I’m the biggest South Park fan you’ll ever meet. I’ve seen every episode, loved most of them, and can specifically point out the episode in which every reference in South Park: The Stick of Truth originates, by name. What can I say? I grew up with the series, been sneaking it in ever since I was a young’um and it was still cool to watch South Park. I’ve watched it turn from an inappropriate, immature, moderate satire to a “trend of the week”, topical, dark and violent political and cultural satire.
If you’re unaware of the hilarious genius that is South Park, it’s a “kitchen-sink” high concept satire involving the fictional Colorado town of South Park, mainly centered around 6 boys by the names of Stan, Kyle, Cartman, Butters, Jimmy and Kenny, and 3 main adults named Randy, Mr. Garrison and Mr. Mackey. Basically, it’s funny. Really funny, and because of its production time of only 6 days, it’s the most topical scripted show on television. If you haven’t seen it, Hulu Plus now has exclusive rights to stream every episode of the entire series, bar “Super Best Friends”, “200”, and “201”, due to that week’s big terrorist threat regarding the use of the Islamic prophet Muhammad’s image, and that’s all that will be said about that.
Speaking of “201”, I was among the fortunate who tuned into its only ever airing on American television way back in 2010, before it was forever banned. I almost didn’t watch it that fateful night, because I had missed the first part, “200”, but I’m glad I did; “200” sucked anyway. You want to watch this two-parter, you either need to do it illegally, or just buy the Season 14 DVD. “Super Best Friends” featured Muhammad totally uncensored years before, with no controversy, but was pulled after the “200”/”201″ controversy, and is now only available on the Season 5 DVD.
The first time I ever watched South Park was when I was 4, at my grandma’s, I flipped the TV over to Comedy Central channel-surfing (there were no digital programming guides I knew of back then), and tuned halfway into “Summer Sucks”, and it blew my mind. I grew up watching the syndicated TV-14 version, so when I eventually got cable, the change was jarring. I’ve kept up with the show ever since then, and have gone through and handpicked my absolute favorites of the entire series. The 250th episode, “The Cissy”, airs tonight, so to celebrate this monumental moment, below are my top 25 episodes of all-time, and if your favorites are on this list, whateva, I do what I want!
#25. Red Badge of Gayness (Season 3)
As an avid South Park fan, I’m not ashamed to say the first three seasons are almost totally unwatchable now. This episode is an exception, and it’s fitting that this was the last episode of the third season. Cartman, in one of his earliest crowning moments, leads an intoxicated civil war reenactment crew to causing mayhem and destruction and drinking s’more schnapps. The entire episode is just one example of how a simple idea gets cranked up to 12 in South Park. This is also an early example of Butters having a supporting role, before he became a main character years later, and the difference is jarring.
#24. The Snuke (Season 11)
This isn’t a kids’ show, and kids (like I once was when I watched this show) shouldn’t be reading this list, so I’m not going to sugarcoat it: Hillary Clinton has a thermonuclear subatomic weapon shoved into her vagina, and the entire town is threatened. Meanwhile, Cartman once again prejudices based on ignorance, this time against a new Middle-Eastern student, and stumbling upon a terrorist plot. This episode is a very funny parody of the famed Fox drama “24”, and is just a vaginaful of laughs.
#23. The New Terrance and Phillip Movie Trailer (Season 6)
Terrance and Phillip are two Canadian celebrities in the world of South Park, specializing in fart jokes and… humor about flatulence, and similar things. They have a new trailer for their sequel to Asses of Fire, aka the movie that jumpstarted an entire world war in South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut, airing during the Russel Crowe show, “Fighting ‘Round The World”. The boys absolutely need to see it, but it’s not so easy. The episode chronicles them trying to watch it any way they can, and everything constantly going wrong at every turn. It’s broken up by scenes of Russel Crowe and his sentient tugboat beating up on foreign people. Yeah, it’s as incredible as it sounds.
#22. Imaginationland Trilogy (Season 11)
I’m going to cheat here, since watching any one of these episodes standalone is pointless. Everyone’s fears run wild when terrorists bomb their imaginations, and open a floodgate of evil fictional characters to run amok Imaginationland. Featuring a cavalcade of cameos from imaginary characters, Butters in the starring role, and the continuation of plot-points from “Woodland Critter Christmas” and “ManBearPig” (neither of which is on this list), to Cartman’s entire drive being to get Kyle to suck his balls after winning a bet, this three-parter is a riot, and the best way to see it is on the extended film-cut DVD.
#21. Obama Wins! (Season 16)
Back in 2008, South Park had an episode involving Obama becoming president premiere the night he was officially elected. This episode is similar, only this time more epic. Obama wins again in 2012, but it’s revealed Cartman had a hand in it by stealing ballots, in order to help the Chinese. I don’t want to spoil the amazingness, so I’ll leave it at that, but this episode is simply topically incredible for the week it aired, and has some great Hummer jokes to boot!
