The television show South Park has been on for fourteen seasons. I have been a fan of it since 2003, which was in the sixth or seventh season. Even then I have gone back and watched many of the older episodes. I haven’t seen every episode but I believe I have seen the majority. I would have to say that in that time South Park has grown into my favorite show. Its sarcastic, cynical, libertarian wit really appeals to me not to mention the fact that creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone see the world much in the way I see it. I think every show has been great, but out of the slightly over 200 episodes thus far ten really stand out as my favorites. Here is a countdown.
Number 10: Season 8 Episode 7 The Jeffersons
Synopsis: Michael Jackson moves to South Park under the name “Mr. Jefferson.” Cartman soon becomes entranced with Jefferson due to his house which resembles Jackson’s real Neverland. The other boys become friends with Jacko’s son Blanket. Meanwhile the cops set up Jackson because he is rich and black (in reference to Jackson, Kobe Bryant, and O.J. Simpson’s accusations).
Why I like this episode: I like this episode because it mocks Michael Jackson. I always found Jackson humorous (because he acts so insane and yet is so dead serious about it). It only comes in Number 10 though, because there are plenty of real Michael Jackson documentaries out there. When the real thing is a parody in and of itself, the parody appears weaker.
My favorite scene: My favorite scene is where Michael Jackson is up in the tree singing about his “Wishing Tree” while Blanket struggles to get up.
Number 9: Season 2 Episode 17: Gnomes
Synopsis: A corporation (Starbucks) seeks to open up a branch in town. The townsfolk raise an uproar because it will close down a “Mom and Pop” coffee shop in spite of the fact that the small coffee shop’s coffee tastes like raw sewage. The back story is about a group of Gnomes who steal underpants to make a profit.
Why I like this episode: The message of the episode is about corporations and how they simply try to make a fair and honest profit by providing people with a product or service they desire. It defeats the “corporations are evil” idea promoted often in our society and explains that big corporations are big because they do a good job. This is one of South Park’s most conservative-leaning episodes.
My favorite scene: My favorite scene is the scene where a political ad to ban the big coffee shop appears. It features the boys and implores people to vote for the proposition or else they hate children. It is a satire of how “for the children” is a fallacy used in politics.
Number 8: Season 5 Episode 4: Scott Tenorman Must Die
Synopsis: Cartman and his teenage neighbor Scott Tenorman go at it. After a long series of back and forth it ends that Cartman humiliates Tenorman in front of his favorite band, Radiohead, by making him cry. He does this by feeding Tenorman his ground up parents in chili.
Why I like this episode: Quite frankly if you love South Park and have watched a lot of it this should be one of your favorites. The simple reason? Because it shows Cartman in all his evil glory?
My favorite scene: What else? Where Cartman feeds chili to Scott Tenorman and informs him that it is made up of his ground up parents. (It later comes back to haunt him in the currently banned Episode 201 where Tenorman announces that he is Cartman’s brother).
Number 7: Season 13 Episode 3 Margaritaville
Synopsis: After the 2008-2009 financial crisis Randy Marsh tries to get South Park to stop shopping and don sackcloth (all except for buying margarita mixers). Meanwhile Kyle tries to get people to start shopping again and in a satire of the crucifixion story pays everybody’s debts as Cartman attempts to betray the “young Jew who speaks heresies against the economy.”
Why I like this episode: It is a satire of people’s feelings about the economy. In one telling scene you have four people standing up speaking on soapboxes. One person (a satire of liberals) blames corporations, another (a satire of conservatives) blames government, Cartman blames Jews, and Randy Marsh blames shopping. In the end though the point is that the economy is us and not some separate entity.
My favorite scene: When deciding on bailouts the government officials cut off a chicken’s heads and have it run around a glowing board while playing the kazoo in order to decide on how much to bail out Stan for his Margaritaville margarita maker.
Number 6: Season 8 Episode 3 Up And Down Steroid
Synopsis: Jimmy and Timmy are in the Special Olympics (which Jimmy later wins using steroids). Meanwhile Cartman plots to steal the Special Olympics by pretending to be mentally challenged, although in the end Cartman ends up losing completely.
Why I like this episode: It mocks the baseballs steroids scandal. At the same time it satirizes the Special Olympics but at the same time it shows that disabled people are much more capable than many people give them credit for. It is classic South Park, offensive yet with a good message.
My favorite scene: Cartman comes in and asks him mom to allow him to join the Special Olympics. She says no. He offers her half the money for the prize. She still says no. Cartman then gives an impassioned speech in which he falsely claims his real motives are to walk a mile in the shoes of the handicapped.
