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|South Park episode|
A frame showing "Spooky Vision" being used.
|Episode no.||Season 2
|Directed by||Trey Parker|
|Written by||Trey Parker|
|Original air date||October 28, 1998|
"Spookyfish" is the fifteenth episode of the second season of the animated television series South Park, and the 28th episode of the series overall. "Spookyfish" originally aired in the United States on October 28, 1998 on Comedy Central. It was the season's Halloween special, featuring the "spooky" theme of having pictures of Barbra Streisand in the screen corners, accompanied with the words "Spooky Vision" (in response to Streisand's negative reception to the season one episode "Mecha-Streisand").
According to the official website and the DVD set, the episode's title is "Spookyfish". Other sources occasionally refer to it as "Spooky Fish".
Cartman has skipped class but shows up at the bus stop to meet the boys when they get off the bus – wearing a goatee and acting strangely agreeable. Cartman explains that he missed school that day because he was taking care of the house for his mother, who has the flu. The boys are shocked and confused at this news coming from the normally obnoxious and uncaring Cartman.
Later, Stan arrives home, where his mother Sharon tells him that his Aunt Flo has come to town for her "monthly visit". Aunt Flo gives Stan's sister Shelly a huge stereo system and gives Stan a goldfish in a bowl. Stan doesn't like the fish and finds it spooky because of the way it stares at him, but Sharon insists that he put it in his room.
The next morning at the bus stop, Stan and Kyle expect to meet the new nice version of Cartman, who promised to bring money for them to buy a pumpkin for carving. However, Cartman arrives in his normal obnoxious mood, proclaiming that he would never give money to them.
Later that night, it is stormy, and the nice version of Cartman appears at Kenny's house and gives Kenny and his family some provisions for the storm. Kenny's father Stuart is surprised which his son confirms. Meanwhile, Stan is in bed, trying to sleep despite being repeatedly terrorized by the fish. Despite what Stan says, Sharon remains unconvinced that there is any trouble until Stan gets up and finds a dead body on the floor.
Stan later reflects on all of these happenings when he asks Kyle if he thinks animals can be murderers like people can, to which Kyle replies that he doesn't know. While talking about this, they again notice a change in Cartman, who is first mean to Kenny for getting a squash for carving because he couldn't afford a pumpkin, then after leaving the room to get a sharper knife and coming back, has a goatee and is nice to Kenny and shows him how to safely cut with a knife while singing about their all being best friends.
The following morning, Stan, Kyle and Kenny discover that the two personalities of Cartman are in fact two separate people. Chef tells the boys that the kinder version of Cartman is from an "Evil Parallel Universe" and that Stan's fish must be from the same world. The boys decide to return the fish to the pet store, but not before it kills Kenny too. Stan, Kyle and Evil Cartman track down the Ancient Indian Burial Ground Pet Store, where they find the portal to the alternate universe. The store owner explains that the portal appeared after he built his shop on top of a literal old Indian burial ground. The store is stocked with animals that all, with the exception of Stan's fish, have glowing red eyes.
After returning the fish to the owner and advising him to move his store off the burial ground, the boys leave just as the Stan and Kyle from the evil world show up, also sporting goatees. Just as "evil" Cartman is the complete opposite of his good world self, "evil" Stan and Kyle are both the opposite of their good world selves and are thus cruel, wanting to bring their nice "friend" Evil Cartman back so they can torment him again. They align with the good world Cartman, who is sick of his "goody two-shoes" clone, and the trio find the good world Stan and Kyle along with Evil Cartman.
The evil Stan and Kyle have a gun that sends things back to the alternate world. Good Stan manages to get it and sends back the two clones. He and Kyle then decide to use it on Cartman – their Cartman – so that they can keep the nice one. Cartman, shocked by this, then attacks Evil Cartman and rips off his goatee. The two wrestle until Stan and Kyle do not know which is which. One Cartman says that Stan should shoot them both "for the good of the world". Stan immediately shoots the other Cartman, stating that the "good universe" Cartman would never say that. However it is then revealed that the normal Cartman did say it in order to trick the boys into shooting Evil Cartman, and he proceeds to taunt them for being "hella stupid." (Throughout the episode the normal Cartman uses the slang "hella" to the irritation of the other boys, and this is one of the factors in their decision to send him to the Evil Universe.)
