An Elephant Makes Love to a Pig

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"An Elephant Makes Love to a Pig"
South Park episode
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 5
Directed by (uncredited)
Written by Trey Parker
Matt Stone
Dan Sterling
Production code 105
Original air date September 10, 1997 (1997-09-10)[1]
Episode chronology
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South Park (season 1)
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"An Elephant Makes Love to a Pig" is the fifth episode of the first season of the animated television series South Park. It originally aired on Comedy Central in the United States on September 10, 1997. In the episode, the boys of South Park try to force Kyle's pet elephant Biff to crossbreed with Eric Cartman's pet pot-bellied pig for a class project on genetic engineering. Meanwhile, Stan tries to deal with his sister Shelley, who keeps beating him up.

The episode was written by series co-creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone along with Dan Sterling. The episode served as both a parody of genetic engineering and a statement against its potential evils. The scenes of Stan getting beat up by his sister were inspired by Parker's real-life childhood experiences with his own sister, who is also named Shelley.

"An Elephant Makes Love to a Pig" was met with generally positive reviews, and has been described as one of the most popular early South Park episodes. Several commentators praised its satirical elements with regard to genetic engineering. The episode marked the first appearance of Shelley Marsh, Stan's mother Sharon Marsh, and the mad scientist Dr. Mephisto, who was inspired by the title character of the 1996 film, The Island of Dr. Moreau.

Plot[edit]

The boys are waiting at the bus stop when Cartman notices Stan has a black eye and it turns out his sister Shelley has been beating him up. Kyle has problems of his own; his mom will not let him keep his new pet elephant in the house. At school, Mr. Hat teaches the class about genetic engineering, which prompts Kyle to decide to crossbreed his elephant with Cartman's pot-bellied pig, Fluffy, to make little "pot-bellied elephants", which he could keep in his house. Upon hearing this, Terrance Mephisto bets Kyle that he can clone a whole person before Kyle can create a pot-bellied elephant. Mr. Garrison suggests the boys use their genetic modifications for the upcoming science fair and check out the South Park Genetic Engineering Ranch.

At the ranch, Dr. Mephisto shows them his genetically engineered collection, including several different animals with four pairs of buttocks, such as a monkey, ostrich and mongoose. Mephisto then explains that, just like the Loverboy song says, "pig and elephant DNA just won't splice," and steals a blood sample from Stan and the boys leave. At school the boys learn Terrance has cloned a human foot. The boys go to Chef with their genetic engineering problem, and after he too cites the Loverboy song, he gives them the idea to try to have the animals "make sweet love" to breed.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Mephisto and his assistant Kevin have created a human clone of Stan for Terrance. The boys attempt to get the pig and the elephant drunk and to mate, but it does not seem to be working until Chef stops by and sings to the animals with a little help from Elton John. The cloned Stan (played by Robert Carradine aka a guy from Revenge of the Nerds) breaks free from Mephisto's ranch and proceeds to terrorize the town. The boys eventually find the clone and take it to Stan's house and convince it to attack Shelley; however, it decides to destroy the house and indirectly kills Kenny, by flinging him into a microwave, with a chair. Mephisto shows up and shoots the clone, but Stan is afraid he will be in trouble for everything the clone did. However, in a brief moment of kindness, Shelley takes the blame, after which she beats up Stan.

When the science projects are due, Terrance presents a monkey with five pairs of buttocks, but Kyle has nothing until the pig gives birth to a pot-bellied pig that looks like Mr. Garrison, implying the pig was impregnated by Mr. Garrison before the elephant. Garrison quickly awards it first prize over Terrance's monkey.

Production[edit]

"An Elephant Makes Love to a Pig" was written by show creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, and Dan Sterling. It first aired on September 10, 1997, in the United States on Comedy Central. Parker and Stone intended to call this episode "An Elephant Fucks a Pig", but changed the title under pressure from Comedy Central.[2] The channel also made them cut a scene in which Shelley sets Stan on fire the second time she beats him up to keep the show from coming under the same fire for showing dangerous acts that can easily be imitated as MTV's Beavis and Butthead and later, MTV's Jackass. Even though the scene is cut, the part where Stan is lying on top of a puddle of water as he's telling Shelley that someday he'll be bigger than her and she'll regret beating him hasn't been altered. It was during the writing of this episode that Parker and Stone decided Kyle would be the good student and "school-smarter than the other kids".[3]

South Park co-creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone wrote "An Elephant Makes Love to a Pig".

