Woodland Critter Christmas
|"Woodland Critter Christmas"|
|South Park episode|
|Episode no.||Season 8
|Directed by||Trey Parker|
|Written by||Trey Parker|
|Original air date||December 15, 2004|
Dante Alexander, Dakota Sky and Spencer Lacey Ganus as the lion cubs
"Woodland Critter Christmas" is episode 125 of the Comedy Central series South Park. It originally aired on December 15, 2004. It was the last episode of the series to have a Christmas theme for ten years until 2014's "#HappyHolograms".
In the episode, Stan finds himself in the middle of the woods with a bunch of seemingly cute woodland animals preparing for their savior to be born.
This episode, which like many routine Christmas specials has an anapestic rhyming narration and storybook style, begins in the forest, where Stan discovers a group of talking animals building a Christmas tree. They convince a surprised but apathetic Stan to help make a star for their Christmas tree before he goes home. That night, they wake him in his room and explain that one of the animals, a porcupine named Porcupiney, is pregnant with the creatures' savior. Drowsy and annoyed, Stan nevertheless agrees to help them build a manger for the baby. However, another problem soon appears: the Critters explain that one of their members conceives their Savior every year, only for the pregnant animal to be killed by a mountain lion. Exasperated, Stan goes to its mountain and manages to kill the beast by tricking her into jumping off a ledge, but is dismayed to find that the lion was the mother of three now-orphaned cubs. Stan is then horrified to discover that the woodland critters are Satan worshippers, and that their Savior is actually the Antichrist. They celebrate Stan's victory by sacrificing Rabbitty the Rabbit, devouring his flesh and having an orgy with his blood.
After much coercion from the narrator, Stan tries to stop the animals himself. But they easily rebuff him with their Satanic powers, which will apparently grow stronger as the Antichrist's birth approaches. Since the Critters claims that only a mountain lion can kill the Antichrist, Stan (heeding the narrator's instructions) returns to the mountain to enlist the orphaned cubs. Since they're too small to take on the Critters, however, they can only stop the birth by learning to perform abortions. Meanwhile, the evil Critters are searching for an unbaptized human host for the Antichrist. They discover Kyle, who is Jewish, and kidnap him to serve their purpose.
Stan returns in time to discover that the Antichrist (a hairless, jabbering little creature) has already been born, and that his best friend Kyle is tied to a Satanic altar. Santa Claus arrives and, when he learns what is happening, pulls out a shotgun and slaughters all the Critters. He explains that the Antichrist will die without a human host to inhabit, but Kyle – now free from the altar – suddenly decides to allow the Antichrist to possess him, declaring that he will conqueror the world in the name of the Jews...
The scene suddenly cuts to Mr. Garrison's fourth-grade class, revealing that the entire episode up until now has been a story read by Eric Cartman for a class assignment to write a Christmas story. Kyle objects to its obvious anti-Semitism, and Mr. Garrison, fearing complaints from Kyle's mother, forces Cartman to stop. However, the rest of the class want to hear the ending and plead with Kyle to let Cartman continue; Kyle objects that the ending is obvious, that he will merely be killed by Santa Claus so that Christmas is saved. Cartman says that that is not the ending, and as the other kids persist, Kyle angrily allows Cartman to continue.
Back in the story, Kyle begins to react with horror at how evil the Antichrist feels and begs the others to get it out of him. Santa, however, says that they have no choice but to kill Kyle before the Antichrist can consume his soul and take full control of him. Thinking quickly, Stan has the lion cubs perform an abortion on Kyle's anus, removing the Antichrist, which Santa unceremoniously smashes with a sledgehammer. Santa gives Stan a special Christmas wish, which Stan uses to resurrect the mountain lion he killed. Everyone then goes home to a happy Christmas. The narrator (i.e., Cartman) concludes, "they all lived happily ever after, except for Kyle, who died of AIDS two weeks later", as seen with an image of a sickly Kyle in the hospital.
According to this episode's mini-commentary, this episode was one of the most difficult to make. After making the feature film Team America: World Police and the 13 other episodes in South Park's 8th season all in 2004 (a year which Trey Parker and Matt Stone describe as "The Year from Hell"), Parker, Stone and the show's other writers were completely drained of ideas. The staff tried to come up with an idea, but nothing came up through Thursday and Friday which is considered a huge drawback with South Park's rushed production. On Saturday afternoon the staff decided to just do the idea of parodying John Denver and the Muppets: A Christmas Together holiday special, which had been in gestation for some time. The critters participate in Satanic behavior like the possessed crew of the 1997 movie Event Horizon, which also inspired Stone and Parker to create the characters. With some doubt, the show developed into an episode involving a rhyming narration and ending with it being a story by Cartman. The episode was also in the style of Christmas stories such as How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
"Woodland Critter Christmas", along with the thirteen other episodes from South Park's eighth season, were released on a three-disc DVD set in the United States on August 29, 2006. The sets included brief audio commentaries by Parker and Stone for each episode. IGN gave the season an 9/10.
On November 13, 2007, the episode was released on the compilation DVD Christmas Time In South Park. The episode is also included as a bonus on the DVD for the standalone film Imaginationland: The Movie.
- TV.com. "South Park: Woodland Critter Christmas". TV.com.
- Parker, Trey (March 2006). South Park: The Complete Eighth Season: "Woodland Critter Christmas" (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.
- Monfette, Travis Fickett and Christopher (26 February 2008). "South Park: Imaginationland (Uncensored Director's Cut) DVD Review".