Le Petit Tourette
|"Le Petit Tourette"|
|South Park episode|
Cartman learns about Tourette's syndrome.
|Episode no.||Season 11
|Written by||Trey Parker|
|Original air date||October 3, 2007|
|South Park (season 11)
List of South Park episodes
"Le Petit Tourette" (French pronunciation: [lə pə.ti tuʁɛt]; meaning "The Little Tourette") is the eighth episode of the eleventh season of the animated television series South Park, and the 161st episode overall. It first aired on Comedy Central in the United States on October 3, 2007. This episode marked the beginning of the second half of the eleventh season. In the episode, Cartman pretends to have Tourette syndrome (TS) so that he can say whatever he wants without getting into trouble. It eventually leads to trouble and he ends up saying things that he would never say.
The episode was written by series co-creator Trey Parker and was rated TV-MA LV in the United States, due to Cartman's excessive profanity and the violence portrayed when many of the pedophiles commit suicide. It was one of the first episodes of South Park to use any of the L, S or V sub-ratings.
While shopping in a toy store, Cartman sees a boy named Thomas who continuously shouts obscenities, as his mother tries to explain that he has Tourette syndrome. Cartman decides to pretend he has the disorder as well so he can get away with shouting obscenities himself, and successfully convinces his mother and a doctor, who diagnoses him with TS and notifies the school.
When Kyle finds out about Cartman's "disorder", he immediately deduces that he is faking, which Cartman quickly admits to him. Nevertheless, Cartman continues to enjoy his newfound freedom, repeatedly shouting curses to people, to Kyle's intense annoyance and Craig's amazement and jealousy. Kyle decides to complain to Principal Victoria; however, she is already meeting Mr. Donaldson—who has coprolalia, like Thomas—from the "Tourette's Tolerance and Understanding Foundation". Donaldson is insulted, believing that Kyle is accusing all people with TS of faking it, and takes him to a local support group for children with the disorder, who explain their various tics and how they are not faking it. Most of them are shy, slightly nervous or awkward, but otherwise perfectly normal children. Kyle attempts to explain that Cartman can control what he says, and is only pretending that he cannot for fun. The children, who do not know how insensitive Cartman is, are confused by how anybody could find having TS fun, assuming Kyle thinks they find it fun.
Thomas tells Kyle how his father eventually divorced his mother due to his coprolalia and how he thinks his mother would be happier if he were dead. Kyle learns that TS is a genuine disorder with a range of effects, rather than just a trivial inconvenience that involves swearing. He also sees that he has upset the kids, whose various problems with TS are such that they cannot grasp how anybody would think it 'fun', and apologizes to them all. However he still knows Cartman is faking, and visibly struggles when he has to apologize to him, who continues to take advantage of his "disorder" by screaming vulgar anti-Semitic remarks at Kyle's parents. Cartman then happily asks Thomas "Isn't having Tourette's awesome?" Shocked, Thomas realizes that Kyle was telling the truth when he talked about how somebody might pretend to have TS just for kicks.
Cartman decides to appear on Dateline NBC with Chris Hansen, who plans to document the "sad story" of Cartman living with the condition. After hearing about this, Kyle confronts Cartman and tells him that doing the show would hurt the people who really do have TS. Cartman disregards this and says that he plans to say horrible, despicable things on the air and make an anti-Semitic hate speech—all the while being commended for being brave. He suddenly blurts out that he wet his bed the night before. Kyle assumes this is part of Cartman's ruse, and swears he will find a way to stop Cartman, leaving angrily.
At a support party the next night, Cartman starts to make a gloating speech but as well as intentional obsceneties, he starts spouting out more things, such as how he is attracted to a girl called Patty Nelson, how he cries at night because he has no father, how he still wets his bed, and even how he once touched his penis with his cousin. He cannot even stop himself blurting out that it's all true, or how he was faking before. Of course his supporters are very kind and understanding, since they believe he's had TS all along. To his horror he realizes he now has a self-inflicted truth serum-tic, and that not being in control is not fun at all.
