The Death of Eric Cartman
|"The Death of Eric Cartman"|
|South Park episode|
|Episode no.||Season 9
|Written by||Trey Parker|
|Original air date||April 13, 2005|
"The Death of Eric Cartman" is the sixth episode of the ninth season of the animated television series South Park, and the 131st episode overall. It first aired on Comedy Central in the United States on April 13, 2005.
Cartman, Kyle, Stan and Kenny wait at Stan's house for Sharon to come home with KFC. When Sharon arrives, she asks the boys to help her unload her groceries, but Cartman remains behind and eats all the skins off every single piece of fried chicken in the bucket. He then tells the rest of the boys that he is going home to sit on the toilet and read comic books, before Kenny begins to cry. Extremely outraged by this, Stan, Kyle and Kenny decide that Cartman has finally crossed the line and, realizing that he thrives on their anger, decide the best way of dealing with him is to give him the silent treatment, resolving to not even acknowledge him. When the other kids in their class find out that they are now ignoring Cartman, they all decide to follow them. Cartman, incapable of conceiving that anyone could ignore him on purpose, wonders if he has actually died and become a ghost. He becomes convinced of this after returning home and misunderstanding comments made by plumbers who are replacing the toilet in his house, which he destroyed overnight as a consequence of his chicken-skin binge: he believes that they are removing his body after he ate so much chicken that it 'ruptured the insides'. Cartman also overhears his mother orgasm while having sex with one of the plumbers and mistakes this for sobs of grief.
Butters, however, is not privy to his friends' resolution to ignore Cartman and so greets him as he passes by in a state of despair. Cartman immediately convinces him that he is a ghost, terrifying Butters. Cartman "appears" to Butters in his room at night, only to have his parents threaten to ground him if he keeps having "nightmares". Cartman threatens to haunt Butters unless he helps his soul achieve peace, as Butters seems to have the unique psychic capability of seeing and hearing him. Cartman first has Butters apologize to everyone on his behalf, which fails to impress his ex-friends but gets his mother crying. No one realizes that Cartman thinks he is dead. Cartman makes emotional goodbyes to Butters, believing that he will now be permitted to go to heaven. When this fails to happen, Butters suggests to Cartman that he might need to atone for past sins. Cartman draws a long list of all the terrible things he has done, and delivers gift baskets to all the victims including Sally Struthers, Scott Tenorman, and Kyle's synagogue, much to their confusion and Kyle's annoyance. When this too fails, Cartman goes berserk, destroys Butters' room with a baseball bat, and disappears before his parents turn up. A doctor is called and decides that Butters might suffer from a deep trauma. To find out for sure, Butters is taken in a mental institution and subjected to a terrifying series of tests including being anally probed by a vibrating machine for over 14 hours while suspended in the air. Now genuinely traumatized, Butters accepts that he has been imagining Cartman's visits, but then Cartman breaks into the asylum to get his help again.
The two consult a psychic, who suggests that God has kept Cartman on Earth to help with some kind of crisis. When they hear of a hostage situation at a Red Cross center, the boys set off and Cartman manages to stop the criminals by moving things around in the style of a poltergeist. The robbers are merely befuddled at the child's behavior, which provides enough of a distraction for Butters to release the hostages and the police to subdue the criminals. Cartman and Butters are credited with saving the day, "armed only with the weapon of confusion", as a news reporter puts it. Cartman and Butters exchange goodbyes and emotional protestations of friendship for the third time when the other boys turn up and praise Cartman's heroic behavior. They tell him they are willing to be his friend again, thinking he has truly changed. When they leave, Cartman now realizes that he was merely being ignored and is outraged. He again goes berserk and blames Butters for the misunderstanding, threatening terrible retaliation. Butters's parents arrive with the doctor, making Butters realize he is going back to the asylum.
The idea of having Cartman eat the skin off of an entire tub of fried chicken came from a similar script meeting one evening when Trey Parker, Matt Stone, and the remaining writing staff were sitting around a table having a bucket of KFC chicken for dinner while they discussed ideas and someone mentioned how terrible it would be if someone stole all the skins when everyone else was out of the room.
When Butters is hiding under his sink, he explains to his mom, "I'm like the kid in that movie. I'm seein' dead people."
On syndicated broadcasts on Comedy Central where the episode is rated TV-14, the part where Cartman's mother is having sex with one of the plumbers in her bedroom is blocked out by a giant black censor bar that says "CENSORED". Also, the part where Butters is being anally probed is shortened.
- South Park: Season 9 DVD Boxset Episode Commentary
- The Death of Eric Cartman Full episode at South Park Studios
- The Death of Eric Cartman Episode guide at South Park Studios
- The Death of Eric Cartman South Park Wiki