Since it first aired in 1997, “South Park,” created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone has been known for its dark comedic cartoon twist on controversial and popular topics trending in the world. Politics, media, violence, youth and more is presented throughout the 19 seasons currently still being aired on Comedy Central. You would think a cartoon would be geared towards a younger audience, but South Park is anything but a cartoon. Parker and Stone always keep up with what’s trending in the world and make sure to put their own twist on them while adding their opinions. In season five, which was released in 2001, South Park touched some sensitive topics, controversial for the time, including aborted fetuses, racism, sex education, 9/11, religion, homosexuality, cursing, the disabled and murder.
10. “How to Eat with Your Butt” Episode Ten: Kenny takes a school photo with his butt replacing his face, Cartman thinks it would be funny to put Kenny’s face on the South Park milk carton as missing and doesn’t realize that a simple joke turned into a family seriously thinking they found their long lost son because he had the same butt face as them due to the couple suffering from a condition called “TPS” (Torsonic polarity syndrome). This episode was not controversial, but it set the stage for what is considered humorous in this show.
9. “Scott Tenorman Must Die” Episode Four: Cartman is conned into buying pubic hair from a boy named Scott because he thought that’s how puberty worked, when he went to get his money back after being embarrassed and realizing he was stupid and pubes grew you didn’t buy them, he did everything he could to get his money back from Scott but continued to get scammed. Cartman lost it and tried to train a pony to bite Scott’s penis off. That didn’t work so Cartman killed Scott’s parents turning them into chili and having Scott eat it during a chili cook-off he planned as revenge. This was a dark episode that was made a few months after “Hannibal” a sequel to the film “The Silence of the Lambs” came out.
8. “It Hits the Fan” Episode One: a record-setting amount of profanity is present in this episode where South Park’s creators were allowed to say shit on TV over 200 times. The whole point of this episode was to shows societies standards changing and people caring less about standards as a whole. The episode may seem innocent, but it was listed as #8 on Comedy Central’s 2006 marathon of “10 South Parks That Changed the World.” You may think it’s no big deal, but back in 2001 saying shit on TV was huge and South Park made sure everyone knew that shit was now free and open to say.
7. “Butter’s Very Own Episode” Episode 14: This was the final episode of the season that dealt with Butter’s family figuring out what to get each other for their anniversary. When Butters’ mom decides that she doesn’t want her husband to out gift her, she sends butters to spy on him, which wound up being the worst possible idea. She finds out from butters got her husband has been going out at night to gay a rub and tugs along with gay spas that Butters thought was just a movie theater and wrestling. The mother then loses her sanity and decides that if this is the life he wants to live she doesn’t want to get in the way, so she plans to kill butters and herself. After she leaves butters in a car in neutral and the car goes into the water she believes the Butters is dead and goes back home to hang herself but then gets talked out of it by her husband. After realizing she just killed her son, so she thought, the couple plans to lie and say that he went missing. Mr. and Mrs. Scotch tell the authorities that butters has been taken by some Puerto Rican guy. This episode was replicating the case of a woman named Susan Smith at the time replicating that she murdered someone and blamed a black man for the act. Patricia Ramsey, O.J. Simpson and Gary Condit we’re all featured in the episode. Butters finally Mason home from being lost in the car going down the river and finds his parents fighting about all the lies they told and they are shocked to see he’s alive. His parents came clean about the cover-up and told butters all that has happened. This episode is very controversial for the time due to all, the things that, were happening relating to this. The creators were mocking the case of Susan Smith and of course this had people talking.
6.”The Entity” Episode 11: Kyles’ Jewish cousin Kyle Schwartz came to live in South Park due to issues back at home with his mother’s health. What Kyle didn’t know was that his cousin was an over stereotyped version of what people saw as a Jew. Kyle paid Cartman to hold back the jokes, but that didn’t last long when Cartman made a concentration camp joke when Ms. Choksondik told Kyles’ cousin he needed to concentrate. While all this was happening and Kyle was trying to send his cousin back to Connecticut, Mr. Garrison was pissed about airport security and check-ins being too long after the 9/11 attack. He creates a monowheel called “IT” that required what looks like two erect penis’ to be used as the steering wheel, one erect penis in the mouth and one in the anus to control the vehicle to boycott the airports. The government then bailed out the airports and outlawed the “IT”. Kyles’ cousin then got a five million dollar bailout for investing in “IT” and when Kyle begs for him to stay in South Park Kyle states how he thinks Kyle is a douchebag like every stereotypical redneck.
