|South Park episode|
|Episode no.||Season 6
|Directed by||Trey Parker|
|Written by||Trey Parker|
|Featured music||"Take On Me"
"The Safety Dance"
by Men Without Hats
|Original air date||March 13, 2002|
"Asspen" is the second episode of the sixth season and the 81st overall episode of the American animated television series South Park. It first aired on Comedy Central in the United States on March 13, 2002. In the episode, the boys go on vacation at Aspen, Colorado, where Stan is repeatedly tormented by an older skier named Tad. Meanwhile, the boys' parents become stuck at a meeting as two salesmen attempt to coax them to purchase timeshare property.
The episode was written and directed by series co-creator Trey Parker. The episode serves as a parody of underdog sports films from the 1980s, while the subplot was conceived while Parker and co-creator Matt Stone were repeatedly annoyed by timeshare salesmen while in Whistler, British Columbia. "Asspen" has received very positive reviews, with critics listing it as among the best episodes of the series. It is one of the few episodes to be rated TV-14 in its original airing. Along with the rest of the sixth season, it was released on home video on October 11, 2005.
On vacation in Aspen, Colorado, the four boys (Stan, Kyle, Cartman, and Butters) are learning to ski when an older and more experienced skier named Tad begins harassing Stan for no reason. Tad demands that Stan race him for "stealing" his girlfriend Heather, whom Stan has never even met before. Stan agrees, fully aware that, since he is a complete amateur, Tad will most certainly beat him. He reluctantly races Tad and loses, as he expected. Afterwards, he is approached by a geeky teenage girl who invites him to a dance at the Aspen Youth Center. There, the boys discover that Tad's father plans to bulldoze the Aspen Youth Center. Tad then appears on stage to sing an off-key song where he repeats "Stan Darsh" over and over until Stan snaps and asks what he wants. Tad demands another race, this time on a much larger hill: the K-13 (a reference to Better Off Dead). It is agreed that if Stan wins, Tad's father will not bulldoze the youth center. It is at this point an epic montage of training occurs with the geeky girl and the boys' instructor from earlier. The song goes so far as to mock the concept of a montage–even the lyrics say: "We're gonna need a montage". As the race begins, Tad races quickly down the hill, stopping to place traps in order to slow Stan down. Still inexperienced, Stan moves so slowly that the traps do not even affect him, while the geeky girl Stan met earlier distracts Tad by lifting up her shirt and supposedly exposing her breasts. Tad freezes, while Stan passes him and wins the race. After the race, however, it is revealed that Tad's reaction of shock was actually due to the fact that, instead of breasts, the girl has two mutants growing out of her chest (a reference to the film Total Recall, complete with one of the mutants saying "Quaid, start the reactor!").
In the subplot, the boys' parents are coaxed into attending a 30-minute presentation by two timeshare salesmen. The parents repeatedly refuse and attempt to leave the conference room; however, they are told that the meeting is actually supposed to take place during lunch. They ask to leave during the lunch but are told to turn over their place cards, which reveal a prize of an exclusive ski lift. They board the ski lift, thinking it will provide them quick access to the slopes, but find it takes them straight back to the conference room. The parents attempt to leave the meeting, only to be held at gunpoint by the police and learning that the timeshare organization is in control of the police and other powerful authorities, including the President of the United States. Under duress, the parents reluctantly purchase a timeshare property. They return to the boys, who tell them the ski resort sucks and who are despondent that they all have to return to Aspen in the future due to the parents' purchase of the timeshare property.
"Asspen" was written by series co-creator Trey Parker, who also directed the episode. The episode parodies several movies of the 1980s and 1990s, including Hot Dog... The Movie, Ski School, Ski Patrol, Aspen Extreme, Total Recall, Pet Sematary and Better off Dead. Parker called the episode "really easy to write," as all he had to do was write a version of the underdog sports films the episode was parodying. The episode contains a subplot involving the boys' parents attempting to avoid purchasing a timeshare from two men. While at a story retreat in Whistler, British Columbia, Parker and Stone were repeatedly "harassed" by timeshare salesmen the entire time. This served as the inspiration for the story.
As Stan trains to become a better skier, a song called "Montage", similar to the Giorgio Moroder and Paul Engemann Scarface montage song "Push It to the Limit," is performed by Trey Parker and Matt Stone's band DVDA. The song was later reworked and used by Parker and Stone in Team America: World Police (2004). The episode also features a cover of the song "Take on Me" by Norwegian synthpop band A-ha. The rights to use the song were cleared the morning the episode was set to air.
Reception and release
Since its original airing "Asspen" has received acclaim from critics. Ashley Burns, writing for Uproxx, praised "Asspen", saying that "I could probably write a book that tries to explain why this is the quintessential South Park episode." Kevin Fitzpatrick, writing for UGO Network, stated that the 1980s sports movies were "perfectly skewered" and that "it'd take a full montage to explain all the things we love about this episode."
Stephen Higham of WhatCulture.com ranked "Asspen" on a list of the 15 greatest South Park episodes, saying that "whilst the subplot about the kids’ parents getting barraged with inescapable offers by the condo salesmen does get a little repetitive, there are enough jokes in there to keep you entertained. Trey Parker has a real talent for capturing the odd little quirks of human communication and amplifying them to absurd levels of notice-ability until they take over all other aspects of that voice. His talent is especially noteworthy in his performance of these two salesmen." He praised the main plot, saying that "it is twenty minutes of darn good satire" and called the character of Tad "just genius."
"Asspen", along with the sixteen other episodes from South Park: the Complete Sixth Season, were released on a three-disc DVD set in the United States on October 11, 2005. The sets included brief audio commentaries by Parker and Stone for each episode. IGN gave the season a rating of 9/10.
- "South Park (season 6)". IGN. Retrieved February 24, 2012.
- "Southparkstudios FAQ".South Park Studios. Accessed November 17, 2008
- Trey Parker, Matt Stone (2008). South Park: The Complete Sixth Season: "Asspen" (DVD). Comedy Central.
- "Southparkstudios FAQ".South Park Studios. Accessed December 2, 2008
- Burns, Ashley. "Sports On TV: South Park's 20 Greatest Sports Moments". Uproxx. Retrieved 21 September 2013.
- Fitzpatrick, Kevin. "Asspen - South Park's Best Parodies". UGO Network. Archived from the original on 23 September 2013. Retrieved 21 September 2013.
- Higham, Stephen. "South Park: 15 Greatest Ever Episodes". WhatCulture.com. Retrieved 21 September 2013.
- Jane, Ian. "South Park - The Complete Sixth Season : DVD Talk Review of the DVD Video". DVD Talk. Retrieved 21 September 2013.
- Schorn, Peter (February 26, 2009). "South Park: The Complete Sixth Season DVD Review". IGN. Retrieved January 25, 2017.
- Asspen Full episode at South Park Studios
- Asspen Episode guide at South Park Studios
- "Asspen" on IMDb
- "Asspen" at TV.com
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