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Recap / South Park S5E4 "Scott Tenorman Must Die"

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Revenge is a dish best served salty.

You really care that much about sixteen measly dollars?
Scott Tenorman
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Original airdate: July 11, 2001

Cartman exacts revenge on an older boy who sold him his pubes and constantly tries to trick him out of his allowance. Said revenge is anything but pretty.


Tropes:

  • An Aesop: Playing mean pranks on people may come back to bite you at some point, so don't put out what you can't take back.
  • Ask a Stupid Question...: Happens when the rest of the boys explain to Cartman that he's supposed to grow his own pubic hair to hit puberty, not buy it:
    Cartman: But then why would Scott Tenorman sell me his pubes for ten dollars?
    Kyle: Because, retard, you're dumb enough to buy Scott Tenorman's pubes for ten dollars!
  • The Bad Guy Wins: If you consider Cartman to be an outright villain in this episode rather than just an awful kid with some major skewered priorities.
  • Batman Gambit: A truly evil one from Cartman, almost bordering on a Xanatos Gambit.
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  • Bait-and-Switch: When Cartman revealed that he knew about Scott's plan to make him eat his pube-laced chili, it seems to set up that Cartman swapped bowls so that he'd eat it instead.
  • Berserker Tears: Cartman has these after Scott burns his money in front of him.
  • Bullying a Dragon: In hindsight, Scott would have been better off if he had just given Cartman back his money.
  • Characterisation Click Moment: In the first four seasons, Cartman was more of a whiny and naïve Spoiled Brat who hated almost everybody. This episode marked a major turning point for the character, turning him into the cunning, manipulative psychopath he is today.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Mr. Jenkins, the farmer.
  • Chekhov's Lecture: Jimbo makes it a point to inform Cartman (thinking he was trespassing) that Mr. Jenkins shoots trespassers on sight.
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  • The Chessmaster: In this episode, Cartman orchestrates several moments that eventually leads to him feeding Scott his own dead parents.
  • Create Your Own Villain: Scott scamming Cartman out of his $16.12 horrifically backfires on him.
  • Darker and Edgier: Trey Parker and Matt Stone state this to be a milestone episode, as the point where Cartman went from being a Spoiled Brat to "the most evil kid in the world."
  • Die Laughing: How Kenny dies in this episode. His ghost emerges from his body still laughing.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Cartman does NOT take serial humiliation well at all.
  • Downer Ending: Cartman manages to manipulate Scott into accidentally getting his own parents killed, has him devour their corpses, and cements himself as a sociopathic demon.
  • Escalating War: Between Cartman and Scott. At first they're fighting over the $16.12, then they just want to publicly humiliate each other.
  • Evil Genius: Cartman becomes this in his plan to seek revenge on Scott. His plan is one full to the brim with red herrings. First, his plan is to have Scott's weiner bitten off by a pony owned by Farmer Jenkins. However, he suspects that Stan and Kyle will try to warn Scott. He also figured that Scott be too much of a coward, and would send someone else to get the pony. Then, he finally told Jenkins about crazy pony killers in the area, and... We all know what's next.
  • Evil Is Petty: Scott burning up Cartman's money in front of him just for the sake of it. Granted, not what Cartman does to him in return is any better...
  • Evil vs. Evil: A spoiled Fat Bastard is in conflict with a spiteful teen. Though at the end of the day, Scott proves himself to be the lesser of two evils.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Scott apparently doesn't notice that the pony is at the chili cookoff, meaning his parents obviously didn't get it from the ranch. Cartman even tells him the pony is there, but Scott doesn't pick up on it.
  • Foreshadowing: Right before Cartman and Scott eat their chili, Cartman makes a point to try and get Scott to go towards the pony. The same pony Scott's parents said they were going to rescue the previous night...
  • Genius Ditz: Cartman is at his most stupid and gullible in this episode. He doesn't realize pubic hair is grown naturally, repeatedly loses money to Scott through very obvious cons, thinks he can buy a movie ticket with pubes, and doesn't see through the lie about the nonexistent Pube Fair until he's traveled over a hundred miles to attend it. And yet at the same time, Cartman is at his most ingenius because he forms and flawlessly executes a complicated plan of revenge to get back at Scott in a tremendously diabolical way.
  • Hate Sink: While Cartman's revenge at the end is far worse than what Scott did, his Laughably Evil qualities and elaborate plan make him entertaining. Scott has none of that, and is written throughout the episode as a sadistic bully played completely straight, who enjoys humiliating a fourth-grader he doesn't even know, just because he can.
  • Humiliation Conga: The beginning half of the episode is one long one to Cartman. The very end is one for Scott.
  • I Ate WHAT?!: Scott is tricked into eating his own parents.
  • I Lied: Scott makes Cartman beg for his money back, only to burn it in front of him, while boasting about what a huge allowance he gets from his parents.
  • Jerkass Ball:
    • Stan and Kyle show no sympathy for Cartman getting ridiculed by Scott and even rat him out to Scott. The latter was actually part of Cartman's plan.
    • Butters is also shown to laugh at Cartman's humiliation, even though he normally wouldn't insult Cartman (unless he was pushed too far). Granted, this was before his full characterization struck in.
  • Kansas City Shuffle: Cartman's master plan hinges on Scott thinking he knows what his plan is, and reacting accordingly.
  • Karma Houdini: Cartman faced no consequences for his deplorable act of violence, and the incident has only very rarely been acknowledged in future episodes.
