This Wednesday’s episode of South Park, “Royal Pudding,” did something that the show rarely does: pushing Cartman, Kyle, Stan, and, sometimes, Kenny, out of the story. With the exception of Kyle’s brief appearance as Tooth Decay in Mr. Mackey’s kindergarten play, the rest of the boys (who we’ll refer to as CKSK and CKS from here on out) were barely in the episode. Here are seven other South Park episodes without the four boys that made Matt Stone and Trey Parker millionaires:
“Terrance and Phillip in Not Without My Anus” (Season 2—April 1, 1998)
“Not Without My Anus” is an episode full of firsts: the first time Matt and Trey pissed off a lot of people, including (especially?) fans; the first appearance of Saddam Hussein; the first lambasting of Canada; and the first episode of the show to not center on CKSK. Rather than focusing on the residents of South Park, or even America, the second season premiere takes place in Canada, home of Phillip and Terrance, who’s ex-wife, Celine Dion, is now dating Ugly Bob, who, 13 years later, would play an important role in “Royal Pudding.” In regards to upsetting fans: “Not Without My Anus” was the first episode to air after “Cartman’s Mom Is a Dirty Slut,” and the world expected answers on the identity of Cartman’s mother, not 22 minutes of fart jokes and “O Canada.”
“Mr. Hankey’s Christmas Classics” (Season 3—December 1, 1999)
Mr. Hankey, who inspired millions of Americans to check their poop to see if it could talk and sing to them after season one’s “Mr. Hankey, the Christmas Poo,” is now hosting a variety show, featuring songs from Mr. Mackey, Hitler, Satan, Mr. Garrison, Jesus, and Santa Claus. Yes, CKS appear, singing “Dreidel Dreidel Dreidel” with Gerald, Sheila, and Ike, but they’re in no way the star of the show. The real star, after all, is YOU — or the literal talking piece of shit whose name is in the episode title.
“Pip” (Season 4—November 29, 2000)
One of the oddest, and least liked, episodes of South Park involves a character that’s not even on the show anymore. And by involve, I mean, he’s the only “original” character in the entire thing (minus narrator Malcolm McDowell, as “A British Person”). Pip stars in “Pip,” a comedic re-telling of Great Expectations, with certain South Park-style editorial adjustments, like Estella breaking the necks of dozens of poor bunnies. Pip would only speak twice more in the show’s history (as a Potential in “Professor Chaos,” and in “201,” where he gets stepped on and killed by Mecha-Streisand), but for one episode, he was the star (which is why this one of the show’s least aired installments, too).
“Butters’ Very Own Episode” (Season 5—December 12, 2001)
Although Butters has been on South Park since season one, usually appearing as one of the nameless kids in the background, he didn’t become a feature character until the show’s fifth season, when CKS are looking to find a new fourth member of the group (R.I.P. Kenny). Matt and Trey loved writing for him, and he was becoming a fan favorite, too. So, to appease all, the final episode of season five is all about Butters and his sick, twisted family. The only time CKS prominently appear in the episode is at the end, when they ask how Butters is handling his kidnapping and his father’s infidelity (at the White Swallow, no less). He tries to convince himself that a meal with his folks at Bennigans will cure what ails him, but deep down, he knows: he has a truly fucked up childhood. “That’s me!”
“Krazy Kripples” (Season 7—March 26, 2003)
Near the beginning of the episode, after Jimmy tells CKS of his and Timmy’s intention of hanging out with the Crips, who they believe are a group of, well, cripples, not an extremely violent street gang, Stan says, “Maybe we should just stay out of this one.” That’s the episode’s A-plot, but the B-plot, about Christopher Reeves using stem cells to become a supervillain, doesn’t have any of the show’s main characters either, with the exception of the Legion of Doom’s Professor Chaos and General Disarray, who admit that they, too, should “stay out of this one.” That’s what this makes this episode different than the others listed: it features more than one story (unlike “Pip” or “Butters”), but CKS still don’t appear, other than their meta reference to not appearing.
“Erection Day” (Season 9—April 20, 2005)
Another Jimmy episode, but this time, he’s on his own, trying to handle his problem of getting erections while in class. He asks advice from the only person he knows won’t make fun of him, Butters, who says that the key to getting rid of an erection is to have sex (“Then, the hard penis sneezes milk inside the lady’s tummy, and after it’s all done sneezin’ milk…”). So begins a wild night for Jimmy, including a visit to the town’s red-light district, where he picks up a prostitute named Nut-Gobbler. Cartman makes a brief appearance, coaching Jimmy though a dinner with a girl, but his role is unsubstantial.
“A Million Little Fibers” (Season 10—April 19, 2006)
Most episodes of South Park are written by Trey Parker, Matt Stone, or Trey Parker and Matt Stone; occasionally, though, one of the staff writers or consultants will get a feature writing credit, too. Vernon Chatman, who penned “A Million Little Fibers” with Parker, isn’t just any consultant, though: he’s the co-creator of Wonder Showzen and the voice of Towelie, everyone’s favorite marijuana-smoking, anthropomorphic towel. Towelie has appeared in six episodes, but only in “Fibers,” a parody of the controversy regarding James Frey’s memoir A Million Little Pieces, is he the star. It’s not one of the show’s greatest moments, but it does have Oprah’s vagina, Mingee, talking to Oprah’s anus, Gary, so it’s not a total bust, either.
Josh Kurp would like to say that before anyone mentions “Here Comes the Neighborhood,” he’d argue that that’s an episode where the boys play a large role in the Token-heavy main plot (and would like to apologize for this being the longest author bio in Splitsider’s history).