To close out National Television Week (and I hope you enjoyed it!), my final show is one of my favorite animated ones. Sorry Simpsons fans, but it's
South Park (1997 - )
I spent last spring watching 200 episodes (that equals 12 seasons) of this show and I made the mistake of sometimes eating while watching it, so I pretty much choked on my food and nearly died everytime I laughed which was quite often. Of course I've seen most of the earlier episodes, but there were many episodes (especially in the later seasons) that I hadn't seen before. I haven't caught up on any of the new episodes yet, so you won't see any of them mentioned in this blog.
I'm probably what you would call more of an old-school SP fan because I definitely prefer the earlier seasons to the later ones.
My 20 favorite episodes:
At first I was just going to do my ten favorite episodes, but there was no way I could just choose ten from 200 episodes, so I doubled the number. It was a bit difficult ranking them, so what I did after choosing the twenty I love the most was divide them in my top ten and my second top ten, then I ranked them from there. The order is likely to change from day to day, but as of right now I'm satisfied with how I ranked them:
1. Korn's Groovy Pirate Ghost Mystery (S3, 1999) - Let me preface this by saying that not only am I NOT a Korn fan, but I wouldn't be able to name you one of their songs (in fact, I don't think I've ever heard any of their songs), so I don't care that they're in this. What I do love about this episode is the throwback to Scooby-Doo which I loved watching when I was younger. (Except when they brought in Scrappy...I bailed when that annoying thing came in!) Even the animation was very reminiscent of Hanna Barbera. I loved the shoutouts toScooby-Doo like Niblet helping them find clues, the guys saying corny (heh...I made a pun!) things like "groovy mystery" and "c'mon, gang!", that one Korn guy loosing his glasses ala Velma, and when they finally put together the puzzles of the clue and solve who's behind the pirate ghosts (or ghost pirates? LOL loved that little argument). I don't think they ever did another Halloween episode after this one.
2. L'il Crime Stoppers (S7, 2003) - This episode was so funny! Well, obviously all the ones I chose are very funny, but this one just had me ROFL. The boys are playing detectives and they start out the show by solving cute little mysteries like what happened to this old lady's pie that was cooling on the windowsill (their explanation about what happened to it was totally WTF?) and finding a little girl's missing doll. When they find the doll, the girl's mother tells them what a great job they did and calls the police to tell them how great they are, so the boys are called in to do some REAL detective work and their first gig is to go undercover at a meth lab. Yeah.... ("What's a meth lab?" Heh.) There was so much inappropriate things going on, but it was soooo funny. For one thing, the boys are taking a shower with the other cops. When there's a big shoot out at a strip club, the boys use their hands as guns and are going "bang bang!" Wow. I was laughing so hard at that. Of course everyone ends up dead except for them. In the end, they decide they don't want to play detectives anymore and instead start playing laundromat which was soooo adorable!
3. Trapper Keeper (S4, 2000) - There are two stories going on in this episode. The first one is about Cartman's new Dawson's Creek (heh) Trapper Keeper that has all these ridiculous and fancy gadgets and is going to take over the world in just a few short years unless this guy from the future can stop them. I love it when Cartman sings the DC theme song. The second story deals with the kindergarten class voting for their class president between Ike (go Ike!) and some other kid. This episode aired right after the 2000 election fiasco, so there was a lot of spoofing of that going on. It was great; I especially loved how the little girl named Flora (hee!) couldn't decide on who to vote for and all the kids wanting a recount and the absent kid needing to vote. There's even a hilarious "cameo" by Rosie O'Donnell. One of the funniest "current events" spoofs SP has ever done.
4. Rainforest Schmainforest (S3, 1999) - I usually refer to this ep by "the Jennifer Aniston one". She voices a character who takes the boys along on a trip to Costa Rica as part of a group called "Getting Gay With Kids" where they sing and dance as a way to educate people about saving the rain forest. One of the best episodes of classic SP. There are so many funny things in this ep: Kyle having no rhythm when they dance and sing (because he's a Jew), the fact that when they sing they sound like adults, Cartman being his usual assy self, Stan seeing Tony Danza during the lighting storm, and JA screaming "F*** THE RAIN FOREST!" after their group gets lost and caught by one of the tribes who live there and try to mate with her. I love their stats about how many people the rain forests kills per year at the end, LOL.
