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Top 5 South Park Running Gags


While each new season of South Park continues to tackle the world’s ever-changing trends, political climates and random absurdity, you can always count on the likes of these running gags to pop up every now again, and each time never fail to leave us buckling over in laughter!

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#5: Chef Singing

Before the character of Chef was brutally killed off, he was a main character and seemingly the only reasonable adult in South Park. When the boys had a problem or questions about life, he usually bid them a friendly hello before proceeding to teach them a lesson, try to help them, or offer to sing an educational little song. Of course, these songs usually had to do with love, playing it cool, and other topics a little too mature for boys in the fourth grade. For us home viewers however, they were always pure comedic gold.

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#4: “Screw You Guys, I’m Going Home”

Of the four main characters, Cartman is the most likely to not only get himself into trouble, but the others too. And if there’s one thing that can be counted on, it’s that when the going gets tough … he’s bailing. Whether a task is too difficult, he’s too bored, or he feels like others are having too much fun, he’s out. While it’s true that he would like us all to respect his “authoritah”, it’s this phrase that really sums up Cartman’s personality. He doesn’t care what happens to anyone else, as long as he can get home to his junk food and video games.

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#3: Kyle’s Monologues

Once upon a time, TV shows – especially family sitcoms – couldn’t just be entertaining; they typically wrapped up with a moralistic theme. When done right, it worked, but more often than not these summaries came across as hammy and more than a little preachy. Apparently riffing off that cheesy sentimentality,early South Park episodes would get a similar little wrap-up, generally with Kyle announcing to his friends that he learned something and then sharing it. These lessons could be basic pontifications on friendship, or a means of dealing with an existential crisis. The gag is so prominent that by later seasons, his friends had started to grow a little sick of them.

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When all else fails, blame someone else, right? First cropping up in the season eight episode Goobacks, when time-traveling immigrants show up in South Park, it became the rallying cry of anguish for the local redneck population. Roared repeatedly throughout the episode (and devolving into almost nonsensical crowing) the gag satirizes complaints about immigration, and how one-note those protestations tend to become. The gag has itself become a meme of its own, with They Took Our Jobs (Dey Terk Er Jerbs!) becoming a catch-all jab at xenophobic remarks.

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#1: Kenny’s Recurring Deaths

From the very beginning, the most iconic running joke of the show has been the death of the boys’ mumbling little buddy Kenny, and their anguished cries of “you bastard!” The gag has taken on a couple different iterations, with Kenny’s soul getting accidentally sucked up by Cartman, and of course the most recent reveal that Kenny is actually immortal, and that to die painfully only to respawn but with none of his friends remembering his past deaths is a cursed superpower of his. Not only is the death of Kenny a running joke, but a joke that runs with itself, growing bigger and more dramatic over time.

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Be sure to check out the video below to see our picks for the Top 10 Best South Park Characters.

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