Follow TV Tropes


Recap / South Park S 1 E 2 Weight Gain 4000

Go To
Pictured: Living proof that you can reach your goals by following your dreams.

Airdate: August 27, 1997

Cartman wins an essay contest over Wendy Testaburger and uses a dangerous, muscle-building protein powder to get in shape. Meanwhile, the Mayor wants to use the publicity from Kathie Lee's visit to South Park to get out of the "pissant, white-bread mountain town" and further up the political ladder, and Mr. Garrison plots his revenge against Kathie Lee Gifford.

This episode contains examples of:

  • 0% Approval Rating: Mr. Garrison's exclamation of "To Hell with Kathie Lee Gifford!" during rehearsal of the school's play (in which he has the pioneers attacking the Indians savagely) is met with boos and a dismissal from directing the play.
  • Abnormal Limb Rotation Range: Mr. Hat's head rotates as he exclaims, "KIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIILLLLLLLLLL!"
  • Aesop Amnesia: Played with. Wendy talks Mr. Garrison down (until Stan screws things up) by saying that sometimes in life you're going to lose no matter what you do, and that you can't bear grudges against the person who beat you, only to then show that she hasn't gotten over her own grudge against Cartman's winning the essay contest. However, her grievance against Cartman is more legitimate than Mr. Garrison's grudge against Kathie Lee Gifford (since Cartman actually cheated, while Kathie Lee was just more talented than Garrison), and she begrudgingly drops the matter when it becomes clear that no-one in town really cares.
  • Advertisement:
  • Ax-Crazy: Mr. Hat, who convinces Mr. Garrison to kill Kathie Lee as revenge.
  • Cannot Tell a Joke: Mr. Garrison gets a flashback to him at the National Talents Finals when he was a kid and he told the overused "Orange you glad I didn't say banana?" "Knock Knock" Joke. This leads to a mostly silent crowd with one person clapping in a slow manner. It does earn him a surprisingly good score from the judges though.
  • Call-Back: Kyle's "big fat ass" rant is actually just a toned-down version of his "fat fuck" rant from Jesus vs Santa.
  • Did I Just Say That Out Loud?: Mr. Garrison when he exclaims "To Hell with Kathie Lee Gifford!" right in public.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Mr. Hat's attempt to kill Kathie Lee for outdoing him in a talent show when they were kids.
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • Bebe wears an entirely pink jacket instead of the red and gray one that she's usually known to wear. A similar thing happened in "Cartman Gets an Anal Probe" where she's shown wearing a green jacket instead.
    • Advertisement:
    • Stan, Wendy, and Kyle actually showing concern for Mr. Garrison's mental well-being (even going so far as having Stan and Kyle visit him in the mental hospitalnote  and say, "We hope you can come back to school real soon, Mr. Garrison" without any irony or sarcasm in their voice). In the later episodes, none of the kids would give a crap, and usually for good reason.
    • During the play, Butters attacks Token and punches Pip in the face. Not only would he not be this prone to violence when he became a proper character, but in his "debut" episode, "Two Naked Guys in a Hot Tub," he's shown to be good friends with Pip.
  • Eskimos Aren't Real:
    • Cartman seems to confuse Eskimos with dolphins. To him it's all just "a bunch of tree-hugging hippie crap."
    • It's later revealed that Garrison marked Wendy down on her paper because he made the same mistake.
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • This episode establishes Kyle's bullying of Cartman all the time that still exists in the later episodes.
    • It also establishes Cartman and Wendy's hatred of each other.
  • Gilligan Cut:
    Cartman: I have to go home and get in shape.
    Stan: Yeah, right! You'll go and sit in front of the TV and eat cheesy poofs, ass-master!
    Cartman: Screw you, hippie!
    (cut to Cartman snacking on cheesy poofs in front of the TV)
  • History with Celebrity: Garrison lost a high school talent show to Kathy Lee Gifford. He plans to kill her when she comes to town.
  • Intercourse with You: Chef's song to Kathie Lee, which he gets at the end of the episode.
