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South Park's Most Pause-Worthy Moments

From what started as a crude animated show with a talking poop, "South Park" has grown into a fully fledged entertainment behemoth. The franchise encompasses everything from video games and merchandise to the hugely popular television series. Despite all of its success and evolution over the years, the series has remained fairly consistent as a story about four young boys who find themselves caught up in increasingly bizarre and outlandish events.

Created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone in the late 1990s, "South Park" has developed a reputation for its vulgar humor, controversial storylines, and dark themes. At the same time, it has also become a television show that isn't afraid of speaking out about events and showcasing things that might not otherwise be addressed on TV. All of that means that viewers often get to see some truly impressive and shocking moments that just beg to be paused so that you can take everything in.

Whether it's a horrifying scene that you can't take your eyes away from, a hidden joke in the background of the scene, or just an unexpected event you didn't expect to see, the pause button will certainly get plenty of use in these "South Park" moments.

The anime sequences in Good Times with Weapons

One of the highlights of the eighth season of "South Park," the episode "Good Times with Weapons" was first broadcast in 2004 and remains one of the most popular installments in the entire series. After visiting the county fair, the boys trick a vendor into giving them a variety of dangerous weapons. Using their new equipment, which includes a shuriken, a pair of blades, and a set of nunchaku, the boys pretend they are ninjas and battle against their arch nemesis Professor Chaos.

While this is an interesting concept on its own, what really ensures that "Good Times with Weapons" stands out is its use of an anime style of animation for the action-packed battle sequences. The aesthetic is genuinely impressive and might tempt viewers to pause and rewind to watch them a second time.

Then, of course, there is the tense moment when a shuriken flies into Butter's eye and the stylized imagery immediately drops to reveal the full horror of what has happened to the youngster. From then on, there are several tragic but hilarious scenes of Butters in awful situations as the rest of the gang tries to hide what they have done, even disguising him — very poorly — as a dog.

Hidden aliens in the town

Aliens have played a major role in "South Park" since the very beginning of the show. In fact, the first episode is titled "Cartman Gets an Anal Probe" and shows the character being probed by aliens as well as Ike being abducted. This prompts the gang to try and stop the aliens and rescue Ike, with the visitors making a number of on-screen appearances. Yet, this isn't the only time that these pesky extraterrestrials can be seen — they have been hidden in more than 100 episodes of the show.

The sheer frequency of the alien Easter eggs prompted some fans to believe there is a visitor to be found in every single episode, although that theory has since been refuted by South Park Studios. That hasn't stopped people from trying to hunt down every single hidden reference to them though. These creatures can often be found lurking in the background of scenes or hiding in large crowds, although they also make appearances in posters and occasionally even in plain sight. Finding any of them is more than worthy of a quick pause as a way of congratulating yourself on a job well done.

The gang playing World of Warcraft

"South Park" has never been afraid of poking fun at popular forms of media and cultural phenomena, so it only seemed like a matter of time before they got round to mocking "World of Warcraft." That moment finally came in the Season 10 episode "Make Love, Not Warcraft." The boys start to play the online game excessively in an attempt to gain enough experience to beat a high-level griefer who is ruining the fun for everyone else in the town.

Over the course of two months, they spend almost every waking hour in the game and rarely leave their computers, leading to some interesting images of the group, who are now acne-ridden and obese due to a lack of physical exercise. Much of the action is displayed through the actual "World of Warcraft" game and the show used machinima to create some very distinctive scenes you wouldn't normally see in an episode of the show.

There are plenty of funny moments that will have viewers laughing out loud. Trey Parker was convinced it was terrible, but it has become a fan favorite, even winning an Emmy Award. Perhaps the most disgusting moment comes when Cartman's mom comes with a bucket to collect her son's excrement as he won't even get up to go to the toilet.

Cartman sells black market KFC

The way that "South Park" is created, with episodes able to be written, animated, and voiced in a single week, means that they can stay more current than almost any other animated series. So when marijunua legalization and attempts to restrict fast food sales were making the news in Detroit, Parker and Stone created "Medicinal Fried Chicken" to highlight the absurdities of both issues.

There are two distinct stories that take place in the episode. Randy attempts to gain a medical referral so he can purchase marijuana by purposely giving himself testicular cancer so that his testicles grow to an enormous size. Meanwhile, Cartman sets up a black market to sell KFC to those who want their fix of fast food in a narrative that parodies "Scarface."

