Airdate: February 25, 1998
Cartman goes on a quest to find out who is real father is. Meanwhile, Stan, Kyle, and Kenny try to tape Cartman's weird behavior so they can send the video to America's Stupidest Home Videos and win $10,000.
This episode contains the following:
- Actually Pretty Funny: Stan's grandfather and the studio audience find Bob Saget funny, much to Stan and Kyle's disbelief.
- Ambiguously Gay: When Cartman publicly accuses Mr. Garrison of being his father, Jimbo says that's impossible because Garrison's gay. Garrison openly denies it, but the flashback shows he was most interested in Liane when Chef was there.
- Angst? What Angst?: When Stan's parents inform him and Kyle that Kenny was hit by a train that morning, neither of them (having witnessed his death themselves) feel remorse.Randy: Is there, uh, anything we can do for you, son?
Stan: (chipper) How 'bout some ice cream?
Kyle: (likewise) Yeah, with butterscotch.
Sharon: You bet, you poor dears.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall:
Cliffhanger narrator: Find out in the next five weeks on an all-new episode of South Park.
- The characters responding to the cliffhanger narrator's questions about whether or not they're Cartman's father.
- Cartman also does this when the cliffhanger narrator doesn't reveal who his father is.
Cartman: Aw, son of a bitch!
- Call-Back: When Jimbo says Mr. Garrison is gay, he responds "You go to hell! You go to hell and you die!" This was a quote he said to Kyle in the very first episode.
- Captain Obvious:Kyle: Mr. Mackey, something's really wrong with Cartman.
Mr. Mackey: Oh, well, there's a newsflash!
- Censored Title: On a lot of cable and TV guides, this episode is retitled "Cartman's Mom" (with and without the ellipses). When Comedy Central originally announced the episode, they simply billed it "Cliffhanger".
- Cliffhanger: Much to Cartman's irritation.
- Comically Missing the Point:
- Although the Father's Day posters are all around the school and Cartman is clearly bothered, instead, Mr. Mackey just gives Stan, Kyle and Kenny a video camera to record his antics.
- Chef's song to Cartman after revealing that he isn't Cartman's dad ends up doing this.
- Crack Defeat: Stan and Kyle's video of Cartman's tea party loses the $10,000 grand prize to Grandpa Marsh's video of Kenny's go-kart ride and death on the train tracks.Stan: Oh my God, they videotaped killing Kenny!
Kyle: You bastards!
- The Dreaded Pretend Tea Party: Cartman is mortified to find the other guys have covertly videotaped him having a pretend tea party with his dolls and action figures, together with his giving them distinctive funny voices, and have the video submitted to America's Stupidest Home Videos.
- Establishing Character Moment:
- Cartman's playing with dolls and using them to talk to him and boost his self-esteem is established in this episode.
- Mr. Garrison's deep denial of him being gay is firmly established in this episode.
- Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Cartman gets angry when his mother is called a slut.
- Heroic BSoD: Cartman goes into a depressive state when he can't afford the money for DNA testing for his father.
- Hidden Depths: Cartman is genuinely distressed over not having a dad. He also uses his dolls to boost his self-esteem.
- High-Pressure Emotion: Cartman turns red with rage when he sees Stan and Kyle recorded his tea party and sent it in to America's Stupidest Home Videos.
- Irony: When Mr. Mackey talks to Stan and Kyle about Cartman dealing with not having a father, a poster behind Mr. Mackey reads "If you don't have a Dad you're a BASTARD!"
- Jerkass: Stan and Kyle. They took footage of Cartman having a tea party with his dolls and send it into America's Stupidest Home Videos to win $10,000.
- Pet the Dog: They then offer to let him use some of the money for DNA testing to find out who his dad is and when they get a runner up prize of $3,000, they let him use it.
- O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Cartman having a tea party with his dolls. Kyle wants to make fun of him for it, but Stan sees it means he's dealing with a major problem and needs help.
- Pretty Fly for a White Guy: When Cartman thinks Chef is his dad, he acts like this. He stops once Chef says he isn't Cartman's dad.
- Really Gets Around: Mrs. Cartman has slept with every adult in the town except for Halfy.Stan: Wow. I always knew Cartman's mom was a slut, but goddamn!
- Special Guest: Parodied. Jay Leno supplied the cat noises for Kitty.
- Take That!: America's Stupidest Home Videos is obviously one towards America's Funniest Home Videos. They also use the opportunity to mock something related to it.
- That Makes Me Feel Angry: Cartman, upon seeing the video of his tea party:Cartman: I'm...so...pissed off right now.
- They Killed Kenny Again: Kenny loses control of a go-kart, lands on some train tracks, and gets hit by a train.
- Three-Way Sex: In the Flashback, Liane Cartman discusses with Chef if he and Mr. Garrison could do the "manage-o-three"note with her.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Kyle is disgusted to learn that even his own father slept with Cartman's mom.
- Wild Take: When Kenny starts the go-kart and it suddenly takes off, his body separates into floating pieces for a split second.