10 Darkest ‘South Park’ Episodes of All Time, Ranked


South Park he prides himself on being offensive, confrontational and going to dark places. Of course, it does better than most adult animated shows like South Park it is, first and foremost, a satire of life and popular culture. But even among its own content, some episodes stand out for their darker tone above others.

They deal with extreme character choices, take a more serious stance on a specific issue, and discuss more confronting issues for a general audience. Of course, it's mostly all low-key with a classically cynical sense of humor South Park is known for. But sometimes, even South Park goes to darker places than expected, with some of its most disturbing episodes often the best or most controversial.

South Park

Publication date
August 13, 1997


Comedy Central

10 “The Return of the Chef”

Season 10, Episode 1 (2006)

Chef (Issac Hayes) walks across a bridge in The Return of Chef (South Park)
Image via Comedy Central

After Isaac Hayes He left the show, the character of Chef had to be retired, and it's as tragic a retirement as there ever was. The chef returns to South Park after spending some time traveling with the Super Adventure Club. The boys discover that the chef has changed drastically, speaking strangely and expressing unpleasant wishes to them.

They go to the Super Adventure Club, only to reveal that he has been brainwashed into following his evil practices. When they try to save him, Chef ends up being struck by lightning, set on fire, crushed by rocks and mauled by mountain lions. It's a legitimately sad and horrifying ending for such a beloved charactermaking it emotional South Park moment no fan will soon forget.

9 “Christmas of forest critters”

Season 8, Episode 14 (2004)

Stan finds himself in a woodland critter Christmas (South Park)
Image via Comedy Central

Of all the Christmas offers South Park has produced over the years, this is easily the darkest and best yet. A few days before Christmas, Stan finds a group of talking forest critters making a tree. They are excited because Porcupiney the Porcupine is about to give birth to her savior. But what starts out as wholesome fun soon descends into hell, especially since the creatures are actually Satan worshippers.

They discover that Kyle is the perfect vessel to ingest the spirit of the Antichrist and usher in a new age of darkness. Now Stan must stop them with the help of a group of orphaned puppies and a gun-toting Santa Claus. Not a conventional Christmas by any means, and certainly a dark offering South Park.

8 “Britney's new look”

Season 12, Episode 2 (2008)

Britney Spears is in a hotel room in South Park
Image via Comedy Central

“Britney's New Look” is the rare episode that revolves around a celebrity who seems to have compassion for them instead of making fun of them. A new piece about Britney Spears seems to be hitting the South Park airwaves every day, and Stan and Kyle decide to take a picture of it to sell for cash.

But the more time they spend with her, the more they realize she's desperate to escape the press, which soon heats up to comically bewildering levels. As the episode continues, Britney is pushed to the limit, literally having half her head blown off, and eventually being photographed to death by the paparazzi as part of an ancient sacrifice.

7 “Butter's Very Own Episode”

Season 5, Episode 14 (2001)

Butters and his mother drive to a lake in Butters' Very Own Episode (South Park)
Image via Comedy Central

Butters' parents have been shown to be terrible people before, but “Butters' Very Own Episode” brought them down to a new low.. In what many consider Butters' best episode South Parkafter discovering her husband's apparent infidelity, Butter's mother tries to drown him in a car in the river in a pain-induced hysteria.

When she calms down and realizes what she has done, the two lie to the press and claim that their son was kidnapped. Little do they know that Butters survived and is borderline oblivious to his parents' terrible behavior. Butters seems to have a knack for falling into traumatic situations that shatter his innocence.

6 “Kenny Dies”

Season 5, Episode 13 (2001)

Kenny sitting in a hospital bed in Kenny Dies (South Park)
Image via Comedy Central

Up until this point in the series, Kenny would die in almost every episode and return the following week without explanation, making him almost an expected running gag for any fan. But in the episode “Kenny Dies”, he faces a terminal illness and is interpreted as death.seemingly forever.

