The 5 Banned ‘South Park’ Episodes Ranked By Their Offensiveness
With apologies to Jesse Jackson — and everyone else.
The streaming rights to South Park are at the center of a massive, multi-hundred-million dollar legal battle between the titans of TV entertainment as Paramount and Warner Bros. Discovery duke it out over which platform is really the home of Comedy Central’s biggest hit to date. But no one is fighting over five certain South Park episodes that were effectively scrubbed from digital media due to questionable content. For a show with 325 total episodes and an absolute devotion to degrading, too-soon and endlessly iconoclastic comedy, the fact that only 1.5 percent of the total South Park library is banned constitutes a small miracle considering how many below-the-belt shots they’ve taken at every important institution under the sun.
Of course, seeing as even the most average South Park episode is at least a little boundary-pushing and poor-taste-having, Trey Parker and Matt Stone have to cross the line in catastrophic fashion to earn another entry on the ban list. So, here are the five banned South Park episodes in ascending order of offensiveness, starting with…
“Super Best Friends,” Season 5, Episode 3
Though “Super Best Friends” contains a now-highly controversial depiction of Muhammad, this episode earns last place on this list because, when it premiered on the Fourth of July in 2001, no one batted an eye — except, perhaps, for David Blaine, whom Parker and Stone treated much more demeaningly than the divine prophet of Islam. The episode centered around the aforementioned magician as he brings a brainwashing cult to South Park that the holy hero coalition “The Super Best Friends,” which includes Muhammad, Jesus, Buddha, Moses, Joseph Smith, Krishna, Lao Tzu and “Sea Man,” must defeat.
Comedy Central continued to air this episode uncensored until 2010, when another entry on the list ended any and all jokes about, references to and depictions of the holy prophet in perpetuity.
“Cartoon Wars Part I and II,” Season 10, Episodes 3 and 4
This two-parter from 2006 is the only time anyone from any series has ever released a creative venture that had the ability to offend radical Muslims and Seth MacFarlane equally. These episodes satirized the then-topical Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy, putting Family Guy and MacFarlane front-and-center in the parody as they threaten to unleash their own touchy Muhammad cartoons. Comedy Central never aired Parker and Stone’s original idea for the Family Guy Muhammad cutaway, instead inserting a title card that read, “In this shot, Mohammed hands a football helmet to Family Guy. Comedy Central has refused to broadcast an image of Mohammed on their network.”
This two-parter drew outrage from Muslims, Catholics and Republicans as it sparked a discussion about free speech and censorship in comedy — but this episode didn’t burn anyone worse than it did MacFarlane and his manatees.
“200” and “201,” Season 14, Episodes 5 and 6
The most ambitiously, aggressively insulting episode in South Park history, this two-part classic from 2010 brought back every important figure who has ever been offended by their portrayal on the show — including, of course, Muhammad, whose non-appearance is the pivotal plot point as well as the center of the biggest controversy in South Park history. Tom Cruise’s anger over being labeled a “fudge packer” kicks off an absolutely bonkers cascade of celebrity insults and censorship debates that’s so insanely dense in outrageous moments that the revelation of Cartman’s supposed father is barely a footnote in the hilariously long Wikipedia page for “201,” which was heavily censored before broadcast following the backlash to “200.”
These episodes earned Parker and Stone death threats in droves and even led to the retroactive banning of “Super Best Friends,” making them the most impressively offensive South Park episodes in history.