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Recap / South Park S10 E3 "Cartoon Wars, Part One"

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Original air date: 4/5/2006

The town is in panic when the FOX animated sitcom Family Guy angers the Muslim world by attempting to air an image of Muhammad. Meanwhile, Kyle and Cartman fight over whether or not Family Guy should stay on the air, as Kyle likes it, but Cartman hates how interchangeable and "random" the jokes are.

"Cartoon Wars: Part 1" contains examples of:

  • Armor-Piercing Question: Cartman asks Kyle: "If ten people die because Family Guy just had to have their little joke, will you still think it's funny?". Kyle has no answer, and it's enough to convince him to join Cartman.
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  • Berserk Button: Cartman despises his sense of humour being compared to Family Guy and reacts violently to such comparisons.
    Kyle: You should like that show; your sense of humor is just like Family Guy.
    Cartman: [explodes] Don't you ever, EVER compare me to Family Guy! You hear me, Kyle?! Compare me to Family Guy again, and so help me, I will kill you where you stand!
  • Big Brother Instinct: Kyle's nightmare which convinces him to help Cartman is of Ike getting blown up by a bomb.
  • Butt-Monkey: True to her role in the original show, Meg is the only member of the Griffin family who doesn't speak.
  • Catapult Nightmare: Kyle wakes up from his nightmare this way.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Kyle's parents' reaction to their son and his friends watching Family Guy is to smash the TV and force the boys to go through Muslim sensitivity training.
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  • Every Car Is a Pinto: Spoofed when Kyle's tricycle rolls off a cliff, then explodes for no reason.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: While Kyle asks why should Family Guy be cancelled just for one episode, he responds with "Because they made f-fun of Muslims, and and that's wrong." But Cartman loses all pretense the moment Kyle pushes his Berserk Button.
  • Here We Go Again!: Stan and Kyle lampshade this when they see each other during another mass panic from the citizens of South Park.
    Stan: Kyle, what the hell is going on this time?!
    Kyle: I have no idea!
  • Heroic BSoD: Kyle suffers this after Cartman runs him off the road, due to letting himself be manipulated by Cartman.
    Kyle: You son of a bitch! I won't let you win! You hear me?!
    Cartman: (shouting at a distance) Suck my balls, Kyle!
    [Kyle continues walking until he fell to his knees and bangs his hand on the pavement as he cries]
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  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: Cartman initially appears to want the Family Guy episode pulled out of concern for innocent people possibly being harmed by retaliatory terrorist attacks. However, Kyle soon realizes that he's simply trying to get Family Guy cancelled due to a personal hatred for the show, with little actual concern for lives being lost.
  • Lack of Empathy: As usual, Cartman doesn't give a damn about how angry Kyle is towards him for playing with people's fears including his own. If only because Kyle doesn't understand his reason for hating Family Guy.
  • Look Behind You: Cartman says "Oh my God, is that Tim McGraw?" to distract Kyle after he discovers Cartman's true intentions. It works, and Cartman sucker punches him and takes off in his trike.
  • Motive Rant: Cartman has one about his reasons for wanting Family Guy off the air.
    Cartman: Do you have any idea what it's like? Everywhere I go: "Hey Cartman you must like Family Guy, right?" "Hey, your sense of humor reminds me of Family Guy, Cartman!" I am NOTHING like Family Guy! When I make jokes, they are inherent to a story! Deep situational and emotional jokes based on what is relevant and has a point, not just one random interchangeable joke after another!
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Kyle's reaction when he realizes Cartman has manipulated him into trying to get Family Guy cancelled.
    Kyle: You unbelievable son of a never cared about the Muslim religion or the safety of people in America. You just want Family Guy off the air!
  • No Kill like Overkill: Gerald Broflovski smashes the TV into pieces when he and Sheila find the boys watching Family Guy on it.
  • Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremist: Cartman's willing to go all the way to LA to tell FOX to pull the Muhammad episode off the air... out of personal hatred for Family Guy.
  • Not What I Signed on For: When Cartman tells him how they will cancel Family Guy, Kyle tells him that's not what he wanted, only putting the Muhammad episode off the air.
  • Only Sane Man: When the town proposes the burying their heads plan, Stephen Stotch speaks out against it. He points out that Americans have been taking free speech for granted for decades and never truly had to fight for or defend it. Censoring Muhammad could be the start of the slippery slope where they destroy one of America's most sacred rights. If anything, they should all make cartoons of Muhammad.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Cartman's seeming sensitivity to the Muslim anger at Family Guy gets this reaction from many. Kyle eventually realized he was trying to garner sympathy to help him take the cartoon off the air.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: The controversy of depicting Mohammed in cartoon form came from Parker and Stone's own fascination with the controversy surrounding Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten doing just that.
  • Self-Deprecation: What seems to be lost to newer viewers is that when this episode was made Family Guy hadn't built up its reputation of being "preachy and up its own ass" that much yet, they were ripping into themselves just as much.
  • Shout-Out: Kyle's nightmare is based on Sarah Connor's from Terminator 2: Judgment Day.
  • Take That!: The entire episode is one against Family Guy, a show of which Parker and Stone are not fond.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Kyle, when Cartman used his fears to help him get the Mohammad episode pulled.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: After Kyle realizes Cartman's true intentions and calls him out on it, Cartman leaves without him since he didn't need him anyway.