The 30 Best ‘South Park’ Episodes (2024)

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The 30 Best ‘South Park’ Episodes (1)

Profane and profound. Shocking and sweet. Absurdist and astute. And above all, hilarious. After 23 outrageous, obscenity-peppered seasons, “South Park” remains television’s most unrepentant animated provocateur, offering up creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s signature, scathing social commentary; twisted characters; deep-dive, pop-cultural references; and off-color, often scandalous, humor that leaves viewers asking themselves, “Did they really just do THAT?”

With over 300 episodes to date to choose from, a top 30 essentials list omits some favorites — classics (“Cartman Joins NAMBLA,” “Christian Rock Hard,” “Tsst”), later-season standouts (“Sponsored Content,” “skan* Hunt,” “Band in China”) and the polarizing Terrance and Phillip canon among them — but what follows represents the series’ delirious highs, figurative and otherwise.

  • Mr. Hankey, the Christmas Poo

    The 30 Best ‘South Park’ Episodes (2)

    Season 1, Episode 9

    One of the most durable of the first season episodes, the debut holiday installment offers an ideal template for “South Park”: a spot-on parody of a cultural staple like the TV Christmas special; musical numbers both irreverent and inspired; the perils of politically correct groupthink; insight into child psychology; and, with its title singing excrement, a charming yet disgusting scatological centerpiece.

  • Naughty Ninjas

    The 30 Best ‘South Park’ Episodes (3)

    Season 19, Episode 7

    Not quite as prophetic as “The Simpsons,” the series still proves eerily prescient. In this episode, which aired five years before nationwide calls for defunding law enforcement in 2020, South Park abolishes its police force, prompting community chaos when the kids, playing ninjas, are mistaken for ISIS recruits.

  • About Last Night…

    The 30 Best ‘South Park’ Episodes (4)

    Season 12, Episode 12

    In a pitch-perfect parody of “Ocean’s Eleven,” Barack Obama’s election is revealed to be an elaborate cover for an ambitious heist (in cahoots with John McCain and Sarah Palin). Behind the scenes, the creators gambled on the storyline and completed the episode the morning after real-world election results came in.

  • Put It Down

    The 30 Best ‘South Park’ Episodes (5)

    Season 21, Episode 2

    The anxieties created by a multitude of worries — including North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, distracted driving and the reckless tweeting of the new president (the Trumpian incarnation of Mr. Garrison) — are given full expression through Craig’s efforts to contain Tweek’s escalating meltdown.

  • All About Mormons

    The 30 Best ‘South Park’ Episodes (6)

    Season 7, Episode 12

    Years before Parker and Stone’s musical “The Book of Mormon” hit Broadway, the duo toe-dipped into skewering the more outrageous details of the Mormon religion — in song! It’s much more good-natured than the savage mocking the show aimed at Scientology, and the Mormons get the last word.

  • Major Boobage

    The 30 Best ‘South Park’ Episodes (7)

    Season 12, Episode 3

    Kenny takes a hallucinatory journey — induced by huffing cat urine — into a trippy, sci-fi world populated by a big-busted warrior woman and mammary-centric, Geiger-like architecture. Inspired by the 1981 cult classic “Heavy Metal,” it’s lavishly animated and rock-scored. It’s also giggle-fit inducing from start to finish.

  • The Jeffersons

    The 30 Best ‘South Park’ Episodes (8)

    Season 8, Episode 6

    Michael Jackson has always been low-hanging fruit for satire, but — 15 years before the damning doc “Leaving Neverland” — Parker and Stone brutally take the glove off when the pop icon moves into South Park using a fake name and phony mustache, creepily insinuating himself into the kids’ circle.

  • You Have 0 Friends

    The 30 Best ‘South Park’ Episodes (9)

    Season 14, Episode 4

    This episode rips hard into the unnecessary pressures and absurd real-world spillover that accompanied joining then-emerging Facebook. The riffs on social media artificiality are merciless, while the story of desperate-for-connection Kip is effectively moving.

  • You’re Getting Old!

    The 30 Best ‘South Park’ Episodes (10)

    Season 15, Episode 7

    One of the show’s more poignant and timeless episodes, it focuses on Stan’s existential angst at turning 10 years old and suddenly feeling turned off by the various pop cultural items and genres he’d previously loved, which literally turn to sh*t in his eyes.

