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Characters / South Park: Herbert Garrison

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Herbert Garrison

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As President Garrison.
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"I tell you, there's some crazy stuff going on in this town."

Voiced by: Trey Parker

The boys' eccentric homeroom teacher throughout most of the series. He used to carry a sarcastic hand puppet with him (two, actually: Mr. Hat and Mr. Twig), but later left them behind. His gender and sexual preferences have been in constant flux. From the start of the show he was man, but had a sex change in Season 8 where he became a woman and was referred to as Janet Garrison which lasted until Season 12, where she reverted back to a man and has stayed a man ever since. In Season 19, he left his job as a teacher and started a presidential campaign on a basis of "fucking everyone to death". Starting from Season 20, he's the President of the United States, serving as a stand-in for Donald Trump.

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    A-G 

  • 0% Approval Rating: Subverted. While Garrison's decision to nuke Canada made him widely hated, he still has an approval rating of 3% meaning there are a few people who support him, like the Whites.
  • Adults Are Useless: Seriously. While most adults and authority figures in the Crapsack World of South Park are too absentminded themselves to enforce legality and morality, Mr. Garrison takes the cake. He's too power-hungry and apathetic to care when his students are in legitimate harm, instead forcing them to suffer from it. He is in fact an exaggerated parody of how teachers in Real Life abuse their authority and occasionally fail to take action against bullying and harassment. It reaches an all-time high in Season 20, where he becomes an in-universe stand-in for Trump.
  • Angry White Man: He's been intolerant of pretty much everyone and everything, believing at various points in the series that gay marriage, teaching evolution, wealthy black people, and immigrants are all a threat to the American way of life, regardless of how they may affect him.
  • Anti-Villain: After he finds out he might actually win the presidency, he becomes horrified that he could take the job from someone more qualified. He then proceeds to do all he can to sabotage his campaign. After actually becoming president, he drops the "Anti" part.
  • Anything That Moves: He's been anything that moves and back again at this point.
  • Apathetic Teacher: When he's not busy belittling his students, he basically phones in his job.
  • Arch-Enemy: Becomes this for Tweek in Season 21, doing everything to terrorize him and ruin Tweek's efforts to forge peace between the U.S. and foreign countries. Likewise, Tweek is the one terrified of Garrison the most.
  • Ax-Crazy: The fact that he has constant violent mood swings, has no problem raping immigrants and his own employees to death, and nukes Canada over petty reasons, clearly highlights his lack of sanity.
  • Badass Teacher: He's had moments of this, but one thing that cements this is during "Where My Country Gone", where he's the first to boldly stand up to PC Principal, and the first to get away with it.
  • Bad Boss: He's been raping his own employees ever since he became President.
  • Back for the Finale: Garrison returns in the Season 22 finale, after being absent and unmentioned throughout said season.
  • Big-Bad Ensemble:
    • With Bedrager, the Member Berries, and Gerald in Season 20.
    • And with Eric Cartman in Season 21.
  • Boomerang Bigot: He becomes homophobic after his sex reassignment surgery drives away Mr. Slave, then misandric once more men are driven away by his sex change (thus turning toward lesbianism), and transphobic when he finally gets the sex change reversed.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: How else can you explain such an ineffectual teacher building an marketing something that made planes obsolete?
  • Bullying a Dragon: He makes horribly thought-out statements (to the point they're insulting and demeaning) that get him chased by an angry mob armed with chainsaws, axes, bats and guns in "Douche and Danish" and then hurls racist anti-Asian slurs at Kim Jong-un and North Korea angering them to prepare a nuclear attack on South Park.
  • Cameo: Makes one near the end of Season 22.
  • Catchphrase: Occasionally, when he or Mr. Hat is angry:
    "You go to hell! You go to hell and you die!"
    • In Season 20, he starts saying, "Oh, jeez!" in a scared tone frequently.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: He believes Mr. Hat and Mr. Twig to be sentient beings, for starters. Though eventually, it turns out they are.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: His actions are all played for comedy.
  • Companion Cube: Mr. Hat and Mr. Twig. Subverted, as they actually are alive.
