Ten or even five years ago, Eric Cartman would have been the clear-cut most iconic character on South Park. But in recent years, Randy Marsh has taken the throne. As Trey Parker and Matt Stone (and their longtime fans) have grown older, Randy has become the voice of their aging, of desperate attempts to return to innocent times and escape the more brutal hardships of reality.
He’s also become the show’s best fool.
Many of his best moments have been acted out—his tween wave performance, his Broadway bro-down, his Heroin Hero addiction—but he’s still provided a wealth of memorable quotes over the past two decades. On top of the ubiquitous “Hey Sharon,” we’ve collected 20 of Randy’s greatest lines of all time.
“I thought this was America!”
In America—the land of the free and the home of the brave—you should be able to do anything, especially when you’re standing up for yourself. That means it’s totally fine to go to your son’s Little League baseball game belligerently drunk, pick a fight with another parent, and end up bloodied and in your underwear. Unfortunately, the authoritarian police sometimes take issue with this.
“There’s plenty of other interesting things you can do. Have you ever tried marijuana? Maybe it’s time.”
Randy has a legitimate problem with boy bands; he was in one, the Ghetto Avenue Boys, and he knows from personal experience that their life spans are short, their managers are criminals, and they’re forever seen as jokes after the fame goes away. So of course, in typical Randy fashion, he doesn’t initially let his son Stan in on the truth when the boys form Fingerbang. Instead, he digs himself into a deeper hole.
“I’m not chugging beer! I’m sampling a flight of gluten-free German lagers with a French wine pairing! It’s called a smorgaswein and it’s elegantly cultural!”
When Randy delivers this line—after berating Stan for racking up charges on freemium gaming apps—he’s halfway through a flight of eight beers and eight glasses of wine. For Randy, and generally for most people who drink too much, this sort of mental gymnastics is second nature. Maybe if Stan had explained that freemium games are a hallmark of sophisticated progressive culture, he might have gotten away with his addiction.
“This disease is just eating me up! I hate my illness!”
Randy’s love affair with alcohol is nothing new, of course. In Season Nine’s “Bloody Mary,” he gets a DUI and, in the course of attending AA meetings, is informed that alcoholism is a disease and that he must give himself up to a higher power. So instead of trying to improve himself, he assumes that he’s powerless to stop drinking and decides that only a miracle can save him from his horrible condition. Fortunately, such a “miracle” appears—in the form of a statue of the Virgin Mary that bleeds out of its ass.
“The players should all wear bras! And instead of helmets, they should wear little tinfoil hats, ‘cause, you know, it’s the future and we shouldn’t be so barbaric!”
Randy didn’t really mean this. But he lives in South Park, and sarcasm is among the many things that this town is incapable of understanding. Naturally, football morphs into sarcastaball nationwide, as Randy becomes the head coach of the Denver Broncos, and the only way he can be shocked out of his constant sarcasm is by drinking Butters’ “creamy goo.” Because there’s totally not a connection between sarcasm and sarcastaball, just like there’s no connection between football and concussions… right, NFL?
“Just gonna get a little bit of cancer, Stan. Tell Mom it’s okay.”
In the episode “Medicinal Fried Chicken,” (which aired before Colorado made weed legal for everyone), Randy decides that getting his pot fix is more important than his good health. So he decides to give himself cancer to become eligible for a medical card. Needless to say, he succeeds. Eventually, his testicles become so large that he uses them as a hoppity-hop—we’re cringing at the thought of such pain, but he’s probably so high that he can’t feel much of anything.
“Yea, it is an angry and unforgiving Economy. To repent we must stop frivolous spending! Instead of paying for cable, let us watch clouds! Instead of buying clothes, wear but sheets from thine beds! Cut spending to only the bare essentials! Water and bread and margaritas, yea.”
When the recession hit South Park in 2009, Randy was quick to take the side of strict austerity—a potentially reasonable argument, if not the most effective solution to the problem. It seems like a good idea, until he imbues it with religious fervor and plunges the town back into the living standards of Jesus’ era. Margaritas are, of course, exempt from the austerity measures, because this is Randy and he needs a steady supply of alcohol to remain alive.
“This is ectoplasm!”
When the Internet dried up in Season Twelve’s “Overlogging,” Randy took his family out Californee’ way, because he heard that’s where he could get a little bit of wifi. His real motivation for the Tom Joad-ian trek, though, was to get his fix of the weirdest porn on the web. Eventually, he broke into the Red Cross’ Internet facility and quickly filled the room with “ectoplasm,” courtesy of the “spooky ghost” that visited him… and certainly not because of the Brazilian fart fetish that happened to be up on the screen.
“Crème fraîche, Cafeteria Fraîche. Lalalalala fraîche. Ho ho hohoho.”
Randy is the master of momentary obsession, but the time he decided to become a practitioner of food porn probably ranks among the strangest of his phases (right up there with cock magic). The above quote is the theme song to his imagined cooking show in the South Park cafeteria, where he failed to match the prowess of Chef and eventually got himself destroyed by Bobby Flay. Turns out all he needed to be cured of his temporary insanity was an “old-fashioned,” courtesy of his wife.
“We didn’t listen!”