  • Kick the Dog: Burning Cartman's money right in front of him. Of course, Cartman massively one ups him by having his parents gunned down, then blended into his chili and finally having his favorite band insult him when all's said and down.
  • Kneel Before Zod: Scott makes Cartman kneel in front of him and beg him for his money back by oinking like a pig.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Scott's treatment of Cartman bites him in the ass at the end of the episode with Cartman's Disproportionate Retribution.
  • Men Don't Cry: Radiohead mock Scott for being a "little crybaby" when he's informed of his parents' deaths. In their defense, they didn't know that.
  • Mocking the Mourner: Cartman is absolutely vicious with his mockery of Scott as he mourns his parents.
  • Mugging the Monster: Of course, no one, not even Stan or Kyle, knew how low Cartman would sink to get revenge.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Kyle decides to let Scott know in advance that Cartman is trying to teach a pony to bite his penis off, prompting Scott to inform his parents of a "starving pony" at Mr. Jenkins' farm that needs rescuing. This is the biggest linchpin in Cartman's plan...
  • No Sympathy: Stan and Kyle find Scott's treatment of Cartman highly amusing, and even rat him out to Scott near the end. Turns out, Cartman was planning on that.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Cartman at one point dresses in a suit and glues the pubes onto his face so that he can pose as an IRS agent and trick Scott into giving him his money back. Scott isn't fooled at all, since the disguise can't hide the fact that Cartman is a short, fat kid who's younger than him.
  • Pet the Dog: When Cartman reveals that he swapped Scott's chili with Chef's, he takes a moment to reassure Chef that his chili is delicious.
  • Plot Hole: It's never explained how Scott recorded footage of Cartman's "little piggy" routine since he didn't have a camera on-hand.
  • "Psycho" Strings: They're heard several times during the final scene.
  • Revenge by Proxy: Cartman's over-the-top revenge on Scott involves feeding him his own parents in a chili. Note that this scheme requires Mr. and Mrs. Tenorman dead, and they didn't do anything to piss off Cartman.
  • Rousing Speech: Cartman gives one, but everyone except Timmy walks out before the end. Then Timmy leaves too.
  • The Secret of Long Pork Pies: "I call it 'Mr. and Mrs. Tenorman Chili'."
  • Shout-Out:
  • Skyward Scream: Cartman screams incoherent rage into the rainy night sky after Scott burns his money.
  • Smug Snake: Scott thinks rather highly of himself for being able to humiliate a fourth-grader several times. He has no idea who he's dealing with...
  • Space Whale Aesop: The real message of this episode is to not fuck with Cartman. This is lampshaded when Kyle and Stan agree to never piss Cartman off again.
  • Spanner in the Works: Downplayednote : Chef actually brought some chili to Cartman's chili con carnival, something he actually did not expect (along with how good it would be). However, it wasn't a big stumbling block as Cartman just chose to swap Scott's pube chili with it; it actually benefits Cartman since he loves Chef's chili and didn't have to eat the Scott's chili.
  • Start of Darkness: This is the episode that turned Cartman from an incredibly obnoxious (but still mostly harmless) brat into the downright evil sociopath he is now.
  • Teens Are Monsters: Scott is this in spades, though he later proves himself to be a saint compared to Cartman.
  • That's All, Folks!: Cartman parodies the famous Looney Tunes closing... after he successfully completes his plot to have Scott eat his parents.
  • They Killed Kenny Again: Kenny laughs himself to death when Scott plays Cartman's "Little Piggy" song in front of the entire town. His ghost can even be seen still laughing, even as it rises out of his body.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Scott's parents. Scott tells them that Mr. Denkins is abusing his pony by starving it to death. Instead of asking Mr. Denkins what's going on or calling the authorities, Mr. and Mrs. Tenorman sneak onto Mr. Denkins' ranch in an effort to rescue the pony. Mr. Denkins sees the trespassers and guns both of them down.
  • Tranquil Fury: Cartman is perfectly calm as he describes what he did to Scott.
  • Understatement: In response to what Cartman's done to Scott.
    Kyle: It might be a good idea never to piss off Cartman again.
    Stan: Good call.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Scott, his parents, Mr. Denkins, Stan, and Kyle all unknowingly play into Cartman's hands and advance his plan to get revenge on Scott.
  • Villain Episode: The entire episode revolves around Cartman. This is also one of the only episodes to focus on only one character — in most episodes, two or more characters share the spotlight (Kyle/Stan, Kyle/Cartman, Cartman/Butters, etc.)
  • Waxing Lyrical: Cartman says to Scott Tenorman, "Haha, charade you are." This is a reference to the Pink Floyd song "Pigs (Three Different Ones)" from Animals.
  • Wham Line: "What, you mean about how you put pubes in your chili?"
  • With Friends Like These...: Stan and Kyle refuse to help Cartman, and ultimately try to sabotage his final revenge scheme by warning Scott of his plan. Apparently Cartman had prepared his scheme based on them betraying him.
    Scott: How do you know?
    Kyle: Because we're his friends.
    Scott: Then... why are you telling me?
    Kyle: *flatly* Because we hate him.
  • Worthless Currency: Cartman is conned into buying a teenager's pubic hair, believing it will grant him puberty. He becomes quite vengeful after the other boys inform him he is meant to grow his own pubes. With no money left, Cartman attempts to purchase a film ticket in "pubes":
    Clerk: That'll be six dollars.
    Cartman: Okay... and how much is that in "pubes"?
    Clerk: (beat) We don't take "pubes".
    Cartman: (defiant) Listen, my money is as good as anybody's! Don't you, uh, discriminate against my people by not accepting these pubes.
    Clerk: We don't take pubes! End of story!!
    Cartman: (storms off) RACIST!!!

 
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What better way to cap off an episode involving one of the most messed-up plot twists in television history,

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