5. Casa Bonita (S7, 2003) - This episode is very dear and close to my heart because I have been to the actual Casa Bonita (the Disneyland of Mexican restaurants according to Kyle!) in Lakewood, CO. I take this episode as my own personal shout out. The funniest thing was googling "Casa Bonita" and finding forums where people wrote messages about how they were amazed that this was actually a real place - they thought it had been made up for the show because it just seemed so outlandish, but surprise! It's real! I just love that Casa Bonita is Cartman's favorite place in the whole world. It's horrible (and horribly funny!) that Cartman makes Butters believes that an asteroid hit the earth just so he can go to CB instead of Butters and of course naive Butters believes him. I also always get a chuckle when Kyle's mom is driving the boys to CB and Cartman keeps going on about what they should do and Stan says, "We should do what Kyle wants, it's his birthday" and Cartman goes, "F*** Kyle!" and Mrs. Broflovski does NOT look happy!
6. Asspen (S6, 2002) - Three things I love about this episode: the use of cheesy '80s music (especially Take On Me), the one douchy skier who challenges Stan to a race and calls him Darsh ("Stan Marsh? More like Stan DARSH!" - that never fails to make me laugh!), and that incredibly stupid, but incredibly funny "Montage Song". (We're gonna need a montage! A sports-training montage! Show a lot of things happening at once.... with every shot show a little improvement....even Rocky had a montage...") OMG it was sooooo funny! And catchy too!
7. Good Times With Weapons (S8, 2004) - This is a very clever episode because it has the boys buying ninja weapons and they make up their own ninja names with their own ninja powers and the animation goes back and forth from the regular SP animation to making the boys into anime characters complete with their very own theme song. Cartman's anime alter-ego made me laugh the most because he was just this big fat blob. I'm surprised that he didn't imagine himself to be buff since he doesn't consider himself fat. The boys freak out when Butters gets injured after Kenny throws a ninja star into his eye (um, owwww!) and don't want to take him to the hospital because they don't want to get in trouble. The story ends with the adults in town being way more outraged about Cartman walked naked across a stage (he was using his "ninja power" of invisibility) than what happened to Butters. This ep aired not long after the infamous wardrobe malfunction Janet Jackson had at the Superbowl half-time show.
8. The Return of the Fellowship of the Ring to the Two Towers (S6, 2002) - Obviously if you're a fan ofThe Lord of the Rings (like me!), you're going to love this ep. If you've never seen the trilogy, you won't get this show. Randy gives the boys a copy of FotR to take over to Butters' house, except that he accidently gave them a copy of some hard-core porno. The boys are dressed up like LotR characters (e.g. Cartman as Gandalf) and they see this as a quest. Butters ends up watching the porno and becomes obsessed with it, calling it "my precious" and the boys have to figure out a way to destroy the tape because everyone seems to want it in their possession. Yeah, does this sound familiar? There are tons of references to the movies.
9. Best Friend Forever (S9, 2005) - I usually get this one mixed up with Kenny Dies (another great ep) from the fifth season where they kill off Kenny permanently (only to bring him back a year later). Both episodes center around Kenny's death, so that's why they're interchangeable to me. This aired when the big thing in the news was the Terri Schiavo case and I think it's the first episode of SP to win an Emmy. Kenny is one of the first people in South Park to get the highly-anticipated PSP (how Kenny can afford it, I have no idea) and Cartman is extremely jealous because they're all sold out by the time he tries to get one. While playing a game called "Heaven V. Hell", he's hit by a car and put in the hospital where he goes back and forth from being in a vegetative state to being dead. Apparently he had a calling from God because a huge battle between Heaven and Hell is about to start and God created the PSP game to see who would score the highest and lead Heaven to victory and Kenny was The Chosen One. Meanwhile, Kyle and Stan don't want the doctors to pull the plug, but Cartman is all for letting Kenny go because according to Kenny's will, he'll get the PSP and we all know that Cartman is a selfish prick (though I do agree with him in this case!)
