The best of Butters: South Park’s top 10 Butters episodes
Season 19 of South Park kicked off on Comedy Central this week, and it’s kind of amazing to think that I’ve been watching this show since the 1990s. Naturally, I wanted to do something to celebrate my favorite show of all time, so I decided to create a top ten list. I couldn’t choose my ten favorite episodes—hell, it would probably be difficult for me to narrow down my top 50 episodes—so I decided to focus on one of my favorite non-main characters: Leopold “Butters” Stotch. From tap dancing to becoming a super villain, Butters has gone from just a kid in the background to one of South Park’s most loved characters. Here are my ten favorite episodes featuring Butters.
10. Stupid Spoiled Whore Video Playset
Season 8 was like the unofficial season of Butters with episodes like “AWESOM-O”, “Good Times With Weapons” and “You Got F’d in the A”, so this season 8 episode definitely had to make the list. Vapid socialite Paris Hilton comes to South Park to promote her new clothing line and to encourage all the girls to enjoy her stupid, spoiled whore lifestyle. While in town, she makes diva demands and adopts Butters as her new pet after her chihuahua commits suicide. She renames him Mr. Biggles and dresses him as a bear, much to the initial chagrin of Butters’ stern father. Dear old dad quickly changes his tune when Hilton offers $200 million for Butters, but after it all falls to pieces, Butters ends up grounded, as usual.
Chances are we’ve all seen a teen movie where a boy/girl has to dress up as a member of the opposite sex to try to infiltrate a club, sports team, etc. From Ladybugs to She’s The Man to countless others, it’s a staple of teen cinema. Here Butters must go undercover to steal a secret fortune telling device from the girls—really just one of those paper things everyone has made about a zillion times in middle school. South Park is known for sharp political commentary, but some of their best episodes come from the kids being kids, and this is certainly one of those. Yes, not every kid sets up a high-tech containment center like something out of S.H.I.E.L.D., but seeing the boys so captivated about what goes on at girl slumber parties reminds us that these characters are just kids, after all. It’s also great because Butters (aka Marjorine) experiences the confidence-shattering clique mentality that so many of us ladies faced as kids. Young girls can be awful to each other, and it’s nice to see Trey Parker and Matt Stone acknowledge that.
8. Butters’ Bottom Bitch
After being teased mercilessly for having never kissed a girl, Butters employs the services of a fellow elementary school girl who sells kisses behind the school. He offers to help her expand the operation, and soon they create a “kissing company” with several employees. The boys don’t support this idea, and Kyle explains that Butters has become a common pimp, selling the services of the girls for a profit. Curious about what that means, he discovers a pimp convention and learns the ins and outs of running hoes. The juxtaposition of little Butters and a bunch of Bishop Don Magic Juan dudes is hilarious, and the way he starts to integrate “you know what I’m saying” into his vocab is perfect.
7. Cartman Sucks
Sweet, thoughtful Butters is basically the anti-Cartman, so he frequently becomes the victim of Cartman’s various pranks and schemes. Here, Cartman pranks Butters by taking embarrassing pictures of him while he’s asleep. When one of these pics blows up in Cartman’s face, Butters ends up at one of those horrible “reprogramming” camps (that I can’t believe exist in this day and age) in an effort to “cure” him of being bi-curious. Butters, of course, has no idea what anyone’s talking about and only wants to help out his new friend Bradley, whose parents sent him to the camp to pray the gay away. This episode is great because it mercilessly skewers the whole idea of forcing people to be straight because of stupid religious beliefs. South Park takes a lot of heat for being offensive, but this is one episode that has a very great message, though that message is still presented in that very South Park way that causes outrage in people who can’t see past the language or imagery.
