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Recap / South Park S 14 E 8 Poor And Stupid

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Cartman despairs when Mr. Garrison assigns the class an essay on what they want to be when they grow up, as he knows he can never live his own dream: being a NASCAR driver. Contrary to Stan and Kyle's assumption that he thinks his weight is the main obstacle, he believes that not being poor and stupid is his main obstacle, but their sarcastic "encouragement" sparks him into giving it a try. He gives all the money he has to Butters (who spends it on canned food and blankets for NASCAR fans in an act of misguided "charity") and hangs upside-down while watching Two and a Half Men to become as stupid as he is poor. A commercial for feminine hygiene product Vagisil (which cites short-term memory loss as a possible side effect) gives Cartman an idea, and he starts ingesting Vagisil in vast quantities; sure enough, he feels stupid when he sees people staring at him.

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On the day of the Denver 300, Cartman and Butters sneak into the pit and tell Dale Evans that his wife is being raped. Evans abandons his car on the starting line, whereupon Cartman gets inside - and, because he doesn't know how to drive and is too short to see over the dashboard, ends up turning around and driving the wrong way, causing a crash that leaves eleven people dead and Cartman himself in hospital. The doctor describing Cartman's stunt as "one of the stupidest things [he's] ever seen" simply convinces him that he's now stupid enough to be a NASCAR driver, and he just needs to work on being poor enough.

The media coverage of Cartman's stunt crosses NASCAR fan Kenny's radar, and he is enraged to learn that the association between being poor and stupid and liking NASCAR is catching on; he confronts Cartman, and is even more offended by his belief that poor people stay poor by buying products they can't afford at 0% down and no payments for two years. Kenny's mood darkens further when the CEO of Vagisil, Jeff Hamill, shows up at Cartman's house to offer him a sponsorship deal for his very own NASCAR team (with a car modified to be driven by a child).

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Cartman spends the lead-in to the next Denver 300 embodying every offensive stereotype of NASCAR drivers and fans that he can, although he still has next to no idea how to drive the car and ends up crashing into every other car on the track. A thoroughly livid Kenny storms the track mid-race and jumps onto Cartman's car, but this just causes him to crash into the few remaining cars in the race until he is the only one left. However, Jeff Hamill's wife Patty, sick of being the target of casual insults about her vaginal hygiene in front of the cameras, pulls an unconscious Jimmie Johnson out of his car, gets behind the wheel, and overtakes Cartman to take first place. Vagisil and Cartman's NASCAR team are ruined, but Cartman is none the wiser; he is still convinced that he'll never be poor or stupid enough to succeed at NASCAR, and he and Butters argue over the return of Cartman's money, leaving a confused Kenny in their wake.

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This episode includes examples of:

  • Body Horror: Cartman tried to induce stupidity by eating Vagisil. It works but according to the doctor he was developing miniature vaginas in his stomach lining (all sparkling clean).
  • The Dog Bites Back: After putting up with her husband insulting her for the entire episode, Patty Hamill ruins his sponsorship and causes the collapse of Vagisil in a single NASCAR race.
  • Driven to Suicide: Cartman asks the doctor to pull the plug on him while he's in the hospital, but the doctor points out he's not on life support so pulling the plug would do nothing.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Kenny is not allowed to have a sniper rifle in his bag at NASCAR, but he is allowed to buy one at the gift shop.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Butters thinks using Cartman's money to buy living supplies for the NASCAR fans is helping the needy when all he was doing was believing the stereotype of NASCAR fans.
  • Insane Troll Logic:
    • Cartman insists all NASCAR drivers are successful because they're poor and stupid. His constant association between NASCAR and a combination of poverty and stupidity drives Kenny deeper and deeper into seething rage over the course of the episode.
    • Cartman insists he's not poor and stupid because he's not a NASCAR driver no matter how many ridiculous stunts he pulls off that could've killed him.
  • Jerkass: Jeff Hamill, he repeatedly insults his wife's vaginal odor on air showing no remorse for doing so.
  • Never My Fault: Cartman told Butters to spend all of his money, only to get pissed at Butters at the end and expect him to get his money back.
  • Take That!: Cartman tries to lose brain cells by watching Two and a Half Men.
  • They Killed Kenny Again: Subverted; it looks as though Kenny will become roadkill when he jumps onto Cartman's car mid-race and shouts at him to stop, only to be flung into the middle of the track. But he emerges unscathed, and ends the episode watching an argument between Cartman and Butters over the return of the former's money with a "What the hell just happened??" expression.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Cartman hijacking a car and driving it during the race is just the tip of the iceberg. Several people throughout the episode tell Cartman how stupid he is.
    Doctor: Of all the dumb ways I've seen kids hurt themselves yours take the retard cake.

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