The subplot with Stan getting beat up by his sister Shelley came from Parker's real-life experiences getting beat up as a child by his sister, also named Shelley, who is three years his elder. Parker said although his sister would later deny it, she regularly beat him up or locked him out of the house for hours; Parker stated that the scene when Stan says "You're my sister and I love you" in order to try to avoid a beating, but was subsequently beat even harder, was based on an actual experience with his sister. The scene in which Stan asks the giant mutant Stan to attack Shelley is based on Parker's childhood fantasy of having a larger version of himself beat up his sister. The resolution to the subplot, in which Shelley takes the blame for Stan's mistakes, and then beats up Stan when he tries to thank her, was also based on experiences Parker had when his sister would bail him out of trouble.[3]

The dialogue spoken by the giant mutant Stan was inspired by a mentally handicapped character in the MTV show How's Your News?, which Parker and Stone produced; according to Parker and Stone, the character could only say phrases like "Bubba chop, bubba chewy chomp", and both men took turns voicing mutant Stan to sound the same way. Isaac Hayes, who does the voice of Chef, recorded all his lines via phone from New York; Parker and Stone said they were nervous to ask him to repeat the line, "Now I know how all those white women felt", but he had no problem repeating it. The genetic mutations Dr. Mephisto creates, including the animals with multiple asses and the goldfish with bunny ears, were inspired by things Parker drew during high school.[3]

The scene in the cafeteria, in which the four boys are annoyed by Pip, is a cut scene from the original version of the South Park pilot, "Cartman Gets an Anal Probe"; as such, the animation in that individual scene is actually traditional paper cutout stop motion, while the animation throughout the rest of the episode is done with computers.[2][3][4] In order to illustrate the aftermath after the destruction scenes, Parker and Stone smudged the paper sets with their fingerprints and stains to make them look like scorch burns.[3]

Cultural references[edit]

The Baltimore Sun writer Tamara Ikenberg equated the episode as both a parody of genetic engineering and a statement against its potential evils, particularly through in its portrayal of the giant mutant Stan wreaking havoc on South Park.[5] This episode marked the first appearances of the characters Shelley Marsh and Stan's mother, Sharon Marsh, as well as that of Dr. Mephisto.[2] Dr. Mephisto is based on Marlon Brando's character Dr. Moreau in the 1996 film, The Island of Dr. Moreau, which is based on the 1896 H.G. Wells novel of the same name.[3][6][7] Mephisto is named after Mephistopheles, the demon in the Faust legend.[8] Kevin, the tiny-monkey like companion of Dr. Mephisto, is based on the small creature who resembles and dresses like a miniature version of Brando's character in the 1996 film The Island of Dr. Moreau. The character from that film also inspired Mini-Me, the miniature version of Dr. Evil featured in the Austin Powers films. Because "An Elephant Makes Love to a Pig" premiered before Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, Parker and Stone have joked they believe Powers-creator Mike Myers stole the idea for Mini-Me from them.[3]

Elton John, the English singer and songwriter, appears as a guest vocalist for Chef's song, in one of the earliest celebrity spoof appearances on South Park;[9] Trey Parker, who provided the voice for Elton John, said many people thought it was the actual John singing because his impression was so accurate.[3][10] In another musical reference featured in the episode, several characters claim the real-life Canadian rock group Loverboy wrote a song about the fact that the DNA of an elephant and pig will not splice. "An Elephant Makes Love to a Pig" includes several pop cultural references to films and television shows. The last line in the episode, "That'll do pig," spoken by Cartman, is a reference to the final line of the 1995 film Babe, a movie about a talking pig, which Stone has described as one of his favorite films.[3][11] When the boys try to tell Officer Barbrady about the clone, he suggests that the boys have seen too many episodes of the X-Files.[12] In the scene Pip is introduced, Stan asks Pip about his peculiar name, but Cartman interrupts Pip during his answer. Pip's reply – "my father's family name being Pirrip and my Christian name Phillip, my infant tongue--" – is identical to the opening line of the Charles Dickens novel Great Expectations, which is narrated by its protagonist, Pip.[13] The fourth season episode "Pip" is a parody and comedic retelling of the novel, and stars Pip, who assumes the role of his namesake.

