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South Park's Most Cringeworthy Moments Ranked

Without a doubt, showrunners Trey Parker and Matt Stone made one of the greatest animated comedy series of all time with "South Park." After more than 20 seasons, a movie, and various specials, there are just a handful of other adult-oriented (maybe we should say "adult-ish-oriented?") cartoons that have had as much success. Yet, one aspect of the series that has made it famous and notorious is its shock factor. The creators have demonstrated that they'll cross pretty much any boundary to get a laugh or make a point.

That is not to say that the show is immoral — in fact, it might be quite the opposite. Arguably, "South Park" doles out exactly the kind of satire the world needs precisely because they won't pull their punches, even when dealing with extremely serious topics. With that said, the dark comedy can be quite intense at times, leading to more groans than smiles. Below are the worst of these moments that are sure to make you cringe.

14. The people of South Park poop out of their mouths

Many of the cringiest moments on "South Park" are socially or politically controversial in some way, but a good amount are just gross. A prime example is the sixth season episode "Red Hot Catholic Love," where Eric Cartman somehow manages to prove that it's possible to put food up your butthole and then crap out of your mouth. This is just a side plot, but the idea is so sickening that it's more memorable than the main storyline.

The ridiculous premise continues in a major way as the trend catches on, leading many throughout the mountain town, even across the country, to take up the disgusting practice. As proof that Cartman is truly on to something, not only does the surgeon general recommend to the public on live television that the absurd method is healthier than the traditional method of eating, but Martha Stewart also shows her support by demonstrating how to do so in a profoundly disturbing way with a large Thanksgiving turkey.

13. The sex scene between Mr. Mackey and Ms. Choksondik

The episode "Proper Condom Use" in the fifth season of "South Park" is filled with all types of cringeworthiness right from the beginning. As if the topic of the "South Park" children learning about sex wasn't awkward enough, there's also some inadvertent bestiality topped off with one of the most uncomfortable romantic scenes in the entire series.

Mr. Mackey and Ms. Choksondik are two of the main instructors tasked with teaching students about the birds and the bees at South Park Elementary, yet they also happen to be exceptionally unqualified due to lack of personal experience. As they work together on their lesson plans, all of the pent-up sexual tension leads to them hooking up and finally getting laid.

Fortunately, the scene cuts away before things heat up too much, though enough is shown to cause at least some unease. Not that anyone would object to the characters getting some, but for the most part, members of the public would probably prefer to not see such an extremely intimate moment between the two ludicrously drawn nude bodies.

12. Eric Cartman sings about minorities at the water park

From the very beginning, one of the most despicable characteristics of Eric Cartman in "South Park" has always been his extreme racism. This means that some of his milder actions do not seem as bad relative to the significantly worse things he's done. In the episode "Pee" from Season 13, Cartman goes full Karen and gets angry over the supposed overcrowding at his local waterpark in one of the lesser completely deplorable shenanigans he is so prone to carrying out.

That is not too terrible in itself, however, the disgruntled child unsurprisingly takes his complaints a step further and blames it all on an unwanted influx of different minority groups. The rotund racist doesn't stop there and goes so far as sing his own song about the perceived problem, which probably sparks some chuckles for how ridiculous it is, along with an equal share of cringe.

11. Jimbo Kern defends the extremely racist flag of South Park

One of the earlier especially cringy moments involving racism on "South Park" occurs not far into the series on "Chef Goes Nanners." The Season 4 episode is a commentary on how many racists seem to be blind to blatant discrimination right in front of them. Stan Marsh's uncle Jimbo Kern is definitely guilty of this when he defends the traditional flag of the mountain town. Pride in your hometown is own thing, but the problem is that the symbol of South Park is an outlandishly horrible lynching scene that no one with any reason would actually support.

To his credit, Jimbo is eventually able to see the error in this way of thinking after the KKK arrives to help protest the changing of the flag. Stan's uncle then redeems himself further by convincing his silly group to do a complete 180-degree shift and fight to get rid of the terrible symbol. The plan works, but in the typical fashion of the series, the new flag is pretty much just as outrageous, but has stick figures of a few different colors performing a lynching to replace the solely white ones.

10. The priests don't want to stop molesting kids

"Red Hot Catholic Love" is the only episode of "South Park" to make this list twice, but for good reason. The side plot of characters pooping out of their mouths may be incredibly disgusting, but most will probably not find that as cringeworthy as the scene where a group of Catholic priests openly admit to having terribly inappropriate relations with children in a meeting organized by Father Maxi. Not only that, but the hypocritical "holy" men even go so far as to say that the solution is to stop the boys from speaking out instead of stopping their horrid behavior, to the great disappointment of the South Park priest.