10. Red Sleigh Down (S6, 2002) - Pretty much all SP Christmas episodes are awesome and this one is probably my favorite. As you can tell from the title, it's a play-on of Black Hawk Down. Cartman is worried that he's been more naughty than nice (you think?!) and wants to do the ultimate nice thing so it will cancel out all the naughty things he's done, so his plan is to ask Santa to bring Christmas to Iraq. A very kind gesture, except Santa's sleigh is shot down and he is taken prisoner. With the help of the other boys, Mr. Hanky (the singing Christmas poo), and Jesus, they manage to save Santa. Only Jesus is killed by Iraqis and Santa declares that from this day on, because Jesus died, Christmas should be a day where we remember and celebrate Our Savior. Meanwhile, a side-story had Jimmy, the stuttering cripple kid, singing The Twelve Days of Christmas before the lighting of the Christmas tree. Of course it took him forever to sing it and everyone was falling asleep.
11. AWESOM-O (S8, 2004) - I always love any episode where Cartman gets his comeuppance, and this show delivers that. Cartman spends the entire episode in a cardboard box disguised as a robot named AWESOM-O who is sent to Butters as a gift (even though Butters' birthday isn't until September 11th - of course that would be his birthday!) Cartman's plan is to try to get Butters to reveal his deepest, darkest secrets so he can make fun of him, but when he finds out that Butters has a compromising video of Cartman, Cartman has to keep the charade up for as long as he can so he can try to find the video. He even ends up going to L.A. as AWESOM-O with Butters to visit Butters' aunt. I think my favorite part (besides the end) is when Butters tells Stan and Kyle how awesome AWESOM-O is and he'll do anything you ask him and Kyle takes advantage of that.
12. A Ladder to Heaven (S6, 2002) - This aired during the time Kenny was dead for a whole season. The boys have won a shopping spree at a candy store, but they don't have the ticket they need to be able to do it. The shopkeeper tells them they have a week to get the ticket or else no candy. They remember that they gave Kenny the ticket to hang on to and thinking the ticket has been buried with Kenny, they ask Kenny's parents where he is and they show him an urn. (Which Cartman thinks is chocolate milk mix and ends up drinking Kenny's ashes...ugh). The boys decide to build a ladder to heaven to ask Kenny where the ticket is. The boys' parents and everyone else in town is so touched by this, that they don't have the heart to tell them that it's not going to work. Of course, they think the boys want to see their deceased friends and don't realize their intentions are purely selfish. Oh, and Alan Jackson makes a "cameo" by singing "Where were you when they started building the ladder to heaven..." Heh, I thought they would end up getting to heaven and God telling them their friend was in Hell, but the show went in a different direction.
13. Super Fun Time (S12, 2008) - The fourth graders visits one of those living museums where it's supposed to be 1864 and the people who work there pretend to be pioneers and never break out of character. A guy who is completely ripped off from Alan Rickman's character in Die Hard (I think he even had the same name as that character) takes the students hostage and starts killing people. Stan and Kyle are freaking out and ask their guide where the nearest telephone is and the guy goes, "What's a telephone? I don't reckon what a telephone is...that's a funny word!" Then when the terrorist is about to get one of the employees to talk and tell them the code he wants, the guide shoots him with a rifle because he was about to break character and there's a very strict policy about that. The terrorist asks "Murdering Murphy" to tell him the code and all the actors are freaking out because they released the town outlaw from the jail. When it's five o'clock they all return to their normal selves and say, "Let's go get something to eat at TGIFridays!"
14. Make Love, Not Warcraft (S10, 2006) - Even though I've never played World of Warcraft in my life and have no idea how it works, I got a kick out of the episode where the boys are playing it and you hear them talking to each other over headsets, so instead of seeing the boys, you see the characters they're playing. I LOLed so hard when everyone from school was playing and this one WoW character screams "TIMMAH!" And then you hear another character say "I pooped my pants!" in Ike's adorable voice. I was also amused that the animation for the video game was better than the actual cartoon!
