South Park/Fridge

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

Fridge Brilliance

  • "Tsst" was really very clever. Take into account that by that point the writers admitted Cartman had become a kind of sub-human monster. They couldn't top him any more, so they took him back down. The Super-Nannies treated him as a normal child, but of course Cartman had become like a hybrid of Hitler and Skeletor. Treating him as a child didn't work as he saw it as insulting to his intelligence. Cartman knows that a lot of people don't like him and he doesn't particuarly care most of the time. Being friendly is a sign of weakness, punishments are just another way of saying he's done something that bothers you. The answer? Bring in a dog trainer who gives him a taste of what it's like to be treated as less than human. If you refuse to act like a human being, you can't expect to be treated like one.
    • The Altered States part at the end jokes that for a while it's been some sort of sick demonic force controlling Cartman, rather than him. Oh, he's still spoiled and selfish and a Jerkass afterwards because Status Quo Is God, but most of his episodes after that have used his leadership abilities slightly more humanely - patrolling the halls like a mercenary cop, manipulating kids into giving him blood samples to test for nits, saving the World of Warcraft from a jerk, helping Mexican kids get into college by teaching them that cheating isn't so bad. Good deeds are now an option for his character, as well as selfish ones.
    • Watch him insulting Nanny Stella. She's not angry at him for insulting her fertility or looks. Some women love kids but don't want to have them. But those are some seriously cruel words, right when she thought she was getting somewhere. He insulted her ability to judge and rehabilitate children. Doubtless a woman that plain has had a lot of insults about her appearance, but she prides herself on her job, and Cartman just showed her that she completely misjudged him. And worst of all, she knows that was his goal.
  • "Tonsil Trouble" (the AIDS episode) makes a lot more sense if you view it in the context of other South Park episodes (particularly Ginger Kids). In many of those episodes, Cartman acts insensitively and so Kyle (and sometimes Stan) try to force him to "walk a mile in someone else's shoes", and it always backfires horribly. In this episode, it's reversed: Kyle acts insensitively towards Cartman for having AIDS, so Cartman gives him AIDS to give him some perspective. Cartman not just giving Kyle perspective on AIDS, he's also giving Kyle perspective on trying to teach him lessons! - Unknown Troper
    • He acts insensitively most likely because of Cartman's OWN lack of recognition of his own lack of sensitivity. Cartman infecting Kyle isn't just his usual Pay Evil Unto Evil mentality, but also another in a series of Moral Event Horizon crossing acts. - azul120
    • Also consider how many times through the seasons that Cartman wishes or threatens AIDS on Kyle... Stan even lampshades that Kyle finds it funny because of the irony.
  • Watching "Super Fun Time", I realised something. Why we still find Kenny pretty cool even though he's not dying all the time. It's because he's still getting into these situations. In "Super Fun Time" he's dragged out in front of everybody and has a gun put to his head, and his life threatened. And he's terrified. The old Kenny would have been killed for sure. It's funny because he's not shot, even though we know he's just the person to be shot. But we watch closely to see if this time it does happen. Because it does still happen.
    • Also he's still a little pervert so thanks to help we get episodes like "Major Boobage".
  • Cartman might've gotten his wish in Cartoon Wars. They never did find the manatee ball that he removed. So, given that possibility, Family Guy was cancelled in the South Park universe.
