Pre-School (South Park)
|South Park episode|
|Directed by||Trey Parker|
|Written by||Trey Parker|
|Original air date||November 10, 2004|
"Pre-School" is the tenth episode in the eighth season of the American animated television series South Park. The 121st episode overall, it originally aired on Comedy Central in the United States on November 10, 2004. In the episode, the boys' childhood friend Trent Boyett is released from juvenile hall and seeks revenge after taking the blame for starting a fire that permanently disfigured their pre-school teacher. Several plot elements reference the 1991 film Cape Fear as well as the Star Trek episode "The Menagerie".
A terrified Stan announces to Kyle, Kenny, Cartman, and Butters that Trent Boyett, a notorious bully from their preschool years, is being released from juvenile hall after a five-year sentence. In a flashback set five years previously, the boys play "fireman", a game in which they put out a fire by urinating on it. Wanting to put out an actual fire, they ask Trent to start one. However, the fire soon gets out of control and their teacher, Miss Claridge, is badly burned. Instead of going the easier way by saying that the fire was an accident, explaining how Miss Claridge got injured, and risking getting into trouble, the four boys immediately place the sole blame on Trent. Trent attempts to have Butters defend him, but Butters refuses to say what really happened out of fear of getting in trouble with his parents. Trent is sentenced to juvenile hall.
Now that Trent is free, he seeks revenge. For knowing of his innocence, but not saying a word about it, Butters ends up in the hospital after sustaining a number of childhood pranks. The boys know that this is Trent's way of sending a warning to them and ask the sixth-graders for protection from him, which they will give them in exchange for a photo of Stan's mother's breasts (which is actually Cartman's buttocks). After Trent dispatches all of the sixth-graders, sending them to the hospital, the boys ask Stan's sister, Shelley, to defend them. She softens her usually-mean stance against them when she sees how truly terrified of Trent her brother is, but she only agrees to help them on the condition that they confess to Miss Claridge what really happened five years ago.
The boys meet Miss Claridge, who now must use a futuristic machine to get around and beep a single light on it one time to say yes and two times to say no, and attempt to confess about what happened five years ago, but Trent arrives to confront them before they can. Cartman takes out his mother's taser and fires it at Trent. But the electrodes land on Miss Claridge's electoral chair instead, causing it to crash into a propane shop, creating an explosion that destroys the shop and sets Miss Claridge on fire. The police arrive and ask Miss Claridge if Trent caused this. She replies "no" with two beeps, but the police accidentally misinterpret the two beeps to mean "yes, yes" and arrest Trent. The boys, having learned nothing from the experience, make the same mistake they made five years earlier, claiming that they were not involved with the incident at all. Trent is taken away, with Cartman taunting him with his buttocks.
However, some comeuppance does await Cartman. A few of the sixth-graders, having been newly released from the hospital, come upon Cartman and see the "breasts" on his buttocks while he is mocking Trent. They mistake his rear end for actual breasts and carry him off to pleasure themselves to the very sight of them, with Cartman interjecting in slight panic.
The plot is based on the 1991 film Cape Fear. Miss Claridge's motorized wheelchair is based on Christopher Pike's from Star Trek: The Original Series. The boys as pre-schoolers were voiced by actual children. The children's censored swearing are not actual swear words but were instead words like "big dumby". The episode started as an idea for a spin-off titled "South Park Kids".
"Pre-School", along with the thirteen other episodes from South Park's eighth season, was released on a three-disc DVD set in the United States on August 29, 2006. The set includes brief audio commentaries by series co-creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone for each episode.
- Parker, Trey (March 2006). South Park: The Complete Eighth Season: "Pre-School " (Audio commentary) (DVD Disc). Paramount Home Entertainment.
- Schorn, Peter (August 26, 2006). "South Park: The Complete Eighth Season DVD Review". IGN. Retrieved April 25, 2017.