VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton
WRITTEN BY: Mark Sammut
The darkest South Park moments will leave you laughing and horrified at the same time. We're looking at the darkest, grimmest, and most disturbing moments from South Park. This list includes fart jokes, Cartman, and sobering social commentary. WatchMojo ranks the darkest South Park moments. What do you think is the darkest South Park moment? Let us know in the comments!
Fart jokes, Cartman, and sobering social commentary. Welcome to WatchMojo and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Darkest South Park Moments.
For this list, we’re looking at the darkest, grimmest, and most disturbing moments from “South Park.” Only the TV show will be considered, so the movie and games are out of the running.
#10: Stan Sees the World as Feces
“You’re Getting Old”
Leave it to Trey Parker and Matt Stone to create a depressingly realistic portrayal of divorce and then fill the screen with literal crap. "You're Getting Old" is all about the inevitability of change, primarily expressed through Stan's parents admitting that they are unhappy and filing for divorce. Sound-tracked by Fleetwood Mac's "Landslide," the final montage sees Stan solemnly going through the motions while trying to come to terms with Sharon and Randy's separation. Also, the boy turns to alcohol to deal with the situation. In its own slightly juvenile way, "South Park" cuts through the nonsense and captures the raw emotion of such a situation.
#9: ManBearPig Goes on a Spree
“Time to Get Cereal” & “Nobody Got Cereal?”
On the surface, a grotesque monster fond of brutally murdering people is already rather gruesome; however, the real-life context behind ManBearPig's rampage is the real kicker. An obvious stand-in for global warming, ManBearPig is originally introduced as a figment of Al Gore's imagination. Jump forward more than a decade and climate change can no longer be dismissed as the ravings of a mad man. Basically, serving as an apology, "South Park" sets the real ManBearPig loose on the unprepared public, who prefer to play "Red Dead Redemption 2" while passing the monster-shaped buck on to the next generation.
#8: Kenny, Kevin & Karen’s Parents Go to Jail
“The Poor Kid”
"South Park" rarely hesitates to tackle sensitive topics in the name of comedy. "The Poor Kid" episode launches with Kenny's parents being hauled off to jail for selling meth and the kids being shipped off to an awful foster home. To make matter worse but also funnier, the whole ordeal is filmed for a reality show called "White Trash in Trouble," so Kenny's misfortune becomes a source of entertainment. Besides making a few timely and risky references to the (xref) Penn State Scandal, "The Poor Kid" also has Cartman going to the absolute limits to try and avoid the stigma of being labeled as "poor."
#7: Woodland Critters Orgy
“Woodland Critter Christmas”
Christmas is the season of rejoicing, reflection, stockings, and – in the case of "South Park" - satanic rituals intended to summon the Anti-Christ and any food eaten over the last 24 hours. Stan is bamboozled into assisting a group of woodland creatures who are preparing for the coming of the animal kingdom's supposed savior, a process involving sacrificing and eating a rabbit. While nothing screams "happy holidays" like cute animals gorging on even cuter animals, "South Park" goes the extra mile by throwing in a blood orgy. We imagine the woodland orgy falls on the thirteenth day of Christmas.
#6: The Priest Clean-up Crew
“A Boy and a Priest”
"South Park" is not afraid to put religious institutions to the sword and few jabs are as direct as the Catholic Clean-up Crew. After Butters and Father Maxi disappear, a group of priests is sent to expunge all evidence of any wrongdoing by the church's representative. In order to catch the seemingly criminal rogue Father Maxi, the Clean-up Crew set a trap by kidnapping a few children to use as bait. "South Park" effectively satirizes such a dark and hushed subject by presenting the priests as gangsters and utterly eliminating any subtlety.
#5: Butters’ Home Life
With people like Randy Marsh, Mr. Garrison, and Eric Cartman, the innocent Butters presents a welcome break from all the rampant cynicism. Or, that used to be the case, before Season 5's finale decided to focus exclusively on Butters' tragic home life. Along with refusing to believe Butters could ever be bullied, Stephen and Linda Stotch welcome any reason to punish or straight up abuse the naive boy. The torment extends beyond Butters' parents, as the kid's grandmother is also the worst. Choosing just one dark moment is near impossible, but that time Linda tries to drown Butters has to rank quite high. There is no room for innocence in "South Park."
#4: The Continuous School Shootings
Who could have predicted an episode called "Dead Kids" would contain a dark moment or two? When South Park Elementary becomes the scene of multiple school shootings, the town's adults, teachers, and students treat the problem as a minor inconvenience rather than anything meriting a proper discussion. As the only one truly troubled by these shootings, Stan's mother – Sharon – is ostracized, mocked, and eventually broken by the town. Any premise involving school shootings is destined to be dark, but "Dead Kids" is totally devoid of any optimism that a solution may be found in the future.
#3: Britney Spears’ Attempts
“Britney's New Look”
Considering "South Park" frequently injects religious figures into episodes, it is safe to assume celebrities are unlikely to be handled with kid gloves. The cartoon outing Bono as a sentient piece of feces is all in good fun, but a depressed and unhinged Britney Spears placing a gun in her mouth and pulling the trigger is considerably darker. Despite being short half a skull, Britney continues to fulfill her duty as the Pop Princess. Released just two months following Britney's heavily publicized breakdown, "South Park's" episode presents the press as vultures feasting off the celebrity's fragile mental state.
#2: Chef’s Brainwashing & Death
“The Return of Chef”
Driven by anger and grief, "The Return of Chef" was "South Park's" response to Isaac Hayes – the voice behind Chef – leaving the show after the cartoon openly mocked Scientology. Chef joins the Super Adventure Club, an organization of traveling pedophiles who utilize brainwashing techniques to convince new members to fall in line. The boys try in vain to save Chef, but the club's conditioning is too deeply ingrained to break. With all hope lost, "South Park" violently kills Chef in a scene that feels defeatist rather than cathartic. Without context, this moment features a beloved character being brutally and vividly killed. With context, "The Return of Chef" is heartbreaking.
#1: Scott Tenorman’s Special Chili
“Scott Tenorman Must Die”
Frankly, Cartman could easily have dominated this entire list. That being said, Eric's crowning acts of evilness puts to shame all of the character's other vile acts. After being played and humiliated by Scott Tenorman, Cartman decides revenge is a dish best served with a side of cannibalism. During a cook-off between the two bullies, Cartman serves Scott a bowl of chili made out of the unsuspecting boy's own parents. This is not some mean-spirited joke, Cartman genuinely resorts to murder and cannibalism as revenge for being conned out of less than $20. Eric is an unapologetic psychotic monster who - somehow - is rarely not hilarious.