The two plots set up some quite brilliant moments, with Cartman playing the part of a mob boss to perfection and Randy just being his usual self. Standout parts include Randy jumping around on his grotesque testicles as a space hopper to get around the town, the character being unable to fit through the marijuana dispensary doors, and Cartman getting involved in a firefight with hitmen sent by Colonel Sanders.

Lots of dead celebrities

With its rather on-the-nose name, the episode "Dead Celebrities" features a collection of well known individuals who all happened to pass away in the year 2009. The plot largely focuses on Ike and the ghosts of these dead celebrities that are haunting him, with the main characters attempting to rid the younger child of the troubling spirits. Ultimately, this can only be achieved when Michael Jackson comes to accept his death and agrees to move on, allowing all of the dead celebrities waiting in purgatory to be transported to the other side.

The reason that viewers may want to pause this moment is simply because of its blink-and-you-miss-it nature. The entire raft of celebrities is only shown very briefly as the action focuses on the likes of Billy Mays, Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, and Patrick Swayze, meaning it is difficult to see all of the faces clearly during a normal viewing. Those who do take their time will find famous figures ranging from DJ AM and Les Paul to game show host Ed McMahon and actor Beatrice Arthur. There's a total of 17 celebrities in purgatory according to Fandom, so why not try and see if you can spot them all?

The Simpson-ising of South Park

With 24 seasons under its belt, "South Park" has become one of the longest-running and most successful animated series in the world. But when compared to "The Simpsons," it is clear that it still has some way to go to be crowned king — at least in terms of the sheer number of episodes. Technically a sequel to the episode "Professor Chaos," "The Simpsons Already Did It" satires the way that the other series has already done so many different storylines. Butters is simply unable to come up with any sort of original plan for world domination that hasn't previously been featured on "The Simpsons."

When every one of his schemes is revealed to be an homage to "The Simpsons," Butters snaps and begins to hallucinate, seeing every person in the town of South Park as if they were characters from "The Simpsons." This leads to some unique moments where the likes of Cartman, Kenny, Kyle, and Stan are colored yellow and have a friendlier and more rounded look than they usually do. Many fans will no doubt have gone back to see how the characters morphed and what "South Park" might have been like with a different style.

The woodland creatures massacre

Although "South Park" hasn't always featured Christmas episodes in every season, there have been some notable exceptions. One of those is "Woodland Critter Christmas," a 2004 episode that was broadcast as part of Season 8 of the series. When Stan comes across a group of adorable talking creatures in the woods, he begins to help them prepare for Christmas by doing a variety of tasks. Things soon escalate and, before long, Stan finds himself attempting to kill a mountain lion in order to protect Porcupiney the Porcupine and her unborn child, who the critters believe is their savior.

It is only after Stan has murdered the lion that the animals reveal they are actually Satanists and perverted killers whose savior is the Antichrist. They quickly decide to sacrifice one of their members to Satan, cutting open the cute rabbit's stomach and eating his flesh before proceeding to engage in a twisted orgy on the blood and guts that have spilled on the floor. Despite the fact that there's no denying this is a shocking scene, it is hard to take your eyes off the screen thanks to the juxtaposition between how charming the little creatures are and the terrible things they are doing.

The table showing how much the boys have grown

The fourth episode of Season 15, "T.M.I." opens with Cartman going on an angry rant after discovering that the school has posted the results of their recent annual physicals on a chart. The table is meant to show how much each of the male students has grown over the course of the last year in inches, but Cartman and the other boys believe it is actually publicizing the size of their privates.

Cartman organizes a second physical that he personally conducts, measuring the actual penis size of all of his classmates. When he finds himself bottom of the list once again, he overreacts and is sent to anger management classes. Along with Randy and other members of the class who suffer from anger issues, he begins a wave of protests around the country that is only stopped when the government revises the average penis size of the nation downwards to 1.5 inches to the satisfaction of all those involved.

Pausing on both lists is essential if you want to see all the information provided by the creators of the show. The chart contains the last names of all the male children, stating for the first time several of their surnames. This means that fans now know that Timmy's second name is Burch, for example.

What Scientologists actually believe

"South Park" has never been a show that's afraid to push boundaries and be offensive, but it is an equal opportunity offender that pokes fun at all sections of society rather than targeting any one particular group. So it was only a matter of time before the series got round to lampooning Scientology. After all, the show had previously poked fun at other religions and it was only fair that its attention was focused on this controversial set of beliefs at some point. That's exactly what the 2005 episode "Trapped in the Closet" did.

