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Recap / South Park S 1 E 6 Death

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Airdate: September 17, 1997

While the parents of South Park head to New York to protest a TV channel over its most vulgar flagship show, Kenny gets explosive diarrhea (which spreads to the protesters) and Stan, whose 102-year-old grandfather keeps asking him to kill him, tries to get advice over whether it's right to assist someone with suicide.

"Death" contains examples of

  • Accidental Misnaming: Grandpa Marsh calls Stan by the name "Billy". The same goes to his grandfather.
  • An Aesop: The boys explain that parents shouldn't be out fighting to fix bad things and should instead spend more time with their children, adding that many parents blame television for "corrupting" their children because they expect it to be like a babysitter towards them.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: The boys and Death pause their chase to watch Terrance & Phillip on a store window TV. When the broadcast is interrupted by the protest, the chase resumes.
  • Bowdlerization: Later airings edit Cartman's line "Kyle's mom is a dirty Jew!" by having the "dirty" in "dirty Jew" bleeped out. Unfortunately, it made the line seem more vulgar than intended. The DVD version has it edited the same way, while Netflix's print was uncut. As of 2019 and 2020, the line is uncut on the HD remastered version.
    • Syndication prints of this episode cut out the scene where the boys ponder other ways for fun now that Terrance & Phillip has been cancelled, including huffing gasoline, smoking crack and watching porn.
  • Continuity Nod: Stan says he can't kill his grandfather because "he can't even kill a deer", a reference to "Volcano".
  • Dope Slap: Cartman slaps Kyle in the back of the head for his mom calling the other moms and preventing them from watching Terrance & Phillip.
  • Driven to Suicide: Grandpa Marsh
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Phillip was voiced by Matt Stone in this episode, while Terrance was voiced by Trey Parker. They would switch roles when the characters were brought back in later stories.
    • Sheila and Sharon have different names in this episode (see Name's the Same).
    • Terrance and Phillip is explicitly described as a cartoon in this episode, with their odd appearance being because in-universe they are crude animations. In "Not Without My Anus", this would be retconned to them being real comedians and all Canadians looking like that in the South Park universe.
      • The duo were also supposed to be English, with Phillip's very first line having a distinct upper-class English inflection.
      • In one scene, the duo is wearing spacesuits with the American flag instead of the Canadian, and the network broadcasting their show is called "Cartoon Central" (an in-joke reference of "Comedy Central") instead of "The Canada Channel" ("the only channel in Canada") as in later episodes.
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    • The episode makes a point of avoiding talking about the issue of euthanasia, with each character Stan asks saying they won't touch it with "a ___-foot pole", and the episode just ending with the (almost certainly intentional) Captain Obvious Aesop that you shouldn't have prepubescent children assisting in euthanasia. Later episodes of South Park would not shy away from discussing controversial political issues, with some even taking an obvious side of the debate.invoked
  • Everybody Laughs Ending
  • Foreshadowing
    Cartman: Just because your mom is a bitch doesn't mean the whole world has to suffer.
  • Go-Karting with Bowser: Death and the boys temporarily give up the chase to watch some Terrence and Phillip together.
  • Gosh Darn It to Heck!: 'Carol' ends up taking offense to the words "ho" and "buttmunch" from a rerun of She's the Sheriff, which seem like family-friendly words compared to Terrance and Phillip.
  • The Grim Reaper: He shows up in the latter half of the episode and goes on to chase the boys as it is their (or rather, Kenny's) time.
  • Here We Go Again!: After their protest is over, the parents to back to New York when they see the suggestive content in She's the Sheriff.
  • Hypocritical Humor: The adults protest Terrance and Phillip for making fart jokes, while at the same time making jokes about their diarrhea.
  • Is the Answer to This Question "Yes"?: When Stan and Marvin are about to go through with the assisted suicide:
    Stan: Are you ready, Grampa?
    Marvin: Does the pope crap in the woods?
  • Moral Guardians: The first of many, many Take Thats against them.
  • Negative Continuity: Despite Terrance and Phillip getting cancelled by the end, they're back on the air in later episodes. Fridge Brilliance in the YMMV section may explain why
  • Running Gag: Every time Stan asks someone if it's okay to kill someone who is suicidal, they respond with "I'm not touching that with a ___-foot pole". Mr. Garrison starts it at 20, Chef fills it with 40 and Jesus ends it at 60.
  • Shout-Out
    • Sheila demands more "quality" programming like Full House.
    • Terrance & Phillip end up getting replaced by She's the Sheriff (which isn't a cartoon).
  • Sick Episode: Started by Kenny who gets Mr. Garrison sick with stomach flu. It spreads to the rest of the adults, to the point where Cartoon Central complains about the diarrhea stench.
  • Suicide as Comedy: Grandpa's suicidal feelings are played entirely for laughs, particularly since he continues to act like a Grumpy Old Man about it.
  • Take That!: Grandpa Marsh finally gets Stan to assist him in suicide by getting him to know what being old is like. He proceeds to lock him in a closet and forces him to listen to Enya music.
  • They Killed Kenny Again: The Angel of Death kills him with a single touch.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Cartman suggests this trope word-from-word to Stan on killing his grandfather, yet Stan shoots it down by wanting the death to look natural.

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