College buddies and Colorado natives, Matt Stone and Trey Parker who had been making short films since their college days and in 1997, produced an animated show called South Park – named after the South Park Basin in the Rocky Mountains of central Colorado. South Park aired on cable network Comedy Central in August 1997, a decade after The Simpsons that inspired the duo’s show. Featuring a main cast of four 8-year-old boys (now 10 in more recent series) South Park didn’t just push the envelope, it pushed it into a shredder! With the same unflattering lens on society that The Simpsons had successfully aimed, South Park reflects society under that same magnifying glass, but lets it burn!
Spawning its own movie, titled South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut, computer games and a plethora of series now reaching its 20th season, the four basically drawn and irreverent boys from Colorado are as popular as ever and still adept at mocking the zeitgeist, from Barbra Streisand to Warcraft and beyond with their unique Stick of Truth! Whereas The Simpsons disguised their dark jokes under a sheen of respectable family humor, South Park ripped off the mask of sanity and has gone completely insane for the past two decades. Who’d have thought that some 2D looking animated kids could rouse such mayhem? Here is a list of 20 South Park moments to honor the show’s 20th season that will make you say (to quote Cartman): “screw you guys, I’m going home,” to stick on some South Park!
20. Simpsons Sour Grapes
As mentioned previously, South Park began when The Simpsons had already been attracting audiences for a decade, and Family Guy has been directly castigated and at the end of various jibes for being a rip off of The Simpsons. South Park turned introspective over the fact that they wasn’t original in the episode “Simpsons Did It.” In an episode where the diminutive Butters Stotch assumes the identity of his supervillain alter-ego “Professor Chaos” and hatches diabolical plan after diabolical plan, only for his sidekick “General Disarray,” to remind Butters that The Simpsons have already done the idea he has meticulously planned. This drives Butters to the brink of madness, especially as he does devise an original idea… then a commercial for a new episode of The Simpsons, describing an episode with the very idea Butters thought up! His breakdown is alleviated when he is told that everything is a copy and that even the Halloween episode where Lisa creates a civilization from moldy Coke and a tooth, was a Twilight Zone rip-off and Butters returns to his usual jovial self.
19. Cartman and Casa Bonita
It’s Kyle’s birthday and to celebrate, he is heading to Casa Bonita, a fun filled theme restaurant that Cartman absolutely loves. The only problem is, as Kyle’s antagonist, Cartman has not been invited to the celebration at Casa Bonita. Cartman is horrified that he is going to be left out and when his attempts to be nice to Kyle are seen through, by Kyle, Eric has one last resort to get himself to the party. He manipulates the gullible Butters into thinking that the world has ended and that the earth is now teeming with radioactive zombies and sole survivor Butters must hide in a bunker! Eventually, Cartman’s plan is foiled and the police come for him as he is enjoying his time at Casa Bonita. A scene of hilarity ensues as Cartman avoids the authorities by making sure he uses all of the facilities of Casa Bonita that he loves, before being “carted” away!
18. Unintelligible Outrage
In the episode “Goobacks,” humans arrive from the future to seek work in the present. They look and speak differently to modern humans, appearing as a mixture of all races and grunting a patois amalgamation of all world languages, so modern humans don’t understand them. The futuristic humans are coming back in time to seek work, as jobs are impossible to get in their world in the year 3045. As the other humans fill every job going, outrage grows through the town. The outrage spawns the angered cry: “they took our jobs!” This sentence increases in illegibility and decreases in reason, to the point where a gay orgy is seen as the only way to alleviate the immigrant threat!
17. RESPECT MAH AUTHORITAH!!
“Oh no! Nothing is worse than Cartman with authoritah!” – Stan cries in dismay in an episode from a future series and this was the episode that spawned that infamous phrase. The series two episode “Chicken Lover” finds the South Park boys try to foil a man molesting chickens, meanwhile, it is revealed that Officer Barbrady can’t read and is sent back to school. This allows Cartman to become the long arm of the law and in true sociopathic fashion of the fat kid, he becomes far too drunk on his power! With hilarious results of course, one of which is the infamous phrase “RESPECT MAH AUTHORITAH!”
