The world of television is replete with evil. The Master. James Moriarty. Jeremy Kyle. But all of these figureheads of malignity pale in comparison to one fat animated child. I speak, of course, of South Park‘s Eric Theodore Cartman. This devious little sod has done some truly terrible things, from getting a pack of cats to rape somebody, to attempting to reverse the outcome of the American Civil War.
Like the majority of South Park viewers, I revel in Cartman’s malevolence. So, I have taken great pleasure in compiling a list of what I believe to be his ten most evil moments:
10. Crack Baby Athletic Association – Series 15 Episode 5
Kyle learns that Cartman is volunteering at a hospital, working with babies who are addicted to crack, but believes that his motives are not entirely altruistic. It transpires that Cartman is getting the babies to fight over pieces of crack and broadcasting the footage over the Internet.
Cartman’s contempt for the crack babies is so significant that he considers them to be slaves, visiting the chancellor of a university while dressed as a southern slave owner (complete with an accent), he enquires how to manage his slaves, labouring under the misapprehension that the university’s basketball players are slaves.
Although this kind of behaviour is pretty despicable, Cartman does plan to build an orphanage for the crack babies, even though he views it as nothing more than a PR exercise. However, all’s well that ends well as EA Games con Cartman’s firm out of all of its money, and the crack baby orphanage is built by the guitarist Slash, who’s portrayed as the equivalent of Santa.
9. Fatbeard – Series 13 Episode 7
After seeing news reports about Somali pirates, Cartman believes that the classic, swashbuckling age of piracy has returned. Encouraged by Kyle, Cartman recruits Butters, Clyde, Kevin, and Ike as his crew, and travels to Mogadishu to pursue his dream.
Cartman’s annoyed to find that rather than the paradise he’d anticipated, Mogadishu is a failed state, where poverty and disease are rife. Cartman and his crew are kidnapped and ransomed to a French ship, which they promptly hijack, since the crew are terrified by Kevin’s toy lightsaber.
Returning to Mogadishu, Cartman gains the respect of some of the local pirates, who join him. He then attempts to transform them into a stereotypical band of pirates. As Butters, Ike, Kevin and Clyde become disillusioned with their new lifestyle, Kyle arrives to take Ike home.
Delusional about how good life in Mogadishu is, Cartman decides to ransom him off. A US ship arrives to rescue Kyle and the team of snipers onboard assassinate all of the Somali pirates, helping Cartman and ending his career of piracy.
8. The Passion Of The Jew – Series 8 Episode 3
After watching The Passion Of The Christ, Cartman becomes enamoured with Mel Gibson, and believing the film to be a call to arms, begins a campaign to exterminate Jewish people, roping in unsuspecting fans of the film who believe that Cartman is promoting a resurgence of Christianity.
While dressed as Hitler, he leads a procession of The Passion Of The Christ fans through the streets of South Park chanting, “Es ist Zeit für Rache. Wir mussen die Juden ausrotten.” (The time for revenge has come. We must exterminate the Jews.)
Things come to a head when Cartman’s followers encounter a delegation of Jews who are demanding that the local cinema stop showing the film. Stan makes a speech about how people should focus on Jesus’ teachings rather than his death. Cartman’s followers leave and his campaign comes to an end when Mel Gibson defecates on his face. It’s subsequently revealed, in the episode AWESOM-O, that his mother grounded him for his actions.
7. Ginger Kids – Series 9 Episode 11
Hate speeches and attempted genocide are hobbies of Cartman, so it won’t come as a surprise that it wasn’t just the Jews he tried to eliminate. Sick of Cartman’s ranting about how disgusting gingers are and his constant assertion that they don’t have souls, Kyle and Stan dye his hair ginger, bleach his skin, and draw freckles on his face with henna.
Cartman subsequently experiences the prejudice he had previously promoted and forms the Ginger Separatist Movement. The movement makes plans to kill all non-ginger children in South Park using a pool of lava. It’s decided that Kyle shall die first, as he is a “Daywalker” (red haired, but without light skin and freckles), but before he dies he whispers the truth into Cartman’s ear. In order to save himself, Cartman successfully calls off the planned mass murder.
6. Cherokee Hair Tampons – Series 4 Episode 6
Several episodes of series 4 of South Park were loosely connected by Cartman’s fruitless attempts to make ten million dollars. One of his schemes that didn’t pan out was selling his kidney to Kyle. The main plot of this episode is that Kyle develops a life-threatening kidney condition, which is worsened by his mother putting her faith in alternative medicine, which eventually turns out to be an enormous scam.
Stan is told by a doctor that Kyle needs a kidney transplant and that the only person in South Park who’s a suitable donor is Cartman. Cartman stubbornly refuses to give up his kidney unless he is given ten million dollars in exchange.
While this isn’t really an act of supreme evil, it still shows how much of a bastard Cartman is. Though he pays the price, as, at the end of the episode, he’s tricked into signing a waiver agreeing to donate his kidney.