The plot of the episode sees Stan join Scientology and become a leader after his thetan levels are revealed to be exceptionally high. Famous Scientologists arrive at Stan's house, including Tom Cruise and John Travolta, while the show uses bizarre and colorful videos to explain some of the hidden aspects of the religion, such as the story of Xenu. This section is definitely something that people would watch over and over again, to fully appreciate the animation if nothing else.

Scott Tenorman discovering he has eaten his parents

Widely hailed as one of the best episodes of the entire series, "Scott Tenorman Must Die" sees Cartman take his penchant for excessive revenge and over-the-top schemes to extreme lengths. Part of the fifth season of "South Park," the episode follows Cartman as he brags about reaching puberty before his friends. What he's actually done is bought pubic hair from Scott Tenorman. When Stan, Kyle, and Kenny reveal that puberty involves growing your own pubic hair, Cartman is furious and demands his money back.

After Scott refuses to refund Cartman, he puts in place a masterful plan that is only fully revealed at the end of the episode. With multiple steps, the scheme involves Cartman revealing a fake plot to Stan and Kyle in the knowledge they will warn Scott, distracting them to allow him to put in place a far more wicked plan. At the final moment when Scott is eating what he believes is Chef's chili, Cartman reveals that he engineered for Scott's parents to be killed so he could grind them up into mince and feed them to his new enemy. The look of absolute horror on everyone's faces is something that can only be properly appreciated if you take the time to pause the action.

Chef's gruesome death

Chef had been a regular character on "South Park" since the very beginning but was missing during the final few episodes of the ninth season of the show. This came after Isaac Hayes quit his role shortly after the airing of "Trapped in the Closet," with the Church of Scientology member seemingly having misgivings about his beliefs being mocked. "The Return of Chef" saw the character return, although he was no longer the friendly mentor that he had once been to the children.

Over the course of the episode, it is revealed that Chef had joined the Super Adventure Club. This organization brainwashed him and essentially forced him to become a child abuser. Despite the attempts of the boys to rescue Chef and deprogram him, he attempts to return to the Super Adventure Club — but is killed just as he makes his decision and begins to cross the bridge to the group's headquarters.

His on screen death is no ordinary event either. The bridge is first struck by lightning, causing Chef to set alight before tumbling down a chasm onto jagged rocks. Landing on a spike that impales him through his stomach, the character is then set upon by a mountain lion and a grizzly bear as the two creatures rip off his limbs and even his face in what can only be described as a truly gruesome killing.

Seeing Imaginationland for the first time

Before "South Park" released its latest set of movies centered on the COVID-19 pandemic and the Streaming Wars, it looked as if there might not be any more feature-length installments of the show. "South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut" hit cineplexes in 1999 and it didn't seem like fans would get anything similar. The only time that the show got close was with the three-part story "Imaginationland."

These three episodes see the boys taken to the mysterious and wonderful world of Imaginationland, where all the creatures and beings made up by humans reside. In the show, this includes everything from cartoons to religious figures as well as evil characters who are trapped behind a barrier. However, Imaginationland is suddenly thrown into chaos when terrorists attack, killing many of the imaginary beings.

As one of the most epic episodes of "South Park" ever made, there is something in almost every scene to make you want to watch it twice. There's just so many crossovers and references to other properties, although highlights include the big battle sequences and the Council of Nine, which is made up of characters like Gandalf, Morpheus, Luke Skywalker, and Wonder Woman.

Seeing Kenny's face for the first time

After two successful seasons on Comedy Central, "South Park" was transported to the cinema screen with the release of "South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut" in 1999. The feature-length movie sees the group trying to rescue Terrance and Phillip after they are captured by the US army and scheduled for execution for causing a moral panic across the country. At the same time, Kenny encounters Satan and Saddam Hussein in Hell as the pair make final preparations for the end of the world.

Before the events of the film, Kenny had only ever been seen in his hooded parka and this almost completely covered his face and muffled his voice. That meant that fans had no idea what he looked or sounded like despite the fact that he had appeared in every episode of the show and been killed multiple times. At the conclusion of the story, Kenny saves the day, and, before returning to Hell, turns around to his friends to say an emotional goodbye. He fully removes his hood, revealing his face and true voice (provided by "Beavis and Butt-Head" and "King of the Hill" creator Mike Judge). It remains one of the most pause-worthy "South Park" moments to this day.