Christian Rock Hard
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|"Christian Rock Hard"|
|South Park episode|
|Episode no.||Season 7
|Directed by||Trey Parker|
|Written by||Trey Parker|
|Original air date||October 29, 2003|
"Christian Rock Hard" is the ninth episode of the seventh season and the 105th overall episode of the American animated series South Park. It originally aired on Comedy Central in the United States on October 29, 2003. In the episode, the kids start a rock band, but concerned with the fact that people will potentially download their music from the Internet illegally, they refuse to play. Meanwhile, Cartman starts his own Christian rock band. The episode satirizes famous artists who have spoken out against copyright infringement, such as Metallica. Christian rock music is also parodied as being identical to love songs, except for referencing Jesus in their lyrics.
Stan, Kyle, Kenny and Cartman have formed a band called Moop, but disagree on what direction they should take, as they all like different types of music. The disagreement becomes so heated that Cartman bets that he will have a platinum-selling album before Kyle's band does and leaves the band. Seeking inspiration, the remaining members of Moop illegally download some music from the Internet and are immediately busted by the FBI. Moop are told of the serious consequences of illegal downloading, namely forcing musicians like Lars Ulrich (drummer of metal band Metallica) and Britney Spears to lose so much income from music piracy that they must either downgrade their extremely lavish purchases to very-slightly less lavish ones or save up until they can afford all of what they want. As a result, Moop decides to go on strike until fans stop downloading illegally and are joined by a large number of pop and rock musicians, including Britney Spears, Ozzy Osbourne, Missy Elliott, Master P, Blink-182, Metallica, Alanis Morissette, Meat Loaf, Rancid as well as Skyler's band (Lords of the Underworld).
Meanwhile, Cartman enlists Butters and Token to form his new band. Realizing that Christian rock is a perennial top seller, Cartman decides that his band, which he has christened Faith + 1, will join the Christian music racket. Cartman builds the band's repertoire by simply taking vague generic pop love ballads and changing references like "baby" to "Jesus". While effective, the band eventually comes under some scrutiny when one of the songs involves more passionate and sexual lyrics involving Christ. Cartman manages to manipulate his way out and the band begins to build a huge following.
Before long, Faith + 1 celebrates the sale of its millionth album. By this time, Stan, Kyle and Kenny decide that the satisfaction of having fans should be more important to musicians than fighting against the fans who make them popular and go to see their concerts. They decide that touring still brings in revenue and call off their strike. However, the other musicians do not follow suit, because, according to Britney Spears, "[they are] just about the money."
Cartman has spent all the money made from their album on a lavish, extravagant awards ceremony to celebrate Faith + 1's success and specifically to insult Kyle for losing the bet to Cartman. However, Cartman's jubilation is short-lived. As it turns out, Cartman is told that Christian record companies only hand out gold, frankincense and myrrh records, so Faith + 1, as Christian artists, will never have a platinum album, meaning that Kyle technically did not lose the bet. Cartman, enraged at this turn of events, destroys the band's myrrh album award and screams "Fuck Jesus!". This blasphemy causes the horrified fans to scream and flee.
When Token confronts Cartman for spending every penny of their take, driving away their fans and ending the career of the band, Cartman continues to rant and insults him by calling him a "black asshole". In response, Token beats up Cartman on the stage before walking away. Feeling that Cartman got what he deserved, Stan, Kenny and Kyle take their leave as well. As Cartman lies moaning in pain on the stage, Butters approaches him meekly. In a surprising show of audacity, Butters farts in Cartman's face, gives him the finger, and yells "Fuck you, Eric!", before walking away himself, leaving Cartman all alone to recover from his pain.
- Eric Cartman's instructions for the Faith + 1 album cover, are a reference to the U2 album The Joshua Tree.
- The fact that Christian record companies only award gold, frankincense and myrrh records are a reference to the gifts given to Jesus by The Three Kings in The Nativity.
- When the police officer takes the boys around to show them the lives of celebrities affected by illegally downloaded music, it is reminiscent of the three ghosts in Charles Dickens' novel A Christmas Carol showing Ebenezer Scrooge the ramifications of his selfish actions.
- Token's bass is fashioned after the bass Rudy played in the cartoon series Fat Albert.
- Eric Cartman on the bus writing lyrics onto his palm is taken from the film 8 Mile, when Eminem does the same thing on his way to a rap contest.
- Faith + 1's songs are based on real-life songs, with the lyrics changed.
- The name "Faith + 1" is reference to the Christian boyband Plus One.