One of the most timeless TV characters has to be the little boy in the orange hooded sweatshirt Kenny McCormick, constantly beset by death in any number of ways, whether it be a bitten off-head, sliced in half, or a dreaded STD.
And through it all, Parker and Stone have constantly innovated the way this unfortunate youngster kicks the bucket, never once letting the joke become stale or boring or predictable. They structured a movie plot around him, actually killed him for an entire season, then let at least one full season pass by without his death. Nowadays you always look forward to a Kenny death, and it’s in honor of this immortal/mortal little boy that Screen Junkies presents to you the most inventive Kenny deaths of all time.
Note: You’d be surprised how difficult it is to find Kenny deaths on the officia South Park website. We placed an asterisk next to the videos that don’t show the death scene itself, but are as close as could be found and from the same episode.
13. Episode 107: Pinkeye
One of the goriest deaths is at the beginning of our list, in an episode where the entire town catches pinkeye – a classic symptom being inflamed eyes.  The town also acts suspiciously like zombies, and Kenny, the original infected, must be killed in order to cure everyone else, as Cartman and Stan kill every zombie in sight by slicing their heads off. Kyle hurries past them and slices right down the center of Kenny’s body, from top to bottom, spewing gore everywhere. It’s gory, it’s intense, and it continues the series of endless twists the creators find on Kenny’s death. Kyle stares at whathe’s done and screams out, “Oh my God! I killed Kenny!”
12. Episode 207: City on the Edge of Forever (Flashbacks)
In an episode rife with references to previous ones, with nods to Star Trek episodes and more, this was one of the more successfully ambitious ones. It’s also notable because Kenny dies several times – in a few flashbacks, including one where the kids are toddlers. Kenny’s main death comes about halfway in, after he reminisces about his encounter with death, where in he beat death to, well, death, and picked up ice cream from his dead body. “Now that’s what I call a sticky situation,” Kenny says. They all laugh, until a big black monster comes by and yanks Kenny out of the bus, carting him away.
11. Episode 416: Wacky Molestation Adventure
As the series went along and Kenny kept dying, it became necessary to develop more elaborate ways for the classic tagline to be said. One of the best ones lies in this episode, where the kids of South Park all claim they were “molestered” by their parents,and get the entire town to themselves. When strangers arrive in South Park, they find Kenny’s corps. In hushed tones, they say, “My God. They…killed him.” “Those bastards.”
10. Episode 1301: The Ring
Kenny didn’t die for all of season twelve, so the catchphrase wasn’t once uttered. For the time being, Stone and Parker had moved on to other things. One thing they’ve proven they know how to do is lay off a joke, and now their Kenny death moments are something to be treasured, like this one the recent Jona Brothers episode.. Kenny and his girlfriend whip off their purity rings that they’ve been wearing because the Jonas Brothers do, and vow to quit watching Grey’s Anatomy, then head off to get that BJ in the parking lot. The very next scene takes us to Kenny’s funeral, having died of syphilis, because of the diseased his friends warned him about. You can never be too careful.
9. Episode 313: Hooked on Monkey Phonics
Some of these deaths are valued for their sheer hilarity. In the episode where Cartman sleeps all day because he’s now homeschooled, he also has a monkey that’s supposed to help him with his phonics. At one point, while his friends are trying to coax him out of bed, the monkey phonics viciously attacks Kenny, banging him all around the room and repeatedly stomping on his face, all while Cartman calls out, “No, phonics monkey, that’s a bad phonics monkey!” “Oh my God! Phonics Monkey killed Kenny!” “You’re damn straight he did,” Cartman replies glibly.
8. Episode 214: Chef Aid
Though this death wasn’t particularly gory, at least for South Park, it did manage to expose, once again, the insanity of celebrities, for what it really was, as at concert to support Chef and his goal to gain enough money to hire Johnny Cochran, Ozzy Osbourne, in a frenzy, whips his hand down into the crowd and lifts up Kenny, promptly fitting his whole head into his mouth and snapping off the whole thing. “Oh my God! Ozzy Osbourne bit Kenny’s head off!” “You bastard!”
