The 10 Best Episodes Of 'South Park'

Oh, South Park. The notorious, the infamous, the legendary South Park. I remember being a child and watching South Park while hiding under pillows that my older brothers put over me so that my parents wouldn't know I was there. By the time I was 11 and my parents had caved, the DVD box sets were being released and my brothers started me back at episode one. The rest was history.

I have seen every episode of South Park, some only once or twice, and others upwards of unfathomable numbers. When tasked to pick my top 10 favorite episodes out of its 20 seasons, I was naive and ignorant to think that this would be super simple. I get to watch South Park and write about it. Hell, yeah! However, once I started scanning through and picking my favorite episodes out of every season to narrow it down, I ended up with a list 60 episodes long. This was a beast.

I had to get more critical. What Cartman episode is the most Cartman-y? What's more insulting to a religious organization: "Trapped in the Closet" or "All About Mormons"? Which is sillier: "Bebe's Boobs Destroy Society" or "Make Love, Not Warcraft"? And most importantly, which "suck my balls" joke is the funniest? South Park is so loyal to its own brand of ridiculous vulgarity and message based programming, that when it comes to picking 10 of my favorites, it came down to (1) which episodes have withstood the test of time and (2) which were the most South Park-y South Park episodes I just can't stop laughing at.

With season 21 having premiered last night, I give you my completely unscientific, 100% biased list of 10 of my favorite episodes of South no particular order.

Woodland Critter Christmas

Woodland Critter Christmas

Holiday cheer, the nostalgic tones of nursery rhymes, adorable woodland creatures, and a heavy dose of Satan worship and blood orgies. "Woodland Critter Christmas" follows the story of the reluctant little boy in the red poof ball hat as he helps protect the cheery creatures and Porcupine-y the Porcupine who was impregnated by their lord savior only to find out that the lord and savior they worshipped was none other than Satan. After all, why would god have sex with a porcupine? Add in an unbaptized heathen human host body in the form of our favorite Jewish ginger, Kyle, and a lesson in how to give abortions, and you have an instant classic.

I was in eighth grade when "Woodland Critter Christmas" first aired, and the hallways rang loud and proud with the voices of 13-year olds yelling "blood orgy!" Eight seasons in, it proved that you are still never quite sure what to expect out of South Park. "Woodland Critter Christmas" offered up a new and interesting way for them to land their coveted insults and F-Bombs. Having already taken away the shock of cute kids saying and doing awful things, South Park stepped it up by giving us an intelligent, heartfelt, Christmas story about the antichrist. Capitalizing on their ability to make crippling insults and raunchy humor endearing from the mouths of 8-year-olds, they cranked their tried and true formula to eleven with this over-the-top tale. It proved that no one is safe on South Park, not even woodland critters.

Trapped in the Closet

Trapped in the Closet 

Chances are, if you have only ever seen one episode of South Park, that episode was "Trapped in the Closet." While narrowing down my list of all time favorites, it was never even a question about whether or not to include this game-changing episode. This was the episode that brought the inner workings of Scientology to the masses and lead to the end of the beloved Chef, and it all began because, "everything that is fun costs at least $8."

Stan is looking for something fun and free to do while he is saving up for a bike, only to be manipulated and seduced by Scientologists into spending his entire bike savings to no longer be depressed. The Scientologists start believing that Stan is the reincarnation of L. Ron Hubbard, Tom Cruise locks himself in the closet, and the rest is history. Capitalizing on the height of people not knowing what the hell Tom Cruise was up to, South Park's now infamous "This is what Scientologists actually believe" segment explained bluntly what exactly this shrouded religion was all about. I remember watching it and, like my family and the rest of the world, thought that it had to be a joke. "Trapped in the Closet" is an episode that had massive shock value not because they themselves did something outlandish, but because it left everyone scratching their heads and thinking...WT actual F?

Isaac Hayes, another celebrity scientologist and the voice of everyone's favorite Chef, left the show after "Trapped in the Closet" because he claimed that he didn't support how disrespectful Matt Stone and Trey Parker were towards know, in the ninth season of a show that makes fun of every other religion in almost every episode.



Between political issues, social issues, and religion, South Park insults everyone without hesitation. Hiding bigger issues and meanings under a not-so-thin veil of ridiculous metaphor is the crème de la crème of the series. However, watching the guys that dressed up as Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Lopez while tripping on acid at the Academy Awards go to town on their peers in the entertainment industry always feels like it has a little extra sass on it. The three-part "Imagination land" has a little bit of everything, and it was impossible not to look at it as one really long, prefect episode.

From our government not being able to come up with any alternatives beyond bombing things to Cartman being determined to get Kyle to suck his balls to a million and one pop culture references, "Imaginationland" is a quintessential South Park television event after eleven seasons of perfecting its formula. Not only does it bring back South Park classics like everyone's favorite satanic woodland critters and ManBearPig, but it also pokes fun at major Hollywood directors' inability to come up with a real plot these days. The General in charge of taking down the terrorist threat on our imaginations enlists Hollywood directors Michael Bay and M. Night Shyamalan, who can't seem to come up with anything except visual effects and twists, before turning to South Park's infamous sado-masochistic version of Mel Gibson. "Say what you want about Mel Gibson, but the son of a bitch knows story structure."