5. “Proper Condom Use” Episode Seven: Cartman tells Stan and Kyle to come with him to Kenny’s house. He masturbates Kenny’s dog till the point of ejaculation while repeating the phrase “red rocket”. When Stan went home and showed his parents what red rocket was in front of their book club, he gets grounded and doesn’t understand why, his parents showed that they were embarrassed to talk to him about sexual education so they decided that the school should be responsible for teaching this to the children. MS. Choksondik taught the female class about all the STDs they can catch if they aren’t safe, but leaves out but in order to catch them, they need to have sex. When the girls freaked out that the boys weren’t wearing condoms, the boys went to the pharmacy to get refused by a male pharmacist when they asked to buy condoms because they were too young, but the female pharmacist sells them the condoms because she wants them to be safe. When the school finds out the students have been buying condoms, they assume the students are sexually active and decide to teach kinder garners about sex education. Not only was this controversial, but when Mr. Garrison should the kinder gardeners how to apply a condom using only his mouth, his students were terrified. Trying to scare the girls, Ms. Choksondik teaches the girls the miracle of birth, making them hate the boys while the boys were wearing condoms at all times because that’s how they thought they would be safe. This episode received an MA rating in Australia, was banned from British satellite channel sky 1, and also can only be showed on comedy central in the United States due to its strong sexual content.
4.”Cripple Fight” Episode Two: Homosexuality wasn’t as easily accepted today as it was in 2001, you see in this episode Big Gay Al is being removed from the Boys Scouts as their leader when the fathers realize they don’t want their sons to go on an overnight camping trip with a man of his kind. When they get the replacement for Big Gay Al, Mr. Grazier, he makes the boys get naked and take photos of them but tells them not to say anything. While all this is happening Timmy who is in a wheelchair meets Jimmy another disabled and hates him. They wind up fighting in the end and it was a touchy subject because making fun of the disabled wasn’t something people openly did. Mr. Grazier gets caught later on for pedophilia and Big Gay Al was invited back to be the boys leader, but he denies and people called him a Homophobe.
3.”Here Comes the Neighborhood” Episode 12: Token the only African American child in South Park is wealthy and gets made fun of for being rich. He tries to fit in by making his family act poor by shopping at J-Mart where everyone else in town shops, but that isn’t even enough because when Token was hanging out with all the boys one day he brought a DVD when everyone else had VHS. Token gets a bunch of rich people, who wind up also being African American, to come down to live in South Park. Mr. Garrison sees all these “richers” moving in and isn’t happy about it. He gets the others (who all happen to be white) to feel the same in South Park about the “richers” moving in and they plan to have the “richers” move by a series of different measures taken by the town. Gentrification rises and Mr. Garrison leads the town to plant a lower case “t” on their lawns meaning it’s time to leave. Mr. Garrison also arranges for everyone to try to scare them away by dressing up in white capes to portray ghosts, not realizing they look as if they’re portraying the KKK. The town arranges rich sections in front of busses and deny them the right to eat at restaurants and drink at bars. While all these racist acts are going on, Token realizes that he doesn’t even fit in with the wealthy kids and goes to live with lions, which also doesn’t work out. Throughout the entire episode, what was going on was made to seem innocent as if no one knew they were pulling racist measures to make the families leave, but at the end when they all happen to leave Garrison ends the episode with “Well yeah, but, at least, we got rid of all those damn ni-“ and the episode ends. Many felt that this episode was offensive, but of course, no one was trying to offend anyone.
2.”Kenny Dies” Episode 13: Kenny is dying of a muscle disease. While Cartman is riding his bike he finds a truck that fell off the edge and went down to see that it was carrying a load of dead fetuses that were off to a lab for stem cell research. When Cartman gets a hold of them, he tried to sell them for top dollar, but the study for stem cells is called off and no longer doable. When he finds out he can no longer sell the fetuses due to no one being able to buy them, he convinces the government to continue stem cell research to help Kenny, but Kenny dies and during his funeral Cartman comes in saying the miracle has occurred and brought Stan and Kyle out to see that he used the stem cells to create his own Shakey’s Pizza. This episode was rated TV-MA in the United States and caused a lot of talk considering stem cell research was still unspoken of along with abortion.
1.”Osama bin Ladin Has Farty Pants” Episode Nine: After the 9/11 terrorist attack, this episode was really the voice of our country at the time after experiencing such a tragedy and the first TV show to speak of the matter. It showed the aftermath everyone faced. People wearing gas masks afraid of attacks, American flags everywhere and being glued to the news channel. The Boys were forced to send one dollar to the kids of Afghanistan due to President Bush’s charity event. Four boys get their dollars and in return send a goat. The boys can’t keep it so they have to go to the military to return the goat because the regular postal plans weren’t flying over there. The military confused the goat for Stevie Nicks and when the goat was brought back they sent out for a rescue mission to save Stevie Nicks. The boys find the return address, which is a roofless house due to America’s bombings and meet the boys who sent the goat. They assume the boys love America but realize they actually hate America. The South Park boys are then abducted and brought to Osama bin Ladin’s underground lair. Osama bin Ladin is portrayed as stupid with a small vocabulary of a few words such as “Durka,” “Allah,” “Jihad” and “Burka”. While war breaks out, Cartman has his own fight scene with Osama bin Ladin, Looney Tunes style. This episode was nominated for a 2002 Emmy for outstanding animated program but lost to Futurama. Considering how fresh the subject was, a lot of people were talking about this specific episode some with positive comments, others negatively. This episode really opened the eyes of many revealing how each side saw each other during that period of war on terror.