  • In The Coon/Cthulhu/Mysterion Saga, Cthulhu is animated with advanced computer animation in contrast to everyone else, who look like shitty little construction paper. While at first this may appear to just be another parody of the shows animation like the way Mecha Streishand was animated in "201", it can also be interpreted as illustrating how otherworldly Cthulhu is. The original stories of H.P. Lovecraft like "Call of Cthulhu" would go into great detail about how hideous Cthulhu was in his appearance, being so alien he drives men mad when they look at him. Having three dimensions and a more detailed body may just be the way his appearance manifests in the South Park universe.
  • Kenny has, on several occasions, died due to engaging in self-destructive or self-sacrificial behavior. He electrocuted himself to restore power to a hospital. He cracked his head open to release Moses from a conch shell. He willingly contracted syphilis getting a BJ from a girl. He heard about autoerotic asphyxiation and immediately decided to try it, even knowing it would kill him. He's gotten addicted to cat pee and eaten horrific things for money. All of this behavior suddenly makes a lot more sense after the Coon trilogy, where he reveals that he knows about all his deaths and resurrections, and thus, has no reason to fear death (well, other than the pain involved).
  • South Park in general for me. It seemed like it was just trying to be as offensive as possible for no reason at all... then I got old enough to understand and appreciate the satire and social commentary. Today it's one of my favorite shows. -Zanreo
    • It WAS trying to be like that in the first few seasons.
  • As mentioned in "T.M.I.", the smaller a person's penis is, the angrier they are. Cartman proved to have the smallest one.
  • In "Cartmanland" Cartman makes an offhand mention to the fact that "[Kenny] dies all the time." thereby making it seem like Cartman is aware of Kenny's deaths. But then the Mysterion saga states that nobody remembers his deaths, going as far back as to blank their memories of him telling them that he dies all the time. Negative Continuity maybe? At the end of the saga his parents seem to have an awareness of this happening so it could be that a select few people are aware and Kenny doesn't know about this. Later, after Kenny kills himself in the alternate dimension to stop Cthulhu, none of the other heroes even wonders how Kenny got out of the universe they were all trapped in. My conclusion was that his resurrection blanked their memories all the way back to the point where he was sent there with them, but it didn't affect Cartman because he was completely aware of the fact that he had sent them there.
    • Actually, they all had said that Mysterion ran away before they were sent to Cthulu's universe. Even though he killed himself when he was there, they don't remember him getting sent there with everyone else.
      • That means that everyone else thought he ran away, but Cartman says he sent Kenny to the AU when Kenny goes to confront him.
      • If we also take into consideration that Cartman is aware of Kenny's canonical deaths, that would add a whole new layer of extra depth to their rivalry as The Coon & Mysterion, which must say something about Cartman himself. If you think about it, this dynamic makes a lot of sense. Cartman and Kenny heavily reflect the basic traits of the Hero/Villain relationship, especially the concept that each of them is the exact opposite of the other but are still friends.
    • At the end of Ep03S03 "Succubus" Cartman uses Kenny's eyes for a transplant in order to fix his deteriorating eyesight. It could be that this is what later enabled Cartman to remember Kenny's deaths. Also, what's even more strange is that the surgery itself is not only possible, but also quite common as the cornea, the only transplantable part of the eyeball, is also the part responsible for most cases of bad eyesight.
      • What about the time when Cartman drank Kenny's ashes?
  • Cartman wasn't around for any of Kenny's immortal angst. It is possible that Cartman is the only one of the boys that is aware of Kenny's deaths, but is just too selfish to care.
    • Fridge Brilliance layered upon more Fridge Brilliance if you take into account the season 4 episode, "Best Friends Forever." After eight years, the South Park creators finally gave us a solid reason WHY Cartman was Kenny's BFF: because he remembers the most important thing about him!!!
