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Recap / South Park S 1 E 3 Volcano

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"That lava is comin' right for us!"

Episode – 103
Airdate – 8/27/1997

Cartman, Kyle, Stan and Kenny go camping and hunting with Stan's Uncle Jimbo and his buddy Ned. Stan ends up unable to kill any of the animals, but Kenny has no problem and Jimbo gives him more attention than Stan, which makes Stan unhappy. Meanwhile, a nearby volcano erupts and unless something's done, it'll destroy South Park.

"Volcano" contains the following:

  • Absentee Actor: This is the first episode where Butters and Wendy don't appear.
  • Ad-Break Double-Take: Stan aiming a gun at a disguised Cartman.
  • Answer Cut: When Randy's trench plan successfully diverts the lava into a canyon, the mayor asks where it exactly goes. As Randy stares into his plans, going, "Uhh..." the camera cuts to the lava engulfing Denver.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Scuzzlebutt appears at the end to save the town.
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  • Big "NO!": Patrick Duffy when Scuzzlebutt is killed.
  • Big "WHY?!": When Stan shoots Scuzzlebutt, Patrick Duffy lets out a Big "NO!" and exclaims, "Why, God, why?!"
  • Characterization Marches On: Mayor McDaniels is depicted here as being so incompetent that she can't tell the difference between a gynecologist, a geologist, or a geometrist, and such a Pointy-Haired Boss that she fires an aide purely for pointing out her mistakes. In most future episodes she's far saner and more competent.
  • Corruption of a Minor: Jimbo not only gives the boys high-power rifles for hunting, but he also gives them beer (because, after all, what's hunting without it?). He also teaches them illegal hunting tactics, including catching fish with explosives.
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • Randy being so stoic, when it turns out a volcano is about to erupt, he just sips his coffee and sighs. If this were a latter-day episode, he'd be freaking out and coming up with an insane plan to stop it himself. Also, this episode doesn't establish that Randy is Stan's father ("An Elephant Makes Love to a Pig" would).
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    • Mayor McDaniels being incompetent, as mentioned in Characterization Marches On.
    • Kyle says "Oh my God, they killed Kenny!" instead of Stan, and nobody says "You bastards!" at any point in this episode.
  • Epic Fail: The "duck and cover" method of avoiding lava does not work after all, as three hapless men find out the hard way.
  • Establishing Character Moment: While he's nowhere near as hysterical as later season would run with, Randy's first appearance sets up the first of many jokes revolving around him being ridiculously under-qualified for whatever occupation he's in.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Cartman dresses up like Scuzzlebutt to scare Jimbo, Ned, Stan, Kyle, and Kenny. By doing so he learns the cardinal rule of hunting: Never dress as an animal on a hunting trip.
  • Horrible Camping Trip: Although Jimbo, Ned, and the boys make the best of it, even when their car was accidentally blown up.
  • Hypocritical Humor: While scolding Stan for shooting Scuzzlebutt when it saved them, Jimbo also tells him that he can't just shoot at anything, despite the fact he and Ned's been doing just that whenever they come across an animal throughout the episode. Earlier, Jimbo seemed to have almost learnt this lesson after nearly shooting Cartman dressed up as Scuzzlebutt, but the volcano's sudden eruption cuts him off.
  • Jerkass: Mayor McDaniels, who uses the attention the town is getting and the fact that the boys are stuck on the mountain for her own benefit and doesn't really care about what happens to them.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Cartman's Vietnam War "flashbacks" could be just him messing with Ned... or genuine flashbacks from a previous life.
  • A Molten Date with Death: When the volcano erupts, three guys attempt to do the "Duck And Cover" maneuver when a lava flow heads towards them. Predictably, all three of them wind up getting fried to the bone when the lava passes over them.
  • Oh, Crap!: Kyle has this reaction when not only does Scuzzlebutt turn out to be real, but he's likely a carnivore judging by how he tore some leaves off a tree and spat them out in disgust.
  • Real After All: Scuzzlebutt is dismissed as a lame campfire story until he appears at the end.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Jimbo and Ned's excuse of "They're coming right for us!" is inspired by an incident in Colorado in which a man shot three Rocky Mountain black bears (a protected species) down from a tree. His excuse was "They were coming right for us!"
  • Rewatch Bonus: The story of how Ned lost his arm from picking up a live grenade in Vietnam would later come back in "The Mexican Staring Frog Of Southern Sri Lanka". The boys don't seem to notice.
  • Running Gag: Jimbo, Ned and the kids assuming the volcano's rumbling is something else.
  • Skewed Priorities: When Stan and Cartman aim guns at each other, Jimbo stops them because "That's dangerous! You're gonna spill your beers!"
  • Sting: When Randy realises a volcano is about to erupt, and when he announces this to the mayor. A longer, more overblown sting is used when Randy shows the mayor how much the town is doomed.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: At first, the tale of Scuzzlebutt was presented as if it was just an invention of Cartman, but when Scuzzlebutt actually appears during the volcanic eruption...
    Mayor: What... is that thing?
    Chef: That's... Scuzzlebutt!
    Mr. Garrison: Yeah, he has Patrick Duffy for a leg, and weaves baskets.
  • Take That!:
    • When the other kids don't find Scuzzlebutt having Patrick Duffy for a leg scary, Cartman retorts, "Haven't you seen Step by Step?"
    • Trey and Matt have admitted that this episode was inspired by the notoriously nonsensical movie Volcano.
    • The Mayor uses the threat of the boys getting incinerated by the volcano for publicity, even re-doing a speech on live television because she wanted to sound more distraught.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Jimbo kills a deer by blowing it up with a bazooka.
  • They Killed Kenny Again: Kenny dies when he's accidentally shot by Ned — apparently having survived being torched, then crushed by a fireball.
  • Too Dumb to Live: As mentioned above, three men take Officer Barbrady's obviously ridiculous PSA-styled "Duck and Cover" lava safety video seriously and do just that when lava floods towards them...they get cooked, obviously.
  • Two Decades Behind: Spoofed when a volcano covers much of the town with lava and the city screens a 1950s "duck-and-cover" safety short that is so hilariously useless it actually gets more townspeople killed.
    Chef: That's got to be the most ridiculous load of pig crap I've ever seen!
    Officer Barbrady: That's enough out of you!
  • Uncanny Atmosphere: When Jimbo, Ned, and the kids go out and search for Cartman...
    Ned: There's not many animals out today, Jimbo.
    Jimbo: Yeah, it's almost like something funny's going on.
    (The mountain quakes.)
    Jimbo: Christ, Ned. What'd you have for breakfast?
    Ned: I don't know, man, I've got some bad gas.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Stan quickly gets jealous once Jimbo starts giving Kenny more attention.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Stan gets this after killing Scuzzlebutt since it saved them.

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