30 most shocking South Park moments ever

South Park - Photo: Comedy Central
South Park - Photo: Comedy Central /
15 of 30
Image: Comedy Central
Image: Comedy Central /

16. Big Gay Al is introduced ahead of his time

In the late 1990s, many Americans still had a way to go before accepting open homosexuality. The shift had begun, but acceptance was still in its infancy. When presented on television, homosexuality was usually danced around, and it was controversial to spend too much time on it.

This is where South Park comes in. In one of the earliest episodes, “Big Gay Al’s Big Gay Boat Ride”, an openly homosexual character is the primary focus. Big Gay Al makes his first appearance in this episode, complete with all the stereotypes you can imagine.

The episode starts with Stan realizing his dog Sparky (voiced by George Clooney) is gay. He is initially apprehensive, causing Sparky to run away to Big Gay Al’s animal sanctuary. There, Big Gay Al gives Stan a boat ride and tells him all about homosexuality. By the end of it, Stan is totally accepting of it.

At the end, Stan interrupts a football game to let everyone know it’s “okay to be gay”. At the time of its airing, the episode was considered controversial. However, it was nominated for both an Emmy award and a GLAAD award based on its subject matter.