After rewatching all released South Park episodes over the last couple of months, and inspired by something similar Lennon's Eyebrow did for a so-called doctor, I've decided to rank every episode of the show. This through a color scheme that rates the episodes season by season (green = excellent | blue = very good | yellow = good | orange = not so good | red = poor), with some commentary included, and an overall ranking from best to worst (which for space-saving reasons here will take the form of a top 100).
Then, for no particular reason, I thought it would be fun to make this into a fanpost and share it with all you giant douches (or turd sandwiches if you'd prefer that), with the hope that it can function as some sort of episode guide and/or create discussions about this magnificent bastard of a show. Maybe you never really got into South Park and want to try out some of the best to see if it's your thing? Maybe you love the show and would like to slate me for being a leading figure in the town of Wrongsville? Or maybe you just like looking at pretty colors? All of those needs are covered herein. So without further ado... LET'S FIGHTING LOVE!!! ...
/ in retrospect maybe this shouldn't be a fanpost at all, but I just wanted to do it, mkay?!
- Season 1 and 2 are definitely not as sophisticated in their animation and satire as later entries, but there are lots of good episodes there, alongside some real gems in Tom's Rhinoplasty (where we learned the lesson that you really shouldn't fuck with Wendy Testaburger), Mecha-Streisand (because Disintegration might just be the best album ever) and Chef Aid (where we could all agree that Chewbacca living on Endor does not make sense!), and there is something to be said for the establishing of the universe, characters and many of the running gags which can still be seen in the show today.
- Season 3 and 4 is when the show is starting to get into its stride, where the best episodes get better, and the lesser episodes are probably also better than their counterpoint in former seasons. Rainforest Shmainforest, Spontaneous Combustion, Chinpokomon, World Wide Recorder Concert, Cartman's Silly Hate Crime 2000, Cartman Joins NAMBLA and Trapper Keeper are all excellent, while The Red Badge of Gayness (Cartman as General Lee is just the best) and The Wacky Molestation Adventure (Carousel is not just a fun ride) are absolutely brilliant. However, here we also find the two worst episodes Parker & Stone ever made (Pip and Jakovasaurus). Go figure.
- Season 5 might be the best season of the show in general. It's got the best episode ever in Scott Tenorman Must Die, which for the first time showed Cartman as the beautiful psychopath we all know and love. It's got exquisite subversive satire on another level than before with It Hits the Fan (Oh shit!), Cripple Fight (You silly goose!) and Super Best Friends (... Uhm...). And it's got absurdist comedy at its most wonderful in Proper Condom Use, Here Comes the Neighborhood and Kenny Dies (Cartman leading the House of Representatives in a sing-along of "Heat of the Moment" is one of the all-time highlights of the show). Additionally, the rest is great to good enough as well, which is something new. Everything has gotten more tight, focused and downright enjoyable.
- After the fifth season the show goes on a stunning run (which probably culminated with the Imaginationland Trilogy in season 11) with some of the funniest, craziest and greatest comedy ever produced in television. I really don't know where to start with all this, so I'm just going to randomly say things about other things, which is probably what I would do anyway, and which should be right at home with our shared commentariat spirit, amirite?
- Season 6 has some awesome (and at this point classic) episodes. Asspen is hilarious, the double bill of Professor Chaos and Simpsons Already Did It likewise, and The Death Camp of Tolerance has most of the elements that makes South Park so fucking awesome (... and it introduces Lemmiwinks too!). Special mention also goes to Child Abduction Is Not Funny and Bebe's Boobs Destroy Society for playing around with two of the things I love the most; history and film respectively. The stand-out episode, though, is The Return of the Fellowship of the Ring to the Two Towers. If you haven't seen it, you really need to do something about that (this kind of goes for lots of the episodes I'm fronting). There are also some semi-duds here - most likely because of the length.
