11. Ginger Kids
One of the best recurring themes in South Park is Stan and Kyle getting their sweet revenge on a deplorable Cartman. In this episode, Cartman decides that anyone with red hair, pale skin and freckles has no soul and needs to be expelled for the sake of humanity. Despite Kyle's attempt to explain the science of red hair, Cartman continues his tirade. To get their own back, Kyle and Stan sneak into his bedroom and turn him ginger.
There are a couple of scenes that make this story fantastic; the first is when Cartman wakes up, looks at himself in the mirror, and realises all his nightmares have come true. The second is when Kyle and Stan do ginger research with a family of three ginger kids and dark-haired parents. Watching them cry over their creepy-as-hell kids is priceless.
10. You Got F'd in the A
Stan and the gang get served by a group of dancing kids something which Chef finds horrifying and immediately tells their parents about. Randy decides to teach Stan how to dance back with some side steps from Achy Breaky Heart Yes, it is as ridiculous as it sounds. What follows is the dance off to end all dance offs, with Randy ending up in hospital with a serious case of being served.
The episode has some serious high points, with Butters tap dancing past revealed in all its glory and the brilliant goth kids playing a starring role. True to form, Butters ends up bloody and traumatised by the whole experience, which just adds to the list of his misfortunes. And that's never not funny.
9. The Return of the Fellowship of the Ring to the Two Towers
Trey Parker and Matt Stone reckon this episode spoofing The Lord of the Rings is one of their finest in the history of South Park, and we definitely agree. Stan, Kyle and Cartman are partaking in a joyous day of cosplay when their Fellowship of the Ring video gets accidentally swapped for a kinky movie.
True to form, it's Butters who is ruined by the experience when he sees Stan's parents porn (when he should be watching Frodo start his quest), and he soon becomes obsessed with finding out what it all means. By the end of the episode he's rocking back and forth in the basement mumbling 'my precious'. I can't recommend this episode enough, but make sure you stick around for the scene when the parents try and explain the contents of the porn video to their clueless sons. It's more than a little cringe-worthy.
8. Make Love, Not Warcraft
If you've ever wondered what Cartman, Kyle, Stan, and Kenny would look like as morbidly obese nine-year-olds then look no further than Make Love, Not Warcraft. The boys are playing the legendary MMORPG when a high-level player starts ruthlessly picking them off. The retaliation they hatch is simple. They must play WoW every minute of every day until they can stop the big baddie.
Benefiting from some fun lines from Stan's dad Randy, this episode is relatively simple, which makes it a perfect, uncomplicated jumping-on point for South Park-curious WoW fans, despite some hilariously brutal parody of MMO players. The episode also relies heavily on machinima to bring some genuine-looking computer graphics to the in-game scenes. It's really quite impressive.
7. Scott Tenorman Must Die
An exchange of pubes for money is one of many laugh-out-loud moments in this iconic episode, which introduces Cartman's nemesis Scott Tenorman. In a bid to get his revenge, Cartman employs a series of tactics to train a horse to eat Scott's penis during a chilli cook-off competition in front of his favourite band Radiohead. Of course that doesn't work, so Cartman is forced to develop a plot that leads to Scott's parents' untimely demise.
Yep, it's mental, but I promise it's worth a watch for the last five minutes alone. By the end of the episode Cartman is licking the tears of unfathomable sadness off Scott's face, while Kyle and Stan are left wondering how Cartman could stoop so low. Plus, there's a piggy dance to cackle over too.
If you fail to laugh at Tsst it is my professional opinion that you will never laugh at anything again in your life ever. Cartman's mum is sick of her wayward son and decides to bring in a group of behavioural experts. The first is a Mary Poppins-style Brit who Cartman manipulates to within an inch of her sanity. The second is The Dog Whisperer Cesar Millan.
Together Cesar and Liane bring Cartman in-line by pinching his neck with the 'tssst' sound of dominance. Watching Cartman hit the deck delivers some of the episodes funniest moments, but Cartman comparing his treatment to that of the Jews under Hitler is also funny in its complete absurdity. Look out for the music from The Omen at the end of the episode for a little horror movie flashback.
5. You Have 0 Friends
Kip Drordy is probably the saddest, loneliest character in the South Park universe, which I'm ashamed to say makes him hilarious. Stan is forced into having a Facebook profile, something which makes his life a nightmare and ends up with him being sucked into a Tron-like world of thumbs ups and likes. Elsewhere, Kyle adds Kip to his friend list out of pity, only to be ostracised by everyone else because of his nerdy choice.
Considering the episode was released in 2010, Parker and Stone managed to predict just how powerful the world of social media would become, while also parodying some of its more ridiculous facets, like Chat Roulette. That they also managed to give this episode a happy ending is even more impressive.
Cartman has been torturing Butters for 19 seasons, but sometimes his schemes are so elaborate you can't help but admire him for it. In AWESOM-O Cartman pretends to be a new robot friend to discover all of Butters inner-most secrets, but ends up discovering that Butters has some blackmail material of his own (think Cartman dressed as Britney Spears humping a Justin Timberlake cardboard cut-out and you'll be on the right lines).
What starts off as a simple episode soon becomes much more interesting, with Butters taking AWESOM-O to Los Angeles where his robotic abilities are used to pitch movie ideas. I'll never get tired of Cartman shouting "LAME" every time something weird happens while he's in his cardboard robot suit, or the moment when he's stolen by the US Army to be reprogrammed as a weapon of mass destruction. Ridiculous, but one of my favourites.
3. Up the Down Steroid
This completely awful, yet very funny episode is the perfect example of Trey Parker and Matt Stone's risk-taking humour. Jimmy and Timmy are competing in the special Olympics, but Cartman wants in on the $1,000 prize money. To do this, he pretends to be mentally disabled, only to discover he's so horrendously unfit he can't beat the other kids. At the same time Jimmy has got himself hooked on steroids in a Lance Armstrong spoof.
This is one of those episodes that makes you feel guilty for laughing, but then again, it's hard to not crack a smile at the exchange between Timmy and Jimmy (especially considering Timmy can only say his own name) and Cartman's scientific approach to appearing disabled. South Park at its most awkward.
2. Dances with Smurfs
When Cartman is named new morning announcer at school he starts to abuse the power and accuse Wendy Testaburger of trying to suppress his civil liberties. Once he gets his own TV show, he goes on a political rampage accusing Wendy of trying to kill Smurfs.
What follows is basically the story of Avatar, itself lifted from Dances with Wolves. It also includes references to Fox News, the Tea Party protests and Sarah Palin. Considering the vast majority of the episode features a semi-naked Cartman with blue face paint, it's deceptively clever and very funny.