internet and how we basically treat it as food and water. And those black-and-white sequences were both clever and very amusing.
18. Breast Cancer Show Ever
Breast Cancer Show Ever is one of those South Park episodes that are just fun and surely it is incredibly entertaining watching Wendy beat up Cartman. There isn’t any social or political commentary here and that’s more than okay as I wish that more episodes were like this one these days. The build-up was excellent and it was fun watching Cartman do anything to get away from their confrontation. It is one of the best episodes for Wendy and the story that is perfectly constructed and genuinely funny from start to finish with a terrific conclusion.
17. Go God Go
In this futuristic adventure, Cartman is unable to wait three weeks for the new console so he freezes himself and ends up in the far future where atheists rule which was all set up by Mrs. Garrison. This is a great two-part story, but I chose the first part as it is the funnier one. The sequence in which Garrison mockingly explains evolution to the children is easily one of the most memorable and hilarious in the show’s history, but the entire story here is super inventive with an awesome score, some great twists, a hilarious satire on atheism and featuring very funny Cartman.
Another one of the simpler South Park stories, Pre-School is about a bully who gets released from prison and goes on a revenge spree and his target are the four boys. The plot is really well crafted with excellent flashbacks and the sequences with Miss Claridge were hysterical in their admittedly brutal manner. And I found the conclusion to this story very satisfying. It is one of the many great episodes of the eighth season which is the series’ very best.
15. Christian Hard Rock
Cartman starts a Christian rock band with humorous results. Here all of the boys are very well utilized including Token to whom Cartman had some very amusing things to say. It features one of the best South Park songs in Jesus Baby which is a catchy, but absolutely hysterical song with crazy lyrics. The rivalry between the boys was excellent here as is the mockery of this type of music. And although brutal, the ending in which Token beats up Eric and Butters farts in his face is one of the more memorable punch conclusions where Cartman loses everything.
Cartman’s dream of owning an amusement park finally comes true in this very strong early episode for the series. The subplot with Kyle is perfectly incorporated into the whole and once again we have a great ending in which Cartman loses everything and Kyle restores his faith in God. Some of the highlights here include the doctor’s scenes as well as the scenes when Cartman forbids the boys to come into his park.
13. Proper Condom Use
Proper Condom Use came right after Cartmanland in a very respectable season and it’s even better. It is one of the more crazy and sexual episodes, especially this early in its run, and it features some of the best uses of Mr. Mackey ever as his relationship with a co-teacher was very entertaining (and graphic) to watch. But it’s a great message episode as it showcases just how clueless people can be about sex and how badly they can teach it to their pupils. Mr. Garrison’s classes here were absolutely hilarious.
A terrific, very clever attack on Japanese influence on the Western culture and especially anime, Chinpokomon truly is amazing. The highlights were all of the sequences with the Japanese men and all of the jokes about their small penis size. It is fascinating how perfectly they utilized the humor into this satire and created an episode that is relevant and yet consistently humorous.
11. The Passion of the Jew
The Passion of the Jew finds Cartman at his most anti-semitic. I thought their ridicule of ‘The Passion of the Christ’ was on-point and the subplot with Kyle is very sophisticated. Mel Gibson’s portrayal here is crazy and he’s one of the most memorable South Park celebrities for sure. Watching Cartman march and talk in German is the highlight, but the episode is never just funny, but also very smart with a thought-provoking subject matter.
AWESOME-O is another classic with an awesome Butters/Cartman dynamic. Here this dynamic probably got the fullest treatment with many twists and turns. Of course the scientist’s speech while he’s dying is just hysterical, but Eric is easily the highlight here and Butters is just as good. The episode entirely rests on these two and it is a perfect showcase of how great together they can be. And the structure in which it starts simple and yet unfolds in a bigger way later on is a classic SP structure superbly executed here.
9. Woodland Critter Christmas
This is one of the most atypical episodes on this list, but that makes it all the more interesting and unique. With a frequently funny narration, the best possible use of Stan’s character, a great twist and such diabolical titular creatures, it is the episode that is one of the most brutal and unexpected of the bunch and it cleverly twists its children’s format on its head and makes it a delightful horror tale in its own right.