  • The Corrupter: The "Go God Go" two-parter reveals that, had Garrison (after the first sex change) developed a relationship with evolutionary biologist and known atheist Richard Dawkins, he would've convinced Dawkins to use his beliefs to eradicate religion from the world by being as much of an asshole as humanly possible. This would've created the Bad Future Cartman got stuck in, where Garrison's influence sparked centuries of war and violence across the Earth simply because the three atheist factions followed Dawkins' (and Garrison's) example by insisting they each had the answer to the ultimate question: what to name the faction of atheists. Thankfully, Cartman accidentally stops this from happening.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: His victims get raped to death.
  • Demoted to Extra: Originally the second-most prominent adult on the show behind Chef, he's now limited to a single line in scenes inside the classroom. Subverted in Seasons 19 onwards however, when he returns to prominence with a vengeance.
  • Depending on the Writer:
    • Prior to leaving the school in Season 19, his competence as a teacher tends to zig-zag depending on the episode. Most of the time, he's an uncertified ass who teaches his students about trivial subjects like television shows and popular culture. Other times, however, he becomes realistic and teaches them about normal matters like multiplication problems.
    • Likewise, his amount of sympathy for his students also varies. Most of the time, he's a perpetually and unreasonably rude teacher who never ceases to drop his attitude and shows little remorse when his students are in serious danger. A special mention of this trait goes to "An Elephant Makes Love to a Pig", where Mr. Garrison notices Stan has a blackeye and jumps to the conclusion that he might be having problems at home, which turns out to be true, but since Stan is receiving the abuse from his sister rather than his parents, Garrison loses sympathy and bluntly discourages Stan's worries about such a serious matter. However, on rare occasions, it's implied that he deep-down cares for his students and wants to have an impact on their futures. This is evident when he teaches them about actually important matters rather than the usual trivial BS.
  • Depraved Homosexual: He's been a Depraved Homosexual, a Depraved Heterosexual, a Psycho Lesbian... He's a depraved whatever-his-orientation-is-at-the-moment. As Chef puts it:
    "Children, there's a big difference between gay people and Mr. Garrison."
  • Despair Event Horizon: He stated that he'll lose all faith in humanity if he gets elected to be president over Clinton. He wins.
  • Dirty Coward: In "Super Fun Time" he tries to sacrifice some children to save himself from gunmen.
    Please, don't take me. Take the children, they're worth more for you!
  • Dragon-in-Chief: Garrison may be under the Member Berries control, but when all is said and done the latter are still just small berries that simply talks about bigotry and nostalgia while the former has all the authority and power as president to do whatever he wants. By Season 21, the townsfolk of South Park are scared solely of Garrison and don't mention the Member Berries at all.
  • The Dreaded: Becomes this after being elected president. The people of South Park are horrified at the very sight of him and he even manages to make PC Principal tremble in fear with his mere presence. By Season 21, he definitely becomes this for Tweek.
  • Dynamic Character: Of all the cast, Garrison's story is one of the most dramatic in the show, and wouldn't be out of place on a soap opera. Over the course of the series, he's gone from being a closeted homosexual, to an outed homosexual, then got a sex change so he was a heterosexual woman, became a lesbian, and then got another sex change so he's now a heterosexual man. Then he ran for president, then he got afraid of what would happen to the country if he actually won, before admitting to the entire nation that he's not a good person, and went on to become the president-elect.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Throughout Season 21 he is referred to as The President rather than be called by his name.
  • Evil Counterpart:
    • Is hinted to be one for Big Gay Al. While Al is out and proud, stylish and wears a pink shirt, Mr. Garrison is self-loathing, plainly dressed and wears a green shirt. Mr. Garrison made Stan feel like a wuss for getting beaten by his sister, while Big Gay Al taught Stan that being gay isn't a bad thing. Big Gay Al is kind to animals, while Mr. Garrison rammed a gerbil up Mr. Slave's rectum. Mr. Garrison uses "fag" as a slur against gays, while Big Gay Al wants to reappropriate it to use against Harley riders. Both are mentor figures to the main boys and have had a relationship with Mr. Slave.