  • I Reject Your Reality: Cartman refuses to acknowledge taking Weight Gain 4000 is only making him fatter, even when he's become so obese he can't leave his bed.
  • Is This Thing Still On?:
    Mayor McDaniels: (crying) Nohoho nooo. Now I'll be stuck in this Podunk town forever, with all these stupid hick, redneck, jobless, truck driving idiots!
    Ted: Uh, Mayor, the mic is on. (McDaniels has an Oh, Crap! face.)
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Cartman is skeptical of the dolphin's supposed intelligence since they always get trapped in fishnets.
    Wendy: (who wrote a paper on them and lost to Cartman) WHAT?
  • Kids Are Cruel: Kyle does nothing but hurl abuse at Cartman as he gains weight.
  • "Knock Knock" Joke: Garrison tells the classic orange-banana one as a kid.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Mr. Garrison briefly reacts this way after shouting "To hell with Kathie Lee Gifford!" right in front of the Mayor. Unfortunately for him, it doesn't save him from being dismissed from directing the play.
  • Nutritional Nightmare: The titular substance seems to be some variety of protein shake, but it's taken to the point of absurdity. Cartman gains four pounds and has trouble getting inside the bus after one day of drinking it, and by the end of the episode, he's bloated to the point of immobility. The ad contains a quick disclaimer that the substance "may cause permanent damage to the kidneys and liver."
  • Off-Model: Mr. Garrison buys a rifle with a wooden stock from Jimbo, but during subsequent scenes is seen with a rifle he had looked at beforehand, which had a grey metal stock.
  • Plagiarism in Fiction: Cartman's essay turns out to be Walden with Henry David Thoreau's name crossed out. But no one cares, since it got Kathy Lee to come to their town.
  • Police Are Useless: Officer Barbrady tells Mr. Garrison (armed with a gun, which he compliments) where to get a "good, clear shot—er, view of Kathie Lee", and confiscates a camera from a fan, telling him, "No pictures of Kathie Lee!" Later on, Stan tells Barbrady that Mr. Garrison is going to kill Kathie Lee. Barbrady flashes back to himself telling Mr. Garrison to go to the book depository, but then acts like Mr. Garrison "could be anywhere!" Immediately after Barbrady rushes off to issue an APB, Stan and Wendy find out on their own where Mr. Garrison is.
  • Rant-Inducing Slight: The Mayor scolds Mr. Garrison for his brutal depiction of the play, saying that Kathy Lee will not condone it. Which led Mr. Garrison to angrily curse on Kathy Lee (see 0% Approval Rating)
  • Shout-Out:
    • Mr. Garrison uses the "You talkin' to me?!" scene from Taxi Driver to decide whether he has the right gun.
    • Mr. Hat then uses the "I would have gotten away with it if not for you meddling kids." from Scooby-Doo when Barbrady arrests him.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: Cartman's belief that dolphins live in igloos seems to be shared by Mr. Garrison, judging from his comment on Wendy's essay.
  • Temporary Bulk Change: Cartman takes Weight Gain 4000 and winds up incredibly obese to the point that he looks like Jabba the Hutt and is unaware that he's gained weight. He's back to his typical weight the next episode.
  • The Theme Park Version: The Mayor finds Mr. Garrison's depiction of the history of South Park adorable... until the kids portraying the pioneers enter and attack the kids portraying the natives brutally.
    Mayor: Mr. Garrison, we can not have our children beating each other senseless in front of Kathie Lee Gifford.
    Mr. Garrison: Well, what do you want? This is how it happened in those days.
  • They Killed Kenny Again: When Mr. Hat takes a shot at Kathy Lee Gifford, the bullet hits Kenny and sends him flying. Kenny lands on a flagpole, where he's impaled in the head.
  • You Are Fat:
    Kyle: Cartman, you're such a fatass that when you walk down the street people go "GODDAMN! THAT'S A BIG FAT ASS!"
    Cartman: No, they don't, you jealous weakling!
    Random passerby: GODDAMN! THAT'S A BIG FAT ASS!
    Cartman: Ay!!
  • You Meddling Kids:
    Officer Barbrady: Thought you could get away with it, eh Mr. Hat?
    Mr. Hat: (casually) Well, I would have gotten away with it if it weren't for those meddling kids.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: