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For an incredible 22 seasons, Cartman, Stan, Kyle, and Kenny have been making us laugh hysterically and making us cringe regularly on South Park. Trey Parker and Matt Stones are the kings of political incorrectness and social take downs, and as such have created an unbelievable menagerie of awesome characters with which they can aim their cultural barbs.
But South Park is about a lot more than the daily lives and adventures of four 4th graders. It's about their families and the rest of the crazy citizens of their quiet, little, white-bred, redneck, mountain town.
We took the 25 best South Park characters and ranked them from bottom to top, and the bottom isn't very low, because there are lot of amazing characters on the show.
25. Stuart McCormick
South Park's biggest Scotch drinker and father of its poorest residents, Kenny, Stuart McCormick doesn't always play as big of a role as some of the other parents on the show, but when he does, he's usually hilarious.
Classic Quote: "Well, seeing as though Kenny passed away, maybe we should name him... Kenny."
24. Shelly Marsh
This is Stan's mean older sister who is basically never happy, with anything, ever, especially her little brother. It's probably the headgear that has her wound up so tight.
Classic quote: "You turd!"
23. Ms. Choksondik
Diane Makesmesick, er, Choksondik, was the boys' hated 4th grade teacher. Sadly, she has gone to the great elementary school in the sky.
Classic Quote: "MY NAME ISN'T MS. CHOKSONROCKS, IT'S CHOKSONDIK!"
22. Mr. Slave
Mr. Garrison's lover for a while, before he became Mrs. Garrison anyway, was Mr. Slave, a BDSM enthusiast with basically one catch phrase that is really funny every time he says it
Classic Quote: "Ooh, Jesus Christ!"
21. Ike Broflovski
Ike is the adopted younger brother of Kyle. He is, as is obvious by his detached jaw, Canadian by birth. Generally, he has been a background character with a stray line here or there, but over the years has taken on a bigger and bigger role, including having entire episodes dedicated to him, like "Royal Pudding." He's turned into a very funny and angry foil to Kyle (and America in general).
Classic Quote: "Don't kick the goddamn baby."
20. Officer Barbrady
The bumbling Chief Wiggum-type police officer on South Park, Officer Barbrady is always walking around town trying desperately (and usually failing) to keep the citizens of South Park calm and safe. He's the cartoon equivalent of Leslie Nielsen in The Naked Gun telling people that there is "nothing to see here" as the world burns behind them.
Classic Quote: "Okay, people, try to disperse in an orderly fashion, gee whiz."
19. Grandpa Marsh
Billy's... er... Stan's Grandpa, Marvin Marsh is a mean, senile, often suicidal old man that sometimes helps Billy... er... Stan, and sometimes fights him. As a leader of South Park's senior population, he fought the town when they tried to revoke all the senior's driver's licenses and is the leader of the town's Civil War re-enactment club.
Classic Quote: "I'll be Goddamned if they think they can take my license away!"
South Park's resident stereotypical beer drinking, gun-toting, war veteran redneck, Jimbo Kern is Randy Marsh's half brother and uncle to Stan. He is almost always seen in cahoots with his best bud, and fellow vet, Ned, and together they are usually on the fringes of society advocating for violence and/or drunkenness.
Classic Quote: "Dammit Ned, doesn't that thing have a volume control?"
17. Ned Gerblansky
He goes hand in hand with Jimbo. Just like Jimbo, Ned is the stereotypical beer drinking, gun-toting, war veteran redneck, but Ned is notable for two big differences: his voice box and his missing right arm, which he lost in 'Nam. Ned was a far bigger character in the early years and over the years his lines have all but disappeared. Of course, that means when he does talk, it's usually pretty hilarious.
Classic Quote: "It looks like my ex-wife."
16. PC Principal
PC Principal is the cartoon embodiment of an overly politically correct, angry "snowflake" or a "Bernie Bro," if you will. He's also the best new character introduced on the show in years. It took a little while for the character to find its footing, but once it did, he's been brilliant as the new principal of South Park Elementary.
Classic Quote: "Watch your micro-aggressions, bro!"
Chef, real name Jerome McElroy, is one of the all-time classics and would be much higher on this list if the actor who played him, the late, great Isaac Hayes, had not quit the show in a huff over the Scientology episode ("Trapped In The Closet"). Chef was the smooth talkin', soul singin', love makin' cafeteria cook who mentored the boys in all things life and love. Famous for his chocolate salty balls and other elementary school "delicacies," especially Salisbury steak, when Hayes left, it was an impossible hole to fill, so in true South Park irreverence, they brought him back as "Darth Chef" and cut together old lines from old episodes to make them new.
Classic Quote: "Hello there, children."
14. Mr. Mackey
The guidance counselor is usually a character in TV and movies that isn't taken very seriously, and Mr. Mackey is no exception. He's generally portrayed as a naive, bumbling teacher that is at least 5 steps behind the kids he is supposed to be counseling at South Park Elementary. Mr. Mackey is rarely a main character in a story, but is often a big part of anything that happens at school.
Classic Quote: "Drugs are bad, mmkay."
13. Tweek Tweak
Tweek is the tweaked out, over-caffeinated classmate of Kyle, Stan, Eric and Kenny. While he's not one of the core four members of the cast, he is almost always are part of the larger group of school kids whenever they up to no good, usually freaking out because he's had WAY too much coffee. Since season 19, he has been in a committed, but sometimes volatile relationship with Craig, his schoolmate at South Park elementary.
Classic Quote: "Oh man, that is way too much pressure!"
Jimmy Valmer is everyone's favorite handicapped standup comedian at South Park Elementary. He's a master of the terrible one-liner and really bad jokes, but he's also often a leader in various schemes thought up by the kids at school.
Classic Quote: "What a terrific audience!"
