The world was a very different place before “South Park” arrived on Comedy Central in 1997. The wildly irreverent animated series changed the face of comedy forever and redefined “pushing the boundaries” by straight up burning them to the ground. Truly brilliant comedy is fearless, and in a complicated and violent world, Trey Parker and Matt Stone have shown they’re willing to make fun of every controversial political issue, social conflict, religion, celebrity, diet craze, and disease. We couldn’t be more grateful to these brave and belligerent comedians for lifting us up when we’re down and making our jaws drop when we were 100% sure nothing could shock us anymore. In celebration of Season 20 which premieres this week, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite 20 “South Park” episodes of all times. We know there’s going to be some debate over this, but we’re going to have to ask you to respect our authori-tie.
1. Scott Tenorman Must Die—Season 5, Episode 1
One thing there’s little debate about among “South Park” experts as to which of the 264 episodes is Matt and Trey’s most twisted masterpiece. “Scott Tenorman Must Die” goes there in the ultimate Cartman, cannibalism and chili con carne. Plus, Radiohead.
2. You Got F’ed in the A—Season 8, Episode 4
Let’s face it. Everybody loves a dance off. When the boys of “South Park” get “served” by a group of hard dancing Orange County kids, Randy Marsh teaches them the power that comes from dancing back in this “Bring It On” parody. Did we mention that Butters has something in his front pocket for you?
3. Towelie – Season 5, Episode 8
We’re still on a natural high from the episode that introduced viewers to Towelie, the pot-smoking, government engineered supertowel. Cartman may think he’s the “worst character ever,” but we just want to wrap this episode around ourselves and feel it’s fast-drying fibers.
4. Christian Rock Hard—Season 7, Episode 9
Cartman made us believers when he formed the Christian rock band “Faith + 1” and sold over a million albums.
5. Chickenlover—Season 2, Episode 4
What better way to promote a public service message about the importance of literacy than to go undercover as a molester of poultry? We’re sure we don’t know.
6. Casa Bonita—Season 7, Episode 11
Cartman will go to any lengths to secure a spot Kyle’s birthday party at “eatertainment” center “Casa Bonita,” even creating an apocalyptic radioactive cannibal scenario to score Butters’ seat.
7. Royal Pudding—Season 15, Episode 3
Canada is a strange and square-wheeled place, which makes Baby Ike’s crusade to save the Royal Canadian Princess even more manly. As is tradition.
8. The City Part of Town—Season 19, Episode 3
“South Park” makes gentrification look good in this episode about Randy Marsh’s quest to bring a Whole Foods to South Park. We’re watching it from our overpriced loft in SoDoSoPa.
9. Dead Celebrities—Season 13, Episode 8
When “South Park” went on hiatus in the summer of 2009, there was a rash of celebrity deaths including Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett and Patrick Swayze. Matt and Trey toasted and roasted them all with a postmortem tribute episode that featured Baby Ike being possessed by the King of Pop.
10. Mr. Hanky the Christmas Poo—Season 1, Episode 9
Howdy Ho! “South Park” didn’t wait until the show was a household name to start pushing the envelope. They went right ahead and introduced a singing piece of poop as their Christmas mascot in Season 1, and the holidays have never been the same.
11. The Return of the Fellowship of the Ring of the Two Towers—Season 6, Episode 13
One episode to rule them all—one episode to bind them. This “Lord of the Rings” parody from “South Park” features the boys on an epic journey to return a tape to the video store in the most precious episode of the season.
12. Woodland Critter Christmas—Season 8, Episode 14
We’re pretty sure this is the only Christmas themed episode of television to feature a porcupine pregnant with the Antichrist, which is probably a good thing. After this episode, “South Park” didn’t do another Christmas themed episode for ten years—cause how do you top this?
13. Black Friday—Season 17, Episode 7
“Black Friday” is the first in a trilogy of episodes that parodies “Game of Thrones” and portrays one of the most frighteningly accurate depictions of the Black Friday shopping craze we’ve ever seen. It’s also had us singing the “Wiener Wiener” song for years now every time someone mentions “GoT”.
14. City on the Edge of Forever—Season 2, Episode 7
Matt and Trey may be comedians, but these dudes sure know how to infuse a sense of drama into their absurdity. In this episode, our heroes go where no animated characters have gone before—creating their own revisionist versions of “South Park” history while trapped in a bus teetering off the edge of a cliff.
15. Sexual Harassment Panda—Season 3, Episode 6
The world needs brave, fearless advocates for justice and equality now more than ever. That’s why we’re grateful that Matt and Trey introduced Sexual Harassment Panda all the way back in Season 3 to help us all feel a little bit safer in the workplace.
16. Asspen—Season 8, Episode 2
If you pizza when you should have French fried or French fry when you meant to pizza, do you know what’s going to happen? You’re gonna have a bad time. This episode is like every great cheesy 80s extreme sports movie in history, replete with montage.
17. The New Terence and Philip Movie Trailer—Season 2, Episode 1
If you don’t remember this episode off the top of your head, that blackout rage switch in your brain probably erased it from your mind. Matt and Trey essentially flipped their audience the bird with this episode which everyone thought would be the conclusion to the Season 1 cliffhanger in which Eric Cartman’s real father would be revealed. Instead, they slapped a completely unrelated all Terence and Philip episode into their time slot with no explanation. Touche gentlemen.
18. Fishsticks—Season 13, Episode 5
We’re gonna let you finish this list, but first we gotta say how much we love Kanye, and how much we love making fun of Kanye too. This episode features the rapper as pretty much the only person in the world who absolutely cannot get a basic juvenile joke about fishsticks. It’s also definitely the most popular “South Park” episode among the gay fish demographic.
19. Gluten Free Ebola—Season 18, Episode 2
Randy Marsh is a lot of things, and one of them is the beautiful young teen alt singer Lorde (Ya ya ya—he is Lorde!) Also, is there any greater public service announcement about the dangers of gluten? We think not.
20. Cartman Gets an Anal Probe—Season 1, Episode 1
No “South Park” “Best of” list is complete without the episode that started it all. Anyone trying to really breakthrough in Hollywood should look at this episode as evidence that trying to conform to traditional expectations gets you nowhere, while featuring an episode with a satellite dish coming out of one of your main character’s butt's just might turn you into your generation’s greatest cultural commentators.
We salute you, Matt and Trey. Thanks for everything. We love you guuuuuuuuys.