The world of South Park is full of casual murder and death, with plenty of figures being killed off easily and almost randomly over the years. But there are two major characters in the show who’ve been involved in multiple murders over the years, despite only being children. And yet, each of them has earned more kills than most action heroes do in entire franchises.
But that raises one big question: who has the larger kill count in South Park: Eric Cartman or Butters?
Cartman is a ridiculously evil little boy, often treating any casual insult as a reason to commit terrible crimes. Over the course of the series, Cartman has earned a staggering number of kills — with perhaps his most infamous being during Season 5’s “Scott Tenorman Must Die.” Although he didn’t pull the trigger, he arranged for the “accidental” murders of Scott’s parents (including Scott’s Dad, who was also secretly Cartman’s birth father) and then chopped up their bodies to present to Scott as chili.
Other notorious kills of his include the people he struck with a stolen car in South Park Season 14’s “Poor and Stupid,” gunning down members of the Chinese Mafia in Season 9’s “Wing” and electrocuting multiple immigrants trying to reach the border in Season 15’s “The Last of the Meheecans.” Cartman killed Kenny by accident in Season 4’s “Timmy 2000” and “Helen Keller! The Musical.” He was also legally responsible for his death in Season 5’s “Cartmanland,” resulting in him being sued by the McCormick family. In addition to driving people to suicide, Cartman also befriended a monstrous force and used it to slaughter people across Earth in Season 15’s “Mysterion Rises.” Finally, he caused two passenger planes to crash in Season 17’s “World War Zimmerman,” with almost no survivors in either of them. That episode ended with Cartman openly trying to kill Token, and Kyle referring to Cartman as an unabashed murderer.
Butters is one of the nicer people in South Park, boasting a mix of childish innocence and oblivious kindness that obscures the darker elements of his upbringing and personality. But despite this, Butters actually does have some kills to his name. In South Park Season 8’s “You Got F’ed in the A,” it’s revealed that Butters is a tap-dance prodigy. However, he was traumatized when during a tap dance competition one of his shoes came loose and knocked out the rafters. The resulting chaos led to the deaths of eight people — which Stan later corrects to eleven, as one of the people he killed was pregnant and two others took their own lives in response to the tragedy. By the end of the episode, a similar accident results in Butters killing the OC Dance Crew and their Coach — adding five more bodies to the death toll.
He can also at least be considered an accessory to Cartman’s crimes in “Poor and Stupid,” and his writing in South Park Season 14’s “The Tale of Scrotie McBoogerballs” inspires a man to kill the Kardashians. In Season 14’s “Sexual Healing,” he and Kyle are convinced to kill an “alien” by President Obama, shooting a man. His most deadly actions, though, come in Season 16’s “Going Native,” where Butters and Kenny briefly relocate to Hawaii. Trying to help his fellow wealthy white vacationers keep the land out of the hands of the United States, Butters hits a golf ball at a cruise ship, striking the captain in the eye. In his pain, the Captain accidentally sets the boat to rise up in the water, which cracks it half and causing it to sink, killing everyone on board.
Determining which of the two characters has a bigger kill count comes down to what one considers applicable to that number. In terms of actual physical intervention resulting in the deaths of others, Butters might have Cartman beat. Cruise ships like the one he sinks in “Going Native” have typical passenger numbers in the thousands. While Cartman has brought down planes with likely triple-digit passenger numbers, that still pale in comparison to Butters’ actions. However, if Cartman’s manipulations can be considered a murderous act in itself, then ordering Cthulhu to kill countless across America in the “Mysterious Rises” arc gives him a clear edge. If malice and forethought are also on the table, then Cartman’s deliberate acts of slaughter make him the much more prolific killer.
While Butters’ many kills were largely accidents, his kill count — which likely hits four digits — may have Cartman beat in terms of sheer number. But there’s no question that Cartman is the crueler and more dangerous killer.