On the last post I discussed that I would be talking about the funniest and most culturally relevant episodes of each season. I will also be talking about some aspects of each season. Furthermore, I felt that having a post specifically for each of the seasons versus the historical sense of South Park would be best! Once again, the Funniest is subjective to my perspective.
Season 1: I don't think Season 1 holds up very well. What's funny to a tween or teenager (toilet humor and a lot of shock value) is not as funny to a grown adult. Furthermore, South Park at this point is simply trying to be daring rather than smart and it shows as most of the humor is lost on repeated viewings. However, this is where it all started so watching where the show started and what it is today is pretty entertaining.
Funniest - Volcano - Scuzzlebutt and absurd ideas for hunting build to make this so ridiculous you start laughing
Culturally Relevant - Toss up between Mr. Hanky the Christmas Poo for taking South Park to new heights or Death for being the first episode to discuss more controversial topics like assisted suicide/euthanasia.
Season 2: I personally think this is one of the best/funniest seasons of South Park. While the animation and Parker & Stone's direction is still crude the humor holds up surprisingly well.
Funniest-Clubhouses-Two words Fat Abbott. Sure everything else in the episode is funny (truth or dare, Roy and Cartman & Kenny's clubhouse), but Fat Abbott will make me laugh for the rest of my life.
Culturally Relevant - While Chickenlover created "Respect my Authoritah!" Chef Aid - Created "Chewbacca Defense" that is a true term used by professionals. At the same time so is Plan + ??? = Profit from Gnomes (The first episode I saw completely....I was 9 whoo boy)
Season 3: This is an intriguing season of South Park because you can tell that the show is getting far more adept at mixing pop culture, shocking humor, and cleverness. However, they're not quite there because they aren't firmly sure what direction they want to go in. This season does represent some decent balance between a few ideas as this season occurred around the time the movie came out.
Funniest -Chinpokomon - With it's insane Japanese racism and Alabama Man or Hooked on Monkey Phonics for the Spelling Bee alone.
Culturally Relevant-Sexual Harassment Panda for hitting the nail on the head with either the lack of or intensity of legal cases involving sexual harassment or the Meteor Shower trilogy for being a solid attempt by Parker & Stone (P&S) at creating a novel serial idea and the introduction of But ters.
Season 4: P&S nail it. This season has all the political satire, celebrity hating, poignancy and hilariousness that would change the show in a different direction. While some say this is the first downfall of the show (viewership dropped off tremendously), many others think this is when the show became brilliant rather than just shocking. There's a lot of solid moments here.
Funniest-Cartman joins NAMBLA- Disturbing for the pedohiles, yet hilarious for the boys reaction to it all along with the scooby doo door chase at the end.
Culturally Relevant -This is when this gets difficult is it Timmy 2000 for giving a positive portrayal of a handicap and the issues with ADHD drug usage or is it Cartman's Silly Hate Crime for elevating Token and beginning the racism-centric episodes.
Season 5:Some people think this is the zenith of South Park as it was not fully released from its basic humor of the early, but it began to fully realize certain topics and ideas. Plus, Butters would become elevated to main cast during this time. Bringing along with the other boys the idea of character development as after this season I've learned something today, Kenny's incessant deaths, and the villainy of Cartman would grow up.
Funniest-Proper Condom Use-This is a hilarious ride all the way through, one of the few episodes you can say that about. While Mackey and Choksondik, aren't that funny everyone else is from the boys cluelessness, dogs, girls screaming, Butters, and Mr. Garrison.
Culturally Relevant-Scott Tenorman Must Die for completely turning Cartman in a sociopathic villain or Kenny Dies for killing off Kenny and his consistent dying for real. While both are relevant for South Park, Super Best Friends is relevant in how it depicts several religious figures (including Mohammed!) and Osama Bin Laden has Farty Pants for coming after 9/11 and giving some laughs and uplift to the (extremely paranoid of everything at this time) American people.
Season 6:This Season has some highs and lows. There's a positive to Butters being elevated as he fully talks, but some people fully found the lack of Kenny to be hard to deal with. However, there's some great moments throughout this season as it continues the trend with the previous seasons.
Funniest - The Return of the Fellowship of the Ring to the Two Towers- Pure epicness while also being pure comedy. It is highly based in the kids being kids while dealing with their naivete of their thoughts with porn.
Culturally Relevant - Simpsons Already Did It-If I'm not mistaken this is the first discussion of Simpsons or Family Guy in the show and it's a strange sense of respect while showing the differences between Simpsons and South Park while doing it.
Season 7: This season marks the return of Kenny while still having Butters being an elevated character. Overall, I personally think this is when the show entered its strongest years, while 2 is glorious and 4 & 5 are great, 7 begins a set of about 3 seasons in which I can find entertainment in nearly every episode.
