Stan Marsh is one of theSouth Parkfour main characters, along with Kyle, Cartman and Kenny. He was originally envisioned as the more "normal" character that viewers would identify with. As a result, he is often the one to call out the nonsense that happens to his friends and the other residents of South Park.
However, starting in season 15, Stan's character becomes more complex. In particular, the show delved into the more cynical side of him, influenced by his dysfunctional family. While he doesn't have as many one-liners as Cartman or iconic deaths as Kenny, Stan has been the source of some of the best storylines in the series.
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10 "You've got F'd on the A"
Season 8, Episode 4 (2004)
This episode satirizes the world of dance pageants and the often cruel nature of the industry. In a parody ofthey served youStan is challenged to a dance, so the South Park Boys take on a rival dance team in a battle to determine who is the best. There are some great scenes where Randy, upset that Stan was served, teaches him the basics of line dancing to "Achy Break Heart."
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There's also a terribly funny moment where Butters is revealed to have caused a horrifying accident at a tap-dancing competition. His shoe flew off and hit a stage light, killing eight people—more, Stan tells him, if he counts those who later killed themselves.
9 "Whale Backs"
Season 13, Episode 11 (2009)
One ofThe funniest episodes of South Park, "Whale W***es" addresses the issue of whaling and the controversial practices of whaling fleets. In accordance withSouth Park, the Japanese nation hunts whales and dolphins because they blame the animals for the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Stan and the gang embark on a mission to stop the slaughter of whales, only to end up in the middle of a dangerous confrontation at sea.
To prevent catastrophe, Stan comes up with the idea of convincing Japan that the cows and chickens were, in fact, responsible for dropping the bomb. Along the way, the boys meet environmental activists, armed Japanese whalers, and even an apparition from the famous "Sea Shepherd" organization.
8 "Shower and Turd"
Season 8, Episode 8 (2004)
This episode makes fun of American politics (better thansome political movies yes) and the often frustrating nature of the electoral process. The kids are tasked with voting for a new school mascot. Cartman endorses the "giant asshole" joke candidate, while Kyle endorses a "poop sandwich." Stan, however, says that those options are exactly the same and decides not to vote, much to the dismay of the other characters.
The story escalates from there, including Stan's banishment from town for failing to recognize the importance of voting, and a subplot involving murdered PETA members. PETA activists tell Stan an uncomfortable truth about democracy: Every election is between a jerk and an asshole because those are the only people who suck enough to make it in politics.
Season 13, Episode 3 (2009)
This 2009 episode parallels the financial crash and recession of 2008. After the economy takes a turn for the worse, Randy tells the citizens to cut their spending down to essentials, though he buys an expensive margarita shaker. A subplot follows Stan as he tries to return the mixer, but gets sidetracked from person to person.
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Stan discovers that the debt has been repackaged and sold multiple times, another reference to mortgage-backed securities that were instrumental in the economic downturn. He also discovers that the US Treasury determines fiscal policy by decapitating a chicken and letting it run over a billboard covered with phrases like "salvage!"
6 "The Biggest Asshole in the Universe"
Season 6, episode 15 (2002)
In this episode, the kids engage in a battle with the self-proclaimed seer from real life.John Edward, who claims to be able to communicate with the dead. Stan has a great story where he calls out Edward for being fake. He says that Edward is just a cold read, which Stan demonstrates to several bystanders. However, people quickly start to believe that Stan is also a medium.
Edward perceives Stan as a threat, leading to a confrontation between the two. Soon after, an alien ship crashes into South Park, with the aliens claiming they are looking for the "biggest idiot in the universe." Edward wins, defeating an alien who is literally a giant jerk.
5 "My Future Me and I"
Season 6, episode 16 (2002)
Stan and Butters are the stars of this episode. Stan meets an older version of himself from the future who is a burned-out drug addict. Terrified, Stan tries to avoid this fate by redoubling his efforts at school and refusing all bad activities. After Butters claims to have found her own future, the children realize that they are actually actors paid by their parents to scare them.
However, things quickly get out of hand as the false futures become increasingly demanding and the boys struggle to keep up the charade. Eventually, Stan tries to force the truth from his parents by pretending to cut his own hand. This leads to a horrifying and hilarious scene in which Randy also cuts off (and tries to reattach) the actor's hand. He is a rapture andEpisode that can be seen again in South Parkthis brings out Stan's dark side.
4 "You have 0 friends"
Season 14, Episode 4 (2010)
This 2010 episode focuses on Facebook, created at a time when the site was still relatively new and growing. After Stan's friends and family pressure him to use it, he is inundated with friend requests from people he doesn't know. Angered, Stan tries to delete his account, but Facebook won't let him. Instead, he is sucked into a virtual world of Facebook.
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Stan embarks on a wild ride through cyberspace, eventually confronting his online profile, which is a monstrous version of himself. To get back to the real world, Stan must defeat his online double in a game of Yahtzee. It's a wild ride mixed with powerful commentary.
3 "All About Mormons"
Season 7, Episode 12 (2003)
In this episode, South Park is visited by a Mormon family who find themselves in the spotlight due to their unfamiliar beliefs and practices. The other kids order Stan to beat up Gary, the family son, but Stan is surprised to find the boy friendly and invites him back to his house. Randy becomes convinced that the Mormons are trying to brainwash Stan, but he soon converts to the faith as well.
As the townspeople struggle to understand Mormons, they question their own beliefs and prejudices, leading to a series of unexpected revelations. "All About Mormons" is a terrific episode with great religious commentary and jokes. Parker and Stone would explore similar ideas later in theirThe book of Mormon.
2 "Trapped in the Closet"
Season 9, Episode 12 (2005)
"Trapped in the closet" isSouth Park Legendary Episodeabout Scientology. Stan is declared the reincarnation of the founder of ScientologyL. Ron Hubbard, leading to a series of strange encounters with members of the church.tom cruisemiJohn Travoltathey even appear and are brutally ridiculed.
Parker and Stone use their trademark humor to comment on Scientology's often hidden practices and beliefs. Much of the episode is simply devoted to explaining some of what Scientology actually teaches. (There's a particularly funny scene about the being known as Xenu.)
1 "Forest Animals Christmas"
Season 8, episode 14 (2004)
In this Christmas special, Stan meets a group of adorable woodland creatures who seem to embody the true spirit of the holidays. However, as the episode progresses, it is revealed that the animals are actually Satanists trying to bring about the return of the Antichrist. The boys soon find themselves embroiled in a surreal and disturbing adventure involving orgies and ritual sacrifices.
Reluctantly, Stan decides to stop the animals, even as they unleash their satanic powers on him. He learns that only cougars can stop the Antichrist from coming, so he heads into the mountains to find them. The plot gets more and more absurd from there, to the point where Kyle is possessed by the evil spirit and Santa Claus appears wielding a shotgun. It's a wild, fun and wacky episode that showcases what fans love about Stan and the series in general.
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