Going down to South Park, gonna have myself a time
Tonight at 10 p.m. Comedy Central is airing a re-run of one of the greatest South Park episodes of all-time: “The Losing Edge.” I highly recommend this episode to anyone who grew up in the 1980s. You won’t be disappointed.
With that in mind, I decided to rank my favorite South Park episodes. This was really, really hard to do. But the list is as follows:
1.) “The Succubus” (season three). This is the one choice that was not difficult to make--I consider this the best South Park episode, ever, without question. South Park usually features two storylines that converge by the end of the episode. Often (see “Spooky Fish,” below) one storyline is great and the other is mediocre at best. Not so with “The Succubus.” Chef’s parents make their South Park debut, Cartman gets eyeglasses, a Succubus tries to make Chef marry her...this episode is perfect.
2.) “Spooky Fish” (season two). As referenced above, this episode has a storyline that is just not all that funny (there are demon fish killing the people of South Park). But Evil Eric Cartman from a Parallel Universe is so great that it catapults this episode to second place. This also marks one of the first episodes of South Park I ever watched, with my friend Sally-Anne, when we lived in TH C-4. Together.
3.) “Scott Tenorman Must Die” (season five). I had a lot of trouble deciding whether this episode belonged in the third or fourth spot, but it gets three just because it is the most shocking and warped television episode I have ever seen. It is so shocking that I refuse to tell anyone who hasn’t seen the episode anything about it (other than that it features Radiohead, which makes it even better). Everyone should just watch this.
4.) “The Losing Edge” (season nine). Kyle’s cousin, Kyle, returns to South Park (we first meet cousin Kyle in “The Entity,” which just missed the cut, despite containing one of the most offensive lines in South Park history). Along with Chef’s parents and Toweleeie, Kyle I (the Kyle we know is called Kyle II) is one of the greatest visitors to South Park--an annoying, wimpy, nerdy, nebbishy, whiny kid from Connecticut who says things like “I can’t keep running like this, I have corns on my feet.” This episode also features an homage to both Rocky and The Karate Kid. You can’t ask for more.
5.) “Kenny Dies” (season five). This episode is worth watching just to hear Cartman sing “Morning Train” and “Heat of the Moment” (the latter in front of Congress). When you add Cartman trying to sell aborted fetuses (“I’m just like these fetuses, Chuck, I wasn’t born yesterday, either” and “you’re breaking my balls,” a line which is later uttered by Kim Jong Il in Team America: World Police), this episode deserves its spot in the top five.
6.) “Towelie” (season five). The introduction of Toweleeie, a genetically engineered towel who likes to get high (although the episode is spelled “Towelie,” in season ten’s “A Million Little Fibers” Toweleeie himself spells it with an “eeie” at the end--of course, he may have been high). And the “Funky Town” reference is pretty great too.
7.) “Cartmanland” (season five). Cartman buys a theme park so no one else can go on the rides and Kyle gets a hemorroid. Note that this marks the fourth episode from season five among my top seven. Lesson here--go rent season five.
8.) “Starvin’ Marvin” (season one). The kids are sent a starving “Ethernopian.” Cartman makes cracks about Kenny being poor and teaches Marvin about food in America (“You see Starvin’ Marvin, these are what we call appetizers.... This is what you eat before you eat to make you more hungry”) while Sally Struthers hoards Snacky Cakes and Cheesy Poofs. Excellent.
9.) “Helen Keller: The Musical” (season four). The kids put on a musical featuring handicapped Timmy playing Helen Keller and a turkey named Gobbles who is...special. Butters goes on a recon assignment to check out what the kindergartners are doing. This has special significance because Gobo and I watched it together when we first started dating and he laughed at the right moments.
10.) “Ginger Kids” (season nine). All about those kids with red hair, pale skin and light eyes. It’s really too bad Scott Tenorman (who, as Sally-Anne pointed out to me, was definitely a Ginger) wasn’t featured.
Of course, I couldn’t stop at 10. In short order, rounding out my top 20:
11.) “Rainforst Schmainforest” (season three). Jennifer Aniston’s best role to date. And Cartman saves the day because he hates hippies; 12.) “Hooked on Monkey Phonics” (season three). The spelling bee and Cartman gets homeschooled; 13.) “AWESOME-O” (season eight). Cartman dresses up as a robot to trick Butters; 14.) “Clubhouses” (season two). The kids decide to make a clubhouse, but get into a fight, so Cartman and Kenny build their own, except Cartman makes Kenny do all of the work because he’s poor, while Cartman sits around “supervising”; 15.) “Fat Butt and Pancake Head” (season seven). This has been voted the funniest South Park episode by viewers. Obviously, I like it but don’t agree. Featuring Cartman’s hand playing “Jennifer Lopez” who sings a lot about tacos, burritos and Ben Affleck; 16.) “Jewbilee”/”Two Guys Naked in a Hot Tub”/”Cat Orgy” (season three). These episodes aired in consecutive weeks, but all take place during the same day and should be watched together. Kyle’s Jewbilee hat is priceless; 17.) “Up the Down Steroid” (season eight). Cartman pretends to be handicapped so he can participate in the Special Olympics (and this came out way before that Johnnie Knoxville movie); 18.) “Korn’s Groovy Pirate Ghost Mystery” (season three). The entire episode is done Scooby-Doo style, and Korn guest stars; 19.) ”Chickenlover” (season two). Cartman coins “respect my authoritah” when he is deputized. He also poses as an Asian hooker; 20.) “Pinkeye” (season one). Another great Halloween episode, Cartman can’t seem to get his costume right (first Hitler, then a Klansman) and neither can Stan (Raggedy Andy, without a Raggedy Ann).
Of course, this list of essential episodes can’t include South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut because it was a movie and not an episode. Sally-Anne and I saw it in the theaters together seven times. I flew to Texas to visit her and watch together, she flew to Chicago to visit me and watch together. And I saw it once on my own. The first time I saw it in the theater I literally had to put my fist in my mouth because I was laughing so hard (during the Terrance and Phillip movie). The first time I saw it was by far the best movie-going experience I have ever had.