Reception[edit]

Several media outlets described "An Elephant Makes Love to a Pig" as one of the most popular early South Park episodes.[14][15][16] Tom Carson of Newsday said it was the most outrageous South Park episode until '"Mr. Hankey, the Christmas Poo" aired three months later.[17] Many reviewers said the mere title demonstrated the crudeness and originality of South Park, then still a relatively new show.[9][18] Chris Vognar of The Dallas Morning News said, "With episode titles such as, 'An Elephant Makes Love to a Pig,' suffice it to say there ain't much on the air like it."[9]

Tamara Ikenberg of The Baltimore Sun said the episode demonstrated the show's ability to address ethically challenging issues like genetic engineering with an "imaginative, unconventional flair".[5] The Melbourne, Australia-based newspaper, The Age. said the episode "(pushes) a degree of political incorrectness that is so extreme and affronting it is almost unavoidably funny."[19] Howard Rosenberg of the Los Angeles Times praised the episode, and said the bestiality hinted at in the final scene of the episode illustrated the outrageousness of the show, as well as the fact that the show would probably not be enjoyed by all audiences.[20]

Rick Bentley of The Fresno Bee said the biggest laughs from the episode come from the song Chef sings to the elephant and pig.[6] In 2008, Alicia Wade of the Daily Egyptian said the episode and its theme about genetic engineering still felt fresh more than 10 years after its original broadcast.[21] In 2009, Travis Fickett from IGN rated this episode an 8.3 out of 10, and concluded about it that "It's a bit shocking, perhaps offensive to some, but in the context of murdering mutants and five-assed monkeys created by Brando parodies in Hawaiian moo-moos – it all makes perfect sense. And it's all quintessentially South Park."[22]

Home release[edit]

"An Elephant Makes Love to a Pig" was released, alongside five other episodes, in a three-set VHS on May 5, 1998, marking the first time South Park was made available on video. The episode was released on the "Volume II" video, along with "Death"; other featured episodes included "Cartman Gets an Anal Probe", "Volcano", "Weight Gain 4000" and "Big Gay Al's Big Gay Boat Ride".[23] The episode was re-released by Warner Home Video in 2002, as part of the DVD box set South Park - The Complete First Season.[24][25]

"Tonight is Right for Love", the song sung by Chef to encourage the elephant and pig to make love, is featured in the 1998 South Park soundtrack "Chef Aid: The South Park Album".[9] In the track, rock singer Meat Loaf sings the song along with Isaac Hayes, the actor who voices Chef.[3]

