Love Him or Hate Him, but Eric Cartman Is the Best Part of South Park

Love Him or Hate Him, but Eric Cartman Is the Best Part of South Park

South Park’s Eric Cartman is the poster child for everything wrong with the world. He’s a racist, sexist, Kyle-hating, mass-murdering, sociopathic maniac who’ll do just about anything to make his life a tad bit more fun. He’s got a voice like nails on a chalkboard, has absolutely no moral compass, and is very much the antichrist to those worried about political correctness in media. And yet, Eric Cartman is undoubtedly the greatest thing about South Park.

Cartman is exactly the type of character you’re supposed to hate, especially in this day and age. So, how can someone so utterly despicable be so entertaining to watch? Why can’t we take our eyes away from this diabolical little monster? Let’s break it down.

All The Best South Park Episodes Are Centered Around Eric Cartman

Eric Cartman in South Park

Think about the most iconic South Park episodes. “Scott Tenorman Must Die,” for instance, where Cartman decides to fast-track puberty by purchasing pubic hair from Scott Tenorman, and when he realizes he’s been conned, he tricks Scott into eating his own parents. Or “Marjorine,” where he makes Butters fake his death and dress up as a girl to infiltrate a slumber party, which leads to Butters’ parents thinking he’s going to be reborn as the spawn of Satan. Or “The Passion of the Jew,” where he watches The Passion of the Christ and decides to kill all the Jews.

So many great episodes are anchored on his horrible antics. There’s also “Fishsticks,” “Make Love, Not Warcraft,” “Christian Rock Hard,” “The Coon,” “Casa Bonita,” “Go God Go,” “Cartoon Wars,” “Le Petit Tourette,” and more. So basically any episode that features Cartman at his worst is automatically an iconic episode of the series.

Without Cartman, South Park Would Get Really Boring Really Fast

Trey Parker in South Park

South Park thrives on satire and pushing boundaries. And Cartman is the embodiment of that. He’s the unfiltered id unleashed. Imagine the show without him — there’s nothing because Cartman is South Park. Sure, Stan, Kyle, and Kenny would still be there, but how long could they milk the “Kenny dies” joke before it curdled? Stan and Kyle are usually so fun to watch because they’re the voices of reason (as reasonable as things get in South Park) in direct contrast to Cartman.

We’d have Randy doing his thing, and Butters would still be his cute, innocent self. But strip away Cartman from South Park’s iconic arcs, and what are you left with? The Black Friday trilogy wouldn’t have its hilarious console wars. And “Member Berries,” where Kyle’s dad trolls everyone as SkankHunt42, wouldn’t be as hilarious without everyone thinking it’s Cartman. Without him, South Park would lose its edge and devolve into just another run-of-the-mill sitcom.

Even in episodes where he’s not the central focus, Cartman steals the show. on. Take “With Apologies to Jesse Jackson,” for instance, where the main plot revolves around Randy saying the n-word on national TV. But Cartman steals the spotlight trying to start a race war between Tolkien and Stan. And when a little person visits the school for sensitivity training, his unhinged reaction is pure comedy gold. Then consider the Post Covid specials, which focused on a new strain of the virus, the mysterious Victor Chaos, and the rise of Alexas. Yet, the star of the show was Cartman. He’d converted to Judaism and become a rabbi, which quickly became the most iconic thing out of the entire arc.

Cartman’s Over-the-Top Absurdity Makes for Great Television

Trey Parker South Park Post Covid

Eric Cartman’s narcissism, racism, utter disregard for social norms, and extreme hatred for Kyle are so over-the-top absurd, and that’s what makes South Park so entertaining to watch. He’s the only cartoon character you can imagine faking a disability for the Special Olympics, completely disregarding his future self’s advice, training a horse to bite his bully’s penis off, driving his counselor’s wife to commit suicide, or peeing in Kyle’s mouth to give him AIDS. Yes, he’s pretty much the devil incarnate, and if he were real, you’d make sure he was left on an island far away from any civilization. But as a character, he’s just plain hilarious.

This is why Sheldon (Jim Parsons) is the best part of The Big Bang Theory. This is why Michael Scott (Steve Carell) is the best part of The Office. And of course, this is why Eric Cartman is the best part of South Park. The wildly erratic and unpredictable nature of these characters juxtaposed against a (relatively) sane world is what makes these shows shine.

Cartman is a mirror held up to American society. Most times, it’s a heavily warped carnival mirror, but other times, it’s surprisingly spot-on. And what everyone sees is ‘some guy they know’ who is like Cartman. He’s the prime example of what is often wrong with us as a society. Cartman is us. And we can’t help but love our own reflection, even when we don’t particularly like what we see in the mirror. All the dumb, inappropriate stuff that crosses our minds, comes out of his mouth, and that’s precisely why Cartman is the best part of South Park. Also check out these top 10 South Park episodes, ranked.

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