Butters is everyone’s favorite naive little fourth grader. He’s always getting grounded, or tricked by Cartman, or both, and somehow he just takes it all in stride. To honor our resilient hero, let’s look back at five of the best South Park episodes that feature Butters. Don’t worry, you won’t get grounded if you read this.
5. “Professor Chaos” – Original Air Date: April 10, 2002
After being a punching bag for many, many episodes, Butters finally gets mad. Having been kicked out as Cartman, Stan, and Kyle’s fourth friend, he vows to wreak havoc on the town with his new alter ego: Professor Chaos. But since he’s still sweet, adorable Butters, his plans are remarkably ineffectual, and cause absolutely no harm to anyone. No matter how hard he tries to be evil, he just can’t pull it off. The mere fact that he was willing to try, however, suggests there’s more depth to his character than meets the eye.
4. “Casa Bonita” – Original Air Date: November 12, 2003
Cartman pranking Butters is one of the show’s more reliable themes (it will come up again on this list), and this was one of his more elaborate pranks. In order to get Butters out of the way so he can go to Kyle’s birthday party at Casa Bonita, Cartman manages to convince Butters that all of society has crumbled due to a zombie attack. Naturally, Butters questions none of this, and begins rebuilding society by himself. What he accomplishes is actually pretty remarkable, but this was yet another example of how Butters is the most gullible character on TV.
3. “Butters’ Bottom Bitch” – Original Air Date: October 14, 2009
This was probably the farthest Matt and Trey ever stretched the idea of just how innocent and naive Butters can be. They literally turn him into a pimp, and he has no idea what he’s doing, or why anyone could possibly object to it. The idea of him taking the kissing booth and escalating it further and further until he’s the most successful pimp in town without him ever realizing it is beyond brilliant. Do you know what I am saying?
2. “AWESOME-O” – Original Air Date: April 14, 2004
Once again, Cartman is pranking Butters. But this time around, Butters finally gets the upper hand, thanks to his video of Cartman dressing up like Britney Spears and dancing with a cardboard Justin Timberlake. This episode is hilarious all the way through, with the lengths that Cartman goes to in order to keep the ruse going becoming increasingly ridiculous. This one also gave us the immortal phrase “…MR. SCIENTIST!” which should always be said slightly more condescendingly each time you utter it. A brilliant episode, and a nice bit of payback for Butters in the final scene.
1. “Butters’ Very Own Episode” – Original Air Date: December 12, 2001
Butters had made key appearances on South Park before this, but this was the episode that established him as one of the show’s best characters. The greatness here is centered around his naivete. He sees his dad at a gay bath house and thinks nothing of it, then when his Mom tries to drown him, he thinks he’s just going on another adventure. The humor here is obviously dark, but the idea of a child being too innocent for his own good is inherently hilarious, which makes this the quintessential Butters episode — as well as the best.