The 21st season of South Park premieres tomorrow night at 10 PM ET on Comedy Central, and for our Top Ten Tuesday this week, we’ve chosen an impossible task: ranking the best episodes in the show’s history. Our list might be controversial, as everyone will rightly have their own opinion, but this is what we came up with.
10. Trapped in the Closet (S9E12)
This episode is loaded with hilarious moments—from Tom Cruise not coming out of the closet to everyone saying they will sue Stan—but the best part is how South Park just rips Scientology by being honest and showing what they actually believe and putting on the bottom of the screen: “THIS IS WHAT SCIENTOLIGISTS ACTUALLY BELIEVE.”
9. Make Love, Not Warcraft (S10E8)
“Make Love, Not Warcraft” could easily be a top-five episode, as Stan, Kyle, Cartman, and Kenny team up to try to defeat an unstoppable gamer who kills everyone in World of Warcraft. With the help of a clueless Randy, they are able to do it, and once it’s over, they wonder what’s next after spending countless hours playing, to which Cartman replies, “What do you mean? Now we can finally play the game.”
8. Scott Tenorman Must Die (S5E4)
Probably the favorite for the #1 spot on most lists, this is undoubtedly an all-time classic, but it doesn’t hold up quite as well on re-watch, which is why it’s “only” eighth. Cartman’s true genius (and evilness) is on full display for the first time when he has Scott Tenorman’s parents killed and puts them in chili for Soctt to eat. It was the greatest twist in South Park history and showed the rest of the kids that they shouldn’t mess with Cartman.
7. Good Times with Weapons (S8E1)
Another episode that could be even higher, “Good Times with Weapons” is hilarious from start to finish. The funniest part might be when they have the anime-style fighting scene when Kenny throws a ninja star at Professor Chaos (Butters) and it nails him right in the eye and suddenly cuts back to normal animation and Butters sitting there with the weapon lodged in his face. It’s also great when Cartman thinks he’s invisible walking across stage naked and before that, when Cartman challenges Kyle to “Prove Mel Gibson wrong” by throwing away his weapons after Butters’ injury.
6. A Nightmare on Facetime (S16E12)
The only late-season (after Season 10) episode to make the list, “A Nightmare on Facetime” is one of the more underrated ones in South Park history. Randy buying a dying Blockbuster and thinking it’s a bargain is just so Randy, and his slow transformation into madness like Jack Nicholson in The Shining was brilliant, especially in a Halloween-themed episode.
5. Woodland Critter Christmas (S8E14)
Another holiday-themed episode is “Woodland Critter Christmas,” which is the clear top Christmas episode for the series. Viewers aren’t really sure what to expect with the seemingly-cute animals, but we find out soon enough, and the fact that it’s just a story told my Cartman in front of the class at school makes it even better. Fortunately, good prevails and the mountain lions are reunited with their mother, and “they all lived happily ever after… except for Kyle who died of aids two weeks later.”
4. Casa Bonita (S7E11)
Cartman lying to Butters about a meteor hitting Earth and making him hide in a bomb shelter so he can attend Kyle’s birthday party at Casa Bonita in place of him is perhaps the pettiest move ever, and the fact that he gets away with it is awesome. The final lines sum it up perfectly when the cop asks Cartman after he sprints through the Casa Bonita experience, “Well kid, you made an entire town panic, you lost all your friends, and now you’re going to Juvenile Hall for a week! Was it worth it?” to which Cartman replies as happy and relaxed as possible, “…totally.”
3. The Jeffersons (S8E6)
Speaking of cops, they absolutely make this episode when they try to frame “Mr. Jefferson” (Michael Jackson) for being a rich black man, but when they see he looks like a white guy, the always-funny Sgt. Yates vomits after arguing with his detective because he’s not black, promising “I’m never gonna frame an innocent man again, unless I know he’s black, for sure!” Then later when Yates talked with another cop from a different town about framing Mr. Jefferson before, he compliments him, “That’s damn fine police work. Damn fine.” We haven’t even talked about the antics of Mr. Jefferson himself—and Kenny actually showing his face and talking!—but the episode ending with a good message capped off a classic.
2. The Losing Edge (S9E5)
“The Losing Edge” is such a great episode because it’s just kids being kids (wanting to lose on purpose so they don’t have to “waste” their summer playing baseball) with Randy being Randy (fighting opposing team’s parents and getting arrested). Stan’s dad thinking the baseball games are all about his fighting is absolutely hilarious, and the Rocky parody is top-notch South Park.
1. Two Days Before the Day After Tomorrow (S9E8)
Somehow left off many top-episode lists, “Two Days Before the Day After Tomorrow” has the honor of toping ours. The combination of Stan and Cartman start things off by playing in a boat and accidently crashing into a beaver dam, which floods the nearby town of Beaverton, causing everyone to think it’s global warming. The clear exaggeration by news reporters (saying Beaverton’s death toll is in the hundreds of millions even though the town only has a population of about 8,000) and everyone running from “global warming” was great satire. There are tons of other moments, but our Top Ten Tuesday has a deadline of two days before the day after tomorrow, and… “Oh my God, that’s today.”