Funniest - There are several(Krazy Kripples, Casa Bonita, Lil Crime Stoppers, Fat Butt and Pancake Head) but for me -Christian Rock Hard - Cartman, Token and Butters in a Christian band...I shouldn't have to say anything else
Culturally Relevant -All About Mormons - Inspiring their play, critiquing Mormonism (while praising it too), and the reactions from the other characters is one of the strongest religious critiques
Season 8: I love this season, it edges out Season 10. However, I think every episode here is both hilarious and has something to offer. P&S said that they didn't put much effort into it and yet I think it's the best in the show. I don't have a funniest or most culturally relevant episode here because they all are. Seriously, just watch this season even if you don't care about South Park - this is one of the best seasons of TV period.
Season 9: Following imo the best season of the show, this season is still solid.There are some extremely glorious episodes in this Season. While some say this is where the second phase of downfall of the show as Randy becomes extremely elevated here and the cohesion of seasons 4-8 takes a backstep, it's still a wonderful season.
Funniest - Marjorine for Butters becoming a girl and the boys stupidity in regarding girls or The Losing Edge - There's Randy-centric episodes before this, but I think his prominence begins here while his leads are still pretty funny during this time.
Culturally Relevant -It's either Best Friends Forever - for going back to euthanasia with Kenny during Terry Schivo's case in real life that one P&S an emmy or Trapped in the Closet that hit scientology so hard (while being hilarious!) that Issac Hayes quit and Tom Cruise wanted to sue.
Season 10: I saw more of Season 10 during its original air date than any other season because I was 18. That meant I was old enough to watch whatever while being immature enough to still find South Park appealing. There's some insane highs here along with some huge lows which is the true beginning of the inconsistent season phase, I found much of this season funnier during its air time, but its also got some great moments that work even know.
Funniest -Make Love, Not Warcraft - This one you may just have to watch. If you're a male geek its quite possibly the best episode of the Series which is what elevates Season 10 so highly
Culturally Relevant - There's a lot in this season as several episodes had controversies but Cartoon Wars takes the cake. This is analysis of Family Guy v. South Park while also beginning the threat of Mohammed v. South Park in Islamic discussions.
Season 11:Quite similar to the last season truthfully with the added concept of the 2nd "movie" of South Park - The Imaginationland-trilogy. While not the funniest nor most culturally relevant episodes they are the most and well done in terms of South Park a story telling medium rather than just comedy. The trilogy alone makes this season with the exception of D-Yikes! one of the best. Its highs aren't as grand as Season 10, but it is far more consistent.
Funniest -Cartman Sucks for how well Cartman is the butt of jokes in this one and Le Petit Tourette because it is absurdly hilarious.
Culturally Relevant - With Apologies to Jesse Jackson - I saw the premiere of this and it was brilliant! Obviously its subject matter isn't necessarily something I should be laughing at, but South Park plays with another racism-centric episode quite well and brings up a lot of topics while being hilarious
Season 12: This is the third phase of people thinking that South Park has fallen and here is where I agree with them. Seasons 12-17 are nowhere near as strong as Seasons 2-11. Sure there are some gems, but none of them are as fantastic as an episode in Season 2-11. Plus, while I think Season 12 isn't that bad, it's just that this is start of when mocking satire takes over South Park more than humor.
Funniest- Super Fun Time-it's far more traditional South Park than the other episodes in this season and as such stays far more humorous throughout. HMs (I may have to start these) to Major Boobage-cat piss moments, Over Logging-Randy's addiction and Pandemic- 2Parter solely for Craig.
Culturally Relevant - Britney's New Look - This is a great critique on paparazzi, celebrities with difficulties and well you, the public for enjoying to see people fail. We're all human and this episode shows what happens when we forget that celebrities are too.
Season 13: Not much to say here, there's some definitely funny moments here, but not exactly funny episodes with the exception of a couple imo. The culturally relevancy is low here too as not much controversy comes out of the season nor do its issues seem relevant.
Funniest-Either Butters' Bottom Bitch - Honestly, Butters is downright hilarious here, while he is similar to his interactions with Biggie Smalls here I think this pure brilliance or Dances with Smurfs - an episode that manages to stay pretty consistently funny and is a great Wendy v. Cartman episode. HM Moments - El Pollo Loco (Kenny), Fishsticks joke (real life crossover!), Fatbeard song.
Culturally Relevant - The Coon - Basically Watchmen and the Dark Knight in animated form and does a good job of showing that sometimes this show isn't exactly a laugh riot or politically poignant; sometimes its just well done animation. This did cause some who is Mysterion? moments in real life.
Season 14:This may one of the worst seasons of South Park simply because its not funny. It's got some great topical humor and a whole lot of controversy compared to the last two seasons. However, I didn't laugh too hard throughout this season. Lastly, it does get some credit for the Coon Trilogy the 3rd South Park "Movie" of South Park that is not that funny, but well directed and animated. It also highlights an aspect of Kenny that changes his persona throughout the entire South Park canon from beginning to end.