    • Also one for Tweek Tweak. Both are Straight Gays who are uncomfortable being labeled as homosexuals and are rather mentally unstable. However Tweek's mental instability comes for being abused by his parents, while Garrison acts the way he does because he wasn't molested by his father as a child. Tweek eventually accepts being gay after being in a stable relationship with Craig, while Garrison decision to change into a woman so he wouldn't technically be labeled gay drove his lover, Mr. Slave, away. Likewise, they both set up by a third party into their current predicament, before eventually accepting their role. For, Tweek it was aforementioned acceptance that he was gay; For Garrison, it was accepting to become an evil president.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: He becomes frightened of the reality of a person like him being the leader of the entire country, and the ignorance that is fueling his supporters and campaign. And his efforts to sabotage himself are all for naught because they still soak up his every word.
    Garrison: I don't know what the fuck I'm doing. I had no idea I would get this far, but the fact of the matter is, I should not be President. Okay? I will fuck up this country beyond repair. I am a sick, angry little man.
  • Evil Is Petty: When he becomes President he goes around and tells everyone to suck his dick.
  • Evil Puppeteer: Downplayed. He has his puppet Mr. Hat in the first few seasons, but although he's not exactly evil, he's a major Jerkass.
  • Fat Bastard: He puts on weight starting in "Not Funny" by binging on ice cream.
  • First Law of Gender-Bending: Played straight in the episode where he first gets the male-to-female operation. He changes his mind, but his testicles get destroyed and he is unable to go back to being a man until the Season 12 episode mentioned above. Then subverted in Season 12, when he gets another operation to go back.
  • Four Eyes, Zero Soul: He's always seen wearing glasses, even when he becomes President. Oh and he's a rapping psychopath.
  • Freudian Excuse: Inverted. He has been deeply tormented all his life because his father didn't molest him as a child, thinking it meant that his father didn't love him. Bizarrely, his mom also thinks the same thing.
    Garrison's Mom: That's not true! Your father loved you! Often!
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: He goes from a simple 4th grade teacher to the President of the United Fucking States.
  • Gay Conservative: Despite his ever-changing sexual orientation he is generally depicted as being one of the town's Republicans rather than a Democrat. Then again, he is a Boomerang Bigot.
  • Graceful Loser: He doesn't seem upset at being arrested in the Season 22 finale, and simply smiles as he watches the bike parade.
  • Green and Mean: He typically wears a green shirt and is incredibly sadistic.

    H-Z 
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: The only person in South Park who is as remotely volatile as Eric Cartman.
  • Hate Sink: He becomes this after he wins the presidential election and become a blatant parody of Donald Trump. He repeatedly rapes members of his cabinet, intentionally exacerbated Tweek’s fears over North Korea by lying on Twitter about the cupcakes Tweek sent them, and then launched a nuclear missile at Toronto killing over a million Canadians there just because he finds it sexually arousing. These actions caused almost the whole town to despise him and almost caused the United States to be in a nuclear war.
  • Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?: He was this way before coming out of the closet.
  • Heartbreak and Ice Cream: Engages in this in "Not Funny" after getting called a little bitch president by Mr. Slave.
  • The Heavy: While Garrison is currently the most powerful and most dangerous man in the world driving most of the conflict in the later seasons, such as nuking Canada in Season 21, he is still just a pawn the Member Berries are controlling.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: It's really hard to know when he's a regular teacher or a sexual depraved SOB. Even as president he can either be an ally to the boys or a threat that parodies Pennywise.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: After killing the Canadian President who xenophobic and bigoted, he seems to enact the very same policies and ideology that president had followed.
  • Hilariously Abusive Childhood: Mr. Garrison feels that he had a traumatic childhood because his father didn't sexually abuse him, and to Garrison, this meant that his father didn't love him. Mr. Mackey, the guidance counselor, says that the only way to save his son's life is for the elder Garrison to have sex with him, and he finally hires Kenny G to pretend to be him and sleep with the younger Garrison.
  • Incompatible Orientation: After becoming a Transwoman, he got this from men that swing both ways. Mr. Slave broke up with him because the latter is gay, and Richard Dawkins was Squicked when Cartman blurted out that he had been born a male.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: He's shown to have shades of one with the boys in the earlier seasons. While they don't think highly of him and persist to disrespect his authority as a teacher, they're shown to be on good terms with him outside of school or in both of their free times.
    • The earliest instance of this was shown in "Weight Gain 4000", where the four boys and Wendy visit Mr. Garrison at the local mental health institution and express their condolences about his recent PTSD development, encouraging him to get on the road to recovery and genuinely hoping that he can return to his position as a teacher soon.
    • In "South Park is Gay!", Kyle and Mr. Garrison sympathize with each other over distaste for the recent fad and book a train to New York to kill the host of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.
  • It's All About Me: Got a sex-change operation because he wanted to be a woman. Mr. Slave was understandably upset, as Mr. Garrison expected him to just turn straight and accept a change he didn't get a say in. It gets worse in a later episode when trying to "take Mr. Slave back," completely failing to once more understand just why Mr. Slave left. And when Garrison learns Mr. Slave was going to marry Big Gay Al, Garrison decided to help make gay marriage illegal just out of spite.
  • Jerkass: He's a short-tempered, foul-mouthed, power-hungry teacher who treats his students with very little respect and rarely gets his head out of his ass to save them in the face of legitimate danger. Though since his second change in Season 12, this has been toned down somewhat. He returns to this role by Season 20, where he becomes the the President of the United States, with the sole purpose of abusing his power Up to Eleven in the most criminal ways possible, with rape and terrorism being his worst offenses.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: It's very shallow and doesn't remotely excuse the diabolical and criminal acts he's committed, but on rare occasions, he has his moments of showing genuine respect for his students, in that he'll sometimes teach them ideal school subjects, and has been implied to have somewhat of an Intergenerational Friendship with them outside of his job.
  • Karma Houdini Warranty: After terrorizing Tweek, raping immigrants and his own staff, nuking Toronto, and escaping capture in Season 21, he's finally arrested in Season 22's finale.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: In "Where My Country Gone", he fucks the Canadian President to death.
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All: Whenever he tries to teach children. From the first episode alone: "Christopher Columbus discovered America and was the Indians' best friend. He helped the Indians win their war against Frederick Douglass, and freed the Hebrews from Napoleon, and discovered France." Becomes a Running Gag in later seasons when he tries to teach the children the plots of various popular plays and television shows, for example presenting the plots of Game of Thrones and Les Miserables as real history.
  • Lack of Empathy: Mr. Garrison has little consideration for others' feelings and wears his psychopathic emotions on his sleeves.
  • Large Ham: In addition to his Hair-Trigger Temper, Mr. Garrison has an occasional propensity to yell at his students for no reason and in general lacks an indoor voice.
  • Leitmotif: As of "Members Only", his leitmotif has become a Dark Reprise of "Hail to the Chief".
  • Never My Fault: Mr. Garrison often gets mad at his students when they show others in the town how little they actually know despite the fact that he's clearly never taught them any actual school subjects.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: As of Season 20, he's become an Expy (or rather a jab at) of Donald Trump.
  • No Indoor Voice: He's rather loudmouthed and short-tempered.
  • Not So Different: To the Canadian president whom he fucked to death.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: From Season 21's "Sons of Witches", it seems that he hasn't really done much while in office, only getting rid of six immigrants and has yet to complete his wall. An episode later, it was revealed that he's been raping foreign diplomats to death as well as his own office so they keep quiet. And that's not getting to two episodes after when he decides to nuke Canada.
  • Pet the Dog: In "Best Friends Forever", Mr. Garrison is arrested for trying to bring food and water to Kenny whilst the latter is in the hospital.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: He is racist, homophobic, and misogynistic among many other prejudices. In one Christmas special, he travels to non-Christian countries to admonish people for not celebrating Christmas in a particularly hilarious song.
  • President Evil: He gains the Republican nomination and eventually wins the 2016 Presidential election on a platform of fucking all the immigrants to death. Of course, this could also be considered a subversion, as it's the Member Berries that have infected his mind following his attempts at self-sabotage.
  • Protagonist Journey to Villain: While Mr. Garrison wasn't exactly a decent person before, his Story Arc starts when he grows tired of the immigrants coming to his country. He decides to run for president so that he can establish a law to fuck all immigrants to death. However, he soon realizes that he never really had any plans as president other than fucking immigrants to death, so he tries to foil his own election. His attempts were rendered naught, however, as the Member Berries brainwashed him into accepting the presidency and becoming a Serial Rapist towards his own staff and nuking Canada.