  • Medicinal Fried Chicken

    The 30 Best ‘South Park’ Episodes (11)

    Season 14, Episode 3

    After discovering the local KFC has been converted into a medical marijuana dispensary, Randy Marsh’s frenzied journey to receive a pot prescription results in one of the funniest sight gags in the show’s history, while Cartman’s bid to obtain the newly illicit fast food takes a “Scarface” turn.

  • Best Friends Forever

    The 30 Best ‘South Park’ Episodes (12)

    Season 9, Episode 4

    Who better to serve as centerpiece for the show’s Emmy-winning commentary on the right-to-die debate than the ever-expiring Kenny? South Park wrangles over pulling the plug on the vegetative fourth grader following an accident, while his gaming skills are desperately needed to help angels win an impending war between Heaven and Hell.

  • Dancing With Smurfs

    The 30 Best ‘South Park’ Episodes (13)

    Season 13, Episode 13

    In another prescient episode, Cartman uses his platform reading the morning announcements to level outrageous attacks on Wendy Testaburger’s tenure as student body president and bolster his own political agenda — AND there’s a delirious “Avatar”-inspired sequence in which Cartman goes native in Smurf Village.

  • Crème Fraiche

    The 30 Best ‘South Park’ Episodes (14)

    Season 14, Episode 14

    The Marsh family is nearly torn apart when Food Network-obsessed Randy fetishizes meal prep, and Sharon, fearing he’s no longer attracted to her, gets fit with a Shake Weight that seems sexually stimulated by their workout sessions. The carnal sight gags and double entendres are not subtle, which make them even funnier.

  • Woodland Critter Christmas

    The 30 Best ‘South Park’ Episodes (15)

    Season 8, Episode 14

    A standout among the series’ tradition of holiday-themed episodes, it’s also among the most twisted: told in rhyming narration in the style of classic TV Christmas specials, Stan’s encounter with a maddeningly chipper group of adorable furry forest animals has a fairy-tale feel — until their bloodthirsty, Satan-worshipping agenda is revealed.

  • The Death of Eric Cartman

    The 30 Best ‘South Park’ Episodes (16)

    Season 9, Episode 6

    No deep social messaging, no big pop culture commentary, just pure, delightful silliness. After pushing his fed-up friends to the point that they decide to utterly ignore his presence, Cartman assumes he’s died. Convincing Butters that he’s a ghost that needs help to move on, he sets out to right the many, many wrongs of his existence.

  • Black Friday / A Song of Ass and Fire / titt*es and Dragons

    The 30 Best ‘South Park’ Episodes (17)

    Season 17, Episodes 7-9

    In one of its signature epic trilogies, the series deftly merges a spot-on send-up of “Game of Thrones” with trenchant assessments of the bargain-obsessive hysteria surrounding the first shopping day of the holiday season and the intense game console wars — topped off with Kenny’s gender-bending cosplay subplot and a certain fantasy author’s fixation with flaccid wieners.

  • Butters’ Very Own Episode

    The 30 Best ‘South Park’ Episodes (18)

    Season 5, Episode 14

    Of the many great Butters-centric episodes to choose from, his first solo outing offers a perfect storm of retro-sitcom flourishes like Butters’ peppy theme song, and deeply dark and twisted plot turns, as when Butters’ mother loses her mind when she realizes her husband’s having secret, gay hookups and in her madness, decides to kill her son.

  • Grounded Vindaloop

    The 30 Best ‘South Park’ Episodes (19)

    Season 18, Episode 7

    “The Matrix,” “Total Recall” and “Inception” collide as Cartman’s latest scheme to mess with Butters involves convincing him that he’s trapped in a virtual reality world that — even with the recurring assistance of a helpful/not helpful customer service rep in India — offers consistently funny VR reveals and a reality-bending final scene.

  • Go God Go / Go God Go XII

    The 30 Best ‘South Park’ Episodes (20)

    Season 10, Episodes 12-13

    In this two-parter, the debate over teaching evolution vs. creationism — played out through the debate-turned-romance between biologist Richard Dawkins and Mrs. Garrison — merges with “Buck Rogers in the 25th Century” riffs when Cartman, unable to wait for the latest Wii release, accidentally freezes himself, emerging 500 years in the future.

  • Casa Bonita

    The 30 Best ‘South Park’ Episodes (21)

    Season 7, Episode 11

    A classic sitcom setup with a “South Park” twist: Flummoxed when Kyle refuses to invite him to his birthday party at his favorite Mexican restaurant, Cartman learns he can join if Butters can’t, so he executes a no-extremes-spared plan to convince Butters a meteor is hurtling toward earth with apocalyptic consequences.

