The 25 Greatest ‘South Park’ Memes

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The 25 Greatest ‘South Park’ Memes

More so than any other show on television, South Park totally understands its online fandom. When it debuted in 1997, it was one of the most talked about shows on the still-primitive internet, and ever since, it’s had a major influence on online culture. A number of popular memes have been generated from the show, and with the lightning-fast way its episodes are created, South Park has been uniquely positioned to tackle the online conversation about itself. 

From sad pandas to ‘Member Berries, South Park’s influence on memes has been monumental. And so, we decided to reach out to our friends at Know Your Meme to narrow down the show’s top 25 memes. To do so, the KYM staff looked at the view counts on each South Park entry on Know Your Meme, weighing that against online search queries. Then, they turned their findings over to their collection of internet historians to decide the final rankings. With that in mind, please enjoy this scientifically-determined list of the top 25 South Park memes of all time, brought to you courtesy of CrackedKnow Your Meme and, of course, alien crab people.

Faith Hilling

Episode: “Faith Hilling,” Season 16, Episode 3

Meme History: In the world of South Park, “Faith Hilling” was the equivalent of planking or Tebowing, as it was another an idiotic pose that makes for funny pictures. And, like many South Park memes, it had a reciprocal relationship with IRL internet culture. South Park fans began Faith Hilling in real life by taking pictures of themselves in the same pose the boys had been doing in the episode. Don Caldwell, editor in chief of Know Your Meme, explains that this is a “Photo Fad” meme, where people take pictures of themselves doing something repeatable. It became a minor meme back around 2012, when the episode came out, but it didn’t last long.

Crab People

Episode Origin: “South Park Is Gay!,” Season 7, Episode 8

Meme History: In “South Park Is Gay!,” the alien crab people who live underground are responsible for turning the boys of South Park into metrosexuals. Simultaneously, it was Matt Stone and Trey Parker’s goof on poorly written deus ex machina endings, as nothing could be more stupid and contrived than crab people. As writer Chaz Kangas explained in our list of “The 100 Greatest South Park Characters,” the crab people’s inclusion in this episode “led to crab people becoming a meme for a wholly unexpected storyline twist that feels transparently like a last resort idea.”

I’m Not Your Friend, Buddy

Episode: “Canada on Strike,” Season 12, Episode 4

Meme History: “I’m not your buddy, friend,” “He’s not your friend, guy,” “I’m not your guy, buddy,” “He’s not your buddy, friend.” This was a heated exchange between Terrance and Phillip against Stephen Abootman, the head of the World Canadian Bureau. The exchange was snappy and memorable, which caused it to become part of the online language on message boards. As Caldwell explains, “You’ll see Reddit threads and things like that where people go into these lines. Somebody will say, ‘I’m not your friend, pal,’ and the next person will write, ‘I’m not your pal, buddy,’ and it’ll keep going and going. It’s kind of like a social media game.”

Suck My Balls, Mr. Garrison

Episode: South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut

Meme History: The South Park movie was full of memorable lines, but only one became a major meme, when Cartman told his teacher, “Suck my balls, Mr. Garrison.” It was such a funny line that it was used on YouTube to dub scenes from movies like Harry Potter. While Caldwell says that, being from about 2006, it’s definitely an older meme that’s faded in relevance, it provides a good look at the online fandom from the first decade of South Park.

I Would Be So Happy

Episode: “Le Petit Tourette,” Season 11, Episode 8

Meme History: For being a relatively minor character on South Park, Craig’s presence online is disproportionately large. While the Tweek x Craig shipping meme is much bigger, Craig’s “I Would Be So Happy” meme is also significant and continues to be relevant despite being from a 2007 episode. As Know Your Meme Managing Editor Zach Sweat explains, “Much of meme culture is meant to express ‘I like this’ or ‘I don’t like that’ and ‘I Would Be So Happy’ is a notable ‘I like this’ meme.”

Officer Cartman/Respect My Authoritah!

Episode: “Chickenlover,” Season 2, Episode 4

Meme History: Officer Cartman is an image from the very early days of South Park that took off and continues to be beloved. “Officer Cartman is memetic in a number of ways,” explains Caldwell. “The character is perfect for image macros, and the catchphrase is very memorable, which has lent itself well to an online presence.”