16. Cartman and Cthulu
In this superhero parody of comic book movies like The Dark Knight, we see Cartman unearth his superhero alter ego The Coon (short for raccoon, but for a bigot like Eric Cartman, he would inevitably use the last syllable of the animal’s name and all the negative connotations that go with it). Of course he falls afoul of the other kids and teams up with Butters’ Professor Chaos to become a villain instead. Eventually, he manipulates the evil monster Cthulu (popularized by the writer H.P. Lovecraft) to go on an orgy of destruction, targeting hippies and San Francisco and manipulating the giant monster by pawing him like a cat. It is in the conclusion to these episodes that viewers learn that the identity of Mysterion is in fact, Kenny and viewers can actually hear him speak clearly for once. It is also discovered that Kenny’s deaths result in his rebirth every morning, so he literally has powers of immortality (rather painfully so) and that Mintberry Crunch – the lamest superpower going – saves the world.
15. The Internet Is Down
Mirroring the depression of the 30s and John Steinbeck’s chronicling of migrating workers heading west. Season 12’s “Overlogging” was a brilliant take on society’s growing dependence on the internet. When the internet goes down in South Park and across America, Stan’s family (The Marsh’s) are devastated and head west to locate some more internet. Stan’s dad is especially horrified, as he is unable to get his regular porn fix. His desperation results in a rather gross and gooey, “sticky” situation for Mr. Marsh when he finds a computer with the internet on it that is rationed for everyone at an internet refugee camp. Eventually, the Marsh’s make it to California with a plethora of other forlorn refugees from across the nation. The situation is solved when Kyle goes to Silicon Valley and confronts “The Internet,” (which turns out to be little more than a giant router) and turns it off and on again, restoring the internet, to America’s jubilation!
14. Turd Sandwich and Giant Douche
A great and hilarious pastiche and an overt glimpse of political satire sees Stan grow disillusioned with politics after PETA rescue South Park Elementary’s school mascot, a cow. Kyle wants the new mascot to be a giant douche, whilst Cartman lobbies to have the school’s mascot become a turd sandwich. This results in a debate between an actual giant douche and turd sandwich, with turd related jibes being hurled around throughout the debate (a wonderful metaphor for political theater). Meanwhile, Stan joins PETA and moves to their camp, where he discovers that the animal rights activists of this particular camp are a little too close to the animals. Eventually, Stan learns the lesson that all elections are basically run between a giant douche and a turd sandwich (figuratively), so it’s best to vote for who you believe to be the lesser of two evils.
13. Cure for AIDS
This episode is offensive as it is funny. From Cartman asking Kyle (as usual) “are you sure? Are you HIV Positive?” to everything Kyle says, this obviously riles up Kyle no end. The show has been known for their very unflattering depictions of celecbrities and in this episode parodying famous fads, basketball player Magic Johnson is the target, with his discovery of a cure for AIDS. Apparently, according to the world of South Park, an intravenous injection right into the veins holds the key, but not a shot of medicine… of money! Apparently, a blended of infusion of cash into a syringe offers a cure for AIDS and we have South Park, Cartman, Kyle and Magic Johnson to thank!
12. Russell Crowe
This episode was excellent at poking fun at actor Russell Crowe and all of the controversial fights and aggression that marred his early career. It also was a great parody of how celebrities always have a bandwagon and a cause that they always need to jump on and try to champion, so to be seen as “doing good.” When Crowe’s companion, Tugger his tugboat, attempts suicide after listening to a song performed by Russell Crowe’s band, the actor finds a cause fighting cancer. Not by donating money to research or anything, LITERALLY fighting cancer! His “Fighting Around the World,” show would probably be one of the best reality TV shows, if it truly existed. Unfortunately, we only have South Park to thank for knowing about it and laughing at the ludicrous notion of it.
11. Stem Cell Man
Star of the 1979 movie Superman, Christopher Reeve was paralyzed in a riding accident and left unable to move from the next down, which resulted in his early death. He became one of the first proponents of stem cell research, championing the cause in the hopes it could make him walk again. It also proves that there are few lines that Trey Parker and Matt Stone will not cross. Christopher Reeve comes to South Park and takes to drinking from a dead fetuses in a manner that cracks them open like beer cans, becoming ever more powerful as a result. This however, was more of a jibe at the Christian and Conservative right, who literally thought that stem cell research would cruelly utilize aborted fetuses instead of actual embryonic cells and of course, South Park ridiculed this view with funny and offensive flair.