Pile on a fantastic Saving Private Ryan homage and rapid-fire ironic unimaginative puns, and you have something that transcends a raunchy cartoon and becomes something greater. The only thing that could have made "Imaginationland" better would have been to make it bigger, longer, and uncut in a theater near you. I could write an entire article just about why Imaginationland should be required viewing. "Imaginationland" is a masterpiece, and say what you want about Matt Stone and Trey Parker, those sons of bitches know story structure.

The Tale of Scrotie McBooberballs

The Tale Of Scrotie McBoogerballs

Anyone who still suffers from massive eye roll syndrome at the thought of all of those "meaningful" discussions about the deeper meaning of classic novels in a tiny classroom with a bunch of other kids who are either spewing pseudo-philosophical BS to gain the teacher's favor or counting down the minutes until they can get the hell out of dodge will enjoy "The Tale of Scrotie McBoogerballs."

The gang has to read the controversial classic The Catcher in the Rye for school and are extremely pissed off to discover that it isn't dirty or controversial at all. This is a feeling that most present day students are familiar with after reading something on the banned book list, only to be left thinking "Man, I've seen worse stuff on South Park." The boys join together to write an actual dirty book with all of the language and adult themes that they were robbed of in The Catcher in the Rye. After fearing they were going to get in trouble for all of the obscenities, they blame the whole book on Butters. Little do they know that their parents actually believe the book to be a work of literary genius and it quickly goes to the top of the best-seller list despite causing people to vomit uncontrollably from the sheer disgusting nature of the book's content.

The world is entranced with the deeper meanings and social metaphors, as Stan, Cartman, Kyle, and Kenny try to explain to people that there is no deeper meaning, that it is just filth, and people are only seeing the message that they want to see. This episode speaks to the 14-year-old high school student in m,e hunched over the computer, trying to figure out how to write a 10 page book report on every dry, boring, required reading book that the public school system shoves down your throat. Matt Stone and Trey Parker tackle a society of people refusing to take things at face value and believing that there must be a deeper metaphor. Ironic for a show that uses underpants gnomes and manbearpigs to address hot social and political topics. Genius.

Make Love Not Warcraft

Make Love Not Warcraft

Somewhere in this list, there had to be an episode that was just plain funny. Not every episode of South Park ends with a speech about what the boys learned or addresses the latest headlines in the news. Sometimes South Park is just a super funny cartoon about little boys being little boys. "Make Love Not Warcraft" is just such an episode.

I should start by saying that video games are serious. Deadly serious. I have said more than one offensive thing at my television while feeling the frustration of getting killed over and over again. I have felt reality slip away after a 72-hour game-athons, only breaking for food and sleep, and "Make Love Not Warcraft" encapsulated it all. I feel this episode in my core as the gang fights against a super high level adversary hellbent on ruining everyone's fun. They band together with the rest of the boys in class to take on this unspeakable evil and enjoy their summer in the comfort of the great indoors surrounded. Neither hand cramps nor bathroom breaks will stop them from achieving their ultimate goal.

This is an episode written by nerds, for nerds. It almost feels like a pet project in the realm of South Park. I identify with the gang as I sit, adorned in ill-fitting sweats, acne no longer shrouded in makeup, hair a mess, wiping my clammy palms on my pants before the next round of gaming.

Scott Tenorman Must Die

Scott Tenorman Must Die

Nothing, and I mean nothing, sets up the holy terror that is Cartman like "Scott Tenorman Must Die." As we are entering the 21st season of South Park, no other episode has disturbed me on this level. Cartman, the eight-year-old who thinks Hitler was a pretty cool guy, outdoes himself with Scott Tenorman, an older bully who decides to make him his target. After Scott Tenorman wins several rounds, repeatedly besting Cartman and tricking him into humiliating acts, Cartman conceives his most evil plan. He makes Scott his parents. Yup. That is a thing that happened. After this season five episode, nothing that Cartman did was shocking.

In an episode that was less funny and more jaw-dropping, Matt Stone and Trey Parker really pushed the limits of what their eight-year-old subjects were capable of. The shock value isn't just quintessentially South Park, it hammers in the final nail, securing this infamous show's infamous attitude. As Cartman chants, "I made you eat your parents! I made you eat your parents!" it is almost as if Parker and Stone were taunting their own audience. Cartman is the reincarnation of all that is evil in the world, and yet as the orphaned Scott Tenorman weeps over his bowl of chili with an extra helping of dead parents, you can't help but let out some giggles.

 Stunning and Brave

Stunning and Brave

Since South Park's inception, the world has changed. As society puts more of emphasis on political correctness, South Park has no choice but to attack those who would attack them. After all, is anything less PC than South Park? How does the show do this? They introduce PC Principal, the new head of South Park Elementary.

