Best 'South Park' Episodes of All Time, Ranked
"South Park" has been entertaining audiences for almost three decades and shows no signs of stopping.
Creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone launched the show in 1997 and have introduced us to memorable and hilarious South Park characters, all while teaching us valuable lessons.
These are the best "South Park" episodes. So far.
20. Cartman Gets an Anal Probe
Season and episode: Season 1, Episode 1
Date originally aired: Aug. 13, 1997
What Made 'Cartman Gets an Anal Probe' a Great Episode
In our first introduction to the kids of "South Park," the plot is a simple one — Cartman's dreams about an alien abduction turn out to be real.
The aliens come back for Kyle's little brother, and the boys must save him from their clutches as Cartman sets out to prove they don't control his body.
Despite its crude animation done entirely on construction paper, the episode is worth viewing to see how the "South Park" universe began, and how much it's evolved since.
Season and episode: Season 13, Episode 3
Date originally aired: March 25, 2009
What Made 'Margaritaville' a Great Episode
This episode parodies the final weeks of Christ's life against the backdrop of the 2008 recession, as Stan tries to return his father's Margaritaville blender with little luck.
"Margaritaville" was a reflection of Parker and Stone's feelings on American consumerism and a metaphor for the financial crisis of time. Despite their difficulty in writing it, financial experts applauded its analysis of the recession, and it even won an Emmy for Outstanding Animated Program for Programming Less Than One Hour in 2009.
18. Kenny Dies
Season and episode: Season 5, Episode 13
Date originally aired: Dec. 5, 2001
What Made 'Kenny Dies' a Great Episode
In the beginning, tragedy befell Kenny in every episode, but when he's hospitalized with a terminal disease, help comes from the most unlikely of people — Cartman, who convinces the government to lift its stem cell research ban.
Notable for its message about friendship, love, loss, and Cartman's wonderful rendition of Asia's "The Heat of the Moment."
17. Mr. Hankey, the Christmas Poo
Season and episode: Season 1, Episode 9
Date originally aired: Dec. 17, 1997
What Made 'Mr. Hankey, the Christmas Poo' a Great Episode
Kyle, who's Jewish, feels excluded during the holiday season, and it is only Mr. Hankey who can help him through it. Unfortunately for Kyle, he's the only one who can actually see the Christmas poo, and everyone in town thinks he's crazy.
It's next to impossible to come up with a new Christmas icon, but Parker and Stone managed to do so with Mr. Hankey, who has delighted fans in several episodes since with a rousing "Hidey Ho!"
16. The Death of Eric Cartman
Season and episode: Season 9, Episode 6
Date originally aired: April 13, 2005
What Made 'The Death of Eric Cartman' a Great Episode
After Cartman eats all the fried chicken skin at a dinner meant to be shared among the boys, they get angry and decide to ignore him once and for all. The other kids in the class join them, and Cartman is convinced he has died.
The only one who can "see" him is Butters, who he convinces to help him set things right so he could go into the light. Once he learns he's not dead, he immediately goes back to his old ways
This hilarious episode features Cartman singing a song called "Make It Right" against a montage of him dropping off fruit baskets to all the people he harmed. However, they can never make up for any of what he did, and every time he leaves them, the victims are simply perplexed.
15. The Cissy
Season and episode: Season 18, Episode 3
Date originally aired: Oct. 8, 2014
What Made 'The Cissy' a Great Episode
In order to get his own bathroom at school, Cartman labels himself as "transginger." More importantly, Randy Marsh is nearly outed as pop star Lorde.
"South Park" managed to keep its brand of raw humor while handling trans issues with the sensitivity and respect they deserve.
Sia also lent her voice for Lorde, which spawned the lyrics, "Yah Yah Yah, I am Lorde! Yah Yah Yah."
14. Scott Tenorman Must Die
Season and episode: Season 5, Episode 4
Date originally aired: July 11, 2001
What Made 'Scott Tenorman Must Die' a Great Episode
When an older kid named Scott Tenorman messes with Cartman, he seeks revenge at a chili cook-off by feeding the unwitting boy his parents and saying, "Let me taste your unfathomable tears of sadness — oh, yes, mm, they're so good!"
This episode gave us a window into Cartman's personality (he is indeed a sociopath) and was the episode in which "South Park" truly came into its own.
Season and episode: Season 11, Episode 10-12
Date originally aired: Oct. 17–31, 2007
What Made 'Imaginationland' a Great Episode
This three-part episode features imaginary characters not only from "South Park," but also from producers of several different animation classics, from Disney to Sid and Marty Croft.
Stan, Kyle, and Butters find themselves in Imaginationland at the moment real-life terrorists unleash all of mankind's evil. The boys race against time to save the characters against nuclear annihilation.
The violence is as shocking as it is hilarious, and of course, it ends with Cartman thinking only of himself and winning a bet against Kyle.
12. The Ungroundable
Season and episode: Season 12, Episode 14
Date originally aired: Nov. 19, 2008
What Made 'The Ungroundable' a Great Episode
This episode centers more around the show's goth contingent than the main characters. The group is threatened by being mistaken for the school's emo contingent, which seems to crop up out of nowhere.
The only way the goths can beat the emo kids is with Butters' help (he believes he's a vampire), and the only way to do that is to burn down the Hot Topic, which has its own delightful post-punk theme, courtesy of Trey Parker.
Season and episode: Season 5, Episode 8
Date originally aired: Aug. 8, 2001
What Made 'Towelie' a Great Episode
The episode introduced us to Towelie, a hilarious blue towel that just wants to spend time getting high.