Number 5: Season 6 Episode 14 The Death Camp of Tolerance
Synopsis: Mr. Garrison comes back to the school after being fired for being gay. He attempts to get fired again so that he can sue the school for millions, which he does with the aid of a leather fiend named “Mr. Slave.” In the meantime the kids are sent to the Museum of Tolerance but after failing to learn about tolerance are sent to the Death Camp of Tolerance, a satire of Schindler’s List in which a Nazi-esque character forces the children toward liberal shibboleths instead of fascist ideology. A subplot has a gerbil inside of Mr. Slave seeking his salvation.
Why I like this episode: It heavily features on my absolute favorite South Park characters, Mr. Slave. I have always found the way he talks to be incredibly funny.
My favorite scene: When the boys are coming out of the Museum of Tolerance the adults see a man smoking and immediately begin harassing him. This satirizes how smokers have become pushed off to the side by a politically correct society that at the same time claims to put a high prize on tolerance.
Number 4: Season 11 Episode 1 With Apologies to Jesse Jackson
Synopsis: Randy Marsh appears on Wheel of Fortune. The definition he must find is, “People who annoy you.” The answer is “naggers” but instead Randy fills it in with the n-word. The rest of the episode deals with the issue of the n-word. In the end Marsh along with actor Michael Richards and police officer Mark Fuhrman (both involved in racial scandals in real life) get the Senate to ban the term “n-word guy” with all senators in favor except the one black senator.
Why I like this episode: It satirizes political correctness. The best aspect is how it mocks many white people’s desperate attempts to appear tolerant and understanding of minorities while at the same time not really “getting it.” In the end Stan does give a speech explaining that the one way white people will “get it” is finally quitting to try to understand how minorities feel and admit they just don’t “get it.”
My favorite scene: I am going to have to say I am split on this one. I like where Randy kisses Jesse Jackson’s behind after which Token exclaims, “Jesse Jackson is not the emperor of black people” to which Stan mumbles, “He told my dad he was.” On the other hand I also like the scene where some rednecks threaten to kill Randy for being intolerant of African-Americans.
Number 3: Season 8 Episode 8 Douche and Turd
Synopsis: Animal rights radicals demand that South Park elementary change their mascot away from “Cows.” The vote comes down between “Giant Douche” and “Turd Sandwich.” People make a huge deal about the campaign (including Sean Combs who threatens to kill people who don’t vote). Stan decides not to vote and is banished from town for his heresy. Later he comes back to understand the “importance” of voting.
Why I like this episode: It satirizes voting (it was created during the 2004 elections) and how people make a big deal about it all while having no real impact and often being forced to choose between two candidates who really aren’t that good to begin with (hence Douche and Turd).
My favorite scene: I like the scene where Stan agrees to vote and a song plays. The song’s lyrics are “Let’s get out and vote, let’s make our voices heard. We’ve been given the right to choose between a Douche and a Turd. It’s democracy in action put your freedom to the test, a Big Giant Douche or a Stinky Turd, which do you like best?”
Number 2: Season 7 Episode 13 Butt Out!
Synopsis: Actor and director Rob Reiner comes to South Park to ban smoking. The reason is that the boys were caught smoking and blamed big tobacco companies, but in reality they smoked because they didn’t want to become like the cheesy anti-tobacco activists who came to school. Things come to a head when Reiner tries to kill Cartman and make it look like he died from lung cancer in his anti-smoking ad.
Why I like this episode: I think it captures a clear picture of the anti-smoking movement. The anti-smoking movement simply doesn’t like smoking so they scare people using supposed science in order to get them to support banning smoking in people’s privately owned businesses.
My favorite scene: In one scene Cartman expresses his admiration for Rob Reiner because, “He just goes around forcing his will on people. It’s like smoking gives some people a little bit of pleasure and he gets to go take that away from them.”
Number 1: Season 8 Episode 6 Goobacks
Synopsis: People from the future begin arriving in South Park and agree to do work normal people would do for half the money. Of course this is a satire of illegal immigrants. Many rednecks grow angry that the “goobacks” in their words “took ‘er jerbs!” so they decide to prevent the future from happening and decide to do so by having a gay pileup.
Why I like this episode: This episode satirizes many people’s attitudes toward illegal immigrants, both liberals and conservatives. I also really like how the rednecks ramble on about “took ‘er jerbs” which has become sort of a running gag throughout the South Park series since then. It also satirizes the way in which people have opinions and refuse to get educated, which I feel sums up a common theme of the South Park series. Also interesting to note is that this is the fourth episode in my series to come from Season 8. I don’t know why but for some reason in that season the creators really had something going.
My favorite scene: My favorite scene is where Pissed Off Conservative White Trash Redneck is debating Aging Hippie Liberal Douche on the O’Reilley Factor. I like this scene because it captures a good satire of many things I find wrong about liberals and conservatives.