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South Park episode
Episode no. Season 10
Episode 7
Directed by Trey Parker
Written by Trey Parker
Original air date May 3, 2006
Episode chronology
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"Tsst" (also known as "The Dog Whisperer") is the seventh episode and mid-season finale of the tenth season and the 146th overall episode of the American animated television series South Park. It originally aired on Comedy Central in the United States on May 3, 2006. In the episode, Liane has problems controlling her son Cartman and enlists several reality TV shows to help with his behavior problems.

The episode was written and directed by series co-creator Trey Parker and is rated TV-MA in the United States, except on syndicated broadcasts, where the episode is censored and has a TV-14 rating, instead. It focuses primarily on Eric Cartman, his mother, and "The Dog Whisperer" Cesar Millan.


Cartman is in Mr. Mackey's office with his mother, Liane, where he is asked to explain why he handcuffed Billy Turner to a flagpole, told him that he poisoned his milk, gave him a hacksaw, and told him that he had to saw off his foot to get the antidote,[1] all because Billy made fun of Cartman's weight. Liane breaks down and admits that she cannot control her son anymore. She turns to experts that Mr. Mackey recommends - the nannies from reality TV - but to no avail: Cartman tells Nanny Stella (from Nanny 911) that she is unattractive and will reach menopause before she finds a husband. Nanny Stella quits on the spot. The second attempt is with Jo Frost from Supernanny. Without seeing what Cartman has done, she is shown three days later in a psychiatric hospital having suffered a total psychotic break. Desperate, Liane turns to Cesar Millan, the Dog Whisperer.

Cesar Millan doesn't treat Cartman as a human child but uses dog-training methods on him. He evaluates Cartman as dominant, aggressive, and obese, like a disobedient dog who is given too many treats and not enough exercise. He refuses to acknowledge Cartman's attention-seeking, or address him by name, calling him "the child" or "it". He teaches Liane to show Cartman that she is the "pack leader". Dogs nip each other in the neck to show dominance, and Millan shows that it works well with children, too. He, and later Liane, use two fingers to nip at Cartman's neck while making the aggressive "tsst!" sound[2] to show that they, not he, are dominant. Cesar demonstrates the technique by going for a walk with Liane and Cartman secured on a leash and harness, and eating KFC before he does. Cartman tries to trick her into believing he has given in, but Millan spots the lie.

Completely frustrated that he no longer can control his mom with the usual tactics, Cartman plays his trump card and runs away. Millan convinces the frantic Liane that Cartman will be just fine and will return soon enough. Cartman seeks help from his classmates, none of whom are sympathetic as they too are fed up with his bratty antics. He ends up sitting in the rain for four hours before returning home. Liane has resumed her favorite hobby of Japanese sumi-e painting and Cesar is still there. After a low-key "welcome home", Cartman is served a healthy dinner. In an attempt to regain dominance, he denounces the dinner as "just like Auschwitz" and he threatens to call Social Services. Encouraged by Cesar, Liane "nips" him until he reaches "a relaxed and submissive state". Cartman even brushes his teeth when his mother tells him to, and suddenly realizes that he is changing (as Millan predicted). To Cartman, this is unacceptable and he plots to kill his mother.

The next day, while Liane meets Cesar for an al fresco lunch (something that "never would have been possible before"), Cartman tries to coerce his friends to help him kill her, comparing her dominance to Hitler and claiming that, having lost almost 10 pounds, he now knows how the Jews felt during the Holocaust. When the boys flat out refuse to help, he is forced to act alone. He sneaks into the sleeping Liane's bedroom, knife and a roll of paper towels in hand. At the critical moment there is an unexpected struggle in Cartman's mind between his long-suppressed conscience and his 'demonic' side. A series of "blue faces" appear out of phase from time and say phrases ahead of Cartman saying them.[3] He drops the knife and paper towels, vomits up black bile, and goes through a bizarre inner conflict sequence reminiscent of the 1980 science-fiction horror film Altered States in the hallway; bulging and changing color and shape, then he passes out.

In the morning, a surprised Liane finds the knife and roll of paper towels, but also sees that Eric is already awake, dressed, and ready for school. He has even made his own healthy breakfast and is studying, which astounds her. Meanwhile, Cesar returns for a final check. Liane thanks him for converting her son into a good child and for being her new friend, and invites him to see Madame Butterfly together. Cesar politely informs Liane that he only sees her as a client, and now that his work is done, he must leave. Losing her now-only friend, Liane offers the tickets to Eric, previously her "only friend". He initially refuses so she offers to take him to KFC and get him a Mega Ranger from Target, as long as he spends time with her. Eric innocently parlays the offer into two Mega Rangers. Liane quickly agrees, telling him "you can have whatever you want". As Cartman hugs his mother and smiles innocently, a choir sings the theme "Ave Satani" from The Omen.


IGN rated this episode an 8 for impressive and said "While not among the terrific episodes that began the season, this was a very fun installment of the show, and a nice spotlight on Cartman and what it might take to finally make him obey."[4]

In the commentary on the DVD Trey Parker notes that when he is asked about the techniques used on Cartman working in real life he says, "You'd be amazed at the number of people who come up to me and say (of that), 'It totally does'."

When asked if he was offended by his caricature on the episode, Cesar Millan stated that he thought it and the entire episode was "fantastic".[5]


During syndicated broadcasts on Comedy Central before 9PM EST, the shot where Jo Frost is eating her own feces at the mental hospital is cut. However, the silhouette of her doing it through the window on her door is kept intact.


As of this edit, this article uses content from "Tsst/Trivial", which is licensed in a way that permits reuse under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License, but not under the GFDL. All relevant terms must be followed.

  1. ^ The scenario is reminiscent of the movie Saw
  2. ^ Thus the name of the episode "Tsst!.
  3. ^ This scene is reminiscent of the various worm holes that Jodie Foster's character experiences in Contact.
  4. ^ Goldman, Eric (2006-05-04). "South Park: "TSST!" Review". IGN. Retrieved 2016-08-02. 
  5. ^ Witzeman, Jeff (March 27, 2016). "Cesar Millan: Changing The World One Dog Owner At A Time". The Huffington Post. Retrieved May 23, 2016. 

External links[edit]

  • Tsst Full episode at South Park Studios
  • Tsst Episode guide at South Park Studios