When South Park first came on the air, Randy Marsh was simply Stan’s dad. We didn’t know much about his personality, and he was simply a mild-mannered geologist. As the show moved on, however, he became something… else. Randy’s character became far more wild and eccentric, and he gradually became one of the most entertaining parts of the show. Let’s look at the episodes that best illustrate that transition.
“Something You Can Do With Your Finger” — Original Air Date: July 12, 2000
Let’s get real: All dads have embarrassing secrets, and Randy’s is that he was in a New Kids on the Block-type boy band. This is why he pushes Stan to resist doing the same thing, and it’s also the first time we see his history and personality explored.
“The Losing Edge” — Original Air Date: April 6, 2005
Who could forget Randy’s epic battle with the Bat Dad? Or how he injected “I THOUGHT THIS WAS AMERICA!” into the American lexicon. After this episode, it was clear that Randy had become an entirely different character than who we had seen before.
“Bloody Mary” — Original Air Date: December 7, 2005
This is a key episode in the evolution of Randy because it gave us a window into why he suddenly became such a deranged character… his alcoholism. We already knew it was the booze that turned him into the only sports dad who could topple the Bat Dad, but we saw the devastation that came with that addiction. Unfortunately, going to A.A. meetings didn’t quite work for Randy. By the episode’s end, though, he and Stan had decided that he could have a drink once in a while, as long he behaves himself.
“Medicinal Fried Chicken” — Original Air Date: March 31, 2010
This had to be a case of the writers testing the boundaries to see just how far they could take Randy. I mean… he deliberately gives himself cancer just so he can smoke pot. More importantly, his testicles grow to fantastical levels in the process. Naturally, things end up working out pretty well for them; it’s easier to get around town by riding his giant testicles, and women apparently find them attractive. So, I guess everything’s coming up Randy.
“You’re Getting Old” — Original Air Date: June 8, 2011
We got plenty of wacky moments from Randy in this episode, as he became a musician named Steamy Ray Vaughan, who voids his bowels during his performances. But there are also some genuine catharsis: The episode primarily focuses on Stan struggling to relate to his friends’ interests, and the general feeling that he’s becoming too cynical, but Randy is a key part of this episode, too. He doesn’t like the modern “tween wave” music, but he’s desperate to stay young. In an attempt to chase that youth, he makes a fool of himself and nearly destroys his marriage.
“The Cissy” — Original Air Date: October 8, 2014
Randy’s musical ambitions are further explored, as we discover that he’s actually been Lorde this whole time. When his career as Lorde develops, he seems to be genuinely concerned about being a positive role model for young girls. Naturally, that doesn’t work out, but his heart was certainly in the right place.