While Father Maxi may signal that not everyone connected to the Catholic hierarchy is a child molester, the episode as a whole remains a damning critique on the coverups within the faith. The creators addressed the sick subject again in the more recent episode "A Boy and a Priest" from Season 22. But just like every other controversial topic the show addresses, it's never quite as shocking after the first time.

9. Kyle Broflovski becomes black and tall through surgery

In the ninth season episode "Mr. Garrison's Fancy New Vagina," "South Park” introduces the new cringe-inducing term — negroplasty. On top of a wildly transphobic main plot that makes Dave Chappelle's Netflix specials look like "Boys Don't Cry" by comparison, Kyle Broflovski aspires to be a basketball player but cannot seem to make the cut. Therefore, the student athlete is inspired by his teacher Ms. Garrison to seek out surgery for an outrageous transformation.

Blackface is messed up as it is, but the use of a medical procedure to turn Kyle into a taller, black kid is even more so. When his buddies see him for the first time, they are a bit speechless, and the creators probably aimed to cause that reaction in the audience as well. It seems the downside of trafficking in deliberately shocking, edgy humor is sometimes it ages really, really badly. 

8. Eric Cartman pretends to be disabled

Even though "South Park" may be thoroughly upsetting to many, maybe creators still deserve credit for the way that they satirize or make fun of just about everything and everyone ... but it can get pretty cringey when the show doubles down on a group that already receives more ridicule than they deserve.

Especially via major recurring characters Timmy and Jimmy, the handicapped have received a fair share of jokes in the long history of the series. (In theory, you could make a case for Jimmy as a positive depiction of a handicapped person. Whether or not it would be a good case is a matter for a different article.) However, the mockery gets taken to a cringeworthy level in the episode "Up the Down Steroid" in Season 8. Once more, Cartman shows he is the worst by pretending to be disabled in order to compete in the Special Olympics. Not only that, but he also manages to manipulate his mother into helping him carry out the deception. Although all is made right as Cartman hilariously gets what he deserves, since he is so out of shape that he is unable to compete with any success.

7. Randy Marsh says the n-word on Wheel of Fortune

Even though Eric Cartman is responsible for most of the cringiest moments concerning racism in "South Park," Randy Marsh comes pretty close in "With Apologies to Jesse Jackson." In the 11th season episode, Stan's dad makes the ultimate slip-up when he makes an appearance on "Wheel of Fortune" and tries to solve a puzzle containing the hidden word "naggers" with the worst possible solution. Randy is then ridiculed by society until he is protected and supported by others who notoriously used the hateful word, like comedian Michael Richards and disgraced former L.A.P.D. detective Mark Fuhrman.

It's not like it's the first time, nor will it be the last, that the series bluntly addresses a delicate subject, however, hearing the word used as openly as it is certainly generates some cringing. The creators then double down on the word to make their point in a pretty extreme way. Whether or not you think their point is successful, it's still uncomfortable to hear a usually lovable comedic television character use a racial slur so many times.

6. The Woodland Critters have a blood orgy

As they often brilliantly do, the creators of "South Park" took a concept and completely flipped it on its head for the "Woodland Critter Christmas" episode in the eighth season. Instead of a typical holiday special, the cute, festive animal characters soon become the stuff of nightmares. After Stan Marsh helps them slay the mountain lion standing in their way, the protagonist realizes in horror how grave of an error he has made as the Critters reveal themselves as Satan worshipers.

At that moment, things get real dark real quick when the Critters proclaim that they will celebrate by sacrificing Rabbity, who seems just as excited about it as the rest of them. The disturbing imagery is then pushed to the max by the animals as they happily engage in an orgy with the pools of blood formed from their comrade offered up to the Lord of Darkness.

From then on, the episode continues to showcase more from Cartman's deranged mind as he tells his horrific Christmas tale, which includes the utterly unsettling abortion of Kyle Broflovski. But after witnessing a bunch of cuddly creatures performing a blood orgy, it's hard to be as affected by the other shocking moments.

5. Kyle Broflovski becomes a part of the HumanCentiPad

Of course, "South Park" had to parody one of the most extreme horror films of all time. In "HumanCentiPad" from Season 15 — the show's comedic twist on the premise of "The Human Centipede" — Kyle Broflovski unwittingly signs away more than his freedom after he fails to read the user agreement for his iPad. He is then kidnapped by Apple and used in the ghastly experiment of Steve Jobs to create the all-new product, the HumanCentiPad.

