The Best ‘South Park’ Episodes to Show Someone Who Has Never Seen ‘South Park’
If you’re the kind of person who would be into South Park’s crass, chaotic and deliberately offensive comedy, chances are you’ve probably already seen an episode of South Park. However, everyone has to start somewhere, so why not hop in the deep end and find out why Scott Tenorman must die?
There have been 325 total episodes of South Park along with five films and a smattering of video games that all flesh out the expansive billion-dollar franchise. Since its premiere in 1997, South Park has been stuck directly in the center of the zeitgeist, if for no other reason than the controversy and pot-stirring that it’s been creating since day one. Everyone has heard of South Park, most people have strong opinions about it, and if you’re a comedy fan, chances are that you’ve seen at least one episode if only to figure out if you can stomach it.
But for those who haven’t consumed any South Park media but are curious about the experience, the superfans in the South Park subreddit compiled a list of launching points that will provide the perfect introduction to the South Park universe. Here are their top picks…
‘South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut’
Starting with a curveball, South Park virgins with a couple hours to kill might do well to begin with the first movie, as the explosive, obscene and pointedly topical film has every element that made South Park a hit working in chaotic harmony. It also has one of the most memorable and unrepeatable songs in the entire impressive South Park musical canon.
‘Medicinal Fried Chicken’
Despite airing in 2010, “Medicinal Fried Chicken” might be the best episode for someone hoping to hop on the South Park bandwagon in 2023 simply for how well it encapsulates everything we love about Randy Marsh. Cartman’s Scarface parody gives us the pop-culture kick that the show is known for, but Randy’s massive microwave testicles steal the show as they demonstrate how gross, childish and unrepentantly silly South Park is at its best.
‘Scott Tenorman Must Die’
One of the most impactful episodes in the South Park canon, watching “Scott Tenorman Must Die” for your first South Park episode is a decision best made by those who learned to swim by hopping off the high dive. Trey Parker and Matt Stone have commented that this episode unlocked their proclivity for psychopathy, and it’s certainly the darkest of Cartman’s schemes. If you can stomach Cartman’s chili cook-off, you can stomach anything South Park throws at you.
It’s not just Parker and Stone who love Casa Bonita — the South Park fandom is infatuated as well. This episode is one of literally hundreds in which the friction between Kyle and Cartman serves as the table-setting for the insanity that arises because of Cartman, but “Casa Bonita” does a better job than most of fully fleshing out each character’s relationship to Cartman’s d-baggery, which is kind of what South Park is all about.
‘Cartman Gets an Anal Probe’
Hey, why not start from the beginning? The first-ever South Park episode has all of the elements that continue to make it one of the most popular comedy shows on the planet. The juxtaposition between the immaturity of the main characters and the insane vulgarity of their situation sets the tone for the next 26 years, complete with a couple pop-culture digs that would become increasingly characteristic of the series as time goes on. Apologies to David Caruso.