Go God Go
|"Go God Go"|
|South Park episode|
|Episode no.||Season 10
|Directed by||Trey Parker|
|Written by||Trey Parker|
|Original air date||November 1, 2006|
"Go God Go" is the 12th episode of the 10th season and the 151st overall episode of the American animated television series South Park. It originally aired on Comedy Central in the United States on November 1, 2006, and is part one of a two-part story. Part two is titled "Go God Go XII", which aired a week later. In "Go God Go", Cartman is unable to wait the three weeks until the Wii video game console is released, and attempts to freeze himself to get closer to the release date, but accidentally ends up much later in the future, in the atheistic world of 2546.
The episode was written and directed by South Park co-creator Trey Parker, and was rated TV-MA in the United States. With religion often forming the subject matter of South Park, this two-parter satirizes atheism, as well as evolutionary biologist and atheist Richard Dawkins, whose bestselling book The God Delusion was published in the months before the episode's broadcast.
Cartman is unable to wait three weeks until the Nintendo Wii console is released, causing him extreme insomnia and other symptoms (like hallucination, looking at the clock). He tries to go into cryonic suspension by sitting in his freezer but his mother catches him. He finally gets Butters to take him to the top of Mount Elbert, where he removes his outerwear and buries himself in the snow.
Concurrently, Mrs. Garrison resists being forced to teach the school's evolution curriculum, and mischaracterizes the theory, stating that man is "the retarded offspring of five monkeys who had butt-sex with a fish-squirrel." In response, the school administrators hire outspoken evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins as an assistant teacher to help Mrs. Garrison present the evolution lesson. After some initial friction between the creationist Garrison and atheist Dawkins, a romantic interest soon develops.
During their date, Dawkins inquires how someone so iconoclastic as Mrs. Garrison could believe in religion. Mrs. Garrison, attracted to Dawkins, begins to concede to impress him. When Dawkins refers to religion as an argument from ignorance, Garrison (with no further serious thought on the subject) announces that there is no great mystery to life, exclaiming that, "Evolution explains everything and God is a spaghetti monster". Later they go back to Mrs. Garrison's house where they have sex. The next day in class, Garrison informs the students of her changed stance on evolution, prompting Stan to argue that one can have faith in both God and evolution. Because of this, he is forced to sit in a corner wearing a dunce cap that says “I Have Faith”. Later that night, as Dawkins and Garrison are cuddling in bed (surrounded by various erotic toys), Mrs. Garrison pushes Dawkins to the realization it is his duty to rid the world of religion and bring about peace with its abolition.
By this time, Eric Cartman has become cold enough to enter suspended animation, and a freak avalanche has buried his body. In a montage that spoofs the opening credits of the late-1970s TV series Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, it is revealed that Cartman ultimately remains frozen for over five centuries, until being discovered and thawed out by members of the Unified Atheist League (UAL).
In the year 2546, the entire world is atheistic and dedicated to rationality and science. Atheism is divided into several denominations. These factions are at war with each other over who has the right answer to the Great Question. The UAL explains what happened to Cartman and that his family and friends have been dead for over 500 years, but he does not care about it. However, Cartman is horrified to learn that no one in the future plays video games, including the Wii.
Later they inform a depressed Cartman of the possible presence of a Nintendo Wii at the Museum of Technology in New New Hampshire. However, they mention that before they are willing to take him there, they require some information alluding to a person they believe he knew in his time: the founder of the UAL who helped initiate a great event that made the entire world atheist. Nevertheless, before Cartman can learn the name of this person an alarm sounds as the UAL comes under attack from a rival group, the United Atheist Alliance (UAA), with whom it is explained the UAL are at war. After the fierce battle that ensues, which leaves all the UAL members present dead, Cartman is taken captive aboard a UAA ship.
While aboard the UAA commander contacts yet another faction, the Allied Atheist Alliance (AAA). Made up solely of highly evolved sea otters which possess human-like intelligence, the AAA are at war with both the UAL and UAA over world domination and the answer to the “Great Question”. The Commander of the UAA boast to the otters about their possession of the “Time Child” (Cartman) and of how because of this they are now the Atheists in control. This provokes a response from the Otters Leader who informs them of the “dawning of the sea otter” while threatening to smash Cartman's skull "like a clam on my tummy".
The episode ends with the Otters mobilizing to the sounding of “the nafferty” (a large horn), another armed otter turns to the camera ominously saying “so it begins” while a targeting device drops down over his left eye and the text words TO BE CONTINUED appear.
Trey Parker and Matt Stone briefly describe one part of the inspiration for "Go God Go" in their director commentaries for the Season 10 DVD. During an appearance by the pair on TV's Nightline, an interviewer had asked, "May I assume you two are atheists, since you make fun of religious beliefs so often?" Surprised by the question, Parker and Stone emphatically said that they did not consider themselves to be atheists—leading to an email shortly thereafter from their friend Penn Jillette, an outspoken advocate for atheism who had seen the interview and was evidently disappointed to learn that the two were not "on the Atheist team." Their subsequent conversations with Jillette about atheism and related topics (e.g., the difference between "atheism" and "agnosticism") gave rise to the idea of satirizing the "militant" or "evangelical" atheism as represented in the episode by Dawkins and Garrison.
"Go God Go" pays homage to Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, a science fiction adventure television series produced by Universal Studios. The series ran for two seasons between 1979 and 1981.
The week of November 5, 2006, a poll on Nintendo.com asked "How bad do you want a Wii?" With the responses being "Bad", "Way Bad", and "Worse than Cartman," with the third choice holding out with 80% of the votes.
Also, on the Season 10 DVD commentaries, Parker and Stone mention that, due to this episode, they actually received free Wii systems from Nintendo.
Richard Dawkins' response
Richard Dawkins reacted to the two-part episode by saying, "I'm buggered if I like being portrayed as a cartoon character buggering a bald transvestite. I wouldn't have minded so much if only it had been in the service of some serious point, but if there was a serious point in there I couldn't discern it." In a Q & A session at the Free Library of Philadelphia Dawkins said: "I would have thought they could at least have got an actor that could do a proper British accent. Now, if only I could be offered a cameo role in The Simpsons, I could show that actor how to do a real British accent." Dawkins later made a cameo in the Simpsons episode "Black-Eyed, Please".
When asked about the episode in a 2012 interview with Playboy magazine, Dawkins, who said it was the only episode of South Park he had seen, thought the future war among the different atheists sects, which he felt had "a certain amount of truth in it", harbored a greater potential for satire, as it reminded him of the Judean People's Front and the People's Front of Judea from the film Monty Python’s Life of Brian, but felt that too much of the episode was devoted to ridiculing him by depicting him having sex with Ms. Garrison, commenting, "That isn't satire because it has nothing to do with what I stand for. And the scatological part, where they had somebody throwing shit, which stuck to my forehead—that’s not even funny."
There was some confusion regarding the episode title. Originally, many cable and satellite providers listed it as "Go, God, Go! Part II," despite the lack of a "Go, God, Go! Part I." When the episode was broadcast, the official South Park website simply listed it with the generic title "TBA". Several days after its initial broadcast, it was officially designated "Go God Go."
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- Last half of US tour RichardDawkins.net. November 10, 2006.[dead link]
- "The Simpsons Season 24 Review "Black-eyed Please"". TV Equals. Retrieved 2013-03-12.
- Rowe, Chip (August 20, 2012). "Playboy Interview: Richard Dawkins". Playboy. Page 1
- Rowe, 2012. Page 2.
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