  • There is an episode where Stan is worried Kyle is going to die and mentions aloud that he can't handle this. Kenny then makes angry eyes at Stan, further proving that Kenny remembers his own deaths (can't remember which episode this was but it is NOT Cartmanland). Also- the first Christmas special, Kenny knowing he's supposed to die and the celebration at the end when he doesn't. Finally it makes sense!
  • The parody of Inception was based on a College Humor parody, so that it means it's a parody of a parody, which really fits.
  • When Kenny dies, Stan, Kyle and Eric replace him first with Butters, then with Tweek. But why? It's simple: hair colors. Stan is black-haired, Kyle is redhead and Cartman is brunet. Kenny, Butters and Tweek are all blonds.
  • Although it showed it in the most Mind Screw-y way possible, the episode "1%" was actually a huge moment of Character Development for Cartman. After everyone spends the entire episode trying to find out who is murdering Cartman's stuffed animals one by one, it turns out to be... Polly Prissypants. But wait, it gets better. The doll isn't sentient. The true killer? Yes, it was Cartman. His mother and friends had told him to grow up and stop using his dolls for emotional support, and he did just that. And, Cartman being Cartman, he ended up turning his very last play-session with his beloved dolls into an (extremely disturbing) reenactment of a murder mystery. Notice how Cartman made himself the "victim" of the story, just like he does at his tea parties. The whole thing is brilliant, really.
    • Quickly lapses into Fridge Horror when you consider that Cartman set his own house on fire. With him and his mother still inside.
  • In "Pandemic", Craig's Prophecy is Fridge Brilliance - Craig is special because he does not blindly go along with other people's stupid ideas, but decides to take control of his life, unlike everybody else allowing themselves to be a plaything of the universe. The prophecy of him defeating a giant guinea-pig is also a stupid idea, but a prophecy is something that must happen. Still, if he had actively tried to fulfil that prophecy he would have been allowing himself to be the universe's plaything - just like everybody else. But he decided to take control of his life even when faced with what should be fate, and resolved to walk away. And that was exactly what led to him accidentally shooting lasers out of his eyes and paralysing a giant guinea-pirate. Pure Awesomeness.
    • The whole two episodes was about pointing out you don't have to be pushed around by the world, and that you should think for yourself - the reason everything went wrong was because everybody just did what the head of Homeland Security told them. They didn't even question why he was in charge, or try to question all the strange orders that just seemed stupid.
    • This is a recurring theme in South Park - there are other 'Chosen Ones' and they have saved the world by taking control in some way. In South Park The Movie Cartman saves the world when he finally takes control of that bullying V-Chip. In Imaginationland Butters saves Imaginationland (and by extension the world) by understanding he can take full control of everything in Imaginationland because it's in his imagination.
      • Butters was stated to be a Chosen One by Aslan; Craig was 'just' part of an ancient Peruvian prophecy. Cartman was not said by anybody to be a Chosen One but both prophecies and Chosen Ones clearly exist in South Park, and if shooting lightning from all over your body and driving back the hordes of Hell doesn't make you a Chosen One in some way, I don't know what does.
  • In T.M.I. Butters has the best penis size in his age group (of the Known boys; there are lots of boys on that list we don't know in the series). That proves the formula is right, and bigger penises make a guy happier! Thanks for finally giving Butters a break, Matt and Trey!
  • Cartman's "killing" his dolls because he was told to grow up explains why he's becoming less of sociopathic Jerkass in Season 16, he's finally growing up, even if it's only a little bit.