  • The Return of the Fellowship of the Ring to the Two Towers

    The 30 Best ‘South Park’ Episodes (22)

    Season 6, Episode 13

    This one’s a spectacular example of the show’s genius for geek-genre parody and subversive sensibilities. After an especially filthy p*rno is accidentally swapped with a “Lord of the Rings” video, the gang embarks on an epic quest to return it to the store — with a freaked-out Butters going full Gollum — as their parents fret over what they might have viewed.

  • With Apologies to Jesse Jackson

    The 30 Best ‘South Park’ Episodes (23)

    Season 11, Episode 1

    In what may be the show’s most outrageous laugh-but-cringe gags, Randy mistakenly uses a racial slur attempting to solve a “Wheel of Fortune” puzzle. While Randy navigates a barrage of public shaming and pleas for forgiveness, Stan and Token debate the power of the epithet in question.

  • Good Times With Weapons

    The 30 Best ‘South Park’ Episodes (24)

    Season 8, Episode 1

    There are plenty of laughs in the episode, which has the kids purchasing martial arts weapons and imagining themselves as warriors straight out of anime-influenced video games, until a shuriken accidentally ends up in Butters’ eye. It’s the lavish, authentic-looking animation that marks it as a classic.


    The 30 Best ‘South Park’ Episodes (25)

    Season 8, Episode 5

    Karmic payback on a grand scale: Cartman, disguised as Butters’ new robot bestie as a prank, desperately stays in character at all costs in hopes of retrieving an embarrassing video — bringing AWESOM-O to the attention of hit-craved Hollywood, which has him pitching movie ideas, and the paranoid military, which suspects he’s the ultimate doomsday weapon.

  • Smug Alert!

    The 30 Best ‘South Park’ Episodes (26)

    Season 10, Episode 2

    Gerald Broflovski’s extreme self-satisfaction with his new hybrid vehicle prompts him to move his family to uber politically correct San Francisco. As South Park citizens join the hybrid bandwagon, the resulting cloud of collective smugness threatens to disastrously collide with a gust of Hollywood-generated self-congratulation.

  • Make Love Not Warcraft

    The 30 Best ‘South Park’ Episodes (27)

    Season 10, Episode 8

    This Emmy-winning episode — in which Stan, Kyle, Cartman and Kenny devote countless hours into increasing their Warcraft experience points, even as their physical health devolves, in order to stop a maniacal killer within the game — wickedly spoofs gamer culture and brilliantly employs machinima technology to capture the look of the game.

  • Fishsticks

    The 30 Best ‘South Park’ Episodes (28)

    Season 13, Episode 5

    In a savage meditation on ego and appropriation, Jimmy’s joke becomes a national sensation and Cartman — convinced he co-wrote it — tries to claim credit (and collect payments), while Kanye West finds it impossible to comprehend how a genius like himself could be perceived as the butt of the punchline.

  • Imaginationland Trilogy

    The 30 Best ‘South Park’ Episodes (29)

    Season 11, Episodes 10-12

    The series’ finest, most ambitious trilogy sees the boys visiting a realm where all beings created by imagination reside, interrupted by an Islamic terrorist invasion. There are meta-commentaries on the power of creativity and serialized television delight, but it’s Cartman’s nonstop attempts to settle a bet with Kyle that delivers the biggest laughs.

  • Trapped in the Closet

    The 30 Best ‘South Park’ Episodes (30)

    Season 9, Episode 12

    Easily the most controversial episode, it mercilessly, gleefully rips into the teachings of Scientology when the church believes Stan to be the second coming of founder L. Ron Hubbard. It also takes aim at the religion’s most famous proponent, Tom Cruise, tweaking long-whispered Hollywood rumors by having him literally hiding in a closet.

  • Scott Tenorman Must Die

    The 30 Best ‘South Park’ Episodes (31)

    Season 5, Episode 4

    Eric Cartman is clearly the cruel, egomaniacal, greedy, racist, gluttonous heart of “South Park,” and no episode better illustrates the sociopathy that fuels him than his relentless quest to even the score with an older kid who repeatedly gets the better of him — until, in the disturbing but sidesplitting finale, he doesn’t.


The 30 Best ‘South Park’ Episodes (2024)


Why is episode 200 banned South Park? ›

The depiction of Buddha snorting cocaine in "200" and "201", prompted the government of Sri Lanka to ban the entire series outright.

