Hard as it is to imagine, "South Park" is 20 years old. The show has spent two entire decades lampooning politics and pop culture and honing its reputation as one of the most hilarious and gleefully offensive shows on the air. To celebrate this big anniversary here are the nine most controversial moments in the show's long history.
9. Cartman's Anal Probe
As seen in: "Cartman Gets an Anal Probe" (Season 1) Honestly, the moment seems fairly tame by "South Park's" current standards, but -- back in 1996 -- it was quite a shock to see an animated sitcom dealing with a third grade boy being anally probed by aliens. This surreal moment really set the tone for the series going forward.
8. Cartman Befriends Mr. Jefferson
As seen in: "The Jeffersons" (Season 8) The late South Park" took the opportunity to lampoon the eccentric, fallen pop star with an episode where Jackson and his son, Blanket, tried to hide out in South Park. And, of course, the gold-digging Cartman was immediately drawn into a creepy friendship with "Mr. Jefferson." This episode arguably made even bigger waves with its scathing take on police racial discrimination. The episode's subplot involved "South Park's" dedicated officers turning on Mr. Jefferson after realizing that he was, in fact, African American.
7. Steve Irwin Goes to Hell
As seen in: "Hell on Earth 2006" (Season 10) It's a safe bet that whenever Satan shows up on "South Park," creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone will be pushing the boundaries of good taste. That was very true in this episode, which featured Satan hosting a massive costume party in Hell. One partygoer was none other than conservationist/TV personality Steve Irwin, who died in a freak accident mere weeks before this episode aired. Needless to say, Irwin's family members were not amused.
6. Running Up the Meter
As seen in: "It Hits the Fan" (Season 5) There are a handful of words one generally never hears on basic cable, but "South Park" is never a series to follow those rules. This episode featured a running gag where characters uttered the word "sh**" while a counter tracked each new instance. By the end, the counter had climbed all the way to 162. What might have been a faux pas in moderation suddenly became acceptable -- especially once it was repeated hundreds of times in the span of 22 minutes.
5. A Dark Day for Indiana Jones
As seen in: "The China Problem" (Season 12) Plenty of moviegoers disliked "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull," but no one was quite as damning in their criticism of the ill-advised sequel than Trey Parker and Matt Stone. This episode featured several disturbing (and graphic) flashbacks of directors Steven Spielberg and George Lucas sexually violating their character, with nods to films like "Deliverance" and "The Accused."
4. Besmirching the Virgin Mary
As seen in: "Bloody Mary" (Season 9) "South Park" takes a pretty equal-opportunity approach to lampooning major religions. However, the series really angered the Catholic Church with this episode, which featured a supposedly divine statue of the Virgin Mary spewing menstrual blood on worshipers.
3. Tom Cruise in the Closet
As seen in: "Trapped in the Closet" (Season 8) "South Park" directed its satirical muscle at Tom Cruise, R. Kelly, and the entire Church of Scientology with this infamous episode, which repeatedly insinuated Cruise was a closeted homosexual and offered a very scathing view of Scientology's practices. Neither Cruise nor the Church were amused, with Cruise allegedly threatening to pull his support for "Mission: Impossible III" if Comedy Central didn't pull the episode. This is also supposedly the episode that made Scientology member Isaac Hayes quit the show, prompting Parker and Stone to retaliate with the 2006 episode "The Return of Chef."
2. Randy Says 'The N-Word'
As seen in: "With Apologies to Jesse Jackson" (Season 11) Only Randy Marsh could turn an appearance on "Wheel of Fortune" into a national scandal. This episode managed to shock even jaded viewers in its early moments as a befuddled Randy uttered the "N-word" (completely uncensored) and kicked off a racially-charged firestorm back home.
1. Muhammad 'Appears' on 'Family Guy'
As seen in: "Cartoon Wars Part II" (Season 10) "South Park" made some pretty big real-world waves with this two-part episode that both skewered "Family Guy" and its reference-driven approach to humor. The ep also made the taboo decision to feature the image of the Muslim prophet Muhammad. Comedy Central faced a great deal of backlash, despite Muhammad having previously appeared in 2001's "Super Best Friends." And when the big moment came, the network elected to censor the episode and obscure Muhammad's image. Trey Parker and Matt Stone courted similar controversy with the 2010 episodes "200" and "201," though Comedy Central again censored the image of Muhammad.