Fridge Horror:

  • The ending of Red Sleigh Down, where Santa brings Christmas to Iraq, a predominantly Muslim country. Because nothing says happiness like forcing your religious holidays on other cultures. By bombing them with it, no less.
  • After Chef was reconstructed into Darth Chef, everyone expected his return. But he never came back. What does that mean? The rebuilt remains of Chef, our beloved Chef, is still with the Super Adventure Club raping little boys.
  • In "Fat Camp", Kenny proves that he is not above prostitution for very low prices. Consider that he always seems to have enough money to keep up with toy, electronic and clothing fashions. Consider that he is immortal. Consider the existence of snuff films.
  • South Park: The episode "Mysterion Rises" reveals that Kenny not only remembers having died before, he had experienced all those deaths first-hand. Now, remember the ways he dies in early season: decapitated, burned alive, literally torn apart, electrocuted, crushed - the 9-year old kid had felt all that and somehow manage to retain his sanity. And the worst part? His friends never remember him dying, even though they saw it or in some cases have killed him themselves. It is simply terrifying to think what the poor kid must feel.
    • How is this Fridge Horror? Kenny very clearly elaborated on everything just mentioned onscreen.
    • Think that's bad? It gets worse. Kenny is reborn through a spontaneous childbirth through his mother whenever he dies, and his parents take the soon-to-be-completely-sentient Kenny to his bed, with a new parka. Alright. That's fine. But what happens after she dies? Will Kenny still be reborn when she's buried six-feet-under? And if that happens forever-Oh god.
      • Umm... the same episode being discussed shows Kenny waking up in his bed after he dies. So that bit of Fridge has been retconned away. I mean, yes, there was the one episode that ends with Kenny getting born, but.
      • Not necessarily true, all we know is that he woke up in his bed. Doesn't say how he got into bed fully dressed in his parka.
      • Another episode showed him just appearing out of nowhere. All Stan says about this is "Oh, hey Kenny."
      • It's a good thing that South Park's inhabitants do not age as a general rule. When they do, it takes several seasons for them to grow a year older (8 at the beginning, 9 at Season 4-5, and 10 at Season 15).
      • As brilliant as that episode was, now this troper will never be able to hear the words "Oh my God! They killed Kenny!" "You bastards!" the same way again, as the beloved running gag has been twisted into something much darker...
    • With the revelation that Kenny is an immortal, "Cartman Joins NAMBLA" becomes disturbing when you realize that Kenny was trying to murder his mom's unborn son (which turns out to be him).
      • And just like that, the context of the story suddenly is no longer about Kenny not wanting any siblings, but Kenny becoming aware of his upcoming imminent death AND attempting to commit suicide. I mean, what if Kenny succeeded? Is it possible that by killing his yet-to-be born self he may have stopped the cycle? Who knows...
      • Kenny mentions that he remembers going to Heaven and Hell. But if Kenny remembers going to Heaven and Hell, then he knows that nearly everyone who dies goes to Hell. If so, by not telling anyone else this, isn't he technically guilty of treason?
    • In "The HUMANCENTiPAD", Cartman goes on Dr. Phil and accuses his mom of "fucking" him by not buying an iPad or whatever else Cartman wants. While Cartman means it figuratively, everyone else interprets it differently. Cartman's mom is then confronted about not even kissing her son before she "fucks" him by a man in the audience...who goes on to kiss his son twice.
      • You think that's the only Fridge Horror to be found in Human Cent-iPad? As we all know, this episode is a parody of The Human Centipede. In it, Steve Jobs believes that by creating a Human Centipede with an Asian man in front, Kyle in the middle, and a young woman in the bottom, they can power an iPad so that it has the capacity for apps that allow it to walk and read on its own. The Fridge Horror kicks in when the Human Cent-iPad is unveiled. No-one is appalled or disgusted at the fact that three people's lives are uprooted (one of which is a little boy) just to give the iPad a completely unnecessary upgrade, they all just "ooh" and "aah" at it as if it were a normal "next big thing", so to speak. Even Kyle's dad, who subscribed to Apple in hopes of freeing Kyle, believes that the Human Cent-iPad truly is the device of the future [1]. The only reason Kyle was saved was because Gerald delivered An Aesop about taking a break from creating the future to enjoy the present. What this means is that sometime in the future (possibly ignoring the Floating Timeline), Apple will begin tricking people with an unreadably long product agreement into legally allowing them to uproot their lives in the manufacturing of Human Cent-iPads, and no-one (except possibly Stan and Kyle) will bat an eyelash that their shiny new gadget was once THREE PEOPLE with lives of their own who now exist to convenience someone else in the most disgusting way possible.
    • What about the Human Centipede sequels where more people are added? As technology becomes more advanced, that could happen too.
  • At the end of the "Imaginationland" trilogy, Imaginationland is finally nuked and Butters, the only survivor, imagines everything back. This can only mean that the Stan, Kyle, and Cartman we know today are just products of Butters' imagination, while the originals are dead! I know they decided that imaginary beings are real, but that was more of a unanimous opinion than proven fact.
    • Given what they did with Kenny, it's not far off to see this played out in a future episode. Something akin to a Final Fantasy X parody comes quickly to mind, since, like Tidus, they would be "made from dreams". No doubt such an episode would be terrifying and gut-wrenching, with the three on the constant verge of fading out of existence and Butters having to spend the rest of his life straining his brain just to keep his friends alive on top of everything else he has to deal with.
    • Technically, the entire South Park universe is imaginary (since it's, you know, a fictional cartoon show), thus adding an extra dose of irony to the situation.

Fridge Logic:

  • The South Park episode Butt Out appears at first to be a strange Aesop: cigarette companies aren't that bad, while the anti-smoking lobby is full of arrogant, manipulative jerks who are ready to go to any lengths to make people believe in the evils of smoking. It wasn't until recently that this Troper realized that the makers of the show were just reversing the classic cartoon cliché of "Evil Cigarette Companies trying to hide the truth about Tobacco and brainwash people into buying cigarettes". It's this kind of clever metahumor that makes Matt Stone and Trey Parker the comedic geniuses they are, in this Troper's opinion. - lonewolf23k
    • What's more, it's parodying South Park itself. Kyle constantly points out the show's format, and the Strawman Political gets taken to its logical extreme on both sides. For a show whose main message is that people should stop taking everything so darn seriously, it's utterly fitting.
      • "If you ask me, your show has become so preachy and full of morals that you have forgotten how to be funny!". This and another similar quote appear in Cartoon Wars Part II, yet a lot of people still complain about how Stone and Parker can't make fun of themselves while making fun of Family Guy.
      • Everybody does "Evil Cigarette Companies". There's nowhere to really go with it. On the other hand, we all know smoking is bad for us but Matt and Trey are pointing out that despite this, people still smoke. They also point out that politicians are as usual a bunch of hypocrites; they put taxes on cigarettes under the ruse of discouraging people from smoking, when they could just flat out ban them like Marijuana or LSD.
  • The writers of the South Park "Imaginationland" trilogy weren't trying to be offensive by putting Jesus in along with the Council of Nine (nine of the world's most revered imaginary characters), they were subtly pointing religions like Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism and the like don't believe in Jesus.
    • In Judaism, Jesus is emphatically not the Messiah or the son of God, but is regarded by at least some segments of the community as a respected teacher and holy man.
    • The above troper is half right. Hinduists, Buddhists, and Jews do accept Jesus' existence, but not that he is the messiah. As a result, many of his qualities are presumed by them to be imaginary. This means that they imagined that was the case, hence, why he was in Imaginationland
    • For me, the fridge brilliance kicked in the moment I realized that Jesus would've fit in Imagination land one way or another, because Imaginary Jesus is based on a modern highly-fictionalised stereotype of how people think of Jesus rather than a real human being Jesus would've been. 'Just because it's imaginary doesn't mean it's not real' indeed, Trey & Matt.
      • ...which also explains why Imaginary Jesus doesn't recognise the boys who he's met several other times through the series, if only in passing.
    • What if Imaginary Jesus isn't actually based on the Jesus who once existed, but the Jesus people believe will return? Now consider the fact that the scientists have been creating a portal that opens up a doorway into Imaginationland, a world of wonder and joy gated off from a world of intense evil. How they opened that portal and caused the nightmare world to flood into ours, and while I'm on a roll, how about the fact that Imaginationland's entrance song is ONE WORD REPEATED OVER AND OVER AGAIN WITH VARYING EMPHASIS!! Unbelievably well done!
      • And I'll do you one more, after the whole thing is over and Imaginationland is effectively gone, who recreates the entire world and everyone in it? Butters...
      • This is probably a coincidence, but in the movie that they're parodying, the name of the portal was originally mistranslated (in-universe) as a "Doorway to Heaven."
  • Speaking of imaginary characters, Freddy Krueger is an evil imaginary character in the Imaginationland trilogy, but he is shown as a real person, complete with wife and kids, in "Insheeption".
  • If Kenny hates dying and being reborn so much, why the hell does he shoot himself in the head at the end of the Mysterion saga instead of just going home and going to sleep?
    • Fridge Brilliance: Because he's also rather apathetic and lazy in some episodes so he does it just to not have to walk all the way home. Or, more logically, he could be upset/angry that not only did his friends forget his super power but remember and continue to talk about Bradley's, so he does it just to scare them.
    • Well, and he says WHY he hates his immortality. Dying "fucking hurts". Shooting himself in the head is one of the quickest and more painless ways to go.[2] Combine that with laziness and well...
  • The disclaimer for the "Alabama Man" ad in the Season 3 episode "Chinpokomon" has a disclaimer saying "Not all people from Alabama are wife-beaters." Notice that they said "not all people." Thus, you could say that 49% of people from Alabama are wife-beaters and still play the Stereotype completely straight.[3]

The Movies

Fridge Brilliance

  • The South Park movie's subtitle: Bigger, Longer and Uncut. At first, people think that [series creators] Matt Stone and Trey Parker added that tagline to give the movie its uncensored/unrated status. But take an extra minute to look at the subtitle again, and you'll realize it infers something else. Give up? It's a dick pun.
  1. which leads to some more Fridge Horror when you consider how subscribing to Apple was depicted and how Gerald emerged for it a staunch Apple supporter
  2. Depending on which part you shoot, of course.
  3. In case you didn't get it, it means all men from Alabama are wife-beaters, since the term "people" includes both genders and 49% of all people are male.