Randy Using the Computer

Episode: “Over Logging,” Season 12, Episode 6

Meme History: The image of Randy literally covered in his own semen after getting to see some internet porn after a drought of just a few days was one of the most shocking images in the history of South Park. So much so that there was no way it wouldn’t take off online. On top of that, the episode, “Over Logging,” was about our over-reliance on the internet, so it was natural for the internet to take that and run with it. Sweat says this is yet another “I like this” meme, except it’s reserved for things people really, really, really like.

M’kay

Episode: “Mr. Hankey, the Christmas Poo,” Season 1, Episode 9

Meme History: Mr. Mackey, who was based on Parker’s real-life school counselor, has remained a major South Park character ever since he was introduced in Season One. Part of his appeal, both in the show and online, is his memorable catchphrase “M’kay.” As Caldwell explains, “Like the ‘Respect My Authoritah!’ meme, this is a catchphrase and character that lends itself perfectly to image macros, which can be used to express opinions on things.”

PC Principal

Episode: “Stunning and Brave,” Season 19, Episode 1

Meme History: PC Principal was a character seemingly built for the internet. When he arrived in South Park to replace the underutilized Principal Victoria, PC Principal was a great plot device for new stories and issues for the show to tackle. He simultaneously mocks political correctness while also skewering the people who whine about it. He immediately took off online, which again illustrates Stone and Parker’s unique familiarity with their show’s fandom.

Member Berries

Episode: “Member Berries,” Season 20, Episode 1

Meme History: Like PC Principal, the Member Berries were clearly built with the internet in mind. The adorable talking fruit was a way for South Park to mock the kind of pandering nostalgia seen in movies like Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Since the episode aired, the Member Berries have been used online to comment on nostalgia bait. Sweat even says that the use of “‘Member” in place of the word “Remember” has become so ubiquitous online that many people don’t even associate it with South Park.  

Captain Hindsight

Episode: “Coon 2: Hindsight,” Season 14, Episode 11

Meme History: Captain Hindsight was a great one-off joke from South Park’s superhero story arc that has managed to take on a bigger life online. It’s a fairly effective, straightforward meme used to state the obvious. 

Screw You Guys, I’m Going Home

Episode: “Cartman Gets an Anal Probe,” Season 1, Episode 1

Meme History: South Park became a major hit the moment it debuted on Comedy Central in 1997, and its two biggest lines were “Oh my God, they killed Kenny” and “Screw you guys, I’m going home.” Given South Park’s continued relevance a quarter century later, it’s not all that surprising that both of these lines continue to be uttered online today.

Sad Panda

Episode: “Sexual Harassment Panda,” Season 3, Episode 6

Meme History: Sweat says that this is yet another meme that’s been so removed from its source that people may not even realize it’s from South Park. In fact, it’s usually presented without images from the show. It is, however, from South Park’s Season Three hit, “Sexual Harassment Panda” as the the adorable mascot does refer to himself as a “Sad Panda” in the episode. The meme is used to express disappointment in something, and a good example of a “I don’t like this” meme.

The Simpsons Did It

Episode: “Simpsons Already Did It,” Season 6, Episode 7

Meme History: In “Simpsons Already Did It,” Butters’ evil alter-ego, Professor Chaos, is trying to craft diabolical plans, yet his sidekick, General Disarray, can’t help but point out how similar ideas had already been done on The Simpsons. In 2002, when this episode of South Park had aired, The Simpsons had been on for 13 years and the joke was that, with that many episodes, finding similarities in other media was inevitable. Two decades later, with The Simpsons in its 35th season, the joke has only become more relevant, which explains why this meme continues to evolve. While it was originally used to point out ideas The Simpsons actually had done, Caldwell says it’s now become more mocking, as it’s used to express things that weren’t done on the show, but people pretend were.

Oh My God, They Killed Kenny!

Episode: “Cartman Gets an Anal Probe,” Season 1, Episode 1

Meme History: As ubiquitous as this line has been in the past, Caldwell notes that its use online has faded, much as it has in the show, as Kenny is no longer killed in every episode.

I Didn’t Hear No Bell

Episode: “The Losing Edge,” Season 9, Episode 5

Meme History: South Park’s most memorable brawl naturally became a meme unto itself. When Randy fought Bat-Dad in Season Nine’s “The Losing Edge,” it was a breakthrough moment for the character — both in the show and online. It was when everyone, Stone and Parker included, realized the potential in Randy as a lead character. 