7. Episode 106: Death*
Trey Parker and Matt Stone were quick to bring Kenny face-to-face with his eternal enemy, Death. In this one Stan’s Grandpa was trying to get everyone to kill him, and as he was chasing Death down the street, Death was chasing the boys, obvlivious to Grandpa. He caught up with Kenny soon enough and gave him his eternal reward that he received five times before that.
6. South Park: Bigger, Longer, Uncut*
This one remains classic partially because of the larger budget – when Kenny dies, he ascends up to heaven, seeing visions of naked hot angels dancing in the sky, and a button waiting to be pressed. When he presses it, he descends down into a hell and is ripped apart viciously by demons emerging from the swirling fire surrounding him, twisting and turning him into every shape, casting him down into the abyss. All this is after he lit a fart on fire, nearly killed himself, and was informed by George Clooney the doctor that they accidentally replaced his heart with a baked potato. “You’re going to die in about 3 seconds.” Kenny’s death is also integral to the plot of the movie, and even leads to one of the rare times in the series where we see his face.
5. Episode 407: Cherokee Hair Tampons*
By the thirteenth season we’ve figured out that Kenny knows he dies repeatedly, while his friends intermittently remember and forget. One of main indicators we get that he knows is from this episode, where Stan is weeping over the fact that Kyle might die, constantly sharing with Kenny about how he’s going to do everything he can to keep his friend from dying, while Kenny gives him the evil eye, finally getting up and screaming that they never care when he dies, walking off and promptly getting smashed by a piano, while Stan continues to weep about Kyle.
4. Episode 504: Super Best Friends
In another controversial and blasphemous episode, the boys join the cult of David Blaine and are told they must all commit suicide in the reflecting pool in Washington, DC. Stan is able to break free from this before it happens, and when he arrives on the scene, he overturns a body and stares at the anonymously shaved head and blank, dead stare, and freaks out. “Oh my God! They killed Kenny!” Then he hears, in the distance, “You bastards!” Playing “Marco Polo” with this phrase, he and Kyle are able to find each other. This show also extensively commented on how similar everybody looked, and the “gotcha!” joke of Kenny lying in the water was also a classic Parker/Stone middle finger.
3. Episode 904: Best Friends Forever
Kenny-centric episodes are few and far between, and so when we do get one they’re always something to look forward to, whether he’s trying to get a blowjob from a notorious whore or, in this case, discovering his amazing PSP skills means he is the Chosen One and must save heaven from Satan’s massive forces. Also of note is Kyle leading a protest outside the hospital where Kenny is in a vegetative state, shouting out, “Don’t kill Kenny!” to which the crowd responds, “You bastards!” Like always, Parker and Stone managed to infuse the episode with clever self-referential jokes to how often Kenny has died as well as his friends’ reactions (not to mention the running joke that only Mormons get into heaven).
2. Episode 513: Kenny Dies
Though you never actually see Kenny die in this one, it remains a classic. After having killed Kenny more than sixty times, Parker and Stone knew it was time to do something drastic or let the character become stale. The obvious solution? Kill Kenny, and killing off a main character like that for an extended period of time is something no other show could really get away with. Surrounding it with a hilarious story involving Stan feeling guilty for not being Kenny’s friend and Cartman trying to get stem cells legalized so he can replicate his own Shakey’s Pizza, the episode was made all the more hilarious by all of his friends sobbing and weeping throughout, morosely, desperately calling out that “Kenny can’t die!”
1. Episode 807: The Jeffersons
And at number one, Kenny’s single best death, for both surprise and hilarity, where he is killed by Michael Jackson. As the boys try to rescue Blanket from his psychotic father, they bring some blonde-haired kid along, and Stan tells him when he complains, “Whatever dude, at least you get to do something.” A couple of scenes later Jackson mistakes the blonde kid disguised as Blanket, and, excited to see his child, spins him around and sends him crashing up to the ceiling. A pause, and then Stan and Kyle say the catchphrase, and you realize the random blonde boy was none other than Kenny McCormick, once again meeting death at the hands of a celebrity. That poor Kenny. When will it end?
– THOMAS ANDERSON
aka MOVIEBUZZREVIEWDUDE. Check out his movie/media/pop culture blog here.
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