#20. Night of the Living Homeless (Season 11)
The town of South Park is overrun by an outbreak in homeless people pandhandling for change, and Cartman must jump as many homeless as possible on his bike. The parents are freaking out, taking refuge on a rooftop, destined to stay away, and that’s where this episode really shines. Meanwhile, the boys attempt to discover why this is happening; it’s got a rather shocking climax. The whole thing plays out like an entertaining episode of The Walking Dead, only less serious.
#19. The China Probrem (Season 12)
This isn’t the first time George Lucas and Steven Spielberg were satirized on South Park, as they were main focuses in “Free Hat”, but this is their funniest appearance yet; gang-raping Indiana Jones, characteristically smug. This aired around the release of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (nuke refrigerator), and summed up exactly how the general Lucasfilm fans were feeling. Meanwhile, Cartman and Butters hold an Asian restaurant hostage, to stop the Chinese from taking over the world. It’s good, raunchy racist humor, out of the mouths of the show’s most bigoted (Cartman) and most innocent (Butters).
#18. Black Friday Trilogy (Console Wars) (Season 17)
As a big gamer, and a passing Game of Thrones watcher, this trio of episodes revolving around the horrors of working at a mall on Black Friday, the console war between the PS4 and Xbox One, a lead-in to the awesome Stick of Truth game adaptation, George R.R. Martin, wieners and the lack of dragons, is personally my favorite multi-parter of the entire series. If there is one flaw I had, it was that they didn’t utilize the full potential of the premise, and go into true satirical detail on the console war, but everything was pretty golden, especially Cartman’s and Randy’s story arcs.
#17. Fun With Veal (Season 6)
This episode had some really fun Star Trek shout-outs as the boys organized a long shut-in “hostage crisis” involving the preservation of baby cows that were otherwise soon to caged up and viciously slaughtered. Don’t eat veal, people.
#16. With Apologies to Jesse Jackson (Season 11)
This show has featured every swear word in the book, and invented a few, but the focal point here was the envelope-pushing use of the “N-word”, which Randy accidentally uses on Wheel of Fortune, and is ridiculed by everybody in America. Eventually, him and every other misfortunate celebrity to slip the word, form a movement to stop their constant teasing and torment. Meanwhile, a “little” sensitivity counselor and Cartman have a duel in the park. It’s epic and gruesome, to say the least.
#15. Something Wall-Mart Comes This Way (Season 8)
This episode pokes fun at the monopolization of big-name chains, similar to the Season 2 episode “Gnomes”. Stan’s family hilariously starts using anything and everything from Wall-Mart, simply because it’s too cheap to pass up. Wall-Mart’s true intentions soon arise, and the town goes mad insane, as usual, and Randy’s wild antics are on full display here.
#14. The Losing Edge (Season 9)
Possibly Randy’s greatest crowning moment, a total knockout-drag against the most belligerent dad at every little league game the South Park team attempted to lose, because like most sane people, they hate playing baseball and want it to end. This results in a hilarious dash to lose against every team they play, all of whom are much better at losing than them. It has an absolutely epic ending, and apes the best sports movie tropes, like a far less depressing version of Season 10’s “Stanley’s Cup”.
#13. Le Petit Tourette (Season 11)
This is so far the only episode of South Park to be aired completely uncensored, including one and only one use of the F-word, and for good reason since it would butcher the premise. Cartman’s at his best when he’s exploiting other’s disabilities for his own personal gain, and this episode is hilarious and unwaveringly vulgar. Cartman pretends to have tourettes, and spouts every swear in the book, including one of the few show’s uses of the K-word, and eventually it turns back on him in unexpected and suicidal ways.
Also Read: Ratchet & Clank PS4 Review: Guns and Gadgets Equal Fun
#12. World War Zimmerman (Season 17)
Cartman crashes a lot of planes. He shoots Token, and George Zimmerman is innocent. Incredible premise and awesome execution, making it the best of last season, and an instant classic. It’s also a spoof of a horrible movie.
#11. Insecurity (Season 16)
Security service operator phone-lines may not be this incompetent realistically, but if they are, humanity is doomed. Cartman hilariously tries to prove the incompetence of the operators, while the town’s men plot to murder the UPS man who they’ve been convinced is having an affair with their wives. A pretty great The Dark Knight Rises reference in there, too.
#10. Britney’s New Look (Season 12)
You remember this era: everyone had Britney fever. This episode was damningly prophetic in its closing point of making Miley Cyrus the new Britney Spears, and turning her into another trainwreck. Plus, watching Britney Spears live without a head is kinda satisfying. There’s a great moral here to all the slimy paparazzi of the world, and it won’t change a thing. Just like every earthshattering South Park moral.
#9. Margaritaville (Season 12)
This Emmy-winning episode is quite a emblematic fusion of the economical problems of the time and the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. The town reverts back to the ways of old, and drops all unnecessary possessions (everything). Cartman wants to play Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars, but now he doesn’t get to, and he’s set on a vendetta. Meanwhile, Stan tries to return a useless margarita machine that Randy bought, and is taken on a wild goose chase like a chicken with its head chopped off.
