Spookyfish

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"Spookyfish"
South Park episode
A frame from the South Park episode "Spookyfish" showing 'Spooky Vision' being used.
A frame showing "Spooky vision" being used
Episode no. Season 2
Episode 15
Directed by Trey Parker
Written by Trey Parker
Production code 215
Original air date October 28, 1998
Episode chronology
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South Park (season 2)
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"Spookyfish" is the fifteenth episode of the second season of the animated television series South Park, and the 28th episode of the series overall. "Spookyfish" originally aired in the United States on October 28, 1998 on Comedy Central. It was the season's Halloween special, with a "spooky" theme by having pictures of Barbra Streisand in the screen corners, accompanied with the words "Spooky vision" (in response to Streisand's reception to the season one episode "Mecha-Streisand").[1]

According to the official website and the DVD set, the episode's title is "Spookyfish". Other sources occasionally refer to it as "Spooky Fish".

Plot[edit]

It is near Halloween in South Park, and Cartman has skipped class but shows up at the bus stop to meet the boys when they get off the bus - with a goatee and acting strangely agreeable. Cartman's goatee is a reference to the Star Trek: The Original Series episode of "Mirror, Mirror", whereby an evil Spock from a parallel universe wore an identical goatee. Cartman goes on to explain that he missed school that day because he was taking care of his mother, who has the flu. Later, when Stan and Kyle meet up with him to go buy a pumpkin, he is back to his normal obnoxious self (arguably even more so with his new catchphrase, "Hella"). Throughout the episode, he continues to switch between these two personas, thoroughly confusing all involved.

Meanwhile, Stan arrives home, where Sharon tells him that his Aunt Flo has come to town for her "monthly visit", and gives Stan a goldfish in a bowl as a present. Stan takes an instant dislike to the fish due to its uncomfortable habit of constantly staring at him, but his mother dismisses his protests and makes him take it to his room, where it continues to stare at him most of the time and makes it hard for him to sleep. At first, the fish does not display any overtly evil tendencies, although a shirt which Stan had placed over the bowl to hide the staring fish ends up on the floor and the fish looks toward it when Stan asks it where the shirt went. Eventually, however, it starts writing messages on the inside of the bowl such as "KILL" and "Yes I Will" (the latter when Stan tells the fish, "You're not gonna get away with this.") Dead bodies also materialize next to the dresser. Stan, terrified, demands his mother remove the fish. Thinking that Stan had killed them, Sharon buries each of the bodies, while muttering to herself how Stan is handsome and a good boy and she starts slowly losing her sanity. She abducts Officer Barbrady to stop him from taking Stan away (although he showed no signs of suspicion), takes away his pants, and shackles him in the basement.

Stan, Kyle and Kenny discover that the two personalities of Cartman are in fact two separate people. Chef tells the boys that the kinder version of Cartman is from an "Evil Parallel Universe" and that Stan's fish must be from the same world, the boys ask Aunt Flo where she got the fish from and she tells them that she got it from the Ancient Indian Burial Ground Pet Store. Moments later, Aunt Flo ends up dead, and Sharon is upset that she will "no longer have her monthly visits." Randy, however, is glad he no longer has to sleep on the couch once a month. The boys decide to return the fish to its pet store, but not before it kills Kenny too, which is the first time the fish is actually seen killing anyone. Stan, Kyle and Evil-World-But-Actually-Good Cartman track down the Ancient Indian Burial Ground Pet Store, where they find the portal to the alternate universe. The store owner explains that the portal appeared after he built his shop on top of an old Indian burial ground (and after he drunkenly dug up the corpses, urinated on them and then buried them in funny positions for no apparent reason). The store is stocked with animals that all, with the exception of Stan's fish, have glowing red eyes.

After returning the fish to the owner and advising him to move his store off the burial ground, the boys leave — just as the Stan and Kyle from the evil world show up, also sporting goatees. Just as "evil" Cartman is the complete opposite of his normal self, "evil" Stan and Kyle are both the opposite of their normal selves and are thus cruel, wanting to bring their wussy "friend" Evil Cartman back so they can torment him once more. They align with Good-World-But-Actually-Evil Cartman, who is sick of his goody-two-shoes clone and the trio find Normal Stan and Kyle along with Evil-World-But-Good Cartman. In the background of the ensuing showdown, evil animals from the pet store are slaughtering people; this goes unnoticed by most of the main characters, although Sharon is now convinced that Stan's fish did really kill the people in the house.

The evil Stan and Kyle have a "gingification gun" which shoots a beam that sends things back to the alternate world. Good Stan manages to get it and sends back the two clones. He and Kyle then decide to use it on Cartman — their Cartman — so they can keep the nice one. Cartman, shocked by this, then attacks Evil Cartman and rips off his goatee. The two wrestle until Stan and Kyle do not know which is which. One Cartman says that Stan should shoot them both, so as to be sure to get rid of the "real" Cartman. Figuring this one to be the kind one, Stan fires on the other Cartman, who vanishes yelling "Screw you guys!" Unfortunately, he chose wrong; Cartman — the mean one from the real world — knew that Stan and Kyle would fall for that trick and happily taunts them, ("You guys are hella stupid!") much to their anger.