6. You got F’d in the A
This episode could make the list for the “Something in My Front Pocket” song alone, but it’s also excellent because it adds another layer to Butters’ backstory. Surprisingly, he’s one of the most complex characters on the show, having a personality that extends far beyond his sweet exterior. In this episode, Stan is challenged to a You Got Served style dance off and must recruit a dance crew. We learn that Butters was a renowned tap dancer, but gave it up after a tragic accident left several people dead. He’s been carrying around the guilt for years, and has to overcome his tragic past and summon the courage to help Stan and the gang. Of course, because it’s South Park, it doesn’t go well, and the whole thing ends with another massacre.
5. Return of the Fellowship of the Ring to the Two Towers
Arguably one of the best South Park episodes of all time, this one sees the boys completely obsessed with The Lord of the Rings trilogy and living in a pretend world of wizards and orcs. It’s got a shot-for-shot recreation of the Hobbits’ run in with a Ring Wraith from Peter Jackson’s The Fellowship of the Ring, and we learn that fifth graders don’t like water. This episode also introduced the world to “Backdoor Sluts 9”, a porno so mythically filthy that it corrupts young Butters, transforming him into a Gollum-like creature who stalks the boys looking for his precious. All around fantastic from start to finish, the Butters/Smeagol bits provide extra highlights.
4. Last of the Meheecans
Butters has the ability to inspire a nation in this smart and hilarious episode. During a game of “Mexicans vs Texans” the boys accidentally lose Butters in the woods. He is picked up by a family who think he’s just crossed the border from Mexico. They offer him some first-world compassion by taking him in…and making him clean their house and do their landscaping. This episode has a political message and lots of funny moments, but it especially makes the list for the completely hilarious “Work Mexican Work” song that accompanies a montage of Butters slaving away for the family.
I have ripped on Twilight many, many times, but my little jabs pale in comparison to Parker and Stone’s take on the vampire boom. In this episode, the Goth kids are horrified to find a new group of kids biting their style: the vampire kids, led by Mike Makowski, a former preppy kid who now calls himself Vampir. Naturally, they’re outraged that their non-conformist attitudes are being repackaged in the most conformist way possible, and they seek to take down Mike and his minions by burning down Hot Topic at the mall and shipping Mike to the most horrible place in the world: Scottsdale. All that is hilarious enough on its own, but it turns even funnier when Butters decides to join the vampire kids as a rebellion against his parents. A short trip to Hot Topic and a serving of clamato juice transforms Butters into a vamp, and his dad soon finds that Butters has become ungroundable.
2. Good Times With Weapons
Every Butters fan is familiar with his evil alter ego, Professor Chaos. Like every great super villain, Professor Chaos gets a tragic origin story in a previous episode, but returns with a vengeance here. Rejected by society—mostly just Stan, Kyle, Cartman, and Kenny when they tell him he can’t play ninjas with them—young, mild-mannered Butters retreats to the shadows to fester in evil, emerging as the dastardly Professor Chaos, bringer of destruction and doom. The anime sequences are awesome, made all the more hilarious because they boys retain their original voices despite their new badass animation. Of course, it’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye, and soon the boys have to figure out a way to help Butters, who has been seriously hurt by one of Kenny’s throwing stars, without getting grounded by their parents.
1. Butters’ Very Own Episode
“Who’s that rascal with the tweezers in his pocket? Everyone knows it’s Butters!” This episode is simply magnificent because it’s presented in the sweetest way, but is arguably one of the darkest South Park episodes ever—and this is a show that had Cartman orchestrating the murder of Scott Tenorman’s parents and then feeding the teen “Mr. and Mrs. Tenorman” chili at his Chili-con-Carnival. It plays out like something from one of those informative murder porn shows on Investigation Discovery. Sweet little Butters cheerfully offers to help his mom plan an anniversary present for his father, but soon discovers his dad has been visiting the White Swallow Bathhouse to have sex with random dudes. His mom responds by losing her mind and deciding that the only way to make everything “clean” is to kill Butters by drowning him. And all that is set to a sweet little tune and the bubble-lettered title card of The Butters Show.
Did your favorites make the list? Is there an excellent Butters episode that you think should have been included? Tweet us or post a comment on our Facebook page to tell us your favorite Butters moments.