The Ungroundable

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"The Ungroundable"
South Park episode
Episode no. Season 12
Episode 14
Directed by Trey Parker
Written by Trey Parker
Production code 1214
Original air date November 19, 2008
Episode chronology
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"Elementary School Musical"
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"The Ring"
South Park (season 12)
List of South Park episodes

"The Ungroundable" is the 14th and final episode of the 12th season of the animated series South Park,[1] and the 181st episode of the series overall. It originally aired on Comedy Central in the United States on November 19, 2008. The episode spoofs vampire films including the Twilight craze and The Lost Boys. The episode was written and directed by series co-founder Trey Parker, and was rated TV-MA L in the United States.

Plot[edit]

Butters mistakes older students following the vampire craze for actual vampires and tries to raise the alarm. Cartman suggests that he go "document the vampires" simply to get rid of him.

Butters sneaks into the school gym and hides to record the members of the South Park Vampires' Club on his tape recorder. One of the vampires talks about vampire-related customs and they "feed" by drinking Clamato juice. However, Butters' tape recorder malfunctions, exposing him in front of the vampires. Butters attempts to repel them with a crucifix before running away.

After an unfair grounding from his parents, Butters thinks aloud, concluding that nobody listens to him. Having come to believe that if he becomes a vampire he will no longer get victimized, he asks the vampire kids to let him join them. They take him to Hot Topic and change his appearance to match theirs. Butters returns home to his parents, who are angry at him because of his lateness and his dyed hair. Butters responds that he is now "ungroundable" and hisses at his parents, thus completely shocking them.

Shortly after, Butters starts wasting away because he believes he can only feed on blood. He sneaks into Cartman's room in the middle of the night in a failed attempt to "feed," only managing to give Cartman a Love-bite. Butters' parents, alerted by Cartman's mother, ask him if he "got gay with one of his schoolmates [that] night". Stephen attempts to confine Butters to his bedroom, but he simply leaps out of the window.

Throughout this episode, the school's Goth kids loathe the vampire kids with whom they keep getting confused by everyone, including Principal Victoria. Reluctantly, they decide to switch to a casual look to clear the confusion, but change their mind when they hear someone from the school soccer team describing them as "that fat girl, the big nose kid, the midget and the kid with pock marks on his face", which had caused them to become Goths in the first place. After discussing what they could do to stop the vampire craze, the Goth kids decide to get rid of "the head vampire", fifth grade student Mike Makowski, whom they kidnap and mail to Scottsdale. This however fails to solve the problem and just when the Goth kids are about to face defeat from the vampire kids, Butters informs them that Hot Topic is the source of the vampire craze. He takes them there and they burn down the store.

At home, Butters tells his parents that the Goth kids burnt down the Hot Topic and this has now "reverted" back to human and he becomes "groundable" once more, much to this parents' relief. In the end, the Goth kids ask for a school assembly in order to explain to everyone the differences between Goth kids and "douchebag vampire wanna-be boner" kids, exclaiming, "Because anyone who thinks they are actually a vampire is freaking retarded." They receive a standing ovation, with the eldest Goth kid closing their speech with, "Fuck all of you" and flipping everyone off.

The head "vampire" often says "per se" which seems to be a reference to an episode of Tyra that deals with vampires, in which one of the vampires frequently says "per se".

Production[edit]

The episode mocks Twilight, which had opened in theaters several weeks before.

The initial idea for "The Ungroundable" was created the week before production, when the team at South Park Studios was working on "Elementary School Musical".[2] In that episode, Parker had planned to have the school children simply move on to the next fad, which would have been the Twilight Saga film series.[2] Twilight had opened in theaters several weeks before and was a phenomenon among tweens and teens, and Parker and Stone realized parodying it would be stronger material for a full episode, rather than a throwaway joke. In addition, they found that a reaction from the Goth kids to everyone suddenly dressing their style would be a "big emotional thing" for the characters, and decided to save it.[2]

"The Ungroundable" was the last of a series of seven episodes produced in the latter half of 2008, during a run that Parker described as "tough."[2] Like many South Park episodes, much of the storyline was crafted one week prior during a Thursday writer’s meeting.[2] The Goth kids first appeared in the season seven episode "Raisins" (2003), and had made appearances in the ensuing years; Parker went back and watched the episode to reacquaint himself with the characters.[2] He noted that while that particular episode mocked Goth kids, later portrayals, such as those in "The Ungroundable", were more sympathetic, with both Parker and Stone calling the Goth kids some of their favorite characters in the series.[2][3]

Parker, in the episode's DVD commentary, related a story from not long after the episode’s broadcast, in which he was approached by a "Goth" woman at a bar in Nashville, Tennessee following a Tennessee Titans game, who thanked him for writing an episode about the supposed differences between the subcultures.[2]

Reception[edit]

Travis Fickett of IGN gave the episode a 7.4/10 rating, saying "[w]hile there are lots of funny bits in this episode, it's far from a home run. It's clever, and well put together and makes a few good points – but it's just not as laugh out loud funny as you'd expect South Park to be. [...] Nonetheless, what often makes South Park work are the little moments, the vocal tics of the characters and so forth. I imagine "per se" will catch on, if only for a little bit, as the pseudo-intellectual affectation of vamp-douche-ese. While "The Ungroundable" isn't a home run in terms of laughs, given the current Twilight craze, the show continues to serve as a satirical chronicle of our times, which makes even a middling episode an argument for South Park's continual longevity."[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Episode 1214" (Press release). South Park Studios. Retrieved 2008-11-24. [dead link]
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Parker, Trey (March 2009). South Park: The Complete Twelfth Season: "Elementary School Musical" (Audio commentary) (Blu-ray Disc). Paramount Home Entertainment. 
  3. ^ Stone, Matt (March 2009). South Park: The Complete Twelfth Season: "Elementary School Musical" (Audio commentary) (Blu-ray Disc). ParamountHome Entertainment. 
  4. ^ Fickett, Travis. "South Park: "The Ungroundable" Review". IGN. 

External links[edit]