Broadcast[edit]

Before the episode was broadcast, Comedy Central promoted that the upcoming "South Park Halloween Special" will be broadcast in "Spooky Vision".[2][3][4] Upon airing, "Spooky Vision" turned out to simply mean that singer Barbra Streisand's face was in every corner of the screen, with the words "Spooky Vision" written on the sides of the screen.[2] In subsequent broadcasts of the episode, Comedy Central does not always use "Spooky Vision",[5][6][7] although on occasion they still present the episode in its original format.[8] Moreover, in the home video releases, on Netflix instant stream, and on the official South Park website, the episode retains the visuals of "Spooky Vision".[9][10]

Reception[edit]

IGN rated the episode a 9/10, stating "There's a great shot in the episode where the two Cartmans meet, and it looks like a badly pulled off split screen effect" and how it's jokes like that and attention to detail that make South Park stand out in its earlier years. They comment how it is a lot of fun watching Sharon panic over the dead people Stan's fish has killed, thinking it was Stan himself who killed them. They conclude that it is "an early example of South Park greatness".[11]

Home release[edit]

"Spookyfish" was first released in 2002, on a collection of episodes, entitled Ghouls, Ghosts and Underpants Gnomes. The VHS version of this collection contains "Spookyfish", along with the third season Halloween episode "Korn's Groovy Pirate Ghost Mystery", as well as "Gnomes" from the second season.[12] The DVD release contains all of the above, as well as the fourth season episode "Trapper Keeper".[13] South Park: The Complete Second Season was released on DVD on June 3, 2003.[10] Episodes of season 2 have also been released digitally, on services such as Amazon Instant Video,[14] the iTunes Store,[15] and Xbox Live Marketplace.[16] Like most episodes of South Park, "Spookyfish" is available to watch for free on the show's website, SouthParkStudios.com.[9] These releases present the episode in "Spooky Vision", as it was shown in its initial broadcast.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Stall, Sam (2009). The South Park Episode Guide: Volume 1, Seasons 1-5. New York City, New York: Running Press. p. 33. ISBN 0762435615. 
  2. ^ a b Pond, Steve (June 2000). "Interview: Trey Parker and Matt Stone". Playboy 47 (6): 65–80. 
  3. ^ "A South Park Halloween". Comedy Central. 1998. Archived from the original on October 6, 1999. Retrieved December 29, 2011. 
  4. ^ Mailing list post. Subject: "Spooky Vision?". User "'susie chipper'". In: "South Park Booster Club Archive: SP Digest 10-23-98 A". October 23, 1998. Archived from the original on June 28, 2002. Retrieved December 29, 2011. 
  5. ^ "FAQ: Why isn't the spooky fish episode ever shown in 'spooky vision' anymore?". South Park Studios. November 3, 2005. Retrieved December 29, 2011. 
  6. ^ User "Rare Hero" (January 15, 1999). "Where was SPOOKYVISION last nite!?". alt.tv.southpark. Web link. Retrieved December 29, 2011.
  7. ^ User "triplemultiplex" (November 1, 2006). "Forum: Hey, where's my Spooky Vision?". South Park Studios.  (Forum post.)
  8. ^ "More Frightening Than The Local Haunted Hayride? Scarier Than The Neighbor Who Hands Out Pennies To Trick-Or-Treaters? It's 'South Park's' Haloween Specials During Comedy Central's 'Shocktober' Airing Saturday, October 21, Wednesday, Oct" (Press release). Comedy Central. Archived from the original on August 17, 2003. Retrieved December 29, 2011. 
  9. ^ a b "Full Episode Player: Spookyfish". South Park Studios. Retrieved December 29, 2011. 
  10. ^ a b "Spookyfish". In: Parker, Trey; Stone, Matt (2003). South Park – The Complete Second Season (DVD). Paramount Home Entertainment. 
  11. ^ Fickett, Travis. "South Park Flashback: "Spookyfish" Review - TV Review at IGN". Tv.ign.com. Retrieved 2011-12-04. 
  12. ^ "South Park - Ghouls, Ghosts and Underpants Gnomes [VHS]". Amazon.com. Retrieved December 29, 2011. 
  13. ^ "South Park - Ghouls, Ghosts And Underpants Gnomes DVD Information". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Retrieved December 29, 2011. 
  14. ^ "South Park Season 2, Ep. 15 "Spookyfish"". Amazon.com / Amazon Instant Video. Retrieved December 29, 2011. 
  15. ^ "TV Shows - South Park, Season 2". iTunes Store. Retrieved December 22, 2011. 
  16. ^ "South Park: Season 2". Xbox Live Marketplace. Retrieved December 28, 2011. 

External links[edit]