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Recap / South Park S 12 E 1 Tonsil Trouble

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Airdate: March 12, 2008

When Cartman has to get a tonsillectomy, the doctors accidentally pump Cartman with contaminated blood and now Cartman has HIV. When Cartman finds out that no one cares about HIV and AIDS anymore, he ropes Kyle in to helping him find a cure.

"Tonsil Trouble" contains examples of:

  • Adults Are Useless: Neither Mr. Mackey nor Principal Victoria take Kyle's account of Cartman infecting him HIV seriously. All they do is make Cartman apologize for doing so and then make Kyle apologize for tattling.
    Kyle: A tattle-tale?! He infected me with AIDS!
    Cartman: See? He's tattling again. He hasn't learned a thing, you guys.
  • Adult Fear: Liane sobs hysterically when she hears that her son has HIV.
  • Artistic License – Biology: Apparently injecting $150,000 of blended cash into the human body is not only harmless, but can totally obliterate one of the most incurable diseases known to modern medicine.
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  • Artistic License – Medicine: Cartman shows visual symptoms of the illness that normally only turn up in the terminal stage. This is, of course, because his appearance is intended to mimick Tom Hanks' appearance in the film Philadelphia. And, of course, everyone gets cured in the end — unfortunately not Truth in Television yet.
  • Black Comedy: Pretty much the entire premise of the episode.
  • Bookends: The episode begins and ends with Jimmy Buffett singing "AIDS/Cure Burger in Paradise".
  • Bullying a Dragon: Kyle is pretty much asking for something bad to happen to him when he laughs at Cartman for having AIDS.
  • Disproportionate Retribution:
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  • Dude, Not Funny!: Cartman tells Kyle that laughing at the fact that he has AIDS isn't funny but keeps making puns using 'HIV positive' as a synonym for certain throughout the episode. Kyle himself becomes bitter toward said puns, at one point asking him (without a hint of self-awareness) what he finds so funny about a deadly STD.
  • Epic Fail: Cartman's procedure was so botched that he ended up contracting AIDS. Though given the overall ineptitude of the hospital staff, this shouldn't be too surprising.
  • Hypocrite:
    • When Kyle gets infected with HIV by Cartman, he tells Cartman there is nothing funny about getting AIDS, ignoring that he laughed at Cartman earlier for having HIV.
    • Cartman says nobody deserves to have AIDS, yet he has no problem giving Kyle HIV out of petty spite.
  • Idiot Houdini: Surprisingly, the hospital staff never get sued nor face consequences for carelessly infecting Cartman with HIV.
  • Ill Boy: Happens to both Cartman and Kyle; the former from a tonsil procedure gone wrong, the latter from an act of petty revenge.
  • Irony: As Stan points out, after years of saying Kyle should get AIDS, Cartman himself is infected with it.
  • Jerkass Has a Point:
    • Cartman rightfully screams that getting all the ice cream he wants in no way makes up for the fact his surgery was screwed up so badly he got AIDS.
    • As callous as intentionally infecting Kyle with HIV was (to say the least), Cartman rightfully observes that Kyle doesn't seem to think AIDS is funny anymore.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Cartman ends up getting his Xbox smashed by Kyle for cruelly infecting the latter with HIV.
  • Lethally Stupid: The hospital staff inadvertently transfer HIV blood to Cartman, infecting the latter with AIDS.
  • Mistaken for Gay: Kyle and Cartman, by everyone after Kyle denies Cartman being his friend but confirms that Cartman gave him HIV.
  • Money, Dear Boy: In-Universe. Having a lot of money turns out to be a cure for AIDS.
  • No Sympathy: Kyle laughs upon learning Cartman got AIDS (though more out of the irony of the situation after all the terrible things Cartman has done). Unfortunately for him, Cartman does not take this very well...
  • Nobody Likes a Tattletale: Cartman has infected Kyle with AIDS for laughing at him, so Kyle tells Principal Victoria about this. However, she and Mr. Mackey expect Kyle to apologize too for telling on him, and Mr. Mackey quotes this trope almost verbatim. Kyle refuses to apologize, pointing out that what Cartman did was much worse.
  • Ordered Apology: The school staff order Cartman to apologize to Kyle for infecting him with AIDS, and then they order Kyle to apologize to Cartman for tattling on him.
  • Properly Paranoid: Cartman was afraid of getting his tonsils taken out, and was assured it would be perfectly safe only to then find out he somehow got AIDS due to the procedure being incredibly botched.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Being diagnosed with AIDS shouldn't be funny, but the fact that Cartman got infected with it by incompetent doctors and nobody takes his condition seriously (treating it as an afterthought to cancer) does make it hysterical.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Kyle, upon finding out Cartman infected him with AIDS. It's easily the angriest Kyle has ever been at him in the entire series.
    Kyle: I am going to break EVERYTHING that you own.
  • Running Gag: "I'm not just sure, I'm HIV positive."
  • Shout-Out: Cartman is dressed like Tom Hanks' character in Philadelphia.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: The boys (except Kyle) feel bad for Cartman after learning he got infected with AIDS.
  • Take That!:
    • At Jimmy Buffett.
      Cartman: Fuck you, Jimmy Buffett! You fucking suck!
    • Also to people who do everything in their power to help people with cancer and absolutely jack shit for those with HIV/AIDS, a disease just as bad, if not worse.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Kyle laughing at Cartman when he gets HIV was a bad idea, because he made Kyle pay for it by giving him AIDS.
  • The Topic of Cancer: Discussed in the episode; it even has activists claim that having AIDS isn't as bad as having cancer.
  • Tragic AIDS Story: Outright laughs at the "tragedy", to start with.
  • Who's Laughing Now?: Cartman decides to give HIV to Kyle as payback for laughing at him upon learning he had AIDS.


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