Although it's not nearly as grotesque as the live-action film, the cartoonish depiction of the three victims joined mouth to butt is still quite disturbing and cringeworthy. As if the concept wasn't gross enough, the showrunners had fun with the idea with scenarios like the first person in the HumanCentiPad forced to make the decision of whether to eat vanilla paste or cuttlefish and asparagus. It's not difficult to guess which one he chose.

4. Eric Cartman dresses up as Hitler

A few episodes from Season 8 have made this list and the "The Passion of the Jew" is the cringiest of them all for good reason. While Mel Gibson's absurd antics are more hilarious than anything else, as well as the (barely) comically exaggerated scenes of his controversial film, the direction that Eric Cartman takes is downright grim. As is often the case, the creators manage to make Cartman's impersonation of Hitler quite funny, but at the same time, it is also a bit unnerving to watch the child giving speeches in German and marching through the street dressed as the genocidal leader.

In retrospect, it would be more surprising if Cartman did not imitate his idol at some point given all of his other deplorable actions. And it wasn't even the first time since he dressed up as Hitler for Halloween in the first season episode "Pinkeye," but the level he takes it the second time around is certainly more shocking.

3. Butters goes to a religious conversion therapy camp

For the 11th season episode, "Cartman Sucks," the creators of "South Park" rode the very fine line between comedy and tragedy. As usual, their satire sparks laughter, but the serious and dark subject matter about the horrors of gay conversion therapy can cause a fair amount of cringe as well.

The story goes that Cartman, in his endless stupidity, thinks he is pranking Butters big time, but he just makes a fool out of himself. Kyle convinces Cartman that the only way to redeem himself is to get Butters to put his mouth on his penis. Cartman believes the ruse, but as he's trying to trick Butters into doing it, the boy's father walks in and catches them in the act. Butters' dad thinks his son is gay, so he brings him to a religious camp and Butters gets subjected to all the messed-up things that happen in those kinds of places.

One scene in particular is difficult to watch because it comes out of nowhere. Just as Butters is about to be introduced to his new camp companion, it is revealed that the would-be camp companion has very recently ended his own life. Even though we usually cheer "South Park" on for not holding back, a moment like this will always be difficult to watch, even if it's making an important point about conversion therapy.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ by dialing 988 or by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

2. Cartman shoots Tolkien

Eric Cartman has done all sorts of extremely racist things throughout the years, but arguably the worst is when he shoots Tolkien Black in "World War Zimmerman." The 17th season episode parodies the horror action flick, but in place of zombies, Cartman has nightmares that the chaos will be from a near imminent race war. After his night terrors spread to when he dozes off in school and yells specifically about Tolkien, Cartman only makes things worse by acting friendly in a forceful way, which only increases the tension between the two.

Everything culminates once Tolkien confronts Cartman in the street and Cartman hints at the horrible thing he's about to do when he draws a red circle around his space. Even worse, the mischievous fat kid then tricks Tolkien into coming closer for a fist bump, only to then shoot him for stepping over the red line. Given the current events at the time, the scene is sure to cause a lot of cringe.

1. Eric Cartman feeds Scott Tenorman his own parents

Eric Cartman has done all sorts of monstrous things in the long history of "South Park," but it would be difficult to argue any of them were worse than what he does to get revenge on poor Scott Tenorman. Early on, in the Season 5 episode "Scott Tenorman Must Die," the older kid in the neighborhood not only makes a fool out of Cartman several times, but also tricks him out of cash, which infuriates the pudgy troublemaker more than anything else.

As the two go back and forth with Tenorman getting the best out of the exchanges, it only makes sense that Cartman would feel the need to redeem himself and finally get the upper hand. But the way he ultimately gets revenge is so absolutely horrific that far from just being cringy, the brutal yet strangely awesome act might make some viewers sick to their stomach.

Cartman's vile plot is revealed during the Chili Con Carnival when he orchestrates a cook-off between himself and his bully. Tenorman mistakenly thinks that he has once again duped his younger victim — this time into eating his pubes — but is mortified when he discovers that the massacred remains of his mom and dad are cooked into the chili he had otherwise been enjoying. The creators of the show love to push the envelope, but it's safe to say that Cartman tricking a bully into eating his own parents might be going too far ... but this time, in a good way.