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Recap / South Park S 16 E 11 Going Native

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Cartman runs into the cafeteria with shocking news: Butters just beat up Scott Malkinson, and has locked himself in the boys' restroom. An attempt to talk him out goes badly when he goes on a prolonged "The Reason You Suck" Speech targeting Kyle, Stan, Cartman, and Jimmy, insisting that Kenny is the only one of them with any dignity. Butters' parents are called to the school and become the newest targets of his aggression, leading them to conclude that he has reached the age of panua and must be sent back to his native land - Hawaii (pronounced "Havai'i" by Stephen) - to undergo the hapa loa ceremony. Word works its way back to the other boys, and Kenny is sent to talk some sense into him; instead, he ends up having to accompany Butters to Hawaii after the latter turns his aggression against the airport employees.

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Butters and Kenny arrive on the island of Kauai and are met by a group of "natives" who knew Stephen and Linda before they moved to Colorado; it quickly becomes obvious that their definition of "natives" is not "indigenous Hawaiians" but "mainlanders with holiday homes in Hawaii", and they are resentful of tourists, new holiday home owners, and haoles such as Kenny. Butters' hapa loa ceremony begins with a drink of chi-chi, a cocktail of vodka, pineapple juice, and coconut milk, but events are interrupted with the news that the Mahalo Rewards card which the "natives" use to enjoy discounts at all local bars, restaurants, and shops is being phased out. The enraged "natives" revolt, sinking a cruise ship and forcing all tourists to board flights back to the mainland, leading the US Coast Guard to get involved.

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Kenny is forced to undergo trial by opaeka'a - paddling a small surfboard across a river to a buoy and back - to prove that the "natives" can trust him, but he falls off and is swept over a waterfall. As the "natives", driven mad by an embargo that has resulted in a shortage of chi-chi ingredients, fire golf balls and bocce balls at the Coast Guard ships (who return fire with actual artillery that does far more damage), Kenny crawls out of the river and finds the derelict Coco Palms Resort, filming site of the Elvis Presley film Blue Hawaii and still haunted by the King's ghost, who shows Kenny a secret stash of chi-chi ingredients. Kenny loads the bottles onto a raft and paddles them downstream to the "natives", re-igniting their defiance. The Mahalo Rewards card is re-instated, the "natives" make peace with the US government, Butters finishes his hapa loa ceremony, and even Kenny is sworn in as a "native".

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The episode ends by revealing the source of Butters' anger: resentment towards Ben Affleck for being a successful actor and director and dating Jennifer Lopez, resentment that fades when he is told Affleck and Lopez broke up years earlier and Affleck is now dating Jennifer Garner.


This episode contains examples of:

