Simpsons Already Did It
||This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (May 2011)|
|"Simpsons Already Did It"|
|South Park episode|
|Episode no.||Season 6
|Directed by||Trey Parker|
|Written by||Trey Parker|
|Original air date||June 26, 2002|
|South Park (season 6)
List of South Park episodes
"Simpsons Already Did It" is the seventh episode of the sixth season of the American animated television series South Park, and the 86th episode of the series overall. It originally aired on Comedy Central in the United States on June 26, 2002. In the episode, which continues on from the events of the previous episode "Professor Chaos", Butters thinks up a series of schemes to take over the world, but realizes that each one has already been performed on The Simpsons. Meanwhile, Ms. Choksondik dies and Cartman, Kyle and Stan think that they are responsible.
Kyle, Stan and Tweek are making a snowman, when Stan tells Tweek to put the carrot on for the nose. Tweek replies 'But what if when I'm putting on the nose, the snowman comes to life and tries to kill me?' referring to what had happened in the short, Jesus vs. Frosty.
Cartman shows Kyle, Stan, and Tweek an advertisement he found for "Sea People" (a parody of Sea-Monkeys). Cartman imagines them to be a race similar to mermaids who will "take me away from this crappy goddamn planet full of hippies." He convinces everyone to chip in so they can buy them.
Meanwhile, Butters, in his evil alter-ego persona Professor Chaos, is trying to figure out a way to bring disarray to the town. When he plots to block out the sun, his assistant, Dougie/General Disarray, informs him that it mirrors a plot of Mr. Burns's from The Simpsons and Butters abandons the idea.
Cartman soon begins to prepare for the Sea People, even making a sign to welcome them, but after placing them in the water, Stan reveals that they are simply brine shrimp. Cartman, in a fit of rage, begins to berate his friends, but stops after the group decides to place the shrimp in Ms. Choksondik's coffee. The scene then cuts to Ms. Choksondik's house, where an ambulance is taking away her corpse.
Butters decides to cut the head off of the town's central statue — which mirrors Bart Simpson's decapitation of Springfield's Jebediah Springfield statue. On the news report, the newscaster interprets Butters' vandalism as an homage to The Simpsons; the police are not investigating the crime because they want the statue to remain headless as a tribute.
Upon hearing that semen was discovered in the teacher's stomach, the boys conclude that they killed Ms. Choksondik with their "sea men". They go to the morgue to steal the evidence, fearful that they will "find the women too!" Butters devises increasingly outlandish schemes, but Dougie keeps pointing out that they have already been done on The Simpsons.
Eventually, Chef explains that there is a difference between "sea men/semen" and "Sea People", and that the brine shrimp did not kill their teacher. Cartman then discovers that when the semen they recovered has been added to the Sea People aquarium, it combines with the Brine Shrimp to create an intelligent race of actual sea people.
Trying to come up with an original plot, Butters watches every episode of The Simpsons before introducing his newest plan: build a machine that replaces the cherry centers of chocolate covered cherries with rancid mayonnaise (a plot that Dougie/General Disarray dismisses as being too uninspired to appear on The Simpsons). As Butters is about to use his device a Simpsons commercial announces that Bart will do exactly the same thing in that night's episode. Butters has a nervous breakdown and begins picturing the town in the animation style of The Simpsons.
At the Cartman household, the boys have bought more Sea People, a larger aquarium, and several gallons of semen. Their Sea-Ciety evolves into an Ancient Greek-esque civilization, and they begin worshipping Cartman.
Stan and Kyle invite Butters and others to see the aquarium. Butters then states that the Sea-Ciety plot is similar to that of the "Treehouse of Horror VII" short "The Genesis Tub". Though the boys agree with him, they also note that The Simpsons has done everything, so worrying about that is pointless. Chef also points out that they in turn borrowed their ideas from a classic Twilight Zone episode, "The Little People". Butters understands and everyone returns to their normal appearance. Butters then happily leaves, getting ready to wreak havoc once again. The Sea People on the other side of the aquarium begin worshipping Tweek, leading to a holy war. Seconds later they develop nuclear weapons and destroy themselves. While Kyle concludes war is inevitable, Cartman wonders, "Why can't societies live in peace?"
