Recap: South Park S 15 E 14 The Poor Kid

Airdate: November 16, 2011.

Kenny and his sister (but not his other brother who was seen in the earlier episodes) are put in foster care after Stuart and Carol get arrested for domestic abuse and end up with fundamentalist agnostic parents. Meanwhile, Cartman scrambles to find a new poor kid to tease, since Kenny's absence now makes him the new poor kid.

"The Poor Kid" contains examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Kenny's parents, per usual. This time they're being arrested not only for domestic abuse but also for having a meth lab.
    • Mr. and Mrs. Weatherhead (the fundamentalist agnostics) also count.
  • Adults Are Useless: Subverted. Mr. Adams is a dimwitted man who tells jokes about the Jerry Sandusky/Penn State scandal more often than he should be helping children, but when he sees how bad the Weatherheads are, he is very ashamed for having put them there, which is more than can be said about the other adults on the show. He does put the children back into their original homes, but only because he felt the system couldn't help them.
  • Apple of Discord: Pabst Blue Ribbon, which according to White Trash in Trouble which is sponsored by Schlitz turns whoever drinks it into white trash. Mysterion uses it to his advantage to bring down the already-abusive Weatherheads.
  • Berserk Button: A blink if you miss moment, but when Mr. Weatherhead is preparing to take the kids to the "Punishment Room" for talking about Karen's Guardian Angel (Mysterion). Kenny immediately shoots a Death Glare at Mr. Weatherhead before suiting up to take him and his wife down.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Kenny, as Mysterion, jumps to Karen's defense when she's being bullied by Jessica Pinkerton at their new school.
  • Cannot Tell a Joke: Mr. Adams kept telling Jerry Sandusky jokes, to which no one laughed at. Except for Cartman at the last one which ironically Mr. Adams didn't want anyone to laugh at.
    • Inverted when Cartman keeps telling "Your mama's so poor" jokes about himself. People laugh, but he takes it very seriously.
  • Disappeared Dad: Jacob Hallory's dad died 5 years prior to the events of this episode
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: How did everyone find out that Cartman was the new poorest kid in school? Cartman loudly announced it. Why? Because he naturally assumed that Kyle would have tracked this information down and wanted to preempt him.
  • Expy: Mr. Adams is closely based on Due Date's Ethan Tremblay, who regularly thinks of himself as a comedian and gives his audience signed photographs of himself.
    • Mr. and Mrs. Weatherhead are both a parody of highly religious and abusive foster parents seen in the narrative cliché and an exaggerated caricature of agnosticism.
  • Department of Child Disservices: Zigzagged. See Adults Are Useless.
  • Foreshadowing: The ending with the reptilian bird was foreshadowed by the agnostic parents motto.
  • Heroic BSOD: Mr. Adams when he sees he put children into an abusive foster home.
  • Informed Poverty: Played for Laughs. It turns out that Cartman is technically the poorest kid in school once Kenny and his siblings leave, despite living in a nice house. Lampshaded by his mom, who points out that they don't make much less than the other families in town.
  • It's All About Me: Cartman was upset Kenny left, because he can't make fun of him for being poor anymore and is now the poor kid.
    • And at the end Cartman only cares that he's not the poorest kid at South Park Elementary and after Kenny's killed starts crying because he's the poor kid again until Kenny's back.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Cartman frames his mother for running a meth lab, leading to her arrest. Near the end of the episode, Cartman himself is arrested for filing a false police report. This episode wasn't the first time both of them got arrested.
  • Mr. Exposition: Butters reveals to have some computer knowledge when he helps Cartman research who's the poorest kid in school after Kenny.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Mr. Adams is horrified when he found out how abusive the Weatherheads are to the foster kids he put there.
  • Nice Guy: Mr. Adams's obsession with Penn State jokes aside, he's a very nice guy who tries to be comforting to the foster kids and make them feel safe.
  • Oh Crap!: The look on Kyle's and Stan's face when Kenny dies. They didn't even bother to recite their Catch Phrase when Kenny dies.
  • Reality Ensues: On Cartman's first day at a new school, he discovers that just because his old school tolerated his bullying of poor people doesn't mean his new school will too.
    • Also it is quickly revealed the agnostic parents aren't as submissive and passive as Cartman's mom.
    • He also assumed he could pick where he could go. Cartman, despite wanting to go to Hawaii, is sent to Greeley.
  • Remember the New Guy: Kenny has a little sister? Uh, okay. She had been briefly seen in "Best Friends Forever" and mentioned in early press releases for the show, but aside from that Kenny's family had always just consisted of him, his parents and a brother.
  • Shout-Out: White Trash in Trouble parodies programs like Cops and Campus PD.
  • They Killed Kenny Again: Kenny is killed by a reptilian bird that smacks him against the lockers then eats him.
  • Troubling Unchildhood Behavior: Kenny's brother Kevin doesn't look more than a year or two older than him, but he's apparently already started drinking like his father.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Kenny's older brother Kevin appears in the early part of the episode but then vanishes; there's not even a throwaway line saying that he went to a different foster home than his siblings.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Mysterion had no problem beating up Karen's bully and then pulling her up by the hair and warns her that Karen is off-limits.
  • You Are Not Alone: Mysterion assures Karen of this on the first night that they're at the foster home.
  • Your Mom: Cartman keeps telling "Yo Mama so poor" jokes throughout the episode, most of which are aimed at himself due to being the poorest kid in school (or at least in 4th grade) after Kenny. Once he finds out that there's an even poorer kid in the new school near the foster home, Cartman targets him instead, resulting in the following:
    Principal: "A 20-minute song and dance number featured with 47 "Yo Mama So Poor" jokes directed at Jacob Hallery, which ended in a finale with fireworks."