  • Armor-Piercing Question: After Kenny fails the trial.
    Resident: I told you a haole couldn't do it!
    Chief David: Did you make the turn your first try? Did any of us?
  • Badass Native: Butters sinks a cruise ship all by himself by hitting the captain square in the face with a golf ball, which causes him to stumble backwards onto a lever, which somehow causes the entire ship to tip over and sink like Titanic.
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: Cartman uses Butters' phrase "Fellas! FELLAS!" at the start of the episode.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: It's debatable whether or not it was intended at the time, but the whole episode reads as a very succinct satire of immigration in the United States: a bunch of white people come to a land already inhabited by it's indigenous natives, take over, then proceed to look down upon any other people who arrive there after them.
  • Elvis Lives: Averted. Elvis is the spirit that haunts "the ancient ruins" (aka Coco Palms).
  • Eye Scream: Butters hits the cruise ship's captain in the eye with a golf ball. It gets worse from there.
  • The Friends Who Never Hang: Kenny was the only one of the kids that Butters didn't insult, being called the only one with any dignity. As a result, Kenny is proclaimed Butters's best friend, even though he's barely ever interacted with him throughout the show's run. Kenny is, of course, confused.
  • Haunted House: The natives avoid Coco Palms, considering it a taboo to enter. Kenny ends up there and is guided by the ghost of Elvis to a large supply of chi-chis.
  • Hidden Depths: Kenny demonstrates a real flair for writing in his letters back to the other boys.
  • Inevitable Waterfall: When Kenny falls off the surfboard he is paddling across the river to prove his worth to the "natives", he is swept off by the current... and reaches a waterfall within seconds. He tries to paddle back upstream, but to no avail, and he hits several rocks on the way down.
  • Insane Troll Logic: "Natives," in this sense, defines any person who's lived in Hawaii for anything longer than a vacation, rather than the Pacific Islanders indigenous to it.
  • It Is Pronounced "Tro-PAY": Indigenous Hawaiians really do pronounce "Hawaii" as "Havai'i"; it is one of the many affectations adopted by the mainlanders who believe that owning a holiday home in the state for more than a few years makes one a native.
  • Made of Iron: Of all the characters to survive falling off a waterfall and crashing into three rocks, who'd have guessed it would be Kenny?!
  • Mighty Whitey: Parodied with Kenny, who manages to be accepted as a Hawaiian despite not being a native, although what constitutes a native Hawaiian is whether they've lived in Hawaii outside of vacation, not their actual ethnicity.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: The normally sweet and amiable Butters suddenly beating up Scott Malkinson and going on an extended "The Reason You Suck" Speech to the other boys, then reacting to the usual threat of grounding by telling Stephen to "stick it in [his] ear"? Something is very wrong with him.
  • Only Sane Man: During his rant at the other kids, Butters says that out of all of them, Kenny is the one with any sense of dignity.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Butters delivers this to every one of his friends (excluding Kenny) for all their flaws.
    Butters: [after Kyle tries calling him out] You just think you know everything, don't you Kyle?! Every little thing you gotta shoot your mouth off like you're the frickin' expert! Well you don't know everything because [walks to Stan and points him out] your best friend is a kid who thinks the entire planet revolves around him and he only cares about HIS image! [runs back inside the boys room, then turns around and runs to Cartman] You guys think Cartman is the only selfish piece of crap in this school? You're all fake and stuck up [moves over to Jimmy], and none of you have the courage to tell Jimmy that his jokes aren't funny! [moves over to Kenny] The only kid here with any sense of dignity is Kenny, and the rest of you have your heads up your butts! [Runs back into the restroom and locks himself in]
    Cartman: [after a few seconds' silence] Well. Apparently Kenny is Butters' best friend. You guys gonna make out, Kenny? [Kenny glares at Cartman]
    Butters: [barrels back out of the restroom and up to Cartman] And that's another thing! You're always trivializin' everything I say by gettin' the last word! [Cartman is shocked] Well you're not gettin' the last word this time! [runs back into the restroom and locks the door again]
    Cartman: ... wow.
    Butters: [opens the door and looks out] DOUBLE wow! [locks the door again]
  • "Rediscovering Roots" Trip: Butters starts acting unusually hostile, and his parents take this as a sign that he must return to his birthland: Hawaii. He goes there, bringing Kenny along, and joins the white "natives" (tourists who decided to stay on the islands) for his coming-of-age ceremony.
  • Sophisticated as Hell: Kenny writes back to Stan, Kyle, and Cartman, and his unusually florid and poetic language confuses them ("'On the morrow'!? What the fuck is wrong with Kenny?!"), but he signs off in a way that makes it clear he's still the pervert in training we all know and love:
    Kenny: [as an adult, in voiceover] To wit, I have found nothing wrong with this remote place, and I must admit it will be with some melancholy that I will leave this island and return home. I saw this chick in a bikini on the beach too. She had the nicest boobs ever. Humbly yours, Kenneth.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: Upon learning why Butters is behaving this way, Stephen doesn't ground him, gets him off the hook at school, and sends him where he can be helped.

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