Although the other characters in the show (and the creators) acknowledge he's a deliberately poor character, he won over the hearts of audiences and has been in several episodes since.
He's even gotten clean and shown he has family.
10. Member Berries
Season and episode: Season 20, Episode 1
Date originally aired: Sept. 14, 2016
What Made 'Member Berries' a Great Episode
Member berries are nothing more than sour grapes, which evoke a feeling of better times in those who eat them.
Nostalgia is well and good, until the member berries start making xenophobic comments. Randy Marsh investigates them only to find they have an addictive effect on people.
The "Member Berries" episode was a metaphor for the 2016 election. The berries were revealed to have the purpose of installing Mr. Garrison as president in a role he was not capable of having.
9. Christian Rock Hard
Season and episode: Season 7, Episode 9
Date originally aired: Oct. 29, 2003
What Made 'Christian Rock Hard' a Great Episode
The boys start a band and eventually kick Cartman out. He seeks revenge, fame, and fortune by starting a Christian rock band, Faith + 1, with Butters and Token.
Stone and Parker take aim at Christian rock lyrics by making them identical to secular love songs and substituting "Jesus" for the subject of the songs.
The episode also delightfully skewers artists like Metallica, who went to great lengths to fight copyright infringement via Napster.
8. All About Mormons
Season and episode: Season 7, Episode 12
Date originally aired: Nov. 19, 2003
What Made 'All About Mormons' a Great Episode
An overly happy Mormon family moves into South Park and sways Stan with their story of Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, which sounds more and more ridiculous as it continues, due in part to the story itself and in part to the soundtrack ("Lucy Harris, smart, smart, smart! Martin Harris, dum, dum dum!")
Many of this episode's themes continue in Parker and Stone's award-winning Broadway musical, "The Book of Mormon," which opened in 2011.
7. Major Boobage
Season and episode: Season 12, Episode 3
Date originally aired: March 26, 2008
What Made 'Major Boobage' a Great Episode
Kenny becomes addicted to "cheesing," a hallucinogen from cat spray that makes him see characters resembling those from the 1981 animation classic, "Heavy Metal," replete with a flying car, a large-breasted woman, and the searing rock soundtrack.
If you're a fan of the original movie, you'll love this homage.
6. Up the Down Steroid
Season and episode: Season 8, Episode 2
Date originally aired: March 24, 2004
What Made 'Up the Down Steroid' a Great Episode
Cartman thinks he's a shoo-in to win the Special Olympics and pretends he's handicapped to score the prize. (Spoiler alert: He doesn't.)
Meanwhile, Jimmy, who's worried about his chances in the games, starts taking steroids and becomes violent toward his girlfriend.
In the end, Jimmy learns a valuable lesson. Cartman, not so much.
5. Fat Butt and Pancake Head
Season and episode: Season 7, Episode 5
Date originally aired: April 16, 2003
What Made 'Fat Butt and Pancake Head' a Great Episode
Cartman fashions his hand after J. Lo who sings about "taco-flavored kisses," and Ben Affleck falls in love. He dumps the real Jennifer Lopez, who promises to seek her revenge against Cartman's creation.
South Park skewers our continuing obsession with celebrity couples, and we never really know if Cartman is telling the truth about being able to control his hand.
4. You Have 0 Friends
Season and episode: Season 14, Episode 4
Date originally aired: April 7, 2010
What Made 'You Have 0 Friends' a Great Episode
The show took aim at Facebook just as it was picking up steam in 2010. Stan does not want to be on social media. A lonely third-grader named Kip Drordy does, but he has trouble finding friends, even in the virtual world.
Stan gets sucked into a "Tron"-like world of virtual friendship, of which he wants no part. He fights his way out, and all his Facebook friends get transferred to the one person who needs them most — Kip.
The lonely kid is lonely no more.
Season and episode: Season 13, Episode 5
Date originally aired: April 8, 2009
What Made 'Fishsticks' a Great Episode
Jimmy writes the best joke ever, which Cartman tries to steal after it becomes a worldwide hit. The only person who doesn't get the joke is Kanye West, who doesn't know why he's being laughed at.
Kanye realizes his massive ego has gotten in the way of his understanding of the joke and thinks it means he's a gay fish. He decides to live in the ocean and eventually finds happiness among finned creatures.
That doesn't mean, however, that he's stopped writing music.
2. Guitar Queer-O
Season and episode: Season 11, Episode 13
Date originally aired: Nov. 7, 2007
What Made 'Guitar Queer-O' a Great Episode
It's an age-old rock n' roll story. Fame separates Kyle and Stan, who are the top players in "Guitar Hero" in South Park.
When game execs convince Stan to drop Kyle and play with a higher-ranked player for a shot at the big time, he loses his way and becomes addicted to another game called "Heroin Hero."
It's only when he shirks fame and fortune and rekindles his friendship with Kyle does he find his way back.
1. You’re Getting Old
Season and episode: Season 15, Episode 7
Date originally aired: June 8, 2011
What Made 'You’re Getting Old' a Great Episode
When Stan turns 10, everything he loves turns to crap. He hears the new music genre that the kids love ("tween wave") in a different way and grows disillusioned. Meanwhile, Randy takes up the genre to show he's still "got it."
"You're Getting Old" was an episode that made viewers believe it would be Parker and Stone's last, as it addressed through Sharon and Randy Marsh a discomfort with never growing and keeping everything as is.
Luckily, it wasn't the end, but the show did take a slightly different direction after this episode.