The rest of the boys have different reactions: Kyle stays at the hospital to be by Kenny's side, Stan refuses to see him in pain, and Cartman decides to take advantage of this to lift the ban on cell research. mother cells Fortunately, and after much backlash from viewers, Kenny returned a year later and has remained alive ever since.

5 “Stanley Cup”

Season 10, Episode 14 (2006)

A junior hockey player prepares to take a shot at the Stanley Cup (South Park)
Image via Comedy Central

After Stan's bike gets towed, he's stuck coaching a hockey team for young kids. One of the kids, Nelson, has a terminal illness and only a win against the Detroit Red Wings might be enough to save his life. Unfortunately, the team isn't exactly well-trained to play in the big leagues.

Of course, the public expects sports stories like the “Stanley's Cup” to end with the team winning and the illness received or mitigated. However, it ends on a decidedly cruel note that may be uplifting for one team but absolutely devastating for another.. It's another great example South Park hilariously parodying genres.

4 “Cartman Joins NAMBLA”

Season 4, Episode 5 (2000)

Marlon Brando look-alikes reunite in South Park
Image via Comedy Central

In a characteristic display of narcissism, Cartman decides that his usual friends are no longer “adult” enough for him. So he decides to find some adult friends on the Internet, only to bump into a group called NAMBLA. The group invites the boys to hang out at a hotel, but it's clear that the members don't exactly have their best interests at heart.

Meanwhile, Kenny discovers that his mother and father are trying for another baby, and she does everything she can to make sure the baby isn't conceived. The two plots collide in an involved cavalcade Marlon Brando similar, a Scooby Doo-esque chase through the hotel, and Kenny's dad needs a hot bath.

3 “Crack Baby Sports Association”

Season 15 Episode 5 (2011)

Cartman dresses as a southern dandy in South Park
Image via Comedy Central

In a typical Cartman plan, he, Butters, Craig and Clyde have decided to form the Crack Baby Athletic Association. For this new venture, they film drug-addicted babies fighting each other and post their videos online. They soon become ridiculously popular, receiving offers from EA Sports to make a video game out of them.

While horrified by Cartman's actions, Kyle becomes directly involved in the schemes, causing conflicted feelings. unfortunately, the happy ending the boys get still doesn't quite diminish the shock that the babies' drug addictions have been used for profit. The audience that had to sit in that one was also left scratching their heads.

2 “HumancentiPad”

Season 15, Episode 1 (2011)

Kyle and two strangers sit in a South Park prison cell
Image via Comedy Central

When it comes to traumatic events the boys face, Kyle is second only to Kenny in exposure. But no South Park The episode has put Kyle in a worse situation than in “HumancentiPad”, which refers to the dirty horror film The human centipede. One day, he downloads his latest iTunes update, but makes a near-fatal mistake when he doesn't read the terms and conditions.

Once Steve Jobs and his Apple agents capture him, he is forced into horrible punishment at once The human centipedewhich is creepy to watch in the animated show. In the end, the only happy note the episode ends on is when Cartman gets struck by lightning after angering God, which isn't nearly as bad as the actual punishment he deserves.

1 “Scott Tenorman Must Die”

Season 5, Episode 4 (2001)

Scott Tenorman eats chili in South Park
Image via Comedy Central

“Scott Tenorman Must Die” marked a turning point in Cartman's character, going from a racist bully to a borderline psychotic supervillain disguised as a boy. In this episode, he finds himself the target of pranks and bullying by teenage punk Scott Tenorman. No matter what Cartman tries to do to recover, Scott always seems to be one step ahead.

In perhaps Cartman's most evil action yet, he decides to take a page out of Titus Andronicus' book. Cartman has Scott's parents killed, turns them into chili, and feeds it to a horrified Scott for a final act of revenge. The darkly comic moment has earned a reputation as one of the show's most controversial and the darkest moments.

NEXT: The best 'South Park' episodes of all time, ranked by IMDb


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