He quickly tries to cancel the Dateline appointment, but Chris Hansen refuses to allow it and tells him that once, when a pedophile tried to get out of appearing on his To Catch a Predator series, they tracked the pedophile down and he shot himself (see Louis Conradt). Hansen continues by hinting that if Cartman refuses to appear, he will be killed, and it will look like a suicide (more specifically, he says that "it would be a real shame if [Cartman] (here Hansen uses finger-quotes) "shot himself"). Realizing he has no way to get out of going on the show, and that he still cannot control his self-inflicted TS, Cartman prays to God for a miracle.
Meanwhile, Kyle teams with Thomas, who is worried that Cartman's appearance on the show will make others think TS is "fun" and copy him. The pair aims to foil Cartman's plan which, unknown to Kyle, Cartman has already given up on. Nevertheless, in order to provide a distraction, the two go on the Internet to entice numerous pedophiles to come to the show. Kyle then confronts Cartman in his dressing room, telling him about his plan to lure the pedophiles to the studio. When the would-be child molesters come into the studio and see Hansen, they all assume it to be a bust on To Catch a Predator and shoot themselves, sending panic through the studio and forcing everyone to flee. Hansen runs out of the studio and discovers Thomas, who has a tic and heavily swears at Hansen saying, "Suck it! Asshole licker dick fart!" This causes Hansen to run away after saying "Nobody talks to me like that! I-I'll tell on you!" Craig is then jealous and amazed that Thomas could tell off Hansen, and offers to hang out with him sometime. Both Kyle and Cartman go into the front stage to see the pedophiles dead from shooting themselves. As Kyle gloats that he has foiled Cartman's plan, Cartman graciously hugs Kyle, thankful that he doesn't have to humiliate himself on live television. Cartman then skips away saying that he will get help to control what he says. The episode ends with Kyle and Thomas both exclaiming "Aw Shit!" simultaneously.
Nonetheless, this is one of the few episodes where Cartman learns a lesson.
Tourette Syndrome Association
Prior to the airing, the Tourette Syndrome Association (TSA) issued a press release saying they had requested that Comedy Central air their public service announcements during or after the show and that they "fully expect[ed] it to be offensive and insensitive to people with TS". The President of the TSA said, "we are actually surprised it took the creators so long to use TS as comedy fodder in this program, since no disability, illness or controversial topic is off limits to them." Following the episode, they issued a second press release, expressing concern that the episode perpetuated the misconception that most people with TS have coprolalia (involuntary swearing,) when in fact, 85–90% of people with TS do not. They conceded that "the episode was surprisingly well-researched. The highly exaggerated emphasis on coprolalia notwithstanding, for the attentive viewer, there was a surprising amount of accurate information conveyed", adding that several elements of the episode "served as a clever device" for providing accurate facts to the public.
The television weblog TV Squad was extremely positive, calling the episode "the stuff of brilliance". IGN gave the episode a rating of 7.5/10, asserting "this isn't the greatest episode, and not the greatest way to bring back the series—but it's got some great laughs and manages to push its single joke further than expected." 411mania took the middle ground, giving the show a 6.5/10 rating, calling it "hit and miss", and contesting that "while the first half of the show suffered because of a one-note joke, the second half showed why this series continues to remain one of the best on television." On the negative side, BuddyTV called the episode a "misfire", criticizing it as "disjointed and a little off-putting."
- "Episode guide". South Park Studios. 2007-10-03.
- TSA Voices Concern Over "South Park" October 3rd Episode. Tourette Syndrome Association (2007-10-02). Retrieved on 2007-10-03.
- TSA responds to "South Park" Episode. Tourette Syndrome Association (2007-10-04). Retrieved on 2007-10-04.
- "South Park: Le Petit Tourette - TV Squad". TvSquad. 2007-10-04. Retrieved 2007-10-05.
- "IGN: Le Petit Tourette Review". IGN Entertainment, Inc. 2007-10-04. Retrieved 2007-10-05.
- "Le Petit Tourette 411mania review". 411mania. 2007-10-04. Retrieved 2007-10-05.
- "South Park : Cartman, Tourette's, and Chris Hanson". BuddyTv. 2007-10-03. Retrieved 2007-10-05.
- "Comedy Central TV Show Schedule". Comedy Central. 2007-10-03. Retrieved 2007-10-06.
- Le Petit Tourette Full episode at South Park Studios
- Le Petit Tourette Episode guide at South Park Studios
- "Le Petit Tourette" at the Internet Movie Database
- Trivia at South Park Stuff