No one listened about global warming, and then, one day, it came for the citizens of South Park. Chaos ensued as the townsfolk fled from the invisible phenomenon to take shelter in the South Park Community Center. One dude even died in the street. While Randy was hardly the only person to scream “WE DIDN’T LISTEN,” he did it with the most emotion—and, just minutes before, had been composedly giving a scientific lecture.
“Staaaaaan. I’ve never been able to say this before, but… I love you son. Auggghhh. Auggghhhhhhhhhhhh.”
One of South Park’s strengths has always been its dying sounds, and they’re on full display in “Make Love Not Warcraft,” one of the top SP episodes of all time. The strength of the episode lies in how seriously everyone takes the game, and, of course, no one delved into it further than Randy. The noob successfully delivered the Sword of a Thousand Truths to his son before being murdered by the overpowerful griefer they needed to defeat.
“I mean, this was something I made! Something that came from me! That was a part of me! The only thing I ever made that was any good!”
The fact that Randy says this to Stan says all you need to know about the senior Marsh’s self-worth. It’s not that Stan is bad… it’s just that Randy is defined by his persistent insecurity and seemingly perpetual midlife crisis. Then again, Bono (who first held the record for largest crap, then WAS the record for largest crap) is really good at making people feel like they’ve done nothing with their lives.
“Great job, son. Now the Japanese are normal, like us.”
The Japanese were abnormal because of their passion for killing dolphins and whales… which was the result of America framing the marine mammals for the atomic bombing of Hiroshima that ended WWII. Once Stan discovered this, he figured it was probably okay to treat the problem by redirecting the Japanese aggression instead of solving the underlying issue that slaughtering animals needlessly might be a little unethical. It was truly a solution worthy of his father.
“Yeah well, that, that’s not really… gay, is it?”
Randy’s supposed to represent the average straight, middle-aged, white, American man, and the average member of this group is not exactly okay with being perceived as gay. So on “a night for experimenting” as South Park’s adults gathered to watch a meteor shower, he faced some serious self-doubt after he and Gerald Broflovski watched each other pleasure themselves in a hot tub. It didn’t help that Gerald kept trying to broach the subject at the party.
“We’re trying to turn everyone gay so that there are no future humans! Present-day America Number One!”
Here, Randy is describing the massive pile of naked men he’s joined—a desperate (but probably secretly pleasurable) orgy designed to stem the flow of immigrants through a time portal, because the immigrants are taking everyone’s jobs (sorry, “jerbbbbbs”). As per usual, this is deemed less gay than Stan’s proposed solution of actually working to make the future a better place so the “goobacks” don’t have to come back in time.
“We have that, Stan. It’s called Friday Night Kegger.”
Friday Night Kegger would be, by all measures, a more constructive way to spend time with the family than would be a good old-fashioned, Mormon-style game night. The only problem is that Randy can’t exactly have Friday Night Kegger with his very much under-21 children. He does that with his friends. Naturally, though, when he’s exposed to the wholesome lifestyle of his new Mormon neighbors, that becomes the new objective standard of the good life.
“The record company messed it all up. It was supposed to go ‘Hunger Games, yah yah yah, yah yah yah! Hunger Games.’ But they just do what they want with my songs.”
Spoiler alert: you know Lorde? Yeah, she’s actually Randy Marsh. He writes songs in the women’s bathroom, he autotunes the hell out of them, and all of a sudden he’s inspiring young women and music lovers around the world. In all honesty, this was one of South Park’s most brilliant little arcs ever, taking advantage of a SPIN writer who clearly missed the point in the previous episode—the boys obviously couldn’t get Lorde to play their fundraiser, so Randy dressed up like her, and the writer took it as a jab at Lorde instead of just Randy being stupid—and running with the misinterpretation.
“I’ll make less money, sure, but…as long as I buy everything at Wall-Mart, it’ll all even out. Don’t you see? Wall-Mart isn’t our enemy, it’s our neighborhood friend.”
South Park pretty much nails Wal-Mart’s business model: move into a town, crowd out smaller retailers via economies of scale, hire those people to work at Wal-Mart and become cogs in the massive corporate machine. Randy, being Randy, interpreted this power as something from an ethereal plane (much the same way he interpreted the economy during the recession).
“God, why do the economically challenged always have to screw up everything?!”
Unlike many American buffoons of conservative bent, Randy fancies himself a progressive. The issue: progressives can be asshats, too. That was the whole thrust of South Park’s most recent season, in which the town becomes a PC haven and simultaneously resembles a dystopia in which actual societal problems are ignored, in favor of making changes that will make the town seem progressive. Somehow, this almost causes sentient ads to take over the world, because South Park.
“Stan, as you get older, boobs—these “ahta”—will start becoming a major part of your life. But Stanley, you can’t let them get in the way of your friends. There are a lot of boobs out there, son. But they’re just boobs; your friends are forever. I know you think this set of boobs is important now, but those boobs will be replaced by another set of boobs. Boobs will come and go, and then, someday, you’ll meet a pair of boobs that you want to marry. And those become the boobs that matter the most.”
Occasionally, Randy actually provides his son with sound advice. This was one such time. With Stan obsessed over his classmate Bebe’s “boobs” (to the extent that a 4th grader has boobs) and having devolved to a caveman-like state, Randy stepped in and helped him realize that he was destroying his life. The monologue is simple, it’s crass and it’s a quintessential South Park statement.
Zach Blumenfeld’s worst fear is that he will grow up to be Randy Marsh. Follow him on Twitter.