Raisins (South Park)
|South Park episode|
|Episode no.||Season 7
|Directed by||Trey Parker|
|Written by||Trey Parker|
|Original air date||December 10, 2003|
"Raisins" is the fourteenth episode of the seventh season of the American animated television series South Park, and the 110th episode of the series overall. It first aired on Comedy Central in the United States on December 10, 2003. In the episode, Wendy breaks up with Stan, sending him into a deep depression. Meanwhile, Butters becomes invested in a relationship with a waitress at Raisins—a parody of American chain Hooters.
The episode was written by series co-creator Trey Parker. Though he and the show's writing team had the concept of Raisins, it took several days to fully develop its story. They were unable to begin work on the episode until six days before its airdate. Parker and co-creator Matt Stone based Stan's breakup on their memories of elementary school "relationships", and the episode's use of licensed music is also representative of their upbringing. "Raisins" is the first episode to include the Goth kids, secondary characters within the show's universe.
The boys are playing football at recess when Bebe tells Stan that his girlfriend Wendy has decided to break up with him. Stan falls into a deep depression, and his friends take him to the restaurant Raisins—where all of the employees are young preteen girls wearing heavy make-up—hoping to cheer him up. Nothing will change Stan's fortunes, and at Kyle's suggestion, he decides to socialize with the South Park Elementary's group of Goth kids. He begins wearing dark clothes, consuming large amounts of coffee, and delving deeper into his sadness. In the interim, Wendy begins a relationship with Token.
Meanwhile, Butters falls in love with a waitress at Raisins named Lexus, failing to see the insincerity of her interest in him. He obsesses over her and begins to spend all of his parents' money at the restaurant. Butters' parents, delighted that their son did not turn out gay, decide to come with Butters to meet his "girlfriend", but discover she was using him for money. Though they explain this to him, Butters tells his parents off. He reveals he has plans to move in with Lexus, who bluntly tells him that she was never his girlfriend. Butters becomes depressed, and the Goth kids invite him to join their clique. He declines, noting that though he is upset, he is happy he can feel sadness, as it makes him feel more alive. Stan realizes Butters' point of view and emerges from his own depression. The next day, he rejoins his friends for football and tells Kyle he will handle his future problems in "the right way": by passively-aggressively insulting his ex and her boyfriend.
"Raisins" was written and directed by series co-founder Trey Parker. Like many South Park episodes, it was produced in the week preceding its broadcast. The writers spent the first day of their production week, Thursday, without any ideas. They convened at Parker's home the following day. Parker noted in the episode's commentary that the crew at South Park Studios began getting nervous, as a day's worth of animation work had been lost. They had developed the idea of Raisins—a parody of the restaurant chain Hooters but designed for younger girls—but were unable to build an episode around it. The team discussed that men often visit Hooters with friends to cheer them up following a breakup. This led to the concept of Wendy, one of the show's secondary characters, breaking up with main character Stan. Co-creator Matt Stone noted the way in which Stan is broken up with in the episode is the way he remembered kids in elementary school going about relationships.
The episode introduces several recurring characters, among them the Raisins girls and the Goth kids. Parker wrote in the script that the character of Kyle offhandedly mentions the "Goth kids" in one line, but decided it would be fun to create new characters for them. The concept of the Goth kids drinking coffee at Benny's (a spoof of American-based diner chain Denny's) comes from Stone's own experiences. He remembered the Goth kids from his adolescence hanging out at his local Perkins drinking endless cups of coffee for hours at a time. Parker's favorite moment in the episode involves the character Jimmy, who has a speech impediment, telling Wendy she is a "continuing source of inspiration" to Stan but stuttering on the first syllable, making it misheard as a vulgar word. Parker remembered the writers spent time attempting to come up with words they could use in that scenario; Stone dubbed the end result a "reach of a joke."
The episode plays "Don't Know What You Got (Till It's Gone)" by Cinderella when Wendy breaks up with Stan. Parker remembered he and the crew were adamant that they license that particular song, as they considered it "perfect" for that moment. The episode further uses "All Out of Love" by Air Supply, "Shock the Monkey" by Peter Gabriel, and "YMCA" by Village People. Parker and Stone noted that these songs were culled from their experiences growing up in the 1970s and 80s.
Tim Cain of the Herald & Review considered Butters' speech at the episode's conclusion "one of the most heartful and sincere soliloquies in the show's history", despite not strictly being a soliloquy.
"Raisins", along with the thirteen other episodes from South Park's seventh season, were released on a three-disc DVD set in the United States on March 26, 2006. The sets included brief audio commentaries by Parker and Stone for each episode. The episode is available for streaming on Hulu.
- "Raisins (episode) - Official South Park Studios Wiki". South Park Studios. Retrieved March 3, 2016.
- Parker 2006, 0:20.
- Parker 2006, 1:00.
- Stone 2006, 1:05.
- Parker 2006, 2:00.
- Stone 2006, 2:40.
- Stone 2006, 3:10.
- Stone 2006, 1:15.
- Parker 2006, 1:20.
- Parker 2006, 3:30.
- Tim Cain (April 21, 2011). "Tim Cain column: 'South Park' visits infinite social issues, with equal offense to all". Herald & Review. Retrieved March 3, 2016.
- Judge Bill Gibron (21 March 2006). "DVD Verdict Review - South Park: The Complete Seventh Season". DVD Verdict. Archived from the original on 29 May 2010. Retrieved 10 March 2012.
- Michael Wolff (July 8, 2015). "'South Park' Re-Ups With Massive Hulu, Comedy Central Deals (Exclusive)". Retrieved March 3, 2016.
- Stone, Matt (March 2006). South Park: The Complete Seventh Season: "Raisins" (Audio commentary) (DVD). Paramount Home Entertainment.
- Parker, Trey (March 2006). South Park: The Complete Seventh Season: "Raisins" (Audio commentary) (DVD). Paramount Home Entertainment.