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 Episode 6 of Season 9 of the animated television series South Park and the 131st episode over all. 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 his mother to come home with KFC. When Sharon arrives, the boys help her unload her groceries, but Cartman remains behind, eats all the crispy skins, and goes home to sit on the toilet. Outraged, Stan, Kyle, and Kenny decide Cartman has finally crossed the line and decide to give him the silent treatment, even pretending they don't see him. The other kids in their class go along. Cartman, unable to conceive that anyone would ignore him, thinks he has died and become a ghost after returning home and misunderstanding comments made by plumbers replacing the toilet, which he become clogged by his chicken-skin binge. He also overhears his mother orgasm and mistakes her passion for sobs of grief.
Butters, however, is not privy to the plan and greets Cartman as he passes by in a state of despair. Cartman 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. Cartman first has Butters apologize to everyone on his behalf, which fails to impress his ex-friends but gets his mother crying. Cartman makes emotional goodbyes to Butters, believing that he will now be permitted to go to Heaven. When this fails, Butters suggests he might need to atone for all the terrible things he has done. Cartman draws up a long list and delivers gift baskets to all his victims including Sally Struthers, Scott Tenorman, and Kyle's synagogue. When this, too, fails, Cartman 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 make sure, Butters is taken to a mental institution and subjected to a terrifying series of tests. Now genuinely traumatized, Butters accepts that he has been imagining Cartman's visits, but 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 a crisis. When they hear of a hostage situation at a Red Cross Center, Cartman and Butters set off; and Cartman stops the criminals by moving things around in the style of a poltergeist. The robbers are merely befuddled, which provides a distraction for Butters to release the hostages and the police to subdue the criminals. The two are credited with saving the day "armed only with the weapon of confusion" as a news reporter put it. Cartman and Butters exchange protestations of friendship once again; but the other boys turn up and praise Cartman's heroic behavior, thinking he has truly changed. Cartman now realizes that he was merely being ignored and again goes berserk, blaming Butters for his own misunderstanding and threatening retaliation. Butters's parents arrive with the doctor, and Butters realizes 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