5. Kenny Dies – Series 5 Episode 13
One of the similarities between Kenny Dies and Cherokee Hair Tampons is that both feature Cartman exploiting the worsening health of one his friends for his own gain.
Kenny is dying of muscular dystrophy and nothing can be done to help him, as stem cell research has been criminalised. Cartman goes to Washington DC and delivers an impassioned speech to Congress about Kenny’s condition and how stem cell research can help to cure him.
Eventually, Kenny does die and it’s revealed that the only reason Cartman was attempting to have the ban revoked was so that he could sell a consignment of foetuses he found after the lorry transporting them crashed.
Another of his questionable motives for revoking the ban was so that he could surround a branch of Shakey’s Pizza with foetuses and grow an exact copy next door. I think you’ll agree that the punch in the face from Kyle was well deserved.
4. Coon 2: Hindsight/Mysterion Rises/Coon Vs. Coon And Friends – Series 14 Episodes 11, 12, and 13
Cartman has done many questionable things, but until series 14 he had never forged an alliance with a demon from an HP Lovecraft novel and launched a pogrom against the minorities he hates.
In an attempt to put a halt to an oil spill, BP drill a hole on the moon that opens a portal releasing the Lovecraftian demon, Cthulu. Cartman (as his superhero alter-ego the Coon) joins forces with Cthulu and launches the aforementioned pogrom, attacking synagogues, the Burning Man festival, and destroying San Francisco.
It’s not all bad, though, as he lays waste to a Justin Bieber concert, killing Bieber and all of the attending fans.
3. Best Friends Forever – Series 9 Episode 4
Continuing the motif of exploiting his friends when they’re at their most vulnerable, this episode sees Cartman attempt to kill Kenny, as Kenny had left Cartman his PSP in the event of his death.
Kenny buys a PSP and gets to level sixty of a game called Heaven vs. Hell before being run over by an ice cream van, the driver of which had just reached level four while driving. Kenny’s death is revealed to have been orchestrated by God, who invented the PSP to find a human so skilled at Heaven vs. Hell that he would be capable of commanding the armies of heaven against Satan (parodying the film The Last Starfighter).
When Kenny’s will is read out, Cartman finds out that Kenny hated him and left him his PSP out of pity. However, after the reading of the will, it’s revealed that Kenny survived, but is in a persistent vegetative state. Cartman begins a long campaign to have Kenny’s feeding tube removed so that he can finally take possession of the PSP.
The thing that sets this apart from most of Cartman’s other acts of evil is that he actually succeeds, as Stan and Kyle concede that Cartman was right about letting Kenny die, albeit for completely the wrong reasons. Kenny is allowed to die and Cartman receives the PSP.
2. Tonsil Trouble – Series 12 Episode 1
When Cartman goes to have his tonsils removed, he’s accidentally infected with AIDS. Kyle can barely suppress his delight as, after years of such cruelty to other people, Cartman is finally paying the price.
As an act of revenge for Kyle’s mockery of him, Cartman infects him with AIDS as well. Now, you don’t have to be professor of ethics to know that intentionally giving somebody AIDS is a pretty messed up thing to do.
Kyle and Cartman visit Magic Johnson (supposedly the only man known to have recovered from AIDS) and discover a cure. Although Cartman expresses his relief that he and Kyle are both cured, Kyle still decides to break Cartman’s Xbox in retribution.
You may argue that Cartman’s rampage in Mysterion Rises is more evil than this due to the scale of it. But, while Cartman’s attempt to reshape the world to his own design was certainly evil, it was based on mindless prejudices, whereas this is a targeted attack against a single person he’s known for years. Plus, as mentioned, Cartman got Cthulu to kill Justin Bieber, which makes the entire thing not so bad.
1. Scott Tenorman Must Die – Series 5 Episode 4
This truly is the apex of Cartman’s evil. This is where he transforms from a petty schoolyard bully to the despicable, Machiavellian figure we know and love. Teenager Scott Tenorman cons Cartman into buying his pubic hair for ten dollars. Cartman’s attempts to get his money back result in Scott conning him out of a further $6.12.
Cartman formulates an incredibly convoluted revenge plot that involves a pony biting off Scott’s penis while Radiohead (his favourite band) watch. Cartman then invites Scott to a chilli festival he’s set up. Kyle warns Scott about Cartman’s plan, causing Scott to plan to humiliate Cartman further by feeding him chilli with pubic hair in it.
The day of the chilli festival arrives and Cartman reveals that he anticipated Kyle’s betrayal and knew that Scott would attempt to incapacitate the pony. He also anticipated Scott sending his parents rather than going himself and warned the pony’s owner (a violent redneck) that there were pony killers in the area.
The farmer kills Scott’s parents and Cartman steals the bodies and grinds them into the chilli that Scott is eating. Catman gleefully reveals all of this to Scott. To add insult to injury, Radiohead turn up and ridicule Scott for crying. Cartman then climbs onto the table and begins to lick up Scott’s tears.
Kyle’s decision that they should never piss Cartman off again is very wise. It’s this moment that truly cements Cartman’s evil and makes Damien from The Omen look friendly in comparison.