  • Puppet King: Despite being President, he's little more than a pawn for the Member Berries to use.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Mr. Garrison is a full-grown adult who lives on his own yet has an unhealthy obsession with rape, has frequent mood swings, has committed several felonies, wants power just to excuse being awful, and has no consideration for others' feelings. Despite his overall sociopathy, he's shown to have a slight touch of innocence, as he initially relied on a Companion Cube to support him, has occasional moments of being genuinely nice to his students, and in "Ike's Wee Wee" is shown watching Teletubbies while high.
  • Rape as Backstory: Averted, much to his disappointment.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: What makes him bit more depraved than probably anything else in this show. He based his whole presidential campaign on fucking everyone to death, forces people to give him blowjobs as president, and is now raping his own staff.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: Wears a black suit and red tie after becoming President.
  • Running Gag:
    • "Can we get rid of all the Mexicans?"
    • "Fuck them all to death!"
  • Sadist Teacher: His emotional imbalances cause him to be this quite often.
  • Sadly Mythtaken: In one episode of an early season, he gets homosexuals and vampires confused.
  • Serial Killer: His victims are all males, consisting of diplomats and his own employees, whose modus operandi involve fucking them all to death.
  • Serial Rapist: He as President Garrison has gone around, fucking foreign diplomats and his own employees to death.
  • The Sociopath: He could rival Cartman when it comes to careless immorality. Mr. Garrison has no sense of respect for others' well-being and will willingly murder and rape people without feeling a shred of remorse for his victims.
  • Springtime for Hitler: Throughout Season 20, Mr. Garrison tried to sabotage his own Presidential campaign, from sitting during the National Anthem (which backfired due to the Anthem being rebooted by J. J. Abrams, allowing the person to either stand, sit, or kneel during the anthem) to telling dirty jokes during his campaign rallies, and ultimately, pleading with his followers to vote for Hillary Clinton. They were all for naught, as Garrison was elected President, due to interference by the Member Berries.
  • Straight Gay: While he's had his campy moments, he's by and large this, and you probably wouldn't be able to tell that he's gay just by the way he acts whenever he's in the classroom, unlike Big Guy Al, who's obviously gay.
  • Straw Misogynist:
    Well, I'm sorry, I just don't trust something that bleeds for five days and doesn't die.
  • Suddenly Sexuality: Averted with his homosexuality, which was heavily implied from the get-go, but played straight with his transsexuality, which came out of nowhere by the ninth season, and his lesbianism, which didn't crop up until the twelfth. Of course, being Mr. Garrison, this may be the whole point.
  • Then Let Me Be Evil: After despairing at the notion of someone like himself becoming President, he sinks into depression and questions the sanity of humanity. When he is elected, he jumps off the proverbial wagon and abuses his authority every chance he gets... but he's come under the influence of the Member Berries.
  • They Look Just Like Everyone Else!: Prior to getting a Trump-esque appearance, he didn't have much distinct features that made him stand out from everyone else in South Park. It didn't made him any less of a deplorable human being.
  • Tranquil Fury: When he sees PC Principal after becoming President, it's shown that he hasn't really gotten over being fired by PC Principal because he didn't want to change. Rather that loudly lashing out at PC Principal over it however, he calmly and softly, tells him to suck his dick.
  • Transgender: Became a woman in Season 9 and then a man again in Season 12.
  • Turn in Your Badge:
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: In Season 19, he decides to run for president so he can kick the immigrants out of South Park. This leads to the whole town becoming the laughingstock of the whole country. To counter this, the locals gentrify the town to appear classy and enlightened. The upkeep costs more than the locals can afford and it's not long before the homeless population begins to rise, with Randy and several other people contemplating moving to another town to survive.
  • Villains Never Lie: When his cabinet reveals to Garrison that a Russian diplomat was "raped and executed" on US soil, he proudly admits to doing the deed. When they call him out for his oath to the office, ''he reminds them that "his oath to the office was to fuck everyone to death!.
  • Villain Protagonist: Of Season 20 along with Skankhunt42.
  • You Are What You Hate:
    • He was quite homophobic in the early seasons before coming to terms with his sexuality. Then he became homophobic again after becoming a woman... until s/he became a lesbian.
    • He kills the evil Canadian president, only to become a politician fueled by sensationalist fervor himself. They even share similar stances on immigration.
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