Funniest - Medicinal Fried Chicken -The KFC plot was fairly funny, but Randy is actually brilliant here - the image of him and the guys hopping on their cancer scrotums will stick with you for life.
Culturally Relevant -200/201 - Both of these episodes are not the funniest (though there's a lot of great callbacks to the whole series); however, whether or not South Park is allowed to show Mohammed is brought up once again to spark controversy that continuously limited S&P's ability to show whatever they wanted. Along with this Buddha snorting cocaine made these episodes banned in Eastern Asia as well.
Season 15: I'll be honest after the last 3 seasons episodes this is actually the funniest of the third phase seasons. There's gems in this season that harken back to Season 2-11 to be honest. While it is a widely inconsistent season the show balances its political satire and shock humor pretty well again and creates one of the most poignant episodes for the whole series in the mid-season finale.
Funniest - T.M.I.-This is the best balance of satire along with typical absurd South Park humor. While it starts as hilarious boys will be boys from Cartman's anger (Butters again!) it goes into absurdity with Randy that manages to stay funny throughout.
Culturally Relevant-You're Getting Old-I really don't want to ruin anything here, but it may be the saddest episode of the series. It also flips the world of South Park on its head that really makes you think.
Season 16: After the fairly solid Season 15, Season 16 returns to mediocrity of Seasons 12-14. This seasons inconsistency seeps into its episodes which make it hard to exactly assess the episodes here. Thus, most episodes are half hilarious or half brilliant; making it hard to pick favorites.
Funniest - While Obama Wins has the Butters & Kenny translation moment & A Nightmare on FaceTime has some great sequences with the boys as Avengers (articulate Kenny!), Cash for Gold made me laugh the most consistently as I found Stan's threats and Cartman's attempts at cashing in to both be hilarious.
Culturally Relevant -Butterballs-Sure I love the song and its far from being a funny episode, bullying is handled well here. It's realistic in how hard it destroys a child and also how little people can do anything about it.
Season 17: Many fans would consider this phase four as the show losing itself, but I think that that concept is better saved for Season 18 as Season 17 changes format to just 10 episodes and winds up having stronger episodes overall than Season 16 (which for me along with 14 and 13 is one of the worst). The main reason why this season is better than 16 is purely for its Black Friday (4th South Park "Movie") trilogy. While the trilogy consists of three of about 6 of the season's only good episodes, those three episodes are legendary.
Funniest - Black Friday Trilogy- The Game of Thrones references, the boys will be boys imagination moments, Princess Kenny, George R Martin cameo, and Randy's actual black friday subplot its all epic and unlike the Coon Trilogy, quite funny
Culturally Relevant -World War Zimmerman-To deal with South Park you have to be ok with a lot of varying types of humor, they attack everyone. While most of their racist humor deals with racial stereotypes, this one is heavy and deals with a heavy issue of police brutality towards blacks and the subsequent racial riots. The humor here is pretty solid, but there's a part near the end that stands to be only the only moment in South Park that has ever shocked me and thank god for the ending otherwise....HM to The Hobbit- For ending on a surprising character moment that connected to the issues with female imagery in the media.
Season 18: Season 18 is true phase four of where the show has fallen because Season 18 introduces continuity! While it also has the 10 episode format that Season 17 does, the season as a whole has gags from previous episodes in the season. Therefore, you might want to watch the entire season from start to finish because some of the jokes stack and certain plotlines (Lorde, Stan spending all the money, the school doesn't forget what the boys did and gluten-free beer) continue throughout the season. At first it feels odd, but then it becomes brilliant when you reach the end. It's hard to rank these episodes but I will, while summarizing the season in the end.
Funniest - Grounded Vindaloop-People say it's overrated because of where the 2nd half of the episode goes (the end result is good though), but the 1st half is so funny that it easily trumps any other issues. HMs Gluten Free Ebola - Tempted, but its inconsistent though Cartman yelling at Kyle is wonderful. Cock Magic - Chicken Magic or Randy's magic, I don't know what's more audacious. The Magic Bush - It's an old feeling South Park due to implications, boys will be boys humor and repeated jokes, but it works.
Culturally Relevant - The Cissy - Hands down because it deals with transgender issues while discussing how far we've fallen with our female pop stars. Beyond that, it's a big part of the whole season that highlights just how messed up we've become.
To add to that, the ending of the season is bizarre, but it shows how distracted we are as people - TV, social media and texting all at the same time. It also shows how much the activities of the kids have changed from Season 1 (sitting around watching TV) to now (on various forms of social media) which is truly sad because I know it's true how "connected" kids are to not being connected face to face. From a mom and her son both texting to two best friends yapping on the phone while walking together. It's really sad and yes I use the internet and social media too, I just get saddened at how different it all is. Therefore, I actually think Season 18 is great and I kind of liked the consistently; as Kyle says "The Living Room is Dead"