Why was season 5 episode 3 of South Park banned? ›

Following Islamists' death threats regarding Muhammad's portrayal in the 2010 episode titled "201", the South Park Studios website no longer streams "Super Best Friends", nor is it available for streaming or purchase from online stores.

Did Tom Cruise try to sue South Park? ›

Tom Cruise reportedly got close to suing South Park for the infamous episode, 'Trapped in the Closet'. For those unfamiliar with the episode, it involved denouncements of scientology, Tom locking himself in main character, Stan's, closet, and pleas from several characters for him to 'come out of the closet'.

What are the 2 banned South Park episodes? ›

The 5 Banned 'South Park' Episodes Ranked By Their Offensiveness
  • 5 “Super Best Friends,” Season 5, Episode 3. ...
  • 3 “Cartoon Wars Part I and II,” Season 10, Episodes 3 and 4. ...
  • 1 “200” and “201,” Season 14, Episodes 5 and 6.
Jan 16, 2024

What is the funniest South Park EP? ›

1. “Casa Bonita” (Season 7, Episode 11) “Casa Bonita” isn't the most unique episode of “South Park,” or the most topical, or the most controversial, or the most significant. Instead, it's number one because it's maybe the single funniest in the show's history.

Why is season 14 episode 6 of South Park banned? ›

South Park episodes 200 and 201 were banned from the USA because they depicted the Prophet Muhammad. The Comedy Central network, which airs South Park, received numerous death threats from radical Muslim groups after the episodes aired.

Does South Park still swear? ›

The F word is used frequently, but it is bleeped when it airs on TV (not on HBO Max usually), and it is uncensored on DVD and online. In the Season 5 episode "It Hits the Fan", the S word was said 162 times.

Has South Park ever missed an episode? ›

For the first time in 240 episodes, the creators of South Park failed to finish "Goth Kids 3: Dawn of the Posers" on schedule. However, whether this counts as a case of the South Park creators dropping the ball remains debatable.

Who was forced to watch South Park? ›

During his captivity, US marines forced Saddam, who was executed in 2006, to repeatedly watch the movie South Park: Bigger, Longer And Uncut, which shows him as gay, as well as the boyfriend of Satan.

What season did South Park start swearing? ›

In the show's 2001 season 5 opener (the aptly titled “It Hits the Fan”), Trey Parker, Matt Stone, and their gang of hooligan second graders unleashed “s—” 162 times. Britain's beloved C-word, No. 3, has slowly trickled over to America — most prominently in a 2007 episode of 30 Rock.

Who is Kyle's best friend in South Park? ›

Other than his Super Best Friend, Stan, Kyle's closest friend has always been the local poor kid, Kenny McCormick.

Was Jennifer Aniston in South Park? ›

"Rainforest Shmainforest" is the third season premiere of Comedy Central's animated series South Park. It originally aired on April 7, 1999 and is the 32nd episode overall. This episode features Jennifer Aniston providing the voice for Miss Stevens.

How did Lorde feel about South Park? ›

The real-life Lorde was a big fan of the episode: "i don't actually watch south park but from what i can tell sia was involved and someone's mum said something really nice about me..

Why did George Clooney do South Park? ›

George Clooney Loved South Park

As the actor said, "I must say I would've been offended if I wasn't in it. Those guys, they're friends of mine. I helped them get their show on the air..." (via Irish Examiner). Stone and Parker made two short films called The Spirit of Christmas which Clooney loved.

Who is the number 1 main character in South Park? ›

Stan Marsh

Stan is a third- then fourth-grade student who commonly has extraordinary experiences not typical of conventional small-town life in his hometown of South Park. He is also commonly portrayed as the main protagonist of the series.

What is the funniest South Park season? ›

Season 14 of "South Park" may offer the most laughs of any season. Each one of its 14 episodes is outrageous, ridiculous, and very, very funny.

What is the 69th episode of South Park? ›

"Scott Tenorman Must Die" is the fourth episode of the fifth season of the American animated television series South Park, and the 69th episode of the series overall. It first aired on Comedy Central in the United States on July 11, 2001.

What is the best South Park movie? ›

South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut remains the best South Park movie, with a memorable story, hilarious comedy, and an Oscar-nominated soundtrack. The South Park movies have been an exciting way to expand the beloved adult animated series into some bigger and bolder stories.


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