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Recap / South Park S1E4 "Big Gay Al's Big Gay Boat Ride"

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Airdate: September 3, 1997

Stan is embarrassed when he discovers his new, macho dog is a homosexual and tries to make him heterosexual, but when Stan's dog runs away, Stan goes after him and nearly blows Jimbo and Ned's chances at beating the point spread of the elementary school football game.

"Big Gay Al's Big Gay Boat Ride" has the following examples:

  • 13 Is Unlucky: Kenny's football jersey. Just as it seems like Kenny's going for a running touchdown for the South Park Cows, he suddenly gets torn apart by three Middle Park Cowboy football players.
  • Advertised Extra: George Clooney was advertised as a guest star on the show. Yet, in the episode itself, he is just Stan's gay dog, Sparky. All he does is bark.
  • Bait-and-Switch: When it seems like Mr. Garrison understands what Stan's going through with his gay dog and would reassure him that there's nothing to worry about, Garrison instead calls out other gay people as evil.
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  • Book Dumb: Jimbo proudly declares himself to be a South Park Elementary alum, since that was as far as most of the town got.
  • Butt-Monkey: Pip not being allowed to use a helmet while playing football.
  • Camp Gay: Big Gay Al, a cheery stereotype of gay men being feminine.
  • Censored Title: On TV Guide, this episode was retitled "Big Al's Big Boat Ride".
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • This time Clyde is voiced by Matt Stone instead of Trey Parker, which is why he sounds like Butters in this episode.
    • Jesus and Pals is depicted as a call-in advice show rather than a daytime talk show, as seen on "The Mexican Staring Frog of Southern Sri Lanka".
  • Epic Fail: We see Cartman finishing a report for school on how Simon & Simon were not actually brothers — only on television. Unfortunately, the assignment was on Asian cultures...and somehow, he gets a "D-" instead of an "F".
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  • Establishing Character Moment: This is the first real hint at Mr. Garrison's homosexuality.
  • Establishing Series Moment: After the previous episode mocked liberals and Democrats for making anti-hunting laws with gaping loopholes, this episode takes a shot at conservatives and Republicans for their anti-gay beliefs, confirming that South Park isn't taking sides.
  • Every Year They Fizzle Out: Subverted. The team loses the game, but they beat the spread.
  • Gay Aesop: Being gay is perfectly natural and anyone who is gay shouldn't be discriminated against or treated differently because of it.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Brian Boitano is inexplicably at Big Gay Al’s sanctuary. In real life, he would come out as gay fifteen years later.
  • Hypocrite: Mr. Garrison considers gay people as evil, even though he most likely is one (and, as later episodes would show, can be downright evil). When Chef calls him out on it, Garrison doubles down by saying that he only acts gay to get chicks.
  • Macho Camp: Sparky is half-wolf, half-doberman and gay.
  • Musical Trigger: Jimbo straps a bomb on the opposing team's mascot, set to go off when the high note of "Loving You" is sung during halftime. Unfortunately, the singer (John Stamos' less talented brother) can't hit the high note and the plan fails. And then at the end he manages to sing it right and the bomb goes off.
  • Nice Guy: Big Gay Al, he takes in gay animals and takes care of them and teaches people that being gay is natural.
  • Non-Standard Character Design: Richard Stamos stands out from the other characters in having a realistic appearance and slightly rounder eyes with blue pupils.
  • Oh, Crap!: Jimbo when he realizes that if his confidence in Stan's ability is wrong, the town will kick his ass since they bet heaps of money on him.
  • Politically Incorrect Announcer: One of the Announcers for the football game.
  • Rule of Three: Three Middle Park Cowboy football players tear Kenny apart.
  • Shaped Like Itself: Cartman calls Sparky a "gay homosexual".
  • Shoo the Dog: Stan shoos out Sparky because he doesn't want a gay dog.
  • Special Guest: Parodied. George Clooney provided the dog noises for Sparky.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Mr. Garrison denying he's gay and claiming he acts that way to pick up chicks.
  • They Killed Kenny Again: Three Middle Park Cowboy football players dismember and decapitate Kenny.
  • Unnecessary Roughness: Kenny being decapitated on the gridiron doesn't even draw a flag.
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