10. Cetacean Surgery
The premier of season nine’s episode begins with Mr. Garrison getting a sex change to become Mrs. Garrison. As usual, Parker and Stone treat gender reassignment surgery with their usual tact and sensitivity… #Sarcasm! Of course not! Their depiction of Mr. Garrison’s gender reassignment surgery is to show real life footage of a bull getting castrated! The episode examines exactly where the line is supposed to be drawn and to quote Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park: “your scientists were so preoccupied with whether they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should!” Kyle’s dad feels that he wants to be a dolphin so has surgery to look as much like one as he can. Whereas Kyle himself desires to look like a tall black kid in order to play basketball. It goes wrong of course, grossly so (Kyle’s knees explode!) and both father and son return to looking like their normal selves.
This episode is somewhat leftfield, even for South Park. This episode in season 11 deals with a fearful specter that every kid the age of the South Park boys faces… head lice! The majority of the episode even takes place away from the usual cast and on the head of South Park Elementary School kid, Clyde. It charts Clyde’s efforts to eradicate his lice problem and counterbalances this with the head lice themselves being wiped out. Kind of making the war on parasites into a Hollywood disaster epic, where the lice are slaughtered in a devastating disaster. Of course, as it always goes, every kid ends up getting the lice, so life goes on, despite the horrors on Clyde’s head and the mass genocide of lice it caused.
8. Cooking Up Copyright
When Chef (voiced by Isaac Hayes) is sued by a record company exec, who in his own eyes is: “ABOVE THE LAW!” (which always involves his hair going out of place, to be slicked down with some suspectly named fluid in a tube). When the said exec claims that Chef has stole the Alanis Morissette song “Stinky Bridges” (that Chef actually wrote), Chef finds himself in a whole pot of legal hot water. In order to help Chef out, the boys arrange a huge benefit gig for him, filled with all the stars that Chef offered indispensable advice to over the years. These include: Elton John, Ozzy Osbourne, Meat Loaf and even O.J. Simpson’s lawyer Johnny Cochrane, who uses his infamous “Chewbacca Defence” to get his clients off.
7. Anime Mental!
Although this episode doesn’t sit too highly on Parker and Stone’s list of their own South Park favorites, this is where each of the boys are rendered in Japanese anime style. The foursome are pretending to be Ninjas, after purchasing some real weapons from a questionable store. Butters is also eager to join in and this is when the boy’s imagination goes hilariously wild! Ninja Kenny (dressed up awesomely in his imagination) throws a Shuriken (Ninja throwing star) at Butters, who is dressed as his alter ego, Professor Chaos and the razor sharp weapon goes right through his eye and their vivid imaginations at the same time! A brilliant mash up of comedy and violence that has South Park so great, the anime theme was the first of many different alterations for the show, which even included the boys becoming “real” in season 19.
Continuing with the Japanese theme is this season 3 episode, back when Pokémon first made it’s global explosion. Throw in some good old South Park global disaster/political schemes and some racial stereotypes and you have the recipe for a Parker and Stone classic pastiche of global fads (and stereotypes). When the town’s kids become obsessed with Chinpokomon, not only does it fluster and annoy the adults, but it becomes the perfect cover for Japan to overthrow America. This is to begin with their bombing of Pearl Harbor again. Americans try to negotiate with the Japanese, but the Japanese placate the (male) American politicians by assuring them that Americans have huge penises compared to the Japanese (it even works on President Bill Clinton). Eventually the Japanese plan is foiled by the adults taking interest in Chinpokomon and no kid wants to play with something their parents are into!
