Many of South Park’s most popular episodes come from the show’s later seasons—such as episodes like Scott Tenorman Must Die, Casa Bonita, and Raisins. But South Park is a long running show and its earlier seasons, though often different in tone from the later episodes of the show, have some great gems that fans of the show new and old alike shouldn’t miss. Let’s look at some of the best episodes from South Park’s first three seasons!
Season 1: Mr. Hankey, the Christmas Poo
This is the very first episode where Mr. Hankey–yes, the talking piece of poop–made his appearance. In this episode, Kyle is feeling blue because he is from the only Jewish family in town and, as such, is the only kid who is not celebrating Christmas. But his spirits are lifted by Mr. Hankey, even if no one else believes in him. This episode is silly and crude, but has a certain comedic poignancy that many children who feel excluded from holidays can identify with. Even if they can’t identify with believing in something as ridiculous (and gross) as Mr. Hankey.
Season 2: Spookyfish
In this episode, creatures and people from an alternate universe where everything is opposite begin appearing in South Park. A nice version of Cartman–complete with a silly beard–appears, as does an evil, murderous goldfish that begins murdering people in the town. The best moments of the episode occur during the reveal of the evil goldfish, which appears closer and closer each time Stan opens his eyes, eventually fogging up his own bowl and writing ‘KILL’ on the side. The episode contains some hilarious and well written references to the classic film The Bad Seed as well.
Season 3: The Red Badge of Gayness
Cartman hasn’t always quite been as intense as he is in later episodes of South Park, but he has always been one thing: stubborn and willing to go to great lengths to get what he wants. In this episode, Cartman makes a bet with Stan and Kyle that the Confederate side will win the Civil War in this year’s reenactment. To achieve this, he persuades the Confederate re-enactors to not only win the town’s reenactment battle but to continue reenacting across the south, capturing cities and winning battles that the Confederacy lost during the real Civil war.