15. Something You Can Do With Your Finger (S4, 2000) - Cartman has a dream that he's in a boy band with his friends and thinks it's a sign from God that he should start his own boy band and make millions of dollars. He recruits Stan, Kyle, and Kenny, but they still need a fifth member because all boy bands have five members, so they hold auditions (loved Ike trying out! He was soooooooooo cute singing! And love him giving Cartman the finger when he's rejected) and settle on Wendy because they determine she has the best voice. (Loved her song choice with the swear words that weren't really swear words). It's easy to make Wendy look like a boy because she's only a nine year old girl (and this was before she got breast implants, heh!) They call the group Fingerbang ("I'm gonna fingerbang bang you into my life, girl I'm gonna fingerbang bang you into my heart"...that song is kinda catchy) and Stan asks what it means and Cartman tells him it means using your fingers as a gun, but Kenny tells him what it really means in his muffled voice while using hand gestures and they're all like "Gross!" LOL, of course Kenny would know what that means! In Cartman's dream they all sound great and have perfect choreography, but when they audition in real life, they're all horribly off-key and can't dance.
16. Woodland Critter Christmas (S8, 2004) - Another great Christmas episode and probably one of the most sadistic episodes ever - at least tied with Scott Tenorman Must Die. It starts off with a bunch of cute little woodland creatures and a rhyming narrator. As the story goes on, we find out the little critters are Satan worshippers and one of them is about to give birth to the anti-Christ. Whenever I go for a walk, I can't look at a rabbit, bird, or squirrel without thinking "blood orgy". Oh, and I love the throwaway moment where Stan is watching The Jeffersons. Nice.
17. Timmy (S4, 2000) - So I sort of have a soft spot for Timmy and this has always been one of my favorite episodes. I remember when it first aired, my brother and I kept saying "TIMMY! TIMMY! TIMM-AH!" All. The. Time. and it drove my mom CRAZY, LOL. She doesn't watch SP, so she had no idea what we were talking about or why we kept shouting the name Timmy. I also loved how they made fun of Phil Collins and how he was always holding his Oscar.
18. Cartman Joins NAMBLA (S4, 2000) Thinking that he's too mature for his friends, Cartman sets out to find older friends so he can carry on adult conversations. He goes online to a chatroom called "Older Men Looking for Young Boys" or something like that and after he types that he's a nine-year-old boy looking for someone to chat with he gets hundreds of IMs. One guy tells him he's eight inches and Cartman tells him he's not looking for midgets, LOL! He ends up being the poster boy for NAMBLA (North American Man-Boy Love Association). Okay, I thought they had made this up for the show, but apparently it's a real organization! Eww! It was funny when I thought it was made up, but now it's just creepy!
19. Breast Cancer Show Ever (S12, 2008) - Like I mentioned before, I love any episode where Cartman gets his comeuppance and this is one of the best episodes where that happens. He pisses Wendy off and they make plans to fight after school, but he begins to change his mind because he's afraid that Wendy will kick his ass...which she totally does! The little twerp totally deserved it and everyone knew she was going to win the fight. She wiped the floor with him! I was surprised Kyle didn't give her any pointers since he hates Cartman (although she certainly didn't need any help). It was really cute when she took off her little purple coat and was wearing a shirt with a unicorn on it.
20. The New Terrance and Philip Movie Trailer (S6, 2002) - Even though I will admit he's a good actor, I can't stand Russell Crowe, so I thought this episode where he has his own show called Fightin' 'Round the World and travels the globe with his tugboat, Tuggy, and beating random people up was hilarious. I also love how he has an over-exaggerated Australian accent and it doesn't even sound like him at all. The boys are watching the show because the trailer for Asses of Fire 2 is supposed to play during it. They can't seem to find a place where they can watch the entire show in peace and end up going from Stan's house to Chef's house to Cartman's house to Kyle's house to a bar to an assisted living place and back to Stan's house... They do end up seeing the trailer, but it's the kind where words just fly towards you on the screen.
