August 13, 1997, is a day that will live on in infamy for the Parents Television Council and other conservative-minded groups: That’s the day that South Park premiered on Comedy Central, introducing viewers to a gang of foul-mouthed elementary school students.
Twenty-five years, more than 300 episodes, and countless controversies later, South Park is still going strong. Last year, MTV Entertainment Studios renewed the show through 2027, and come this August 13, Comedy Central will air the South Park 25th Anniversary Concert.
With the momentous anniversary upon us, scroll down to see IMDb voters’ picks for South Park’s 10 best episodes, all of which have ratings higher than 9/10 on the site.
South Park 25th Anniversary Concert, Saturday, August 13, 10/9c, Comedy Central
10. Season 8, Episode 1: “Good Times with Weapons”
The boys’ scheme to get ninja weapons from a fair goes horrifically awry when Butters gets a throwing star to the eye. An IMDb reviewer calls this episode one of the greatest South Park installments, adding, “It has a plot which involves kids just being kids, it has plenty of hilarious moments, it spoofs modern culture (in this case, people caring more about sex than violence), and [it has] quite a bit of action.”
9. Season 8, Episode 14: “Woodland Critter Christmas”
Stan inadvertently helps a group of adorable woodland creatures bring about the antichrist after killing a mountain lion in an effort to protect the critters. “It is easily the best of all the Christmas episodes from South Park, being incredibly twisted and gory but hilarious at the same time,” a fan writes.
8. Season 7, Episode 11: “Casa Bonita”
Cartman kidnaps Butters after getting denied an invitation to Kyle’s birthday party at the titular restaurant. “This episode of South Park is one of my favorites,” raves an IMDb user. “Every time I see it I cannot stop laughing, thinking [of] the heights Cartman can go just for a restaurant.”
7. Season 9, Episode 12: “Trapped in the Closet”
Believing Stan to be an incarnation of L. Ron Hubbard, Scientologists descend on Stan’s home — including Tom Cruise, who barricades himself in Stan’s closet after the boy criticizes his acting chops. “This is easily the smartest and funniest episode of South Park that they’ve ever done,” one viewer asserts.
6. Season 9, Episode 6: “The Death of Eric Cartman”
After Cartman becomes convinced he’s dead, he gets Butters to help him try to atone for past sins. “This episode, in my opinion, stands head and shoulders above the rest,” says an IMDb user. “It’s just perfect.”
5. Season 18, Episode 7: “Grounded Vindaloop”
Cartman convinces Butter that their existence in South Park Elementary is actually a figment of virtual reality. On IMDb, one viewer says this is the best episode of the show, saying, “I could not stop laughing from beginning to end.”
4. Season 8, Episode 5: “AWESOM-O”
In this episode, another example of Cartman’s ongoing war against Butters, Cartman dresses up like a robot to learn all of Butters’ deepest secrets, only to learn that Butters has embarrassing intel about him. “‘AWESOM-O’ is absurdly hilarious,” a viewer raves. “ One of my favorites.”
3. Season 6, Episode 13: “The Return of the Fellowship of the Ring to the Two Towers”
A routine errand turns NSFW when Stan’s parents realize they accidentally sent Stan, Kyle, and Cartman to Butters’ house with a pornographic VHS instead of a copy of The Lord of the Rings. “This episode has some very funny and good moments and is overall an entertaining episode,” one reviewer says on IMDb.
2. Season 10, Episode 8: “Make Love, Not Warcraft”
The boys team up to defeat a World of Warcraft player who has accrued too much power in the video game. “By far an episode that must be seen,” a fan writes.
1. Season 5, Episode 4: “Scott Tenorman Must Die”
Cartman tries in vain to get his money back after buying, ahem, pubic hair from the eponymous bully-turned-scammer. “The ending is a true shocker,” an IMDb user observes. “I never saw it coming, and it’s completely unyielding. … Wonderful. Just Wonderful.”