- Season 7, 8 and 9 are all among the best seasons of the show. There are so many great episodes here, and so many really good ones too, so I'm going to pick out a bunch. In the seventh we find the holy trinity of Christian Rock Hard (where Cartman writing sensual songs about Jesus is one of the stellar moments), Casa Bonita (Cartman at his best yet again) and All About the Mormons (dum-dum-dum-dum-dumb), and the almost as holy trinity of I'm a Little Bit Country (You guessed it... Cartman is awesome), Fat Butt and Pancake Head (see last statement) and Lil' Crime Stoppers. In the eighth two of the all-time best episodes in Good Time with Weapons (just watch it!) and Woodland Critter Christmas (which is maybe the most fucked-up one of all time too), and an additional killer line-up of things like Douche and Turd, The Passion of the Jew and AWESOM-O. Lastly, in the ninth, Trapped in the Closet is the best, closely followed by Best Friends Forever (Do you have your Keanu?) and Ginger Kids, and I also have to give special mentions to The Losing Edge for being a monumental moment for my favourite character, Randy Marsh, and to Marjorine for just being super cute.
- Season 10 is the closest competition to Season 5 for the title of best ever season. Excluding one bad episode and one "meh" one, everything here is almost perfect. Cartoon Wars 1 & 2 are excellent in every way, Go God Go 1 & 2 are also pretty damn cool, while Smug Alert!, ManBearPig, Mystery of the Urinal Deuce and Miss Teacher Bangs a Boy help make this one of the most impressive line-ups in the series' run. The best by far though is Make Love, Not Warcraft. That episode is a clear-cut expression of why I fell in love with this show and why I continue to view it as one of the greatest achievements in comedy in my lifetime. Even the best in the world... of Warcraft. SO good. Wow. Such love. Much Warcraft. Wow.
- As mentioned, I consider Season 11 the final part of the greatest run in the show's history, mostly because of the absolute awesomeness of The Imaginationland Trilogy. Like, seriously, you guys, that trilogy is the best, right? What's not to love about that? However, there are other gems in this season too, like With Apologies to Jesse Jackson, which is just excellent satire, Night of the Living Homeless, which is just fun in every way, Guitar Queer-O, which Randy again helps make a hilarious episode, and The List.
- Conversely, after that season, there seems to me to be a gradual decline in the overall quality of each season, with both the best episodes a bit weaker than the best of other seasons and the weaker episodes worse than before. This somewhat starts with Season 12, but that season has some great stand-alone episodes in Over Logging (... we all need to go out Californee way at some point, no?), Super Fun Time (Damn you Murderin' Murphy) and Elementary School Musical (Slappety-slappety-slap!), as well as the excellent two-parter Pandemic arc, which will make you seriously startled. It then continues to some extent with Season 13, which has the awful episode Pee to prove that point, but also two magnificent episodes in Fishsticks and Margaritaville, and some more really, really good ones in The Coon, Butters' Bottom Bitch and W.T.F.
- However, where the decline indeed does become apparent is in Season 14 and 15. Not that these seasons are bad, but they are just not at that top level which the show had sustained for such a long time before that. Thankfully, the former has the two excellent continuing stories of 200/201 and The Coon vs. Coon and Friends Trilogy, as well as some good and funny episodes in Medicinal Fried Chicken and Crème Fraiche, while the latter, which might be the lowest point of the newer South Park with some poor and several mediocre episodes, is "saved" by the glorious Broadway Bro Down and excellent two-parter You're Getting Old and Ass Burgers.
SEASON 16 & 17
- Season 16 is somewhat of a comeback from the two former seasons. Without any continuing storylines, they managed to make some excellent episodes, with Raising the Bar and Faith Hilling as the best of the bunch. I also really enjoyed A Nightmare on Face Time, Insecurity and Cartman Finds Love, while there are other very good ones as well. Still not back to that top level, but the decline is stopped, and the quality back on a more solid foundation.
- Season 17, though, was the real comeback for the greatness of South Park, where the humour, the satire and the overall quality of the show got itself back to the level it had in "the glory days". There are no bad episodes in this season, although they have cut the length down to ten, which may have something to do with that, and there are lots of very good ones and some downright superb ones. The best and most obvious is of course The Black Friday Trilogy, a trio which I consider some of the best work the show has ever done, but both World War Zimmerman (... my Brad Pitt survival gear is safely hidden under my bed) and The Hobbit (lol) should get special mentions too. Lots to love in this one, as well as a reason to get excited about the new season coming this fall. Hopefully they can keep up this upward trend.
