After more two decades, South Park still isn’t showing any signs of getting “lame”, as Cartman might say.
Unlike other rival shows, Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s cartoon has got better with age, like an old can of Pabst Blue Ribbon, and continues to push boundaries and stay relevant.
With almost 300 episodes having aired, we’ve chosen our personal favourites from its first 21 seasons.
27. Woodland Critter Christmas – Season 8
A thoroughly bizarre but memorable episode, in which Stan finds himself in the middle of the woods with a bunch of seemingly cute woodland animals. With an irritating voiceover narrating his every move, the critters turn out to be the most evil creatures known to man. Things are pretty f**ked right here, as he would say. Eventually, it is revealed that Cartman is the creator of such an awful story, and it’s all just so Kyle can be killed in his sick fantasy. Despite all this, it’s a strangely fun Christmassy episode.
26. The Losing Edge – Season 9
The first of several Randy Marsh-heavy episodes. The South Park Cows are on an unwanted winning streak in Little League Baseball, basically because they are the only team in the entire nation who suck the most at throwing a game. The boys try anything to lose a game so that they don’t have to play any more boring baseball, but are eventually saved by Randy, who gets drunk and fights rival dads at every game, ultimately disqualifying the team. “I’m sorry, I thought this was America?”
25. Two Guys Naked in a Hot Tub – Season 3
Part two of the ‘Meteor Shower Trilogy’, the episode follows Stan as he is stuck hanging with three ‘Melvins’ from school while his parents attend Mr Mackay’s party. It is the first episode to introduce Butters as a major character, which needs to be commended. While the ATF think the party is being held by a suicide cult, Randy and Kyle’s dad Gerald ‘spend time together’ in the hot tub, causing a bit of awkwardness for Randy for the rest of the evening, with hilarious results.
24. Sexual Harassment Panda – Season 3
It’s almost impossible not to sing Petey’s theme tune when you read the title. Parker and Stone have said that they were so hungover and knackered after the 1999 film, that they have no memory of making the episode. After the boys hear about how sexual harassment is bad, it leads to the whole town suing each other, with Gerald getting paid millions in the process. Sadly, Petey is fired by the school to cut costs, and he finds himself on the Isle of Misfit Mascots, believing himself to be an actual panda. Silly South Park at its best.
23. Chickenlover – Season 2
This aired when South Park was arguably at its full commercial mainstream height, and while you may not remember the title, you will remember certain elements from it. Officer Barbrady is ordered to go back to school after he reveals he can’t read, and the boys soon join him in helping to apprehend a man who keeps molesting chickens. This began Cartman’s obsession of people respecting his ‘authoritaaah’.
22. Grounded Vindaloop – season 18
A mind-f**k of an episode that first looks like another simple Cartman prank on Butters involving an Oculus Rift VR headset and a fake virtual world, only for it to spiral into several actual virtual worlds, call centres and even a ‘real world’ live-action shot of the boys. One of the most silly and epic episodes of recent times.
21. The Coon – Season 13
Parodying The Dark Knight and other dark comic books, the episode introduced Cartman’s lame alter ego The Coon (as in raccoon) and Mysterion, who was eventually revealed to be Kenny in the next season. Cartman’s attempts at being a proper superhero, being compared to Bruce Vilanch and teaming up with Butters’s Professor Chaos were just some highlights from the episode. It eventually spawned several follow-ups featuring The Coon, including him joining forces with the evil entity Cthulhu, of all people.
20. Marjorine – Season 9
19. You Got F’ed in the A – Season 8
Taking the mickey out of You Got Served and other dance movies, the episode sees Stan indeed getting served by a dance troupe, much to Randy’s embarrassment. After serving them back with a dose of ‘Achy Breaky Heart’, Stan has to enlist South Park’s best dancers (including a dancing duck) after the dance-off is declared ‘on’. Meanwhile, Butters’s past reveals that he once killed hundreds of people after a tap dance performance to ‘I’ve Got Something In My Front Pocket For You’. Can lightning strike twice?