Tweek x Craig

Episode Origin: “Tweek vs. Craig,” Season 3, Episode 5, and “Tweek x Craig,” Season 19, Episode 6

Meme Uses: Tweek x Craig is the South Park meme that has the most impact on South Park as a series. The story began way back in 1999’s “Tweek vs. Craig,” in which Tweek and Craig were goaded into fighting each other. Naturally, the internet’s reaction to that was to ship the characters and portray them as being in a loving relationship. This folded back into South Park 16 years later, when Tweek and Craig became a couple in the series itself. It’s the best example of how South Park will acknowledge its online presence and factor it into the show’s canon.  

Tree Fiddy

Episode: “Succubus,” Season 3, Episode 3

Meme History: Most of South Park’s biggest memes come from obscure characters and “Tree Fiddy” is a perfect example. It originated from a story told by Chef’s dad, who recounted a meeting with the Loch Ness Monster where the legendary creature requested $3.50 from him. The monologue was hilarious, and since then, it’s become the internet’s way of saying “Three-fifty” (as well as its way of talking about the Loch Ness Monster). Sweat says, “Maybe more than any other South Park meme, ‘Tree Fiddy’ has grown beyond being associated with South Park. Tree fiddy is mentioned all the time when people are discussing the cost of something.”

Oh, I’m Sorry, I Thought This Was America

Episode: “The Losing Edge,” Season 9, Episode 5

Meme History: “Oh, I’m Sorry, I Thought This Was America” is yet another meme that comes from a Randy quote in the character’s breakthrough episode. Caldwell says that people still use it ironically to joke about minor injustices.

They Took Our Jobs

Episode: “Goobacks,” Season 8, Episode 7

Meme History: Another phrase recited by an obscure character that turned into a major meme. “They took our jobs” was first uttered by Darryl Weathers, a South Park citizen meant to mock America’s ongoing xenophobia. The episode aired in 2004, but since immigration has only become more of a hot-button issue in America, Weathers’ online impact perseveres.

The Super Cool Ski Instructor

Episode: “Asspen,” Season 6, Episode 2

Meme History: Thumper was yet another one-joke character who exploded online. In “Asspen,” he’s a cocky ski instructor who tells his students, “You’re gonna have a bad time,” if they don’t follow his skiing tips. Online, he’s become another “I don’t like this” meme used to express annoyance or dissatisfaction with something.

Aaaand It’s Gone

Episode: “Margaritaville,” Season 13, Episode 3

Meme History: The “And It’s Gone” guy is such an obscure South Park character that he doesn’t even have a name. He’s just a bank teller who loses Stan’s money about two seconds after he opens a bank account. “This is maybe the biggest reaction image from South Park,” says Sweat. “It’s used to comment on things that are fleeting or disappearing. It’s sometimes even used without the image.”

Gingers Have No Souls

Episode: “Ginger Kids,” Season 9, Episode 11

Meme History: The Ginger Kids saga is yet another example of South Park’s online fandom cycling back in on itself. It began with the 2005 episode “Ginger Kids” where Cartman did a class presentation explaining that freckled, redheaded children have no souls. Five years later, a YouTuber named Coppercab did a tongue-in-cheek video where he defended his fellow redheads and explained that they do, in fact, possess a soul. While it was joke, many took Coppercab’s video as sincere, and it went viral. Later that year, to promote the show’s upcoming 14th season, South Park ran a promo that featured Cartman spoofing Coppercab’s video. 

The World of Warcraft Nerd

Episode: “Make Love, Not Warcraft,” Season 10, Episode 8

Meme History: “Make Love, Not Warcraft” — where the boys play Warcraft online — is among South Park’s most memorable episodes, and it perfectly culminates in the reveal of its villain — an overweight troll who delights at beating kids online in Warcraft. As Caldwell explains, “The image of that character was so effective that it has become the archetype people think of for a loser, gamer, basement dweller.”

The Underpants Gnomes’ Plan

Episode: “Gnomes,” Season 2, Episode 17

Meme History: The biggest South Park meme comes to you courtesy of the undergarment-thieving underpants gnomes. In the episode, the Underpants Gnomes struggle to explain how stealing underpants will generate a profit. Since then, online, the image of their illogical plan is used to mock every failed business venture you can think of. With a format that’s easy to customize and an effectively funny joke, the Underpants Gnomes’ Plan has become the biggest meme in the show’s history, and even 25 years after the episode aired, it’s still going strong.

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