Airdate: October 5, 2011
The school becomes concerned that Stan's recent downbeat, cynical behavior may mean he's developed Asperger's Syndrome from a prior vaccination, so they enroll him into a Asperger's support group, who are convinced they live in a Broken Masquerade. Meanwhile, when Cartman's latest ruse backfires due to a misunderstanding of Asperger's, he discovers a food franchise opportunity when the other kids eat the hamburgers that, unknown to them, were shoved up his ass.
"Ass Burgers" contains examples of:
- Big "SHUT UP!": The opening scene in the classroom culminates in Stan angrily screaming for everyone to just shut up when their arguing gets on his nerves.
- Book Ends: The episode begins and ends with Stan waking up to his radio, but this time, the radio sounds normal and Stan continues to be an alcoholic.
- Commuting on a Bus: Officer Barbrady briefly reappears as a truant officer.
- The Cuckoolander Was Right: It appears that there is an Omniscient Council of Vagueness that the cynics were worried about. However, they're actually against Cartman Burger.Council Leader: We all know why we are here. There's a rebellion in our midst and it must be squashed out!
- Deadpan Snarker: The McDonald's businessman.Stan: (on Kyle) We don't hang out anymore.
Businessman: Oh, right. Like someone would just walk away from a friendship like that.
Stan: Dude, I didn't walk away, I turned 10 and everything he wanted to do seemed shitty to me, so I—!
Businessman: Oh, sure. Anyone would ditch out on their best friend 'cuz they weren't feeling good.
Kyle: (when Stan confronts him on Cartman Burger's secret ingredient) Look, I know you got Asperger's from the school and I'm sorry, but your negativity is poison to me.
Businessman: (hidden from Kyle's view) Oh, right. Like a friend would walk out on somebody who was diagnosed with a serious illness.
Stan: Dude, I'm sorry that I've been bumming you out, but it's not my fault.
Kyle: You said "fuck you" to my face, Stan.
Stan: Dude, I didn't realize what I was saying.
Businessman: Oh, yeah. Like any friend would say something that severe and then try to take it back.
- Downer Ending: The Reset Button Ending mostly reverses "You're Getting Old"'s Downer Ending, but also reverses all morals learned from that ending, replacing them with a much darker one, especially in the context of the episode.Sharon: As you get older you realize — the best thing to do is just... stick with what you know.
- Flipping the Bird: Stan does this to Kyle while drunk.
- I Ate WHAT?!: The fate of Cartman Burger.Kyle: You were sticking these in your ass, Cartman?!
- Karma Houdini: No one seemed angry enough to beat the ever living crap out of Cartman after Kyle found out Cartman has been farting on the burgers he was selling to people. He loses his business, but other than that Cartman got away scot free, most likely because everyone actually DID find them extremely delicious.
- The Omniscient Council of Vagueness: Lampshaded. The cynics are convinced there's some group of masterminds behind the masquerade they believe they see through, but every time the topic comes up the identity of the masterminds changes multiple times. Aliens, robots from the future, genetically altered humans, rock creatures, and vampires are all put forth, and speculation is always capped off with a "or whatever, fuck you"; all because the council's actual identity doesn't matter as much as their role in the narrative as vague, powerful antagonists.
- Portmanteau: At the beginning of the episode, Stan hears a TV commercial about a show "coming this Fall to FOXCBSFX".
- Reset Button Ending: The Montage Out from the previous episode gets turned inside out at the end of this episode.Sharon: People get older, Stanley, and as you get older you realize — the best thing to do is just... stick with what you know.
- Rule of Three: Stan being awakened by a morning radio show. Notably, the radio is no longer constantly interrupted by shit in the ending scene.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Stan's initial reaction when he discovers what the Asperger's support group is really like.Lead cynic: There's a big war going on out there, Stan, and we want you to join our fight to bring it all down!
Stan: (heading for the door) Uh, no, no no no! We're not doing this!
- Secret Ingredient: As part of his Cartman Burger business, Cartman secretly shoves hamburgers up his ass as his flavor enhancer.Kyle: Dude, come on Cartman. As employees, don't you think we should get to see what the final secret flavor enhancer is?
Cartman: I'm sorry Kyle, but if we compromise our final cooking process, then our patented flavor will be everywhere, and we'll have to go back to school.
- "Shaggy Dog" Story: Stan finally learns to accept change. Unfortunately, everything that happened in the past two episodes is undone.
- Shipper on Deck: There are two boys that hope Wendy and Kyle will hook up.
- Shouldn't We Be in School Right Now?: At the beginning of episode, Kyle, Cartman, and Kenny ditch the bus stop yet again to ask Kyle's dad about Asperger's, leaving Stan alone to get on the bus. They were later brought back to school by Officer Barbrady. Later still, Cartman creates Cartman Burger so he and his friends can stay out of school.
- Shout Out: While Cartman cooks hamburgers for his Ass Burgers ruse, he sings "Heartlight" by Neil Diamond.
- Status Quo Is God: Deconstructed. Just as Stan was finally adjusting to the new changes, everything goes back to normal. Much to his dismay.
- Story Arc: After a four-month hiatus, the two-episode story arc involving Stan living through his cynicism finally ends with everything going back to the way it was.
- Those Two Guys: The boys leering at Wendy and Kyle as they discuss Stan's recent behavior.Boy 1: Those two should just screw and get it over with.
Boy 2: Yeah.
- Visual Pun: The president of the United States is a lame duck.
- Welcomed to the Masquerade: Stan ends up with a group of cynics who believe their shitty perception of the world is the true reality.
- Whoopi Epiphany Speech: Stan, who has been diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome and refusing to accept the changes around him, gives one to Kyle after realising he doesn't want the status quo to return after all.Stan: You were right, Kyle. Sometimes, the only way to go forward, is to take a big left turn. I've been resisting it, but I'm ready now. I want you to stay with Cartman Burger, dude. It's okay. You're gonna do this, and I'm gonna do my thing, and... My mom and dad aren't getting back together, but you know what? It's okay. In fact, it's better. Change is gonna bring new things to all of us. Where will Cartman Burger go from here? That'll be cool to see. And it opens me up to a whole new adventure, exploring new relationships with all new people in town. Maybe this kid will become my new best friend. Or maybe this kid will. Maybe it won't be like before, but, at least it'll all be new. And that's what's gonna make it so that I can keep going. For the first time in a long time, I'm really excited.
- Of course, the entire thing is undermined in the end.