It’s safe to say South Park has drastically changed since its first season in 1997. Considering how long the show has been on the air, it doesn’t come as much of a surprise that Matt Stone and Trey Parker’s series has been through many significant transformations. Yet, according to the show’s creators, one particular episode has altered South Park the most. Can you guess which episode they’re referring to?
How many ‘South Park’ episodes are there currently?
There are currently 309 episodes of South Park, according to The AV Club. In total, there has been 23 seasons of the animated series, and Parker and Stone never gave up their creative control as the head writers for South Park.
As Parker and Stone grew up and matured, so did the series itself. In fact, the series creators are much more proud of their more recent episodes than their older body of work.
According to Parker, he even thinks the first three seasons of his comedy series are “terrible.”
“If I had to permanently erase anything from the library, it would basically be anything before Season Four,” Parker told Entertainment Weekly. “It’s just embarrassing to watch. OK, we were, like, 26, 27. But it’s like, ‘Really? We thought that was funny? We thought that was well-written? Oh my god, this is terrible.’”
Which ‘South Park’ episode changed the series the most?
According to Parker and Stone, one of the most monumental episodes of South Park is “Scott Tenorman Must Die.”
Not only did the episode drastically change the formatting of the show, but it also changed Eric Cartman as a character.
During a commentary video on fan-favorite episodes, Parker and Stone discuss “Scott Tenorman Must Die.”
“I remember ‘Scott Tenorman must Die’ for us was a big milestone in South Park,” said Parker, “because it was the first time we realized, maybe we’re trying to do too much in episodes. And it was the first time we were like, ‘Wow, there’s not a C story in this. We’ve just got this one A story of Cartman vs. this guy, and it turned out so good that we really from then on started to say, ‘Let’s forget B stories, let’s forget C stories.’ For a while, we were just thinking, ‘let’s just do a really well told A story.’ That was the biggest lesson we learned from that episode.”
The episode transformers Eric Cartman as a character
Before “Scott Tenorman Must Die,” Eric Cartman wasn’t a villainous character. Sure, he was the crudest of the four boys, but he wasn’t psychotic by any means. Yet, in this episode, it transforms Cartman from being an oblivious kid to an evil genius. For the first time, Kyle, Stan, and Kenny fear their friend.
“And I know that the reason that a lot of the fans picked this episode was because it’s such a Cartman-defining show,” said Parker. “When it first came out, there was a big kind of war between the fans,” he explains. He talks about how some fans hated the fact that the main character could do such a terrible thing, yet others thought it was a fascinating twist.
“At the end of that show,” says Stone, “you’re like ‘OK, nothing is ever going to be the same with that character again.”
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