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Recap / South Park S 4 E 5 Cartman Joins NAMBLA

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In need of older and mature friends, Cartman takes to the Internet—and ends up the poster child for the local chapter of NAMBLA (the North American Man/Boy Love Association) after Dr. Mephisto recommends that Cartman looks for friends there. Meanwhile, Kenny's parents are expecting another child, and Kenny does whatever he can to stop it.


  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: Think that the North American Man/Boy Love Association is just some sick pedophile joke that Trey Parker and Matt Stone cooked up? No, it's real. Even Trey and Matt were surprised that it was real.
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  • Black Comedy Rape: Stuart's final humiliation in the episode is to be raped by 40 middle-aged child molesters. Played entirely for laughs.
  • Butt-Monkey: Stuart (Kenny's dad) throughout the episode.
  • Continuity Nod: This isn't the first time Kenny got away with forging a note.
  • Everyone Has Standards:
    • Officer Barbrady may be an idiot, but when the NAMBLA members come in to protest against Mr. Garrison and Cartman's first "friend" being put in jail, Barbrady doesn't release them, doesn't believe that they're political prisoners, and tells the members that he's not releasing them until the FBI says so. And when they leave, Barbrady makes a snarky remark about them:
      Barbrady: Boy, they have activists for everything nowadays.
    • Put rather bluntly when one of the NAMBLA men explains that his attraction to little boys isn't something he can control, and that it's wrong for him to be persecuted for just being himself.
      Stan: Yeah, you know, we believe in freedom and equality and all that gay stuff, but dude: fuck you.
      Kyle: Seriously!
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  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: The chatroom scenes with Cartman feature some, such as the chatroom names (see Take That!) and the usernames and replies that cascade across the screen whenever Cartman introduces himself ("R u reading these?", "Get a life.", "You're treading a line!", "This is gay.").
  • Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse: One the one hand, the NAMBLA guy is right in that his sexual attraction to minors isn't his choice any more than homo- or heterosexuality is. On the other hand... he has sex... with children.
  • Fun with Acronyms: The NAMBLA Dr. Mephisto is a member of isn't the North American Man/Boy Love Association; it's the North American Marlon Brando Look-Alikes (a fictional club for fat men who look and sound like Marlon Brando).
  • Groin Attack: Kenny's first attempt to prevent his parents from having a baby is to hit Stuart in the balls while playing catch.
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  • Humiliation Conga: For Stuart.
  • Innocuously Important Episode: Garrison being Mistaken for Pedophile will actually not be forgotten. The next episode will follow up on this, as he is fired from the school and embarks on a writing career, which (after the boys move on to fourth grade) results in him coming out.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: What Cartman was looking for and what all the South Park kids thought NAMBLA was for, unfortunately for them, it wasn't
  • It's Personal: Dr. Mephisto's group despises NAMBLA for taking their domain name.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Even though his rant soon dissolves into blithering nonsense, Cartman is right that given their financial situation, the McCormicks really should not be having another child. This goes for Kenny as well for the same reasons, even if his attempts to keep his parents from conceiving a child are underhanded and extreme.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: The episode, the 53rd overall, ends with this exchange as the McCormicks hold a newborn child identical to Kenny in the hospital:
    Stuart McCormick: God, this must be the fiftieth time this has happened.
    Mrs. McCormick: Fifty-second.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": The boys after their NAMBLA partners take them upstairs to their rooms. One beat later, the boys immediately run screaming from the rooms.
    Stan: I think these guys mean to have sexual encounters with us!
  • Mumbling Brando: The North American Marlon Brando Look-Alikes.
  • Mistaken for Pedophile: Mr. Garrison is accused of this after Cartman meets up with him, although Garrison claims he was expecting a man his age (before lying that he loves women and titties), further hinting his closeted homosexuality.
    • It keeps happening to the NAMBLA Dr. Mephisto is a member of (the North American Marlon Brando Look-Alikes).
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Kyle when NAMBLA is arrested.
    Kyle: Dude! You have Sex. With. Children!
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Barbrady of all people is this episode's.
  • Rewatch Bonus: Dr. Mephesto remarking that Cartman "looks just right" for NAMBLA is funnier once you know that he's actually a member of the "other" NAMBLA.
  • Scooby-Dooby Doors: During the hotel scene
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: The leader of NAMBLA gives a speech equating pedophilia with homosexuality, saying how it's Not So Different and all they want is to be understood. Stan and Kyle respond with "You have sex. With children."
  • Stock Sound Effects: The "screaming rollercoaster riders" sound effect heard when the McCormicks enter North Park Funland will be familiar to anyone who has ever played RollerCoaster Tycoon.
  • Take That!
    • One of the chatrooms that shows on Cartman's PC is called "Joel Schumacher Must Die", possibly a reference to the infamously negative reception regarding Batman & Robin.
    • The ending of the episode also shuts down any and all arguments that pedophiles make and have made to defend having sex with minors.
    • Most of the men in NAMBLA (North American Marlon Brando Look-Alikes) look like Marlon Brando is his later less attractive years as opposed to his I Was Quite a Looker years.
  • They Killed Kenny Again: Kenny is run over by the ambulance Stuart rides to the hospital. This even gets discussed after Mrs. McCormick gives birth to boy swaddled in a similar parka.
  • Unknown Rival: The Man/Boy Love Association doesn't appear to be aware of the Marlon Brando Look-Alikes or their vendetta against them for stealing their domain name.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: The people Cartman contacted over the internet are immediately arrested when he meets with them. The audience knows why, but Cartman thinks it's somehow the work of Stan and Kyle.


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