Eric Cartman, the infamous character from South Park, has been a fan favorite since the show’s inception in 1997. Creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone have even cited him as their favorite character. Known for his lazy, arrogant, anti-Semitic, and foul-mouthed demeanor, Cartman has evolved into a more amoral character over the years, displaying signs of racism, xenophobia, and psychopathy. Despite his villainous tendencies, there have been instances where Cartman has surprisingly saved the day. Here are six times Eric Cartman was actually the hero on South Park.
1. Rescuing His Class from Rainforest Natives (Rainforest Shmainforest)
In one of the earliest episodes, Cartman and his classmates are forced to participate in an activist trip to save the Rainforest. Cartman’s difficult behavior leads him to abandon his class, but this ultimately results in him finding help and returning to save his friends from a tribe of rainforest natives called the Yanagapa. This heroic act may have earned Cartman some respite from the fat jokes.
2. Convincing Sally Struthers to Change Her Ways (Starvin’ Marvin in Space)
Sally Struthers, portrayed as a Jabba the Hutt-like character, is in charge of a food drive for starving Ethiopians but uses it as a front to hoard food for herself. When the boys try to help Starvin’ Marvin and the other Ethiopians escape Earth, they are attacked by Struthers and a group of missionaries. Cartman’s rare moment of empathy and touching speech inspire Struthers to have a change of heart, freeing the boys and allowing them to escape.
3. Driving Hippies Out of South Park (Die Hippie, Die)
Cartman’s hatred for hippies is well-known, and when they begin migrating to South Park, he takes it upon himself to hunt them down and imprison them. Although his actions initially backfire, Cartman ultimately saves the town by instructing the adults to build a giant drill and playing Slayer to disperse the hippies.
4. Stopping Adults from Fighting Each Other (I’m a Little Bit Country)
Assigned to give a speech about the Founding Fathers’ view on the Iraq War, Cartman goes to great lengths to avoid studying. However, his eventual discovery of the Founding Fathers’ perspective leads him to give a heartfelt speech that stops the adults from rioting. In this rare moment, Cartman not only ends the fighting but also delivers an educational speech.
5. Humiliating and Defeating Osama Bin Laden (Osama Bin Laden Has Farty Pants)
In a fantastical turn of events, Cartman and the boys find themselves in Afghanistan as prisoners of Osama Bin Laden. Cartman takes matters into his own hands, using Looney Tune-like antics to trick Bin Laden into a series of bizarre situations, ultimately leading to his demise. In this instance, Cartman becomes an unlikely hero by taking down one of the world’s most notorious terrorists.
6. Defeating Saddam Hussein (South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut)
Cartman’s heroics don’t stop with Osama Bin Laden. When Satan and Saddam Hussein ascend from Hell to take over Earth, Cartman uses his newfound power from a malfunctioning V-Chip to defeat Saddam with profanity-fueled energy bolts. This leads to Saddam being thrown back into Hell by Satan, saving the day once again.
Despite his many flaws, Eric Cartman has proven that even the most unlikely characters can have their moments of heroism. His antics continue to entertain fans, and while he may mature in the future, it’s safe to say that a more well-behaved Cartman just wouldn’t be the same.
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