|South Park episode|
|Episode no.||Season 11|
|Directed by||Trey Parker|
|Written by||Trey Parker|
|Featured music||"Carry On Wayward Son"|
by Cheap Trick
"John the Fisherman"
by Sex Pistols
"Every Rose Has Its Thorn"
by Deep Wound
"I Remember You"
by Skid Row
"I Wanna Be Sedated"
by The Ramones
|Original air date||November 7, 2007|
"Guitar Queer-O" is the thirteenth episode of the eleventh season and the 166th overall episode of American animated television series South Park, which first aired on Comedy Central on November 7, 2007. The episode was rated TV-MA L in the United States. The episode parodies the Guitar Hero video games, and aired ten days after the release of Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock.
In the episode, Stan and Kyle are hooked on Guitar Hero, but Stan's superior skills on the video game damages his friendship with Kyle.
Stan and Kyle are obsessed with the video game Guitar Hero, and attempt to break the game's scoring record in front of their friends. As soon as they break the 100,000 points record on "Carry on Wayward Son", they are contacted by Charles Kincade, a talent agent, who wants to offer them recording contracts. They become Guitar Hero rock star celebrities overnight, enjoying the hedonistic "sex and drugs" lifestyle. The record company organizes a future event where Stan and Kyle will attempt to break a 1 million point record in front of a live audience. Stan is taken aside by his manager and told that Kyle is holding him back, and encourages Stan to dump Kyle in favor of another kid, Thad Jarvis, who can play many Guitar Hero songs "acoustically", having memorized what buttons to press instead of relying on the on-screen cues.
Kyle discovers Stan practicing with Thad and angrily breaks up their "band". Kyle goes on to perform at a local bowling alley by its owner for free food and drink, improving as he plays. Stan becomes stressed out over the upcoming event, and tries to seek refuge using a different video game Heroin Hero where the only objective is literally chasing a dragon as the in-game player injects himself with heroin. The game somehow shortens his temper and concentration into getting into a fight with Thad, who subsequently leaves Stan. Stan, still intoxicated with Heroin Hero, is forced to play the event solo, but ends up getting a miserable score and throwing up on stage; after the audience leaves and the game audience "boos" Stan, Kincade angrily admonishes him by saying "You blew it! You had it all and you blew it!" and subsequently leaves him.
Stan comes back to the video game store and decides to pick another game to play, but when offered by the game store owner Rehab Hero (which remedies the heroin-like addiction to a former player of Heroin Hero), Stan instead selects a simple driving game. While driving around in-game, Stan hears "Carry on Wayward Son" on the radio and remembers the good time he had with Kyle. Stan goes to apologize to Kyle and after a brief spat, the two become friends again, dumping the recording contract. They go back home and go on to break the 1 million point record in front of their friends. To their shock, the game rewards them by telling them, "Congratulations! You Are Fags!". The two become upset that they have worked so hard only to be insulted, and angrily walk out; Cartman and Butters start to play the game, with Butters eagerly requesting that he gets to be the one to betray Cartman "after the sex and drugs party".
The celebrities that the boys meet at the party are real-life Colorado celebrities: KDVR news anchor Ron Zapollo (though he is recognized as being from "channel 4", where he had not worked since the late 1980s), American Furniture Warehouse President Jake Jabs, and diamond mogul Tom Shane.
Jay Cutler, the then-quarterback for the Denver Broncos, was insulted by Stan in the episode ("You kind of suck, but my dad says you might be good some day"). Cutler himself responded lightheartedly, saying "I thought it was funny. They can make fun of me if they want to."
Stan's manager Charles Kincaid is a reference to Reuben Kincaid of The Partridge Family and even looks like him, while the record company executive is a reference to The Colonel James from the film Boogie Nights.
Stan asks his new partner to play John the Fisherman, written by theme song artist Primus.
The episode drew in 4 million total viewers (P2+) and was the most watched telecast of the year on Comedy Central, as well as the most watched program in all of television for Wednesday night among men 18–34 and the most watched program on cable among persons 18–49. The episode was the highest rating since "Cartman's Mom Is Still a Dirty Slut", beating the previous record-holder "Imaginationland Episode III", the episode that aired one week before "Guitar Queer-O".
Despite good ratings, the episode received some mediocre reviews. IGN called it a "lackluster episode" saying that it was "based on a concept that could have proved fun – but ultimately doesn't seem to be enough for an entire episode." 411Mania also criticized the episode, saying that "the first twenty-one and a half minutes weren't funny at all" claiming that the last line of the episode was the best part. TV Squad, on the other hand, gave the episode a somewhat positive review.
A portion of the episode was used on NPR's Day to Day to discuss the idea that the popularity and interest in video games like Guitar Hero III or Rock Band could supplant traditional instruments for kids.
"Guitar Queer-O", along with the thirteen other episodes from South Park's eleventh season, were released on a three-disc DVD set in the United States on August 12, 2008. The set includes brief audio commentaries by Parker and Stone for each episode.
- "Comedy Central press "Guitar Queer-o" release". Archived from the original on 2007-11-09. Retrieved 2007-11-07.
- Jeremy Hubbard (April 3, 2013). "From sports to 'South Park': Zappolo's move to news caught eye of Hollywood". KDVR.
- Heath Combs (November 8, 2007). "Jake Jabs shows up on South Park". Furniture Today.
- Claire McNear (July 15, 2016). "Now You Have a Friend in the Diamond Business". The Ringer.
- Teresa M. Walker (November 14, 2007). "Cutler has 'little' chip on his shoulder from draft". ESPN.
- "Guitar Queer-O Connections". IMDb. January 14, 2017.
- Comedy Central "The List" press release
- South Park: Season 2 DVD Boxset "Goin' Down to South Park" Documentary
- Comedy Central Imaginationland ratings press release
- IGN "Guitar Queer-o" review
- "411Mania "Guitar Queer-o" review". Archived from the original on 2007-11-10. Retrieved 2007-11-14.
- McDuffee, Keith (November 7, 2007). "South Park: Guitar Queer-o". HuffPost TV. Archived from the original on September 13, 2012. Retrieved March 13, 2022.
- Alex Cohen and Carrie Brownstein, Virtual or Reality Rock Band?, Day to Day, November 28, 2007.
- Freierman, Shelly. "Popular Demand". New York Times. Retrieved 2022-03-13.
- "Product Placements Of The Week". MediaPost. Retrieved 2021-04-24.
- "South Park: The Complete Eleventh Season DVD Review". IGN. August 18, 2008. Retrieved February 5, 2017.