In a very meta opening, PC Principal, who googled South Park before taking the job, lists off some of the more questionable acts in South Park's past and declares that South Park, the town, is living in the past and needs to be brought to the new age. It isn't really a head-scratcher to figure out where they got that idea. "Looks like everything is getting PC again." So what do the boys do to fight this new school of intolerant tolerance? They rally behind Cartman. Yeah, the guy that made Scott Tenorman eat his parents is South Park's only hope. Cartman is convinced to "Tom Brady" this situation, but has he met his match? As Stan's dad pledges the PC frat and proceeds to "have refreshments and check your friends' privilege," and Kyle becomes the latest and greatest evil in South Park for declaring that Caitlin Jenner is not a hero to him personally, South Park is thrown over on its head.

Matt Stone and Trey Parker put minimal effort (in the best way possible) to veil the message of "Stunning and Brave" as PC Principal literally beats Cartman over the head with political correctness for everything from micro-aggressions to how he stereotyped Italians by saying "capiche." South Park takes a stand and declares that if you try to censor us, we will send an army of pregnant immigrants to your PC all-white male frat.

Cartman Joins Nambla

Cartman Joins NAMBLA

This episode. Well, I just really effing love this episode. Season four of South Park is a work of art, and when it comes down to it, I have probably watched "Cartman Joins Nambla" more than any other episode, save maybe "Cherokee Hair Tampons." In one of the first episodes of South Park I vividly remember seeing, Cartman is tired of having such immature friends, so he enters an online chat room in search of older, more mature, male companionship. Unbeknownst to Cartman, "Men Who Like Young Boys" is not a chatroom for friendship.

After his new friends keep getting arrested, Cartman finds refuge in the North American Man Boy Love Association, or NAMBLA. And in case you didn't know, NAMBLA is in fact a real organization. Not even South Park could make that up.

As the rest of the class decides that they want mature friends too, and the North American Marlon Brando Lookalike Association, the other NAMBLA, takes a stand against the pedophiles giving them a bad name, the whole thing turns into an old school zany comedy complete with a random French hotel waiter as boys, pedophiles, Marlon Brandos, and FBI agents chase each other from room to room.

Where South Park usually takes a stand for individual rights, the standard long-winded moral speech at the end of the episode is interrupted by Kyle and Stan simply proclaiming, " have sex with children." Classic.

Cherokee Hair Tampons

Cherokee Hair Tampons

I couldn't resist adding another season four gem. As we find ourselves inundated with anti-vaxxers and homeopathy vs. medicine, "Cherokee Hair Tampons" might be funnier and more relevant today than it was when it first aired. Kyle has taken very ill and after nothing seems to be working, his mom takes him to see the holistic, all-natural medicine woman Miss Information, who tells her that all she has to do is flush the toxins out of his body. After being completely seduced by Miss Information and the allure of natural remedies, Kyle's mom, as well as the rest of South Park, turn their backs on modern medicine while Kyle gets sicker.

Stan is determined to get Kyle the real help he needs. Unfortunately, the only thing that can help Kyle is a kidney transplant, and the only match is none other than Eric Cartman. Stan does his best to convince him to donate a kidney, but Cartman isn't having it, and even goes as far as to buy the state-of-the-art Kidney Blocker 2000.

Throw in Mr. Garrison writing a penis-centric harlequin romance novel while on a leave of absence from trying to seduce young boys in a chat room, a live-action commercial for Cherokee Hair Tampons, and a mega-happy ending, and there is a little something everyone in this episode. I have to admit that the Mr. Garrison subplot makes me laugh the hardest, especially now knowing that he has become South Park's own version of Trump.

Informative Murder Porn

Informative Murder Porn

For this final slot, it was really hard to pick between "Informative Murder Porn" and "Crème Fraiche," but when it came down to it, my obsession with true crime TV and hatred of cable companies tipped the scales. Both episodes deal with strange television viewing habits that have taken America by storm. In the case of "Informative Murder Porn," the over-sexualization of spousal homicide and all of the trashy shows that go along with it have the kids concerned that their own parents will start murdering each other for kinks.

The kids rally together and put a parental lock on all of their TVs with a password that only a Minecraft junkie could figure out. The parents head straight to the cable company. However, as we all know, the cable company is less than helpful. South Park takes it to the next level and shows us why the cable companies make our lives so difficult. The cable, gets off on our pain. After some awkward nipple tweaking, the adults are forced to learn about Minecraft in order to get their murder-fueled sex lives back on track.

When "Informative Murder Porn" first aired, I couldn't tell what was making me laugh harder – my rage at cable companies or my shame in totally watching Investigation Discovery on the regular. It's not the first time that South Park has tackled something that applies to me, but this episode left me rolling on the floor and on the brink of losing all oxygen. It is hands down my favorite episode to come out of the more recent seasons.