?Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s megahit series has managed to stay popular and relevant for 15 seasons. This is largely due to the strength of South Park‘s writing and character development — particularly in the case of a chubby, misanthropic little mama’s boy named Eric Cartman, known to friend and foe alike as merely “Cartman.” This character has evolved from a mean, stupid fat kid with an alien transmitter dish up his ass–to a truly depraved, disturbingly antisocial, and flat-out dangerous criminal sociopath. Lots of cartoon kids get into mischief, break the rules, and cause trouble for their friends, families, and classmates — but Cartman is no Bart Simpson: His hijinks transcend mere tomfoolery and approach the level of crimes against humanity. Each season — Parker, Stone, and the writers of South Park seem to try their best to push the envelope of Cartman’s evil; his exploits grow more and more horrific as the years advance.
Now, with 15 years worth of shows to select from, it may seem odd that only seven incidents made the cut. Fact is, were I to do a list encompassing every immoral thing Cartman has done throughout the show’s history, it’d probably take a week to write, and be rather dull and repetitive. Minor infractions, like dressing as Hitler for Halloween, or pretending to be mentally handicapped in order to enter the Special Olympics, don’t even scratch the surface of the sheer malevolence this young monster is capable of.
Follow me, then, into the heart of cartoon darkness as we examine the seven most morally reprehensible things Eric Cartman has ever done.
7) Casa Bonita
A significant proportion of the terrible things Cartman does are done to either Kyle or Butters: Kyle, because he simply, truly despises him; Butters, because he can!
When Kyle announced he would be holding a birthday party at Cartman’s favorite restaurant — Casa Bonita (think of a Mexican-themed Chuck E. Cheese), Cartman knew the only way he could be invited would be to eliminate one of the guests. Coward that he is, he picked Butters. After convincing him a meteor was on its way to destroy South Park, he hid Butters in Stan’s Uncle Jimbo’s bomb shelter…When his absence was discovered, the birthday party was postponed, requiring Cartman to expand his lie yet further, until poor Butters is convinced he needs to hide in an abandoned refrigerator in order to protect himself from cannibalistic radioactive mutants.
Cartman terrified and traumatized a kind-hearted little boy, not to mention panicked an entire town, just so he could eat tacos and watch cliff divers… was it worth it? In his own words: “Totally!”
6) Crack Baby Athletic Association
Often, Cartman is most despicable when he honestly believes he’s doing good. Such is the case with the Crack Baby Athletic Association. It’s exactly what it sounds like: Cartman takes crack-addicted infants and has them play basketball for the amusement of sick bastards on the Internet. Far as he’s concerned, he’s taking children no one cares about and giving them a useful purpose in life — perverse as it sounds, he truly believes this! What’s worse, he was even able to very nearly convince perennial archenemy Kyle that so horrible an enterprise was morally justified, and actually took him on as a partner for a time!
5) The Passion of the Jew
Cartman’s anti-Semitism and affection for Hitler was hardly news at the time this episode came out, but up until then, it had been little more than a mere background gag — nothing to be taken seriously. But when Cartman re-invented himself as the President of the Mel Gibson Fan Club, and started holding meetings and rallies where he exhorted simple, clueless fans of The Passion of the Christ to “begin the cleansing” and “do what must be done.”
4) Kenny Dies
Cartman leads a successful campaign to legalize stem cell research ostensibly to help save the dying (again) Kenny. They drag this out almost to the end, until it’s hard not to believe that Cartman truly is sincere in his altruism. Even Kyle’s convinced… for the love of crap, they even hug!
It would have been bad enough if Cartman’s sole motivation was to sell off the truckload of aborted fetuses he acquired, but his true motivation was to get his hands on large quantities of stem cells to see if he could put them next to a Shakey’s and thus grow one for himself. It worked!
Satan better start checking the want-ads.
There’s a phrase one hears on occasion: “The Banality of Evil.” It was coined during the Nuremberg trials to describe the shock many people felt upon learning that the Nazi war criminals weren’t monsters, but perfectly ordinary-looking human beings. With that in mind, consider this entry: This wasn’t a major plot point in this episode, and it had little or no repercussions on the story — it could have been left out completely without affecting much at all, which makes it so much more awful.
Cartman’s taken to an anger-management therapist in an attempt to get to the heart of his trademark rage (SPOILER: he has a very tiny penis–even for an 8-year-old). Watch as the therapist attempts to anger Eric — and faces the terrible, terrible consequences of calling him “fat”.
2) Tonsil Trouble
CARTMAN GIVES KYLE AIDS.
What could possibly top that? This.
1) Scott Tenorman Must Die
If you’re any kind of South Park fan, then you knew immediately what HAD to be #1 as soon as you saw the title of this list.
“Scott Tenorman Must Die” not only features the most horribly evil thing Cartman has ever done, it may well be the most horribly evil thing any single human being has ever done to another, fictional or otherwise. This episode, in South Park’s fifth season, marked the turning point for Cartman’s character — THIS is the moment when little Eric Cartman was lost irrevocably to the Dark Side.
You might have done some crappy things in your life… you might have caused some grief to your fellow human beings… but when was the last time YOU made chili out of somebody’s parents and then made them eat it?