First debuting in 1997, South park has become one of the longest-running and best animated sitcoms of all time. The show has remained relevant for over two decades with a unique blend of crude humor, social commentary, and pop culture references, staying fresh by always keeping up with the times. The show was created by Matt Stone and Trey Parker, two college friends who first met in film school. After the first few seasons, the show was complemented by a full creative staff, including Eric Stough and Vernon Chatman.
The many seasons of South park have memorable moments and episodes that range from hilarious to offensive to thoughtful; sometimes, the best South park episodes combine all three. There is no exact formula for how good each season is, as it largely depends on what kind of comedy each person prefers and what topics are being discussed. Some people prefer later seasons, which began incorporating season-long arcs and more character development, while others prefer the rapid-fire episodic period of earlier years.
Here are the seven best seasons of South parkranked.
7 Season 14
While this season is not as high-ranking as some other seasons on this list, it is still an extremely strong entry in the South park canon. Season 14 focuses on a number of different social topics that were relevant at the time and brought the return of Cartman’s hand puppet alter-ego, Mitch Connor (previously known as Jennifer Lopez, who loved “taco-flavored kisses”).
This season’s standout episodes include “Medicinal Fried Chicken,” which addresses cannabis legalization, and “You Have 0 Friends,” a send-up of Facebook and social media culture.
6 Season 4
Season 4 is considered by many to be one of the strongest seasons of South park due to the consistent level of quality throughout the season. Debuting at the height of the Millennium, this season was chock-full of pop culture references that surprisingly still hold up today.
The season opens with a long-standing iconic episode titled “Tooth Fairy’s Tats 2000,” in which the boys steal teeth from other children in an effort to make money. Other notable episodes from this season include “Trapper Keeper,” “Timmy 2000,” and “Cartman Joins NAMBLA.”
5 Season 7
Season 7 is another strong season of South park, with a number of standout episodes. The first episode of the season, simply titled “Canceled,” debuted in 2003 and started a new arc for the series by bringing back the beloved Cartman alien anal probe from the show’s pilot episode.
Other memorable episodes from this season include “Krazy Kripples,” “Christian Rock Hard,” and the season finale, “It’s Christmas in Canada.” It also features one of the most well-known and highly-quoted episodes of the series, “Casa Bonita.” This season has significant growth for the four main characters, arguably for the first time in the show’s history, making it a must-watch for any South park fan.
4 Season 1
While the animation and voice acting is not as polished as in later seasons, the first season of South park is essential viewing for any fan of the show. This is where it all began, and it is clear that Parker and Stone were still figuring out the tone and style of the show.
However, beyond its status as culturally important, there are still many great episodes in this season, including “Damien,” “Starvin ‘Marvin,” and “Cartman Gets an Anal Probe,” the pilot episode that is highly worth watching, if only to see how much the show has changed over the decades.
3 Season 15
South park fans who prefer more recent seasons will likely enjoy Season 15 the most. This season features some of the best episodes of the last decade, including “Ass Burgers” and “TMI” Aside from the boys, the main focus of this season is on Stan’s parents, Randy and Sharon, dealing with troubles in their marriage, ultimately resulting in the mid-season finale, the instantly iconic “You’re Getting Old.”
Aside from some hilarious moments, “You’re Getting Old” was surprisingly serious, ending on what actually seems like an unironic and great needle drop of Landslide by Fleetwood Mac. Audiences and critics even thought the episode was the series finale, considering the dramatic and heartbreaking way it ended. Fans who also love seeing the supporting characters will enjoy this season with classics like “City Sushi” and “Royal Pudding.” Another quotable episode, “The Last of the Meheecans,” is also a great episode that addresses the political climate of the time.
2 Season 10
Season 10 is considered by many to be the best season of South park, and it is hard to argue with that sentiment. This season features some of the most iconic episodes of the series, including “Go God Go” and “Make Love, Not Warcraft.” There are also a number of memorable episodes that focus on pop culture and social issues, keeping the show relevant even a decade after it first aired.
This season is one of the few to win a Creative Arts Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program for the “Make Love, Not Warcraft” episode. It is also the highest-rated season on IMDb, making it a must-watch for any fan.
1 Season 5
The fifth season of South park may not get as much love as season 10, but should be regarded as one of the best seasons of any animated comedy season. This season features a number of classic episodes, including “Scott Tenorman Must Die,” “Cartmanland,” and “Cripple Fight.” There are numerous quotable moments in this season, and it is clear that Parker and Stone were at the top of their game.
Other great episodes from this season include “Towelie,” “It Hits the Fan,” and “Here Comes the Neighborhood.” While nearly every episode of this season is great, “Scott Tenorman Must Die” is considered by many to be the best episode of South park ever made.
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