The following are awesome random moments from episodes that didn't make my top twenty list, but I had to give them a shout-out because they're too good not to mention:
(In completely random order):
1. Mr. Mackey's pronunciation of marijuana ("mara-JA-wanna") when he talks to the class about drugs and alcohol never fails to make me laugh and let's not forget how he passes a bag of said drug around the class so they know what it smells like! WTF?!
2. This sketch drawing of the boys is given to Kyle's mom to confirm if she knows who they are. They actually look more 12/13 than 8/9, but whatever. Do you remember that scene in Stand By Me where Gordie tells that story about Lardass? Yeah, well that's who Cartman looks like. Damn, that kid is fat! Loved it when Mrs. Broflovski said, "Oh, yes, that's my Kyle, but that's an awful drawing!"
3. The funniest part in the Tweek V. Craig episode was the boys' shop teacher who kept looking at a photo of his dead fiancee and having flashbacks of her. What made me laugh uncontrollably the first time I saw it - and even several years later watching it again - was that they had a real person (Pam Brady, one of the writers) play his departed beloved and they shot her scenes in these creepy, hazy dream-like sequences where she was doing all these cheesy things like swinging ("Swing me higher, Richard!") or frolicking in a field of flowers and everything she says ends in an echo. The memories become more frantic when she's piloting a small plane that's crashing and blood squirts into her face BEFORE she crashes. Completely absurd and so funny. On the commentary, Trey Parker recounts a time he was skiing with Brady and some guy saw them and recognized her from the episode and started saying, "Richard, Richard!"
4. I hate Cartman, but I love it whenever he sings. If I could get him singing Poker Face as my ringtone, I would do it in a heartbeat. However, probably my favorite Cartman song is when he's reminiscing about the third grade when they've just started fourth grade and sings this song. I love how he's choking up while singing it!
5. I loved it when Butters had his own episode complete with his own theme song and every time "It's Butters" was said, he would pop up and say "A-that's me!"
6. Everytime Breckenridge got a shout out (like that guy who was looking for directions to get there because he had an interview at Denny's), I would clap and cheer because that's my favorite place in Colorado. In fact, Breckenridge is where I found out South Park is an actual place in Colorado because I was watching TV in my condo (this was probably '98 or '99) and there was a commercial for a grocery store or something that was having a sale and it was located in South Park. BTW, I've never seen a Denny's in Breckenridge.
7. The boys start their own news program for school, but their ratings plummet when Craig debuts his new show featuring close-ups of animals wearing hats with a wide-angle lens. It is the cutest thing ever! They used real footage of the crew's (I'm guesssing) dogs and cats and they're all wearing these silly hats. Like the kids say, they're "cuuuuuute!" and "suuuuuper cuuuuuuute!" Oh, and the best part is the clown music they add.
8. This wasn't uproariously funny, but pretty awesome: South Park hosts a film festival and Cartman makes a comment about how the kinds of movies found at these kinds of festivals feature gay cowboys who eat pudding. What's pretty remarkable is that the episode aired in 1998 and Brokeback Mountain wasn't published until 1999 and the movie didn't come out until six years later. If only they ate pudding in that movie!
9. I loved Kyle's cousin (also named Kyle), this extremely Jewish kid who's like a mini me of Woody Allen with his Coke-bottle glasses and thick accent: "I'm baaaaack!", "I have aaasthmaaa!" "I can't eat that; it will give me gaaaaas!" And when he has trouble paying attention in class and Cartman says he should go to a concentration camp. Oh, no you didn't, Cartman!
10. When Wendy breaks up with Stan, he gets Jimmy to talk to her for him and asks him to tell her she's a "continuing source of inspiration." Well, of course stuttering Jimmy can barely get pass the first syllable and says to Wendy, "Stan told me to tell you you're a cont...a cont...a cont.." HAHA! OMG, I was dying! Wendy looked pretty pissed!
I talk about one of my favorite cartoons I used to watch when I was a kid:
And here is the clip of that kid telling the story.