Although multiple layers of meaning could be teased out of the plot, that everything in the plot ultimately leads back to The Twilight Zone episode "The Little People", restricts the parameters of the concept of such artificially created, "people" to the realms of contemporary entertainment and fiction. Instead, many cultures and spiritual traditions prior to contemporary fiction had very concrete ideas concerning the creation of human-like sentient beings by artificial or supernatural means. Some examples would include the Medieval "Homonculus" of Western Alchemy, as explained academically in Marie Baine Campbell's paper "Artificial Men: Alchemy, Transubstatiation, and the Homonculus". In the Hebrew Tradition, the theme is explored in another adaptation, via the idea of "The Golem". A theme that also affected the élan vital philosophy and produced Frankenstein, and all subsequent "Frankenstein-like" horror films and genres. This "Golem" theme has also been adapted and reinterpreted by Gustav Meyrink in his novel The Golem, which is also said to contain an esoteric meaning.
The episode received generally positive reviews. Travis Pickett of IGN gave it an 8.5 rating, especially praising Trey Parker and Matt Stone for managing to contrast the episode with the actual Simpsons (with themes like Cartman performing fellatio on "some guy in an alley"), while respectfully paying their dues.
"Simpsons Already Did It" was inspired by the fact that The Simpsons did in fact beat South Park to several plot concepts. In the season 4 episode "The Wacky Molestation Adventure", Cartman was supposed to block out the sun, but one writer pointed out that "The Simpsons already did it." The episode "calls out" the obvious observation that The Simpsons have realized a vast number of ideas throughout their long-lived run. Some have found a certain reciprocity to this statement, finding instances of repetitiveness in The Simpsons itself while quoting South Park. However, although the motif throughout the episode is "Simpsons did it first", South Park creators released their feature film based on the series in 1999, eight years prior to The Simpsons Movie.
The Simpsons crew has a friendly relationship with South Park, which they demonstrated several times, going as far as sending flowers to the South Park studios when South Park parodied Family Guy in the season 10 episodes "Cartoon Wars Part I" and "Part II". In 2010, The Simpsons crew congratulated South Park for reaching 200 episodes, with a message reading "Congratulations on 200 Episodes. (We Already Did It.) (Twice.)", referring to The Simpsons' run of more than 400 episodes at the time, and alluding to "Simpsons Already Did It". Soon after, in reference to the controversies and terrorist threats surrounding depictions of the Muslim prophet Muhammad in the South Park episodes "200" and "201", the chalkboard gag on that week's Simpsons episode, "The Squirt and the Whale", read "South Park – We'd stand beside you if we weren't so scared". South Park was parodied in a 2003 Simpsons episode, "The Bart of War", showing a scene with the four South Park boys Stan, Kyle, Kenny and Cartman drawn in Simpsons style, with Marge disapproving of Bart and Milhouse's apparent enjoyment of "cartoon violence", and the latter two contemplating about adults voicing children's characters. The 2009 Simpsons episode "O Brother, Where Bart Thou?" has Bart, Milhouse, Nelson and Ralph dressed up as, standing at the bus stop – similarly to the iconic bus stop scenes of South Park –, and Otto using the catchphrase "Oh my God! I killed Kenny!" when he hits Ralph (dressed as Kenny) driving the school bus.
- "The Simpsons Already Did It". South Park Studios. June 26, 2002. Retrieved February 18, 2011.
- Campbell, Mary Baine. "Artificial Men: Alchemy, Transubstantiation, and the Homunculus". Republics of Letters 1 (2). Retrieved February 17, 2014.
- Oreck, Alden. "The Golem". Jewish Virtual Library. American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise. Retrieved February 17, 2014.
- Pickett, Travis (August 28, 2009). "South Park Flashback: "The Simpsons Already Did It" Review". IGN. Retrieved February 18, 2011.
- "South Park Commentary: "The Simpsons Already Did It"".
- Kerstetter, Matt (June 2, 2010). "The Simpsons Did It...Twice". CollegeHumor. Retrieved February 19, 2011.
- Corliss, Richard (July 26, 2007). "The Simpsons, Bigger and Better". Time. Retrieved February 19, 2011.
- Goldman, Eric. "South Park: Matt and Trey Speak Out, Part 1". IGN.com. Retrieved January 4, 2012.
- Tobey, Matt (April 13, 2010). "The Simpsons Congratulate South Park on 200 Episodes". Comedy Central. Retrieved January 4, 2012.
- Jamieson, Alastair (April 28, 2010). "The Simpsons support South Park writers in Mohammed censorship row". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved February 19, 2011.