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Recap / South Park S 13 E 2 The Coon

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"As more and more people turn to crime and violence, the town becomes gripped in fear. Dark times. The city needs protection. There is an animal that lives by night, searches the trashcans and cleans out the garbage. To clean out the trashcan of society I've chosen to become more than a man. I'm the hero this town needs. I am... The Coon!"
Eric Cartman (as The Coon)

Airdate: March 18, 2009

Cartman has donned the mantle of superhero vigilante "The Coon", ostensibly to clean up a wave of crime and depravity that has hit South Park but actually just to get attention and adoration from the public. Claiming to be the saviour the town needs, he attacks couples who are necking in the park and passes it off as preventing rape, and enrages Sgt. Yates and the rest of the South Park PD with his antics. Once out of costume, he tries to talk up The Coon's heroics and get his classmates interested in the question of whose face is behind the mask, but no-one cares, even when he "happens" to know that The Coon will be on the roof of Walgreen's between 5:00 and 5:45.


However, once on the roof of Walgreen's, Cartman sees another costumed, gravel-voiced vigilante who identifies himself as Mysterion. Mysterion sees through Cartman's The Coon disguise, but refuses to reveal his own identity, neither confirming nor denying Cartman's guesses. Cartman tries to shrug off the new vigilante and focus on The Coon Fan Convention he has organised - which has a total attendance of zero. To compound Cartman's anger at being ignored, Channel 9 News airs a story about the public's fascination with a young costumed vigilante named... Mysterion. In complete contrast to The Coon, Mysterion is uninterested in publicity and regularly gives the police helpful tips.

Cartman becomes obsessed with unmasking Mysterion, and finally decides to recruit the assistance of Professor Chaos (Butters) and his sidekick General Disarray (Dougie). At Cartman's direction, Professor Chaos threatens to blow up a hospital unless Mysterion publicly reveals his identity. As the trio are preparing to make good on their threat, Mysterion shows up and, in front of a huge audience of onlookers, fights Chaos and Disarray into submission, "helped" by the timely arrival of The Coon (whom the public still neither recognises nor cares about).


Unfortunately for Mysterion, Cartman hints that these incidents will continue until he publicly unmasks himself, so he calls a press conference and pulls back his mask to reveal... an unidentifiable boy in Mr. Garrison's class. Sgt. Yates reluctantly arrests Mysterion for vigilantism, and The Coon is once again the only vigilante superhero keeping the streets of South Park "safe".

(In a deleted scene, Kyle is revealed to have identified himself as Mysterion to deflect Cartman's attention from the real Mysterion, who repays Kyle's sacrifice by revealing his true identity... which still leaves the audience none the wiser until Season 14's "Mysterion Rises".)


This episode contains examples of:

  • Attention Whore: Cartman's sole motivation for being a superhero is to get people talking about himself.
  • Berserk Button: Any time someone doesn't speak highly of The Coon to Cartman, and vice versa, Cartman gets incredibly loud and antagonistic, even for him.
  • …But He Sounds Handsome: Cartman tells Kyle that someone dressing up as a vigilante is not a fag. The Coon tells Mysterion that Cartman is not fat.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Cartman all throughout the episode. Case in point, after he finishes describing The Coon to the guys:
    Kyle: Sounds kind of faggy.
    Cartman: YOU'RE A FAG, KYLE! FUCK YOU!
  • Enemy Mine/Villain Team-Up: The Coon has "no choice" but to team up with Professor Chaos.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Professor Chaos has reservations about blowing up a hospital.
  • Foreshadowing: Regarding Mysterion's identity, it's subtle, but still there.
    • At school, the first person Cartman accuses of being Mysterion was Kenny.
    • Mysterion "dies" during his fight against Professor Chaos, just like Kenny would, although he quickly gets back up.
    • On Cartman's bulletin board of Mysterion suspects, Kenny was one of the few suspects not eliminated.
    • Mysterion is voiced by Matt Stone, who also voices Kenny.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Ultimately it's The Coon who has bullied Chaos into blowing up a hospital if Mysterion doesn't give himself up. Mysterion even comments that it isn't Chaos' usual MO.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: The Coon to Mysterion.
  • Hypocritical Humor: The Coon tells Professor Chaos that he doesn't betray people as he's the good guy.
  • Innocuously Important Episode: The characters of The Coon and Mysterion would appear again, with Mysterion's identity being revealed this time.
  • It's All About Me: Cartman plots to get rid of Mysterion because Cartman thinks he is the only hero the town needs.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: This is one of Cartman's nastier episodes - he bullies Butters into trying to blow up a hospital to get Mysterion to show up, and continues to push him into doing it. He sneaks away before Mysterion can show, leaving Butters alone, and it isn't until Butters gives up to Mysterion and General Disarray has run away that Cartman even 'helps' in the fight, adding a final vicious hit from behind. Then he hints that if Mysterion doesn't give himself up, it'll happen again.
  • Only Six Faces: When Mysterion finally removes his mask, he is... completely indistinguishable from almost every other boy in the show. Professor Chaos' identity list for Mysterion only has Cartman, Token, Timmy, and Jimmy crossed off. The only suspected character we know is not Mysterion is Kyle, and in a deleted scene, Kyle faked being Mysterion when he unmasked.
  • Rewatch Bonus: If you pay attention to Cartman's words, you can guess Mysterion's true identity.
  • Running Gag: People comparing The Coon to Bruce Vilanch.
  • Serious Business: The cops seem to take this even more seriously than the kids do. As Mysterion and Professor Chaos begin their climactic battle on the roof of the hospital, a SWAT Sniper prepares to get in a shot at Chaos - you know, Butters. Yates stays the gun, but it's got nothing to do with it being a kid in a tinfoil hat...
    Sniper: (aiming at Chaos) I think I can get in a shot at Chaos, sir.
    Yates: (grabs rifle) Do you think your bullets can hurt him?!
  • Shout-Out:
    • The opening shot moving up from something in the gutter to someone looking down from a tall building references the opening page of Watchmen. The Coon's internal monologue is also referencing/paraphrasing Rorschach's journal entries.
    • The threat to blow up a hospital if Mysterion doesn't give himself up resembles The Joker's threats in The Dark Knight.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Cartman thinks The Coon is this amazing savior deserving of praise and adoration from all and assumes the reason he's not getting it because of Mysterion. In truth, it's mainly because barely anyone knows who the Coon is, the "crimes" he prevents aren't crimes (He tells the police he saved a woman from being raped, when in reality he mauled a guy who was being intimate with his girlfriend) and he spends more time trying to tell everyone how awesome the Coon is and get rid of Mysterion rather than actually performing heroic deeds to warrant the praise. Cartman even started "Coonicon 2009," and was extremely angry and surprised that no one showed up.
  • Skewed Priorities: Cartman cares more about The Coon's image than actually being heroic. Ironically, the reason Mysterion gets so much more attention and praise is because he doesn't care about image at all and just goes around helping people.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: The Coon seemingly does this when talking to the police, but he's really just moving to the other side of the room. Mysterion actually has this ability.
  • Take That!: Mysterion and the Coon have the same sort of Guttural Growler voices Jackie Earle Haley and Christian Bale used for their performances in Watchmen and The Dark Knight, respectively, which Matt Stone called "retarded".
  • The Un-Reveal: Mysterion unmasks but only the other characters know who he is, with it not narrowed down much by Mr. Garrison's amazement that a kid from his class was Mysterion. In another episode, it’s revealed that Mysterion is Kenny.
  • Wimp Fight: The epic confrontation between Mysterion and Professor Chaos is just the two slapping at each other for a few minutes until Butters gives up.