Now I know that I am in the minority here as this isn’t one of the most acclaimed episodes of this show, but to me it is spectacular and it is even better every time I see it. The futuristic premise is clever and exciting, but the episode succeeds as a great social commentary while still being a sci-fi comedy in its roots. The highlights of course include that crazy orgy at the end and the line “They took our jobs!” which is one of the most memorable South Park quotes ever.
7. Stupid Spoiled Whore Video Playset
Featuring the best use of Mr. Slave yet, this one has it all – crazy sexual scenes and a perfect use of both of its subplots. The Butters subplot is terrific, but the highlight is naturally Paris Hilton who is without any doubt one of the show’s greatest celebrity parodies. The dog scene is laugh-out-loud funny and the competition near the end is one of the most unexpectedly shocking things Parker and Stone have managed to put in.
6. Mr. Garrison’s Fancy New Vagina
This is Garrison’s finest hour and truly he is fantastic here. The sex change subject matter is not handled in a subtle manner, but the episode is nonetheless a great one as it is one of the funniest on this list. It is funny consistently and Gerald Broflovski is at his finest here as well. I liked all of the subplots here, but watching Garrison take a womanly role led to many hysterical moments and even more amusing lines.
5. Red Hot Catholic Love
Of course the subplot with mouth defecating is juvenile and gross, but still very humorous and it ties well into the overall storyline which is very sophisticated and such a great exploration of the church and its accusations of child molestation. Father Maxi is very memorable in such a great role for him and both of these stories end in a great way and this is one of the best written episodes for the duo.
4. Cartman Joins NAMBLA
This is another episode concerning child molestation and the creators certainly were obsessed with this particular subject a bit too much, but this one is the best and the quintessential one. It is one of the earliest episodes on this list and it’s so well crafted and consistently funny with Cartman being at its core and delivering many great laughs. I particularly liked the final moment where he had to apologize and still couldn’t do it which was so in-line for the character.
3. Butters’ Bottom Bitch
For the best Butters episode, look no further than in the next entry, but this one is close as it is just such a perfect use of this character and most especially of his womanizing aspect to his personality. Pimping is so superbly utilized here and even more memorable in the second subplot with Sergeant Yates who continues to be one of the best supporting characters for the show. He is just endlessly funny this time around and this episode is one of the most sexually graphic and featuring such a great ending and such a great quote in – “Freeze! I’m a Cop!”
2. The Tale of Scrotie McBoogerballs
This episode isn’t regarded as well as it deserves to be. It truly is a classic and one of the smartest and most relatable episodes for sure. Butters is at his best here and not only do we see him confront the guys successfully, but we also see his amusing infatuation with Kim Kardashian. But the episode succeeds owing to its perfect satire on the stupidity of critics, especially of literary works, as they find meaning in even the most meaningless of works. Some even go so far as to state that this is the satire concerning Parker and Stone themselves, but I disagree as these two prove in this episode alone that they consistently produce thematically rich and deep stories and this would be their finest if it weren’t for…
1. Scott Tenorman Must Die
Yes, this has to take the number one spot for a variety of reasons. One of them is the fact that this is the episode that doesn’t revolve around politics and is simplistic in the best way possible and this kind of episodes I love the best. Another reason is the episode’s humor which is strong and the structure which is even stronger and emphasizing many great twists and a shocking ending. But the biggest reason why this has to be the best South Park episode of all time lies in its groundbreaking approach which is twofold. Not only do we see here for the first time an episode with just one plot instead of two or more subplots, but we also see the first portrayal of the newly established type of Eric Cartman, the one that is not just a spoiled brat, but also a clever psychopath, and thankfully this version will eventually stay with us forever which is again a testament to how influential this episode is.
Creme Fraiche – Unfortunately I didn’t put enough Randy episodes on the list, but this one deserves the mention as he is so funny here and Sharon gets her finest part to date.
South Park Is Gay! – It becomes a bit too crazy in its conclusion in the typical South Park fashion, but watching everybody turn gay was bound to give some good laughs which it did.
D-Yikes! – Crazy Garrison, after his sex change, becomes a lesbian in this action-packed, yet absolutely hysterical episode that again showcases how funny he can be.
Make Love, Not Warcraft – They perfectly made fun of this game and its players here, utilizing all of its characters superbly and even showcasing some very fitting game animation.
A Million Little Fibers – I had to put this little underappreciated gem here somewhere. It is the best use of otherwise dull Towelie and Oprah’s private parts becoming alive was ingenious.