When South Park made its debut on Comedy Central, plenty of kids were told they were too young to watch. Just over 20 years later, and a lot of those fans are now telling their kids that they're too young to watch. In all that time of inspiring laughter, outrage, and even shock, the residents of this quiet mountain town have changed a lot. Cartman has become more evil and deranged, Kenny has revealed himself to be a clandestine hero, and Randy Marsh has reached an almost Peter Griffin-esque level of absurdity as he devotes himself to one flight of fancy after another.
We thought it might be hella fun to look at some of Randy's most ridiculous capers, farcical projects, and ludicrous attempts at fame and fortune. The husband of Sharon and the father of Stan and Shelly has made errors in judgment that range from the needlessly expensive, widespread outrage inducing, and downright imbecilic. And that's not even counting the time he tried to convert his whole family to Mormonism.
Here are 15 of Randy's Most WTF Moments!
15 Drunk Clubhouse Party
You can't blame Randy and Sharon for occasionally toying with the idea of divorce. They really don't seem all that compatible. In this second season episode, Sharon asks Randy to move out after it becomes apparent that they just don't like each other very much. To get technical, Colorado law requires a declaration of grounds in order to file for divorce. For most Colorado couples, this translates to a declaration that the marriage is "broken beyond repair."
The dissolution of the marriage is downplayed in this episode. What they play way, way up is the swiftness with which Randy gets his ear pierced, buys a midlife-crisis-mobile, and ignores his confused kids in favor of catting around with random women. Eventually, he attends a drunken party in, of all places, Cartman and Kenny's clubhouse. The Marshes work out their differences, at least long enough to get the family back together…until they nearly divorce again a few seasons later.
14 More Crap
Randy's competitive nature is established long before season eleven. But the pride he feels at dropping what he thinks might be a record breaking deuce? It's a little too WTF for many tastes, but then, South Park is certainly not new to fecal humor, given their many poo-related winter holiday stories. In "More Crap", Randy breaks a 3-week bout of constipation with a dump he deems worthy of a visit from the "European Fecal Standards & Measurements" department. Katie Couric is roundly insulted in this episode, as are legendary D-bags like Billy Mitchell from King of Kong and Bono Vox (from that album iTunes made you own whether you wanted it or not).
Randy is in rare form in this episode, putting his life on hold (and the lives of everyone around him) as he does whatever he thinks it takes to win a coveted world record title. After almost losing to another "total piece of sh*t" Randy does manage to win the "acclaim" he craves. Um, good for him?
13 Heroin Hero
Like many adults, Randy finds himself disillusioned when Stan and Kyle et al are more interested in playing pretend video game guitar rather than an actual, real, music making guitar. It's one of Randy's more reasonable positions. As Stan's Guitar Hero prowess grows, it comes at a parody of a terrible price. Stan becomes addicted to "Heroin Hero," a blissfully addictive game that centered on chasing the dragon. It's a beautiful, magical pink dragon that no one has ever been known to successfully catch. Regardless of the dragon's purported uncatchability, players of Heroin Hero always seem to be having an awesome time. Some people feel that way about Flower for PS4.
Ten-year-old Stan is eventually able to conquer his addiction. Elsewhere in the Marsh household, Randy remains the most addictive personality in South Park. He becomes addicted to the game—though it's not clear what real-life stressors he's escaping from. The boys come home to find Randy delirious, in his underwear, relentlessly chasing the dragon. Sad.
12 Randy gets served
"Let's see you daaance, sukkah, you got nothin' on me!" It's impossible to hear that song without also looking back on that terrible day that Stan and his friends got served over by the TruValue. They were relatively unscathed, but when Randy heard of the incident, he insisted that Stan learn to dance back. Not unexpectedly, this led to a declaration that it was on. That's when things get even crazier for Dance Dad Randy Marsh.
Randy attempts to explain to the dance coach that it's not on, and that it is in fact, off. That's when the coach gives Randy the most intense and dramatic serving anyone has ever seen. Yeah, it actually lands Randy in the hospital, where everyone expects Stan to avenge him. Things get progressively more insane from there, and culminate in a dance off that includes a meth-headed bird from a local farm. Oh, and Butters kills a whole bunch of people.
