Woodland Critter Christmas
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|"Woodland Critter Christmas"|
|South Park episode|
Stan's new friends visit him
|Episode no.||Season 8
|Directed by||Trey Parker|
|Written by||Trey Parker|
|Original air date||December 15, 2004|
Dante Alexander, Dakota Sky and Spencer Lacey Ganus as the lion cubs
|List of South Park episodes|
In the summer of 2013, fans voted Woodland Critter Christmas as the best episode of Season 8.
This episode, which like many Christmas shows has an anapestic rhyming narration and storybook style, begins in the forest, where "the boy in the red poof-ball hat" discovers a group of talking animals, the Woodland Christmas Critters, building a Christmas tree. They convince a surprised Stan to help make a star for their tree before he goes home. That night, they wake him in his room and explain that one of the animals, a porcupine named Porcupinie, is pregnant with the creatures' Savior. Tired and drowsy, Stan agrees to help them build a manger for the baby. They then enlist his help against another problem: every year, they explain, one of the animals conceives their Savior, but every time, a mountain lion kills it before it gives birth to the baby. They insist that Stan is the only one capable of helping them. Exasperated, Stan manages to kill the beast (by tricking her into jumping off a ledge after him), but is dismayed to find that the lion was the mother of three now-orphaned cubs. Stan is further horrified to discover that the woodland critters are revealed to be, in fact, Satan worshippers, and that their Savior is actually the Antichrist, not an animalistic Son of God. The evil critters point out that this is obvious, saying, "Think about it. Do you really think God would have sex with a porcupine?". They celebrate by sacrificing Rabbitie the Rabbit (much to his delight) and devouring his entrails. A blood orgy immediately follows. Too late, Stan realizes that the mountain lion was only killing the woodland creatures to stop the Anti-Christ from being born.
After much persuasion from the narrator, Stan tries to stop the animals himself. But they easily rebuff him with their Satanic powers. Since it appears that only a mountain lion can kill the Antichrist, Stan returns to the mountains to enlist the orphaned cubs. The cubs, however, note that they need to learn "how to kill babies," so Stan (against his will—the narrator forces him to) takes them to an abortion doctor to teach them how to perform abortions. Meanwhile, the evil critters are searching for a human host for the Antichrist. They discover Kyle, who is both un-baptized and Jewish, and kidnap him to serve their purpose.
Stan returns in time to discover that the Antichrist has already been born, and that his best friend Kyle is tied to a Satanic altar to receive the evil creature. Santa Claus arrives and, when he learns what is happening, pulls out a shotgun and slaughters all the creatures. He is about to kill the Antichrist, but Kyle—now free from the altar—declares that he wants the Antichrist to possess him, so that he can make the world better for the Jews. Kyle gulps down the little Antichrist baby. His eyes glow red and he is about to unleash a devastating blow on the world when...
The story suddenly cuts away to Mr. Garrison's fourth-grade class. Everything that had happened so far in the episode was merely a Christmas-themed story that Cartman had written and was reading to the class. Kyle tells Cartman to stop, claiming that the story is just another way to mock Kyle's religion at Christmas time. Mr. Garrison, fearing complaints from Kyle's mother, forces Cartman to stop. The other boys—including Stan himself, however, plead with Kyle to let Cartman continue because they want to hear the ending; Kyle objects that the ending is obvious, that Kyle (in the story) will merely be killed by Santa Claus so that Christmas is saved. Cartman says that is not the ending, and as the other kids persist, Kyle unhappily allows Cartman to continue.
Back in the story, Kyle suddenly declares that he can now feel that the Antichrist is pure evil, while Stan responds, "What did you expect, dude? It's the son of the Devil!" Santa, however, says that they have no choice but to kill Kyle, before the Antichrist can consume his soul and unleash his reign of terror. Stan, however, has the mountain lion cubs perform an abortion on Kyle, removing the Antichrist, which Santa unceremoniously smashes with a sledgehammer. Santa gives Stan a special Christmas wish, and Stan uses it to have Santa resurrect the mountain lion cubs' mother, much to his relief. Everyone then goes home to a happy Christmas. The narrator concludes, "they all lived happily ever after, except for Kyle, who died of AIDS two weeks later." Kyle is shown on a hospital bed slowly dying. The episode ends with a Christmas-themed title card reading, "The End", and Kyle (unseen) shouts in frustration, "Goddammit, Cartman!"
According to this episode's mini-commentary, this episode was one of the most difficult to make. After making the feature film Team America: World Police and the 13 other episodes in South Park's 8th season in the same year (a year which Trey Parker and Matt Stone describe as "The Year from Hell"), Parker, Stone and the show's other writers were completely drained of ideas. The staff tried to come up with an idea, but nothing came up through Thursday and Friday which is considered a huge drawback with South Park's rushed production. On Saturday afternoon the staff decided to just do the idea of parodying John Denver and the Muppets: A Christmas Together holiday special, which had been in gestation for some time. The critters participate in Satanic behavior like the possessed crew of the 1997 movie Event Horizon, which also inspired Stone and Parker to create the characters. With some doubt, the show developed into an episode involving a rhyming narration and ending with it being a story by Cartman, the creators ended up quite satisfied with it. The episode was also in the style of Christmas stories such as How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
The episode has special bumpers, announcing it to be "A Woodland Critter Christmas," with Squirrelie then saying in a cheerful voice, "Hail Satan!"
- The character designs of the woodland critters is meant to spoof the overly cute look of animals from the stop motion Rankin/Bass holiday specials of the 1960s and 1970s.
- Initially, the animals claim Porcupiny was a virgin when the Savior was conceived; later they claim Satan had sex with her to conceive the Antichrist. They also refer to the conception as "immaculate", confusing the Immaculate Conception of Mary with Jesus' Virgin Birth.
- According to the South Park commentary with Matt Stone and Trey Parker, the blood orgy is a reference to the science fiction film Event Horizon.
- In the blood orgy scene celebrating Porcupiny's pregnancy and the death of the Mountain Lion, the critters sacrifice Rabbitty. This is in reference to a rabbit test where after confirming a pregnancy, "the rabbit dies".
- The scene where the mountain lion falls off the cliff resembles a similar scene in The Lion King.
- When the animals use their Satanic powers, "Ave Satani" ("Hail Satan," the theme song to The Omen) plays in the background.
- When Stan is watching TV, The Jeffersons can be heard playing briefly.
- The birth of the Antichrist is a direct reference to Rosemary's Baby.
- "Woodland Critter Christmas" Full episode at South Park Studios
- "Woodland Critter Christmas" Episode guide at South Park Studios
- Woodland Critter Christmas at Imdb