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The 25 best South Park episodes, mmkay

15. "The Losing Edge" (season 9, episode 5)

The Losing Edge (season 9, episode 5)

A reverse Hollywood story, "The Losing Edge" sees the kids of South Park band together to… intentionally lose baseball games. Their opponents, though, have the upper hand in the throwing-a-throwing-game stakes and it makes for several fantastic sequences. Ones includes Stan and Kyle actually getting good at something but tossing that to one side in favour of not wanting to play any more baseball. Even Kyle’s cousin, Kyle Schwartz, can’t suck enough to stop them winning.

All this, however, is overshadowed by Randy, who’s intent on dominating the drunk dad baseball spectator scene until he meets his match in the shape of Bat Dad. The best South Park episodes have their A and B-plots effortlessly intertwine with one another, and no episode does so more spectacular than the tussle between Randy and Bat Dad that sees the South Park Cows banished from the league, much to Stan’s delight.

14. "White People Renovating Houses" (season 21, episode 1)

White People Renovating Houses (season 21, episode 1)

In "White People Renovating Houses", South Park once again takes on a new technological fad. While Randy and Sharon Marsh are developing "open concepts" with their White People Renovating Houses TV show, Cartman is obsessed with his Amazon Echo (and mostly using it to repeat childish phrases and swear words, much to the amusement of the rest of the gang). Trouble is, some people are of the opinion that the Alexas of the world are putting them out of work... so to compensate, Randy replaces the gadgets with the unemployed townsfolk. Suffice to say, it doesn't quite go to plan.

13. "The Return of the Fellowship of the Ring to the Two Towers" (season 6, episode 13)

The Return of the Fellowship of the Ring to the Two Towers (season 6, episode 13)

Trey Parker and Matt Stone reckon this The Lord of the Rings spoofing episode is one of their finest, and who are we to disagree? 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, and he soon becomes obsessed with finding out what it all means. By the end of the episode, Butters is rocking back and forth in the basement mumbling Gollum's famous line: "My precious". Another of the best scenes in the episodes sees the parents try and explain the contents of the porn video to their clueless sons. It's more than a little cringe-worthy.

12. "Make Love, Not Warcraft" (season 10, episode 8)

Make Love, Not Warcraft (season 10, episode 8)

If you've ever wondered what Cartman, Kyle, Stan, and Kenny would look like morbidly obese, 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 plan they hatch to take down the player is simple: they must hide away and kill low-level boar until they are a high enough level to take down the villain.

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.

11. "Scott Tenorman Must Die" (season 5, episode 4)

Scott Tenorman Must Die (season 5, episode 4)

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 do something else that leads to Scott's parents' untimely demise.

Yep, it's slightly crazy, but we promise it's worth watching 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.

10. "Tsst" (season 10, episode 7)

Tsst (season 10, episode 7)

If you fail to laugh at "Tsst", then you may never laugh at anything ever again. 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, and Cartman comparing his treatment to that of the Jews under Hitler is ridiculous in its complete absurdity. Look out for the music from The Omen at the end of the episode for a little horror movie flashback.

9. "You Have 0 Friends" (season 14, episode 4)

You Have 0 Friends (season 14, episode 4)

Kip Drordy is probably the saddest, loneliest character in the South Park universe... which 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 choice of friend.

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.

8. "AWESOM-O" (season 8, episode 5)

AWESOM-O (season 8, episode 5)

Cartman has been torturing Butters for 21 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're 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. We'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 our favourites.

7. "Up the Down Steroid" (season 8, episode 2)

Up the Down Steroid (season 8, episode 2)

This completely awful, yet very funny episode is the perfect example of Parker and 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, when's that not the case watching South Park? 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.

6. "Dances with Smurfs" (season 13, episode 13)

Dances with Smurfs (season 13, episode 13)

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.

Continue to Page 3 for more of the best South Park episodes

Part of GR+'s news crew, Vikki is a (jumpy) survival horror survivalist with a penchant for sci-fi, shooters, thrillers, and a strong cup of Yorkshire tea. A committed Guardian and Spartan, she's terrible at FPSs, but loves 'em all the same.