11. Token Black
Token's name says it all. In typical South Park satire, Token is one African-American in the group of South Park kids, and he comes from one of the only African-American families in town. They also happen to be one of the wealthiest families in town and Token often has all the newest toys and gizmos. It turns out he's a prolific bass player, despite never having played before, and is often on the receiving end of Cartman's worst barbs and insults, most of which he shrugs off though occasionally he does strike back harshly.
Classic Quote: "JESSE JACKSON IS NOT THE EMPEROR OF BLACK PEOPLE!"
10. Goth Kids
The Goth Kids are really four people, but they act almost always as one. One despondent, angry, sad, nihilistic group, The Goth Kids are cynical of the entire world they inhabit and frankly, really, really funny. They are very anti-Emo and sometimes rivals, sometimes allies with the Vamp Kids. They probably have names, but they don't matter. Does anything really matter?
Classic Quote: "If you wanna be one of the non-conformists, all you have to do is dress just like us and listen to the same music we do."
The bong-smoking, Funkytown-loving towel that gets the boys into all kinds of trouble, Towelie is a very minor character in the grand scheme of things, but every one of his episodes is a total classic. His cashed bloodshot eyes and serious weed addiction is at the center of everything Towelie does and despite what Cartman says, Towelie is definitely NOT the worst character ever.
Classic Quote: "Don't forget to bring a towel!"
8. Mr. Garrison
No character has gone though more changes than Mr. Garrison. He's gone from from Mr. Garrison to Ms. Garrison to Mr. Garrison to Mr. President over the length of the show's run. He's one of the oldest characters on the show, dating back to the very first episode. He's dated many men and women throughout the show and has struggled with his gender, his sexuality and just about everything else in his life, which has left him angry and bitter most of the time. He's cynical, prejudiced, and, hilarious.
Classic Quote: "There are no stupid questions, just stupid people."
7. Kenny McCormick
Kenny is, of course, one of the core four on the show. He is the high-pitched, mumbling, dirt poor, risk taking friend that will do almost anything for money, something Cartman often takes advantage of. He has also died 98 times over the course of the series (plus twice in the movie). Kenny is often more a prop than a character because almost everything that comes out of his mouth from behind his hood is unintelligible. There are exceptions, especially when he is the superhero Mysterion. He's absolutely classic South Park.
Classic Quote: ... You can actually sometimes kind of understand what he says, but really, what makes them great is what you think he says, so we'll leave it at that.
6. Timmy Burch
Timmy is the wheelchair-bound classmates of the four main boys who communicates exclusively with his own name, kind of like a Pokemon. With that in mind, here's what else you need to know about him: Timmy! TIMMY! Timmy? TimmmmAY!! Timmy. I think I've summarized him pretty effectively.
Classic Quote: "TIMMAY!"
5. Kyle Broflovski
One of the core four, a star of the show and the only Jewish kid in the group. As the only Jewish kid, he, like Token, is often on the receiving of the worst Cartman anti-Semitism that Cartman has to dish out. As one of the main members of the cast, Kyle has been through far too much to mention here, but suffice to say the show would be a very different one if it wasn't for the ginger with the trademark green hat. He is famous for reacting to Kenny's deaths with "YOU BASTARDS!" Like Stan, he is also often a moral center to the show, in stark contrast to Cartman.
Classic Quote: "Oh God dammit, Cartman."
For some reason, there are people that hate Butters Stotch. It makes no sense, as his character is consistently one of the funniest on the show. He didn't start as one of the main kids at South Park, but he has become of the most important characters on the show, with multiple story lines and episodes based on his actions. He's been kidnapped by Cartman, bullied by his grandmother, harassed by Awesom-O, and has been a part of almost every adventure the boys have been on since the beginning.
Classic Quote: "Oh hamburgers!"
3. Stan Marsh
If you had to pick one "main" character on South Park, it would probably have to be Stan Marsh. Stan and his family are more consistently the center of episodes than any other characters on the show. As a character, he is sort of like Lisa Simpson. He's not nearly as morally bankrupt as the rest of his friends and his humor is far more subtle than most of the characters, and it provides a spectacular contrast to the usually over-the-top humor of the show. He's not the straight man in a traditional sense, but he's not the cut-up either. He's the everyman. He's who most people think of as themselves on the show, which makes him maybe most important character, if not the funniest or the best.
Classic Quote: "Oh my God, they killed Kenny!"
2. Randy Marsh
By day, he's a boring geologist, but the rest of the time, he's a renaissance man of the first order. He's a guitar player, TV chef, Obama supporter, medical marijuana advocate, the pop singer Lorde, weed farmer, mall security guard on Black Friday, little league baseball brawler, online porn addict, novice World Of Warcraft player, Princess Leia, and most importantly, Stan's father. When the episode is based on Randy, you can almost guarantee it will be an instant classic.
Classic Quote: "I'm sorry, I thought this was America!"
1. Eric Cartman
He's fat. He's rude. He's racist. He's anti-Semitic. He is one of the worst people on Earth. And because of all of that, Cartman the best character on South Park. No one likes him, yet he's in the middle of everything. He's a disgusting bully that too often gets away with his terrible behavior and the world loves to hate him for it. There aren't enough words in the English language to describe just how terrible of a person he is. But there aren't enough to describe how funny the character is either. Cartman, more than anyone else, represents the best and the worst that South Park is. Yeah, he's really offensive, like the show is sometimes, but he's so funny when he is, the offensiveness isn't met with defensiveness, it's met with laughs. Lots of them. Would the world be a better place without him? Yep. Would it be worth it? No way.
Classic quote: "RESPECT MY ATHORITAH"
It's sad to leave out some of the other classic minor characters, like Sheila and Sharon, but that is testament to how funny all the characters are on the show. Let us know who your favorite is!