Oh my god, they killed Geek Dave!
Returning tomorrow night for its 19th season is one of the most consistently funny, satirical shows US television has ever bought us, and it's a cartoon!
Sure nowadays there are loads of animated shows that claim to offer cutting edge laughs, but all of them must bow down to South Park. The little cable show that gave us Stan, Kyle, Cartman and Kenny, four potty mouthed school kids, still has the ability to shock and make us laugh out loud. At lot of that has to do with the many ancillary characters that populate the town of South Park, characters we've come to know and love as much as (sometimes more than) the main four kids.
There are absolutely dozens of supporting characters to choose from but I've whittled it down to 10. Those who came close to contention include; Mr. Mackey (mmmkay?), Mr Slave, Tweek, Craig, Wendy, Officer Barbrady, Sergeant Yates, Sheila Broflovski, Ike Broflovski, Jesus, Towlie, Ugly Bob and of course Terrance and Phillip.
But the top ten starts with...
10. Mr Slave
At a time when the character of Mr Garrison could've become a little dull and repetitive, Trey Parker and Matt Stone wisely introduced a gay lover for our favourite school teacher. Mr Slave, who looks remarkably like the Leather Joy Boy from the Village People, spends an awful lot of time having things inserted into his anus, including both Paris Hilton and our next character...
The gerbil belonging to the fourth grade class at South Park Elementary has been on Tolkien-esque adventures. 'The Death Camp of Tolerance' episode from Season 6 remains one of the funniest to this day, combine that with his later appearance in Season 15's 'Bass to Mouth' when he faced off against his big brother Wikileaks, and you've got two great reasons why this little gerbil makes the top 10.
8. Big Gay Al
Who doesn't know the words to "I'm Super"? Big Gay Al first appeared way back in the fourth ever episode of South Park, running an animal sanctuary for unwanted gay pets. Possibly the most stereotypical of all the South Park characters, Big Gay Al was at the centre of the
big gay controversy surrounding gay Boy Scout Leaders, but as times changed the show reflected that and he married Mr Slave.
From flamboyant to plain blunt. Token Black is the token black child at South Park Elementary. Let's face it, how many other shows could get away with doing this? Token can't help but laugh at Tyler Perry jokes and he also has a natural
ability to play bass. He's also super rich, quite lonely and a great character for Matt and Trey to tackle race issues with.
Initially appearing as a rival for Timmy, Jimmy quickly developed into a strong character in his own right. Jimmy always rises above his disability, even though his
speech impediment often gets the biggest laughs, with "Stan says you’re a cont-" being one of the funniest moments the show has given us. Jimmy is also an aspiring stand-up comedian, and the creator of the world's funniest joke - "Fishsticks".
5. Mr Garrison
No other character has been through as much as Mr Garrison (except maybe Lemmiwinks - but in a different way!) Throughout the year's we've seen the very inappropriate South Park Elementary school teacher as a straight guy with a homophobic streak, a gay man in denial, an openly gay man, a transgender woman with a homophobic streak, a
trans lesbian who had a one night stand with Persian club owner Xerxes, and finally changing back to being a
straight guy. He teaches the work of Captain & Tennille and is often the source of the crudest jokes seen on the show, but that's why we love him!
Oh Chef, how we miss you. Salisbury Steak day has not been the same since... well... you know... Scientology. He was always there to teach the kids the important lessons in life, or just to sing about his Chocolate Salty Balls. He was really the heart of the show for those early seasons, and it would be great to hear Isaac Hayes back for a chorus or two of Simultaneous Lovin', but... well... you know... Scientology.
Think Groot can display a lot of emotions with three words? Watch Timmy do it better with just one! This is a huge credit to the writers, and something often overlooked because we're too busy laughing. But never at Timmy, always with him. Name another show that has two well developed funny disabled characters? Don't think you can.
2. Randy Marsh
If ever one character could support his own spin-off show it is Randy Marsh. Stan's Dad began as a pretty straight laced parent but as the year's have gone on he's got wilder and wilder. From his unfeasibly large testicles, his Broadway musical, buying Blockbuster, his days as Steamy Ray Vaughn, his days as Lorde, taking on Bat-Dad, Sarcastaball, and his failed career as a Food Network star. The list goes on and on. Consistently funny, Randy Marsh we salute you...
How could anyone else be number 1? Butters Stotch is pretty much the fifth character on the show. He rarely catches a break, and like Randy there are just so many reasons to love the character. That time he was violently probed, that time he got a ninja star in the eye, that time his Grandma bullied him, that time he was peed on, that time he was Snookie's pet, that time he was locked in a fridge, and that time he had to go to the "Pray The Gay Away" Camp after his Dad found him on the receiving end of one of Cartman's 'pranks'. And so many many more reasons. Always funny, brilliantly written, and we haven't even mentioned his alter-ego Professor Chaos. Poor Butters, never have we enjoyed laughing so much at one poor child's misfortunes. Is there something wrong with me?
Which are your favourite South Park recurring characters?
The best Parks and Recreation recurring characters
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