The 12th episode of the first season was Parker and Stone’s homage to Japanese disaster movies like Godzilla, with a dash of celebrity madness of course. It involves Cartman unearthing a triangular shaped object discovered at an archaeological dig, he throws it away for Kyle to pick up. Kyle then appears on TV with the discovery, which draws the attention of Barbra Streisand. Streisand lusts for the triangle, as she already possesses the other half and attaining both will allow her to become Mecha-Streisand (which she eventually does). A “Mecha” showdown occurs between Streisand, Sidney Poitier and Robert Smith of The Cure, Smith punching Streisand in the nose and dislodging the diamond (made of the two triangles) powering her. He then throws her into space and the diva explodes!
4. Sexual “Evolution”
Mrs. Garrison is firmly against evolution and refuses to teach it, other than deeming it as humans being the offspring of: “5 retarded monkeys having butt sex with a fish squirrel!” Until fierce atheism advocate and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins arrives to teach evolution instead and seduces Mrs. Garrison, who is firmly behind atheism after her and the Professor’s night of passion and subsequent relationship. She persuades Richard to become more hardcore in pushing disbelief. Meanwhile, Cartman freezes himself to circumvent having to wait for the Nintendo Wii to be released, but far overshoots his cryogenic plan. He awakes in a future that is war torn by three atheist factions. Cartman foils this future by phoning Mrs. Garrison whilst she and Dawkins are having sex and reveals that Garrison has had a sex change, which makes a disgusted Dawkins up and leave.
Cartman disguises himself as a crappy and obviously fake looking robot, dubbed “Awesom-o,” a disguise driven by the fact that Butters has a video of Cartman dressed as Britney Spears, dancing with and kissing a Justin Timberlake cardboard cutout. So using the disguise, Cartman hopes to get the videotape and destroy it, along with any evidence of the embarrassing incident. Awesom-o appears in a box from Japan on Butter’s lawn and Butters falls for the ruse and adores the robot, even taking him to L.A. on a trip to his aunt and uncle’s. Eventually, Awesom-o/Cartman is hired by Hollywood execs and mercilessly mined for Adam Sandler ideas, culminating with an exec asking if Awesom-o is also a “pleasure model?” The military soon learn of Awesom-o as a robot from Japan, which leads to the military capturing Awesom-o with the plan of turning him into a weapon. Butters pleads with the general and manages to win their sympathy, culminating in Cartman’s cover being “blown… ” with a fart! So Butters releases Cartman’s shameful tape in revenge!
Several animated shows have done their own personal homage to World of Warcraft (The Simpsons, American Dad!) but South Park is by far the best one! The boys are happily playing the game until a warrior brutally slaughters them all and continues to do so. The developers of Warcraft are horrified to learn that a man with “absolutely no life” has achieved a level not thought possible and is destroying the computerized universe. The developers are hopeful when they learn that the four South Park boys are leveling up to match the man (an immobile slob in real life) by killing boars in the woods. Though the four are still no match for the man, until the Warcraft team code a sword to bring him down that is delivered by Stan’s father Randy (slaughtered by the man, Randy acting out dramatic death throes in the middle of a computer store). The four boys use the sword to defeat the horrified man. Though by far the funniest moment of this episode is when the boys have grown fat, spotty and gross through not moving away from their computer screens. Cartman needs the toilet badly and his mother arrives with a bucket that he craps in (with the full graphic and spurting mess going everywhere!)
1. Cannibal Con-Carne!
Arguably one of the most twisted revenge episodes ever devised and is “Scott Tenorman Must Die!” which fully demonstrates how far Cartman will go to get his own back! When bigger kid Scott Tenorman humiliates Cartman by selling Cartman pubes, an outraged Eric devises all sorts of plots to degrade Tenorman. Although Scott always gets the upper hand in these plots, until the back and forth revenge games culminate when Cartman throws his Chili Con-Carnival. Everyone thinks that Scott Tenorman is going to feed Cartman some chili with his pubes in it. Cartman then drops his bombshell, that he has switched chilis and isn’t eating Tenorman’s. Though the chili he has served Scott is a special one that Cartman made out of Scott’s parents! Horrified and in pieces, Tenorman’s ruination is cemented when his favorite band Radiohead show up and mock Tenorman for crying like a baby, as Cartman licks up his tears! This also cements the true level of Eric Cartman’s psychotic tendencies (matched only by Stewie Griffin perhaps?)