#8. Royal Pudding (Season 15)
Mr. Mackey has a grudge to take up with Tooth Decay, and is the director of the kindergarten play about dental hygiene. Ike must step out of the lead role in order to help save the Princess of Canada who was kidnapped during her wedding to the Prince. It’s as epic as it sounds, and is a very fresh “limelight” episode without any of the main boys in lead roles. It’s my personal favorite Canada-related episode.
#7. City Sushi (Season 15)
Butters-related episodes are always a riot, and this is his best. Butters is diagnosed with DID, and has to deal with a specialist who also has DID. Meanwhile, Mr. Kim of City Wok welcomes another Asian restaurant opening next door, and the two plots intertwine in shockingly unexpected ways. It’s a disturbing half-hour of hilarity.
#6. Sexual Healing (Season 14)
Season 14 began with a hole-in-one, as this satire of celebrities caught in sexual controversies is biting and funny, and the parody on EA Sports’ monopoly on every game sports-related is just satisfying being an EA shamer. This episode, much like Season 9’s “Bloody Mary”, mocks things labeled diseases that aren’t really diseases, and if having sex with many hot chicks is a disease, I’d take that over AIDS or cancer.
#5. Medicinal Fried Chicken (Season 14)
I’m a big fan of Scarface and a huge fan of KFC, so this episode hit all the right spots. KFC restaurants around Colorado, and naturally Cartman is pissed. He combats this by joining and eventually leading a chicken cartel, and the whole thing goes down like the ’80s vice masterpiece, Scarface. His head FRICKING explodes!
#4. Raising the Bar (Season 16)
The latest Emmy-winner for the series, it features another potshot at Walmart, this time in the influx of heavy people scooting about on rascals. Token decides to exploit Cartman’s recent obese epiphany (able to claim he’s handicapped because he’s a bit overweight), and create his own “Honey Boo Boo”. James Cameron once again saves the world by diving to the bottom of the ocean, and raising the bar that humanity had lowered. Doesn’t explain Avatar, though; “Dances With Smurfs” does.
#3. Breast Cancer Show Ever (Season 12)
The Cartman/Wendy dynamic is very underutilized over course of the series, though when these two start dueling, it gets all sorts of epic, super cerealy. This time, Cartman totally enrages Wendy by mocking her and breast cancer, and she resolves it by beating him senseless in a no-holds barred lancing. It’s an awesome moment, and something both Wendy and Cartman deserve.
#2. Big Gay Al’s Big Gay Boat Ride (Season 1)
The series first masterpiece. Stan’s homosexual dog Sparky is discriminated against, and runs off to join Big Gay Al’s Big Gay Animal Sanctuary. It’s really potent satire, and easily the best episode of the first 3 seasons. It was groundbreaking for its time, much like the rest of the show, but here it was really well executed; the most sympathetic portrayal of homosexuals in the media until Rick and Steve premiered. Bonus: George Clooney voices Sparky!
#1. Wing (Season 9)
This is my favorite episode of the series simply because it’s just really good. It’s hard to explain why; it’s just very well-written, hilarious, and the embodiment of everything I love about South Park. The boys start a talent agency, and attempt to get the Asian singer Wing under their… wing? It goes off-the-rails, and eventually they’re having a shoot-out with the Yakuza. It takes “kids being kids” and adds a tinge of surreality to the whole affair, and is just an absolutely terrific episode. Wing herself actually guest-stars, as well, making it one of the few exceptions to the (satirical) content warning at the beginning of every episode which claims all celebrity voices are (badly) mimicked.
I highly recommend you see this if you haven’t, and watch all these other ones too; make a marathon out of it on Hulu Plus. Due to the exclusive streaming rights, they now get episodes the day after they air instead of weeks after, and Season 2-onward are the original HD and uncensored versions.
What is your favorite episode of South Park? Stay tuned for the LGA review of tonight’s 250th episode of South Park, “The Cissy”, sometime soon after it airs, as well as regular South Park coverage for the coming eternity. “Go Fund Yourself”, this new season’s premiere, was an instant classic, but missed out on the list as an honorable mention. I hope you enjoyed my list, and be sure to voice your opinions on how I left off “Scott Tenorman Must Die”, “Casa Bonita”, “Good Times With Weapons”, and “Passion of the Jew” in the comments below.
My tastes in games breach all genres, though my fortes are platformers and first-person shooters. My favorite game series is probably Super Mario, specifically the 3D games. I also love Rayman, Hitman, Bioshock, Half-Life/Portal, Uncharted, and Grand Theft Auto. As for my favorite game, it's hard to say: I love Portal 2, Shadow of the Colossus, Half-Life 2, Bioshock, Resident Evil 4, Super Mario Galaxy 2, Rayman Legends, Hitman 2: Silent Assassin, Grand Theft Auto IV, L.A. Noire, Fallout 3, Journey, and Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence all so damn much.
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