Before the episode was broadcast, Comedy Central promoted that the "South Park Halloween Special" would be broadcast in "Spooky Vision". Upon airing, "Spooky Vision" turned out to simply mean that singer Barbra Streisand's face was in each corner of the screen, with the words "Spooky Vision" written on the sides of the screen. In subsequent broadcasts of the episode, Comedy Central does not always use "Spooky Vision", although on occasion they still present the episode in its original format. Moreover, in the home video releases, on Netflix instant stream, and on the official South Park website, the episode retains the visuals of "Spooky Vision".
Travis Fickett of IGN rated the episode a 9/10, praising the "great shot in the episode where the two Cartmans meet, and [how] it looks like a badly pulled off split screen effect – an effect they stick with throughout the episode. It's little jokes like this, and attention to detail that set South Park apart in the early days." He pointed out how fun it was for him "to watch Sharon lose her mind as she believes the bodies she's burying are Stanley's victims. 'Such a handsome boy' she mutters to herself as she hauls a bloodied corpse out the door." He concluded by commenting on the "classic 'Who is the good one?' scene when The Cartmans face off", calling it "fun, funny, and clever and an early example of South Park greatness." This scene, the presentation of an evil 'mirror' world, and the use of goatees to identify its residents, is a reference to the Mirror, Mirror episode of the second season of American sci-fi classic Star Trek: The Original Series.
"Spookyfish" was first released in 2002 in a collection of episodes entitled Ghouls, Ghosts and Underpants Gnomes. The VHS version of this collection contains "Spookyfish", along with the third season Halloween episode "Korn's Groovy Pirate Ghost Mystery", as well as "Gnomes" from the second season. The DVD release contains all of the above, as well as the fourth season episode "Trapper Keeper". South Park: The Complete Second Season was released on DVD on June 3, 2003. Episodes of season 2 have also been released digitally on services such as Amazon Video, the iTunes Store, and Xbox Live Marketplace. Like most episodes of South Park, "Spookyfish" is available to watch for free on the show's website, SouthParkStudios.com. These releases present the episode in "Spooky Vision", as it was shown in its initial broadcast.
- Stall, Sam (2009). The South Park Episode Guide: Volume 1, Seasons 1-5. New York City, New York: Running Press. p. 33. ISBN 0762435615.
- Pond, Steve (June 2000). "Interview: Trey Parker and Matt Stone". Playboy 47 (6): 65–80.
- "A South Park Halloween". Comedy Central. 1998. Archived from the original on October 6, 1999. Retrieved December 29, 2011.
- Mailing list post. Subject: "Spooky Vision?". User "'susie chipper'". In: "South Park Booster Club Archive: SP Digest 10-23-98 A". October 23, 1998. Archived from the original on June 28, 2002. Retrieved December 29, 2011.
- "FAQ: Why isn't the spooky fish episode ever shown in 'spooky vision' anymore?". South Park Studios. November 3, 2005. Retrieved December 29, 2011.
- User "Rare Hero" (January 15, 1999). "Where was SPOOKYVISION last nite!?". Newsgroup: alt.tv.southpark. Usenet: firstname.lastname@example.org. Retrieved December 29, 2011.
- User "triplemultiplex" (November 1, 2006). "Forum: Hey, where's my Spooky Vision?". South Park Studios. (Forum post.)
- "More Frightening Than The Local Haunted Hayride? Scarier Than The Neighbor Who Hands Out Pennies To Trick-Or-Treaters? It's 'South Park's' Haloween Specials During Comedy Central's 'Shocktober' Airing Saturday, October 21, Wednesday, Oct" (Press release). Comedy Central. Archived from the original on August 17, 2003. Retrieved December 29, 2011.
- "Full Episode Player: Spookyfish". South Park Studios. Retrieved December 29, 2011.
- "Spookyfish". In: Parker, Trey; Stone, Matt (2003). South Park – The Complete Second Season (DVD). Paramount Home Entertainment.
- Fickett, Travis. "South Park Flashback: "Spookyfish" Review - TV Review at IGN". IGN. Retrieved 2011-12-04.
- "South Park - Ghouls, Ghosts and Underpants Gnomes [VHS]". Amazon.com. Retrieved December 29, 2011.
- "South Park - Ghouls, Ghosts And Underpants Gnomes DVD Information". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Retrieved December 29, 2011.
- Blevins, Tal. "South Park: The Complete Second Season - DVD Review". IGN. Retrieved December 22, 2011.
- "South Park Season 2, Ep. 15 "Spookyfish"". Amazon.com / Amazon Video. Retrieved December 29, 2011.
- "TV Shows - South Park, Season 2". iTunes Store. Retrieved December 22, 2011.
- "South Park: Season 2". Xbox Live Marketplace. Retrieved December 28, 2011.
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