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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:

  • Adult Fear: Liane sobs hysterically when she hears that her son has HIV.
  • Artistic License – Medicine: Cartman shows visual symptoms of the illness that normally only turn up in the terminal stage. This, 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.
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  • Asshole Victim: Cartman is a massive sexist, racist, antisemitic, sociopathic jerkass who has gotten people killed in the past, and YMMV as to whether or not even he doesn't deserve to have HIV, and is thus this trope, or absolutely does deserve it, which is Laser-Guided Karma instead.
  • Black Comedy: Pretty much the entire premise of the episode.
  • Book-Ends: 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: Inverted. When the school finds out Cartman gave Kyle AIDs, all they do is make Cartman apologize. And then they try to make Kyle apologize for tattling.
  • 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.
  • Hypocrite: Apparently to Kyle, it's okay to laugh at Cartman for getting HIV, but once Cartman gives it to him it's a serious matter.
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    • Then again, he mainly mocked Cartman because he saw it as karma for all the evil stuff he's done, including repeatedly wishing AIDS on him.
  • Irony: As Stan points out, after years of saying Kyle should get AIDs, Cartman himself is infected with it.
  • Jerkass:
    • Cartman intentionally infects Kyle with HIV.
    • Though Kyle isn’t a slouch here, laughing at Cartman having HIV. Then again this is Cartman he's laughing at.
  • 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, Cartman rightfully observes that Kyle doesn't seem to think AIDS is funny anymore.
  • Karmic STD: Token Evil Teammate Cartman discovers he has HIV due to a botched medical procedure. Kyle thinks it's karma for his racism and Jerkass behavior. Cartman says that no one deserves HIV-AIDS, but he still infects Kyle anyway just to teach him that.
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  • Kick the Dog: Despite all of the evil Cartman has done he manages to find a cure for AIDS and gets himself, Kyle (and Magic Johnson) cured as he promised, however Kyle decides to break his Xbox 360 anyway.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge/Unstoppable Rage: 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.
  • 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.
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