11 Cheating in the Pinewood Derby
For the initiated, the Pinewood Derby is a yearly event held by Boy Scout troupes nationwide. They carve regulation cars from official Pinewood Derby kits, then race them. Sometimes there are even prizes for the coolest looking cars. Randy's brilliant scheme is to steal a superconductor magnet and use it to power a tiny wooden derby car. What could possibly go wrong, right?
Well, Randy's jerk-waddedness attracts the attention of some aliens, including one Baby Farq McGee Zax, who brings his space cash to Earth. This in turn sets off another insane series of events, the loser of which is quite clearly Finland. "Oh no, not Finland!!" Will Randy fess up to making additions to the Official Pinewood Derby kit, or will Stan develop enough guts to defy his dad and tell the truth? Also, who will put an end to the madness? Answers: no, not really, and the intergalactic police.
10 Randy gets cancer
Randy's early thought process regarding medicinal marijuana makes sense. When he hears that it's 'legal as long as you have a note from your doctor,' he goes off for a checkup. Figuring he's healthy enough to smoke pot without incident, Randy is shocked to hear that only UNhealthy people get doctor's notes to smoke weed. Poor guy. But that's where Randy loses us.
Using a modified microwave (unless it's broken, it won't turn on if the door is open), Randy radiates a specific part of his anatomy in an effort to cause cancer. Sure, we could argue that such a plot point is insensitive to people with cancer. But it's also Randy's testicles which makes it as hilarious as the hoppety-hop references that come later on. Unlike real cancer, Randy's is cured without the Marsh family losing their house or giving up their kid's college monies. In the end, Sharon ends up with a horrifying new coat, the name of which cannot be said in this list due to grossness.
9 Lorde's true identity
While everyone else in town is talking about "transgingers" (or is that only Cartman?), Randy is harboring a secret. Persnickety debates about restroom use are dwarfed by the revelation that the popular songstress Lorde is actually Randy Marsh and always has been. As is the habit of South Park, whatever Cartman is doing—in this case, trying to get a private bathroom--is mostly to steal focus from the real thematic point being made.
While Randy is in rare form in this ep, whatever point Trey and Matt are attempting to make about sociopolitics impacting transgender people is lost amidst the laughs. That was a problem for some viewers, while others prefer comedy to social issues and politics anyway. Randy as Lorde actually loses the crowd during a live performance, and resorts to some highly uncomfortable bean flicking…and even that fails to win them back. Still, there's nothing quite as amusing as watching Randy throw himself into a role.
8 Boy Band Sensation
This season four episode teaches us about Randy's background as a song and dance man. More specifically, we learn that he was once a member of the Ghetto Avenue Boys, a curiously all-white boyband with a single annoying pop hit. We hear Randy tell the tragic story of him being a young, impetuous a-hole who treated everyone badly once he got the tiniest taste of fame.
This is in the context of Stan starting another band with the boys—this one also featured Wendy and included a gig at the South Park Mall (near the Orange Julius, by the sausage and cheese cart). This "Fingerbang" episode revolves around Cartman's plan to earn a million dollars, and how Randy almost foils it by not letting Stan come sing. Of course, Randy changes his mind, and then ends up singing with the boys himself. Sure, he looks ridiculous. But would he really be Randy Marsh if he didn't?
7 Buying a Blockbuster and becoming Jack Torrance
It's amazing that Sharon has stood by Randy after some of the incredibly stupid things he's done. One Halloween, Randy spends the family's savings buying, of all things, a Blockbuster video store. (South Park was apparently already devoid of RadioShacks and Borders book sellers.) Honestly though, it's possible that Randy's ultimate jerk-move in this caper is forcing his children to stay in on Halloween night to run the totally vacant video rental store.
Randy might have done better to buy the Blockbuster and then use it for a retro rave party. At least that would have attracted patrons. Instead, the store gradually infects Randy with its eerie ghosts and presumably, a sordid history of sending people to collections over $4 in late fees. A well-plotted spoof of Stephen King's The Shining leaves Randy frozen in the snow while the rest of the Marsh family agrees to pick him up something from McDonalds.
6 Broadway Bro Down
This is the episode that catastrophically let the world in on a terrible secret: all Broadway musicals were written and performed for the sole purpose of persuading women to perform oral sex. (Shocking, we know…unless you were a theater major.) Once Randy learns this, he of course decides to get in on the action by writing his own Broadway shows. Being Randy and characteristically randy, he becomes far too obvious and incurs the ire of true Broadway bros like Stephen Sondheim, Elton John, Andrew Lloyd Webber, and the like.
