Red Sleigh Down
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (February 2008)|
|"Red Sleigh Down"|
|South Park episode|
Santa strikes back at his captors
|Episode no.||Season 6
|Directed by||Trey Parker|
|Written by||Trey Parker|
|Original air date||December 11, 2002|
"Red Sleigh Down" (a.k.a. "Christmas in Iraq") is episode 96 of the Comedy Central series South Park. It originally aired on December 11, 2002. The episode is notable for the return of Kenny from his death in season five. The title and episode parody the films Black Hawk Down and Three Kings.
Cartman's naughty or nice accountant (Kyle's cousin, Kyle) performs a tally, and it is obvious that Cartman has been too naughty to earn his coveted Christmas gift, a Haibo robot dog. Kyle says that even if Cartman finds cures for both cancer and AIDS, he will still owe two presents. He will have to perform the nicest act ever to reverse the prior year of evil, and sets out to spread Christmas cheer to the people of Iraq. Meanwhile, at a tree lighting ceremony, Jimmy begins to sing his favorite Christmas song, "The Twelve Days of Christmas" which, unknown to the gathered crowd (which includes most of the town) will take him all of the episode to complete due to his stutter.
With the use of Mr. Hankey's Poo-Choo train (a train made of feces that Stan and Kyle Broflovski want nothing to do with), Cartman and the other boys travel to the North Pole to convince Santa Claus to make a special trip. With the assistance of the Underpants Gnomes, Santa prepares his sleigh and travels to Iraq, only to be promptly shot down by a rocket-propelled grenade. The reindeer are dead, Santa's legs are broken, and he is soon caught and interrogated by his Iraqi captors who torture him by forcing him to drink crude oil and shocking his testicles in a scene referencing Three Kings and Lethal Weapon. The boys realize that Cartman's little ploy may have ended Christmas for everyone, including Santa, and set out to make things right.
Taking the backup sled and new reindeer (named Steven, Fluffy, Horace, Chantel, Skippy, Rainbow, Patches and Montel) from the stable, they seek out the one person who can help: Jesus, who is currently officiating midnight mass in his own name. When he hears of the tragedy that has befallen his old friend Santa, Jesus promptly arms himself with an array of automatic weapons and sets out with the boys to Iraq, brutally gunning down everyone who impedes him. Jesus and the boys break into the interrogation room where Santa (who is now being forced to drink oil) is being held and kill the Iraqi soldiers within, except for the interrogator, whom Santa kills, to Jesus's surprise. Santa insists "I just couldn't do it... I just couldn't let him live, he shocked Santa's balls!" Jesus heals Santa's legs and the group leaves.
The boys take Santa back to the sleigh, but moments before they can escape Jesus is shot dead by one of his Iraqi captors when his back is turned. Watching Jesus die, Stan says "This is pretty fucked up right here" (referencing the second The Spirit of Christmas episode, "Jesus vs. Santa"). (The character of Jesus would not return for 5 seasons outside of a very small cameo at the end of the following episode, leading viewers to slowly suspect in following episodes and seasons that Trey Parker and Matt Stone really did kill off Jesus). Outraged, Santa kills the soldier, acquires his fallen friend's weapons and then proceeds to blast his way out, setting off bombs which transform Iraq into a Christmas decorated country, complete with wreaths, Christmas trees, lights and tinsel.
To the town's delight, Jimmy then finishes his song that he started at the beginning of the episode. He switches on the lights on the Christmas tree, only to find they don't work, to the town's disappointment. At that moment though, Santa (accompanied by Stan, Kyle, Cartman and Mr Hankey) flies past the tree and magically enables the lights to work.
Santa returns the boys home and expresses his hope that people will always remember Jesus on this day. He also gives all three boys Haibo dogs, much to Cartman's disgust, as he wanted to be the only kid owning one and have his friends envy him. Kenny then shows up out of nowhere, his first appearance since his "permanent" death caused by muscular dystrophy in "Kenny Dies". The boys casually asked him where he's been. According to Trey Parker and Matt Stone from the season 6 commentaries, Kenny says, "Oh, I was just over there.", pointing off-screen. Reunited, the boys casually state that things are back to normal.
- "Red Sleigh Down" Full episode at South Park Studios
- "Red Sleigh Down" Episode guide at South Park Studios