||This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (May 2011)|
|South Park episode|
Gerald, being smug about his new hybrid car
|Episode no.||Season 10
|Directed by||Trey Parker|
|Written by||Trey Parker|
|Original air date||March 29, 2006|
"Smug Alert!" is the second episode of the tenth season of the American animated television series South Park, and the 141st episode overall. It first aired on Comedy Central in the United States on March 29, 2006. In the episode, Gerald buys a hybrid car and buys into the whole progressive movement, moving his family to San Francisco and disturbing a delicate equilibrium and indirectly causing an environmental disaster along the way.
The episode was written by series co-creator Trey Parker and is rated TV-MA in the United States, but syndication reruns rated it TV-14. The episode acts as a play on the attitude of owners of hybrid cars, as well as the similarity between the words "smog" and "smug".
Kyle's father Gerald buys a new "Toyonda Pious" hybrid car (based on the Toyota Prius) and drives it all over town to show it off and gain attention. He soon decides that his commitment is not enough and starts an unwelcome campaign to convert the other townspeople to environmentally friendly vehicles. After alienating all of his friends with his preachy attitude, Randy tells Gerald that he has become so smug that he probably loves the smell of his own farts. After deciding he cannot live among such "backward and unsophisticated" people, Gerald decides to move his family to San Francisco.
Stan is horrified that his best friend is leaving, and tries to convince Gerald to change his mind, but Mr. Broflovski says he will not be returning until everyone feels the same way as he does about the environment.
Cartman, who is joyous that Kyle is departing, holds a farewell party in which everyone except Kyle is invited. Stan coldly informs Cartman that, without Kyle around to rip on, his life will be empty, hollow and devoid of purpose. Cartman claims this is not a problem, as he has already found a substitute in Butters, who is pretending to be Jewish so that Cartman has someone to hurl his anti-Semitic jibes toward.
After the Broflovskis leave, Stan writes a song about the importance of hybrid cars, which is broadcast on a radio station and convinces everyone in town to drive hybrids. On his way home, Stan bumps into Ranger McFriendly, protector of the environment, who, after punching Stan's cheek, explains the severity of what Stan's "gay little song" has done: although emission levels are down, people who drive hybrids spew "self-satisfied garbage" into the air, an emission called "smug", and South Park now has the second-highest levels in the country, after San Francisco.
In San Francisco, Kyle's father is glad to meet like-minded "progressive" people who, in mid-conversation, fart, bend over and inhale before resuming discussion. Kyle finds it difficult to fit in with the other children, who take drugs in order to cope with their parents. Kyle refuses the offer of acid but, after seeing that his dad is even more arrogant than before, asks for half a hit, while his brother Ike takes three.
The cloud of smug forms over South Park and begins to combine with that of San Francisco. McFriendly informs us that a cloud of smug from George Clooney's 78th Academy Awards acceptance speech will soon drift between the two potential storms, merging them together to create "the perfect storm of self-satisfaction," which will heavily damage South Park and completely destroy San Francisco.
Meanwhile, Cartman realizes that Butters is not a satisfying target and becomes bored, wishing for Kyle to return. While Stan is forced to help the town eliminate hybrid cars by himself, Cartman, desperate to get Kyle back so that he can resume hating him, secretly goes with Butters to San Francisco in a vintage diving suit to protect himself from the "hardcore liberals, lesbian activists, and hippies - young and old" that inhabit the city. Just as the smug storm hits, Cartman finds the Broflovskis in their house, Gerald and Sheila now as smug as their fellow San Franciscans and Kyle and Ike are high from the acid.
The storm destroys thousands of homes in South Park, while San Francisco disappears "completely up its own asshole," leading everyone to think that Kyle and his family have been killed. The Broflovskis reappear, though, explaining that they awoke mysteriously on a bus, and thank a "guardian angel", unaware that it was Cartman who saved them. Even though Butters knows about this, Cartman convinces him to keep quiet, not wanting Kyle to know.
With all their cars destroyed, the townspeople vow never again to buy hybrids. Kyle points out that hybrids really are a good thing; the people who drive them should just not be smug about it, or act as if they are above everybody else. The people, however, are not ready to drive them without being smug — "it's simply asking too much" — so they return to SUVs and other high-fuel-consumption vehicles.
Cartman talks to Kyle, saying that everything is back to normal; Kyle agrees. Cartman then calls him a 'sneaky Jew rat;' Kyle retorts by dubbing him a fatass and storming away. Cartman smiles at this, relieved to have the status quo restored.
TV Squad's Adam Finley gave the episode a positive review, noting "tons of great moments, from Stan's gay little song to Cartman being forced to don a vintage diver's suit". IGN's Eric Goldman rated the episode at 8.0 out of 10, noting in particular the "very funny" take on the attitude San Franciscans and the "hysterical plot twist" of mocking George Clooney, who had previously provided the voice of a dog in the episode "Big Gay Al's Big Gay Boat Ride", as well as a doctor in Bigger, Longer and Uncut.
|This article relies on references to primary sources. (September 2007)|
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