In my years of watching television, I have seen some of the best villains on television rise and fall. I’ve analyzed the villains in The Walking Dead. I’ve seen The Night King take over our feeds and (unfortunately) meet his demise all too quickly in Season 8 of Game of Thrones. I’ve become fans of antagonists along the way and occasionally almost cheered for them because I enjoy their backstories and who they are so much.
However, there’s one character in my life that I always felt was genuinely the worst kind of person, and that’s Eric Cartman from South Park.
While South Park, in and of itself, has some of the worst characters on television (morals-wise) and some super dark moments, no one can quite beat Cartman, the most vulgar, racist, and so much more out of the core four kids. But over many re-watches and random instances, I’ve come to realize that there are moments where Cartman does have a heart -- if only once in a while.
If you looked at this article and thought “how the hell does Eric Cartman, of all people, have a heart or be nice at all?”, you’re in for a rise. Check out these six moments down below.
When Cartman Saved A Bunch Of Cats From The DEA (Season 12, “Major Boobage”)
“Major Boobage” during Season 12 of South Park is certainly a crazy episode, where the use of cat urine has increased in the world of South Park as a way to get high. Because it ends up becoming a national craze, cats are then banned and taken into custody by the DEA to try and put a stop to it.
For ages, we have seen that Cartman has a cat, and when he finds out about this, he takes it upon himself to hide his own cat, Mr. Kitty, up in his attic. While the obvious reference to Anne Frank and the Holocaust is, well, obvious, it’s really what happens after that makes Cartman a genuinely nice person -- when he starts to take in cats from all over South Park to keep them safe.
It’s something you wouldn’t really expect from Cartman of all people, but he does it because he wants to make sure the cats aren’t taken.
When Cartman Unites The Town Despite Its Differences (Season 7, “I’m A Little Bit Country”)
The Season 7 episode, “I’m A Little Bit Country,” of South Park has never rang more true than it does today in our constant political divide. In one of the best South Park episodes, the town is actively divided over their thoughts on the Iraq War, creating mayhem and chaos. However, it’s not Kyle or Stan that saves the day -- no, it’s Eric.
Cartman, who was in the hospital after intentionally electrocuting himself in order to experience a flashback to the time of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, uses this strange experience and goes to the town square to say that even if we have differences, America is still awesome and there are ways to come around them. It’s ridiculous, how Cartman ends up being the person to unite the town over a strange dream he had, but yet, it works all the same and we get a pretty fun musical number after this, even if it wasn’t originally written by Trey Parker.
When Cartman Brought Disneyland To Romper (Season 4, “Cartman’s Silly Hate Crime 2000”)
In the Season 4 episode, “Cartman’s Silly Hate Crime 2000,” of South Park, Cartman ends up getting taken to juvenile prison because he accidentally ended up giving Token a black eye that was intended for Kyle through a thrown rock. This moment is considered a hate crime because Token is Black.
Cartman, while in prison, has to adapt to this new lifestyle as a smuggler that his roommate, Romper, makes him do. The two end up working together to try and find a way out as Romper never got to go to Disneyland. While their escape attempt doesn’t work, Cartman ends up getting pardoned by the Governor and Romper is returned back to behind bars. But Cartman, having felt bad for Romper, decides to do something nice for him and he, well, uh… defecates all of Disneyland into Romper’s cell so he could see the park.
Yeah, it’s disgusting. But it’s still something nice that Cartman did -- as gross as it is and makes me want to throw up.
When Cartman Legit Stops A Child Predator And Brings Ike Home (Season 10, “Miss Teacher Bangs A Boy”)
Mainly used as a parody of Dog the Bounty Hunter, the Season 10 episode, “Miss Teacher Bangs A Boy,” South Park really knocked it out of the park with this one. When Cartman is made the hall monitor at school, he takes the position a little too seriously, but it ends with Cartman finding out that Ike (Kyle’s little brother) is having a sexual relationship with his kindergarten teacher.
Even though Cartman catches them and makes the teacher confess to her horrid acts, she’s let off the hook quite quickly from rehab and a possible prison sentence and still ends up returning to Ike. Cartman takes this personally and works with both Kyle and the police to stop her from taking Ike on a trip to Milan. It ends with the police catching up to them, and the teacher falling to her death alone after Ike decides that this wasn’t worth dying over.
But wow, who would have thought that Cartman would go through all of that just to save Ike? But it just shows that sometimes, Cartman might just have morals – even if they’re only prompted by a strange cosplay of Dog the Bounty Hunter.
His Whole Arc During The Covid Specials
As part of the 2021 TV release schedule, the South Park co-creators released some of their COVID Specials that they had been working on with Paramount+ as part of that crazy deal from 2021. Both of them were released in late 2021 and featured the boys in a post-COVID world, and the big mystery was that Kenny, who was murdered as an adult, was trying to figure out how COVID started, and that brings everyone who is now old back to South Park.
Long story short, Eric has now converted to Judaism in this world and is a rabbi, and while at first, Kyle believes that he has just done this to torment him, we see over the next two specials that Cartman genuinely had changed. He had a whole family, and seemed to had grown up, all because of the pandemic. When it was revealed that they were trying to go back in time to find a way to prevent it, Cartman was adamant on not doing so, for fear of losing his family.
But he actually ends up letting it happen after his wife convinces him to. This type of stuff would never happen to old Cartman and yet, here he was, a changed man realizing that this was bigger than their family. It’s a real change – and it’s even sadder when we see what happened to Cartman when they did end up changing the outcome of the future.
When Cartman Helps Take Down Osama Bin Laden (Season 5, “Osama Bin Laden Has Farty Pants”)
The world after 9/11 was a scary place, and a pretty consistent name that you heard in the news was Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda. But as South Park does, they decided to use him a decent amount in their show and parody him – but this time, Cartman ended up helping take out the terrorist.
In the Season 5 episode, “Osama bin Laden Has Farty Pants,” the world is changed by 9/11 and the boys end up in Afghanistan to return a goat that four Afghan boys had sent to them through a charity program America set up. Cartman wants to “take care” of Bin Laden while they are there, and while at first it seems like a ridiculous idea, he actually does end up doing it in a series of funny animations that resemble a lot of cartoon propaganda from back in the 1940s, fighting against Bin Laden.
He somehow tricks the terrorist leader into wearing an Uncle Sam suit and holding a stick of dynamite, and the terrorists mistakes him for the actual Uncle Sam and shoots him, before the dynamite explodes, and Bin Laden is then killed by an America soldier.
While this wouldn't normally be considered a "nice guy" moment for regular people, I believe it fits with Cartman. When factoring in some of the awful things he's said and done throughout the series, any time Cartman does something that's not evil in South Park is worthy of a nice guy mention.
Cartman is truly one of the most ridiculous kids in TV history and pretty bad, but sometimes, he can be good. And honestly, even if I don’t see any more of these moments, it was nice to look back on them and think “wow, Cartman can sorta be nice sometimes.”
Your Daily Blend of Entertainment News
Big nerd and lover of Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire. Will forever hate season eight. Superhero and horror geek. And please don't debate me on The Last of Us 2, it was amazing!