That's about it. Hope you enjoyed it although it's mostly just random thoughts and listing shit, and it's okay to tl;dr the post and/or to be angry at its wrongness and needlessness. No fucks are given. I was just bored and wanted to do it anyways. So to finish this off as promised, here's my ranking of the top 100 South Park episodes of all time:
1. Scott Tenorman Must Die (5)
2. Good Time with Weapons (8)
3. The Imaginationland Trilogy (11)
4. Make Love, Not Warcraft (10)
5. Woodland Critter Christmas (8)
6. Christian Rock Hard (7)
7. Trapped in the Closet (9)
8. All About Mormons (7)
9. Cartoon Wars Part 1 & 2 (10)
10. The Black Friday Trilogy (17)
11. Douche and Turd (8)
12. Casa Bonita (7)
13. The Wacky Molestation Adventure (4)
14. Fishsticks (13)
15. The Return of the Fellowship of the Ring to the Two Towers (6)
16. The Red Badge of Gayness (3)
17. I'm a Little Bit Country (7)
18. Best Friends Forever (9)
19. Proper Condom Use (5)
20. Ginger Kids (9)
21. Smug Alert! (10)
22. Asspen (6)
23. Margaritaville (13)
24. With Apologies to Jesse Jackson (11)
25. The Passion of the Jew (8)
26. Chinpokomon (3)
27. Mystery of the Urinal Deuce (10)
28. Tom's Rhinoplasty (1)
29. Over Logging (12)
30. Kenny Dies (5)
31. ManBearPig (10)
32. AWESOM-O (8)
33. The Losing Edge (9)
34. Lil' Crime Stoppers (7)
35. Professor Chaos/Simpsons Already Did It (6)
36. Miss Teacher Bangs a Boy (10)
37. Fat Butt and Pancake Head (7)
38. Trapper Keeper (4)
39. Raising the Bar (16)
40. Pandemic Part 1 & 2 (12)
41. It Hits the Fan (5)
42. Coon vs. Coon and Friends Trilogy (14)
43. Rainforest Shmainforest (3)
44. Chef Aid (2)
45. The Death Camp of Tolerance (6)
46. Night of the Living Homeless (11)
47. Broadway Bro Down (15)
48. The Death of Eric Cartman (9)
49. You Got F'd in the A (8)
50. 200/201 (14)
51. Gnomes (2)
52. Super Best Friends (5)
53. Marjorine (9)
54. Child Abduction Is Not Funny (6)
55. God God Go/Go God Go XII (10)
56. Here Comes the Neighborhood (5)
57. Mecha-Streisand (1)
58. Elementary School Musical (12)
59. The Hobbit (17)
60. The Coon (13)
61. Faith Hilling (16)
62. Butters' Bottom Bitch (13)
63. Spontaneous Combustion (3)
64. Cartman Joins NAMBLA (4)
65. World War Zimmerman (17)
66. Cartman Gets an Anal Probe (1)
67. Something You Can Do with Your Finger (4)
68. A Nightmare on Face Time (16)
69. Starvin' Marvin (1)
70. Cancelled (7)
71. Guitar Queer-O (11)
72. Cripple Fight (5)
73. Free Hat (6)
74. You're Getting Old/Ass Burgers (15)
75. Chickenlover (2)
76. Cartman's Mom Is a Dirty Slut (1)
77. Cartman's Mom Is Still a Dirty Slut (2)
78. World Wide Recorder Concert (3)
79. Major Boobage (12)
80. Bebe's Boobs Destroy Society (6)
81. The List (11)
82. Cartman Finds Love (16)
83. W.T.F. (13)
84. Cartman's Silly Hate Crime 2000 (4)
85. Hooked on Monkey Fonics (3)
86. Butters' Very Own Episode (5)
87. Merry Christmas, Charlie Manson! (2)
88. Die Hippie Die (9)
89. Krazy Kripples (7)
90. Cartman's Incredible Gift (8)
91. Insecurity (16)
92. Super Fun Time (12)
93. Raisins (7)
94. Dances with Smurfs (13)
95. Informative Murder Porn (17)
96. Freak Strike (6)
97. Do the Handicapped Go to Hell?/Probably (4)
98. Cartmanland (5)
99. Fun with Veal (6)
100. Pre-School (8)