Since The Simpsons debuted in 1989 and changed the landscape of animation entirely, nothing had quite come close in the successive years to doing anything near as meteoric. Well, that was until South Park came along in 1997 and changed the landscape of adult animation and potentially comedy in general, with its scandalously unapologetic tone, its maintenance on having children as its stars and the controversial topics that the show dealt with.
Some were mildly amusing and quite sincere, such as Big Gay Al's Big Gay Boat Ride, whereas others like the seminal Cartman's Mom is a Dirty Slut, straight-up mocked the values of society in a once unique, but now ubiquitous way.
The one thing that these two episodes do share in abundance, other the same two of three voice actors, is the incessant focus on social commentary comedy. The satire that South Park is now predominantly known for was birthed in the early days, but it wasn't quite moulded until they bolstered the roster of the mountain town's personnel.
There was absolutely an endless stream of show stealing characters in the progenitor days, but not always in terms of comedy. But as the show grew, and its creators with it, they added a plethora of mainstay characters, one-off characters and even guest stars throughout its existential run.
Today, we focus on the top ten of these - in an arduous task that feels almost arbitrary to the characters that had to be left out.
10. Tuong Lu Kim
Even by South Park standards, it's arguable that Tuong Lu Kim, as he exists currently, would simply not get written today for being far too abhorrent of a racial stereotype. So much so, that quoting the racist, bigoted, revenue evading restauranteur could be deemed a violation of the laws and legislation of the "woke" crowd.
But, that's exactly what's going to happen right now.
Known for his mispronunciation of his proprietary restaurant "City Wok", which he pronounces "Sh**ty Wok" due to his Eastern accent causing him a few issues, Lu Kim was initially something of a one-note joke, constantly mispronouncing words due to his inefficiency of the English language, but as the series evolved, so too did his role within it.
Being written into some seriously strange storylines - it is South Park after all - in which he's building a wall, reminiscent of the one in his home town, to keep Mongolians from stealing the children of South Park all the way to being used as a metaphoric plot device to describe the "sh**ty" people in a more recent episode, Lu Kim has emerged as a vital source of comedy in the series.