Hilariously, all of these famous Broadway…um, bros, turn out to be little more than savvy womanizers, wearing sports jerseys and devoting their lives to carnal relations with as many chicks as possible. Who knew, right? The music is outstanding throughout this story. The side plot of Shelly's boyfriend is also delightful, though she really should have become the Hob Goblin at the end of the episode.
5 I'm sorry, I thought this was America
One could argue that this is the episode where fans met the real Randy Marsh. His actions at the boy's baseball game represented the first time Randy repeatedly made an ass of himself for the whole town to see. How? Like that one dad we all remember from grade school sporting events, Randy got way too drunk and got into a fight with another dad. Putting aside how dumb that all is, Randy excels at drawing focus and showing off his inner D-bag for all to see. He also spends much of this ep asking the eternal question: "Whaddaya Wanna Do?"
As Stan's season progresses (the boys don't like baseball and are trying to lose—but the other teams are better at losing), Randy fights bigger and drunker dads until the playoffs. Finally, Randy eschews Stan's big game because he can't possibly fight the baddest dad. Of course, skipping Stan's game for such a selfish reason already makes Randy pretty bad at dadding.
4 How to avoid Spontaneous Combustion 101
We'd come to know the residents of South Park pretty well by season three, so we were a little bummed when residents started spontaneously combusting all over town. Geologist Randy Marsh (back when we used to know what all the parents did for a living) manages to find a solution, and imagines that the town's ladies will be particularly grateful for his help. Meanwhile, the boys are trying to buy a "nerection" for Gerald. Having no idea what that is, they fail.
It could be argued that this episode devolves into a bevy of fart jokes, since the town's woes are caused by people not farting enough…then later, by people farting too much. Either way, it's up to Randy to determine the correct ratio of farting-to-holding-it-in. The underlying joke being that no one wants to fart in the presence of a new relationship partner. Randy's talents are showcased in this episode for the first time.
3 Crème Fraiche!
Many fans feel that this is Randy's shining moment as a guy who takes his whims far too seriously, and takes everything he tries way too far. Randy doesn't just want to learn a few new recipes after watching the "no no channel," (which is Food Network and not porn), he wants to be the school cafeteria chef. When that's not enough, he wants to be a famous TV chef—though he doesn't even seem to realize how annoying Gordon Ramsay and Guy Fieri really are.
The B-plot of this episode involves Sharon having an affair with a shake weight, while Randy neglects his every obligation so he can demolish the Marsh kitchen preparing food no one wants to eat. Frittatas are fine, but scrambled eggs with bacon is just as good, right? Randy sings his own theme song in this episode, which is worth tuning in for all by itself.
2 Giving in to a higher power
TV has long romanticized drinking problems, whether it's Archie Bunker and his nightly beers, the on-again off-again sobriety battle for The Simpsons' Barney Gumble, or most of the characters on Cheers. Randy's battle with sobriety begins with him drunk driving a bunch of children home after karate class, and getting a sizable ticket. Elsewhere, it seems that there's a statue of the virgin Mary that's spewing blood. Is it a miracle?
Within one AA meeting, Randy dives headfirst into feeling "powerless" around booze, accepting a "higher power," and a few of the other more annoying aspects of 12-step programs everywhere. But when the miracle statue promises to "cure" Randy of his penchant for binge drinking, he gets even more absurd. Stan's dad in a wheelchair, shaved head, speaking barely above a whisper is the classic example of Randy Marsh making everything about him—even trying to cut a line in front of a leukemia patient. As you'd imagine, Randy eventually goes right back to drinking.
We agonized over whether or not we should use the word that Randy uses in this particular episode. Spoiler Alert: We Don't. See, he's trying to win at Wheel of Fortune, and thinks he can by using a racial slur to answer the puzzle glimpsed above. As every normal person knows, the answer is "naggers." They are annoying, after all. But Randy confidently announces his answer to the horror and shock of the audience, his family, and everyone watching back home.
This leads Randy to presume that he's the wronged party, since he's now known as the "N-word Guy" (or thereabouts). The rest of the episode is a parody of white fragility as Stan attempts to smooth things over with Token—who is annoyed at Stan telling him he should be cool with Randy's faux pas, that it isn't a big deal. This episode gives us classic Randy, and some compelling insight into the impact of the words we use.
Did we leave out your favorite Randy Marsh moment? Tell us about it in the comments!