The distribution license for "An Elephant Makes Love to a Pig" was among six South Park episodes purchased in 2000 by the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based company and website SightSound.com. The site made the episodes available for download $2.50 for a two-day download and $4.95 for a permanent copy. It was one of the first experiments with making television videos available for Internet download, making "An Elephant Makes Love to a Pig" one of the first of any television episode made legally available on the Internet.[26][26][27]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Stratyner, Leslie; James R. Keller (2009). The Deep End of South Park. McFarland. p. 123. ISBN 978-0-7864-4307-9. Retrieved 2009-07-30. 
  2. ^ a b c Stall, Sam (2009). The South Park Episode Guide: Volume 1, Seasons 1-5. New York City, New York: Running Press. p. 19. ISBN 0-7624-3561-5. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Trey Parker, Matt Stone (2003). South Park: The Complete First Season: "An Elephant Makes Love to a Pig" (Audio commentary) (CD). Comedy Central. 
  4. ^ "FAQ: How come the part in 'An Elephant Makes Love To A Pig' when Pip was talking to Cartman and Stan looked like it was from 'Cartman Gets An Anal Probe' with the different colours and animation?". South Park Studios. July 23, 2001. Retrieved January 1, 2012. 
  5. ^ a b Ikenberg, Tamara (1998-02-18). "Rude rules; On Comedy Central's satirical "South Park," there are little lessons tucked in among the bad words and smart-aleck behavior". The Baltimore Sun. p. 1E. 
  6. ^ a b Bentley, Rick (1998-04-16). "New fans in the house; Loyal followers of Comedy Central's 'South Park' invade Jax House each Wednesday". The Fresno Bee (Fresno, California). p. E1. 
  7. ^ "FAQ - South Park Studios". South Park Studios (official site). 2001-06-26. Retrieved 2009-03-30. 
  8. ^ Calef, Scott (2006). "Four-Assed Monkeys: Genetics and Gen-Ethics in Small-Town Colorado". In Robert, Arp. South Park and Philosophy: You Know, I Learned Something Today. Blackwell Publishing. p. 163. ISBN 1-4051-6160-4. 
  9. ^ a b c d Vognar, Chris (1998-02-01). "Brats entertainment; South Park' creators potty hardy on Comedy Central show". The Dallas Morning News (Pasadena, California). p. 1C. 
  10. ^ Pratt, Doug (2005). Doug Pratt's DVD: Movies, Television, Music, Art, Adult, and More!. UNET 2 Corporation. p. 1126. ISBN 1-932916-01-6. 
  11. ^ Monahan, Mark (June 4, 2005). "Film-makers on film: Matt Stone and Trey Parker". The Telegraph. Retrieved December 31, 2011. 
  12. ^ Booker, M. Keith (2006). Drawn to television. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 130. ISBN 978-0-275-99019-0. 
  13. ^ Dickens, Charles (1881). "Chapter I.". Great Expectations. Estes and Lauriat. p. 21. "My father's family name being Pirrip, and my Christian name Philip, my infant tongue could make of both names nothing longer or more explicit than Pip. So I called myself Pip, and came to be called Pip." 
  14. ^ McKay, John (1998-08-08). "Creators defend South Park". London Free Press (Ontario, Canada). p. C5. 
  15. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (2004-02-20). "Writer-producer Dan Sterling has inked a two-year overall deal with 20th Century Fox Television". The Hollywood Reporter. 
  16. ^ "South Park maniacs tune in". The Collegio (Pittsburg, Kansas). 1998-03-11. 
  17. ^ Carson, Tom (1998-03-15). "Culture Watch / South Park - gross anatomy of American childhood". Newsday (Long Island). p. B06. 
  18. ^ "Suck it and see". The Sunday Mail (Queensland, Australia). 1998-09-27. p. 27. 
  19. ^ Schembri, Jim; Harris, Paul; Kalina, Paul; Farrant, Darrin (1998-07-30). "Programs - Monday". The Age. p. 32. 
  20. ^ Rosenberg, Howard (1997-10-15). "Yes, I know it's sick, but still..". Los Angeles Times. p. F1. 
  21. ^ Wade, Alicia (2008-03-25). ""South Park" gone preachy". Daily Egyptian (Carbondale, Illinois). 
  22. ^ Fickett, Travis (2009-06-24). "South Park Flashback: "An Elephant Makes Love to a Pig" Review". IGN. Retrieved 2009-11-02. 
  23. ^ "Comedy Central's South Park -- Three Collectible Videos Available For The First Time With Made-For-Video Footage Featuring Creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone". Business Wire (Burbank, California). 1998-03-26. 
  24. ^ Werts, Diane (2002-11-13). "Complete South Park DVD Incomplete". Newsday (Long Island, New York). p. B31. 
  25. ^ "Season 1 (Region 1)". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Archived from the original on 15 April 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-14. 
  26. ^ a b Bair, Jeffrey (2000-09-26). "South Park on the web". The Associated Press (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania). 
  27. ^ "SouthPark". Sightsound.com. 2000-09-25. Archived from the original on 2000-10-17. Retrieved 2010-10-15. 

External links[edit]