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Recap / South Park S 17 E 10 The Hobbit

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Wendy Testaburger’s latest protest (this time, about how Photoshop is used to make female models and celebrities look better on magazines and print material) gets her in trouble when she plays matchmaker with a new girl.

This episode contains examples of:

  • A God Am I: Kanye West reads a Roman à Clef story about Kim Kardashian as a hobbit and himself as God.
  • Blatant Lies : Mr. Mackey threatens to send Wendy to ‘Jelly School’. Of course, Wendy does not fall for it.
    Wendy: Mr. Mackey, I appreciate the point you’re trying to make.
    Mr. Mackey: Yuh, you do? Okay, well I’m not actually on the phone with a... jelly school, Wendy, okay?
    Wendy: Yes, I’m... I’m a few steps ahead of that, yes.
    • Wendy is later interviewed on TV, and a reporter tries to pretend he’s in front of ‘jelly school’, but Wendy says it’s just a Dunkin’ Donuts.
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  • Boomerang Bigot: In-Universe. Wendy's method of arguing against body shaming and society's definition of beauty is to resort to body shaming as well. This results in everyone just writing her off as a hater, especially when they hear her doing so without context.
  • But Not Too Black: In-Universe. When the girls go to the gym to Photoshop themselves to look better, Nichole is seen drastically lightening her complexion.
  • Breather Episode: Somewhat. Although dramatic, it's far more tame than the previous epic trilogy.
  • Call-Back: Kanye West from ‘Fishsticks’ reappears calling himself a recovering gay fish.
    Cartman: Uh oh.
  • Cannot Tell Fiction from Reality: A variant in that everyone thinks photoshopped pics are the real things. What kicks off this episode is Butters thinking a picture of Kim Kardashian from a magazine is what she really looks like.
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  • Comically Missing the Point: Wendy shows Butters a demonstration of Photoshop to show how girls like Lisa can be altered to destroy girls’ self-image, but Butters becomes convinced she really looks like that and falls in love with her. Which then expands to fucking everyone, who act as if the Photoshop images are the real thing, despite interacting with the people with the Photoshopped people who clearly look different from the pictures.
  • The Complainer Is Always Wrong: Parodied. Wendy is made a pariah for her protests against Photoshopped pictures.
  • Compliment Backfire: Kanye repeatedly tries to convince people that Kim is not a Hobbit, but he keeps drawing similarities to the point not even he is sure she's not one.
  • Continuity Nod: Butters' love for Kim Kardashian from ‘The Tale of Scrotie McBoogerballs’ returns. Kim was also murdered by the end of "Scrotie McBoogerballs". Not that it matters.
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  • Downer Ending: Wendy's efforts to expose photo-manipulation for dictating unrealistic beauty standards only serves to make it more popular until she's finally guilt-tripped into Photoshopping herself to look like the exact kind of unrealistic bombshell she was trying to speak out against.
  • The Ghost: Kim Kardashian is often referred and spoken to, but never actually seen or heard in the episode (outside of small image of her).
  • Gone Horribly Right: Wendy did end up causing Lisa to gain more confidence in herself, but to such an extent she becomes an arrogant bitch and for the wrong reasons. Then the other girls get into it.
  • Here We Go Again!: The third act begins the same way as the first, with Wendy and Lisa’s roles reversed.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Wendy just wants girls to be happy with themselves despite their imperfections, and it all started because she wanted Lisa to gain confidence in herself. Wendy ends up being treated as a Villain Protagonist, and she ends up failing in her crusade.
  • Informed Attractiveness: By the show's logic, as long you have a Photoshopped picture of yourself that makes you look more attractive than you really are, people will automatically assume you are that attractive.
  • Informed Deformity: Wendy lists the various imperfections of herself, Stan, and other boys and girls, which are not visible because of the animation style. And Jason, who has an obvious physical flaw (a prematurely receding hairline) doesn't get called out for that flaw. Instead, Wendy says he has freckles, which he does not.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Butters accidentally hurts Lisa's feelings by calling her fat when she asks him out. He doesn't realize how much this remark hurt her until Wendy calls him out on it.
  • Jerkass: The cheerleaders. They call Wendy a hater and treat her like trash.
  • Mood Whiplash: Subverted with the ending credits, which end up being silent to play up the fact that it’s a genuine Downer Ending.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Wendy caused the entire episode’s events and most of the drama of this episode is because she Photoshopped the picture of Lisa in an attempt to prove her point on unrealistic beauty standards, but Butters ends up thinking its real... despite having the original photo Photoshopped right in front of him.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Well, she didn't exactly Photoshop her picture to do Lisa a favor but Wendy did it to show Butters to demonstrate that what's seen in the photos isn't the real thing, which landed her (Lisa) a date with him. Unfortunately, this boosts Lisa's confidence along with her ego, leading to much of the drama seen in the episode.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Wendy when Mr. Mackey and the students catch her pointing out everyone’s imperfections.
      Wendy: God damn it!
    • Also Cartman's reaction to Kanye West being the class's guest speaker.
      Cartman: Uh oh!
  • Right Behind Me: Happens to Wendy, twice:
    • The first time is when she tries to explain that the Photoshopped image of Lisa isn't real, and in a moment of frustration, calls her "fat and ugly", just as Lisa passes by.
    • The second occurs when Wendy becomes angry at Stan for asking her to Photoshop herself and starts ranting at him, pointing out the various physical imperfections of herself and her schoolmates, including the cheerleaders... just as they happen to walk in and overhear her.
  • Rightly Self-Righteous: Deconstructed. Wendy’s very blunt approach to explain the problems with Photoshop only leads everyone to miss the point and think she is "jelly", especially since no-one actually feels insecure when looking at the PSed pictures after getting one too. By the end of the episode Wendy just gives up and conforms.
  • Running Gag:
    • Wendy being called ‘jel’, ‘jelly’, and a hater.
    • Kanye West constantly calling Kim Kardashian to tell him what to say about comparing her to a hobbit, and calling her "bitch" as a term of endearment.
  • Shout-Out
    • The title is meant to coincide with the release of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.
    • Mr. Garrison confuses Kanye West with Aquaman.
    • Kanye West interrupting Pope Francis’ ‘Person of the Year’ acceptance speech parodies his infamous interruption of Taylor Swift at the 2009 American Music Awards.
  • Sudden Name Change:
    • Lisa Berger was previously known as ‘Lorraine’.
    • Annie Nelson originally had the surname of ‘Faulk’.
    • Bill (of the Bill and Fosse duo) had the surname ‘Allen’ in ‘T.M.I.’ but is referred to as ‘Billy Turner’ here (which was the name of a different character in ‘Erection Day’ and ‘Tsst’).
  • Take That!: Kim Kardashian is referred to as a hobbit.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Mr. Mackey is at his worst since "Royal Pudding". He takes Butters' side and threatens to have Wendy sent to ‘Jelly School’.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Wendy blasts Butters for calling Lisa Berger fat.
    • Then Mr Mackey blasts her for doing the same to prove her point.
    • Everyone including Stan are pulling this on Wendy.
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