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Recap / South Park S 6 E 14 The Death Camp Of Tolerance

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Original airdate: November 20, 2002

Mr. Garrison is reinstated as fourth grade teacher, but then learns that if he gets fired for being gay, he could sue for millions. He attempts to get himself fired by performing sexual acts in front of the students with the help of his new "teaching assistant" Mr. Slave. Instead of the desired effect, he is instead applauded as courageous and brave, while the kids complaining about his behavior are accused of being homophobic, and sent to the eponymous Death Camp of Tolerance.


This episode includes examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: While being scolded for being intolerant, Butters defends that Mr. Garrison "killed" Lemmiwinks. Stephen angrily tells him to shut his mouth and to speak when he's spoken to.
  • Accidental Public Confession: When Mr. Garrison finishes his angry rant at the Museum of Tolerance, not only does he admit that he was purposely acting lewd in order to get the audience to see the difference between tolerance and acceptance, he also accidentally confesses that he was trying to get himself fired in order to sue the school for millions. Needless to say, he and Mr. Slave get what they deserve at the end.
  • An Aesop: Being overly tolerant is just as bad as being intolerant. Also that preaching tolerance isn't the answer because you can tolerate something you hate; the answer is preaching acceptance.
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  • Artistic License – Biology: Lemmiwinks' journey; apparently Gerbils Can Breathe In Intestines. Not to mention this would be a bad idea in the first place, because real rodents bite a lot when frightened.
  • Ass Shove: Mr. Garrison stuffed Lemmiwinks up Mr. Slave's ass.
  • Bait the Dog: Cartman find two girls hiding in a latrine at the Auschwitz-like tolerance camp. He doesn't divulge their location to a passing by security guard who questions what he's doing... so that he can take a dump on the girls. And then he goes to tattle on them anyway.
  • Body Horror: All four boys are shown to be severely malnourished by the time their parents arrive at the camp to pick them up.
  • Boomerang Bigot: Principal Victoria sends Mr. Garrison and Mr. Slave to Tolerance Camp at the end of the episode, accusing them of being intolerant of their own homosexuality, though this is just an excuse since during his angry rant on stage, Mr. Garrison accidentally revealed his plan to get fired on purpose and sue the school for millions.
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  • Break the Cutie: The boys are clearly shaken and emaciated from their experience in the tolerance camp, and can only silently stare at their parents when they come to pick them up.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Much of the episode's humor.
    • The boys are made to walk down a sort of bigotry simulator, where racist words like "kike" and "nigger" are randomly shouted at them to better understand what it's like to not be tolerated. Cartman, being Cartman, treats it like an amusement park ride and gleefully asks his mother if he can go again when it's over.
    • Later on, the tour guide uses Cartman as an example of how the boys need to tolerate the life choices of fat people and not call him names like "tubby", "lardbutt" or "fat tits". Stan and Kyle's main takeaway is that they have to remember "fat tits" for the future as that's a good insult.
    • Garrison's incredulity that the Museum of Tolerance wants to give him the "Courageous Teacher Award".
      • "I shoved a gerbil up your ass, and they want to give me a goddamn medal!"
    • In the final act, while the parents genuinely understand that their children were not bigoted and were simply aghast by Garrison's behavior, Principal Victoria concludes Mr. Garrison is not being tolerant of his behavior. Even after Garrison openly declares he is trying to get fired for being gay and suing the school.
  • Delayed Reaction: After two seasons of not seeing the joke of Miss Choksondik's name, the kids finally see it.
  • Depraved Homosexual: Mr. Garrison and Mr. Slave intentionally turn this trope Up to Eleven, since Mr. Garrison is trying to get himself fired.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Mr. Garrison might be trying to sue the school for millions, but even he gets disgusted at everybody for letting him act the way he has been.
  • Foreshadowing: This episode is about tolerance and open-mindedness. There are many politically correct terms thrown around when the kids visit the Tolerance Museum. We'll be seeing this sort of political correctness on steroids in Season 19.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: At the seminar, Liane slaps Cartman for yawning.
  • Hellhole Prison: The "tolerance seminar/camp", which plays out in a very Schindler's List–esque way.
  • Hypocrite:
    • The parents scold their kids for being intolerant towards others, only to harass a nearby man for smoking and telling him to kill himself.
      • In a later scene when the boys' respective parents retrieve them from the Tolerance Camp, the parents scold their kids for "making them suffer" without realizing that their kids actually were the ones suffering.
    • Shelia is angry at Kyle for allegedly discriminating against gays, even though she herself discriminated against Canada in The Movie.
  • I Resemble That Remark!: Garrison quickly agrees with Chef when the latter refers to him as a sick queer.
  • Idiot Houdini: Principal Victoria fails to realize that Garrison was the one to blame for all of this until after she sends the boys to the museum (and later the camp) and Chef to the seminar. She is called out for her blindness to the situation at hand, but otherwise gets away with it.
  • Irony: The titular tolerance camp is modeled after Auschwitz and run by very Nazi-like German staff.
  • Jerkass: Mr. Garrison tried to get fired by making the kids feel uncomfortable so he can get $25 million.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • Stan, Kyle, Cartman and Butters' parents face no repercussions for sending them to tolerance camp and even claim that they were the ones who suffered, not the boys.
    • The tolerance camp's staff face no repercussions for creating a concentration camp and torturing their captives.
  • Kick the Dog: Cartman craps on a couple of girls hiding in the portable toilet and then rats them out to one of the camp staff.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Mr. Garrison gets sent to tolerance camp at the end for his scheme to purposely get himself fired and sue the school for millions.
  • Lazy Mexican: The kids are at one point taken to "The Museum of Tolerance" and shown a bunch of wax figures representing ethnic stereotypes. Randy points to what he thinks is the "Lazy Mexican" stereotype, which turns out to be just the janitor taking a nap.
  • Never My Fault: At the end, the parents blame the kids for not telling them how Mr. Garrison was acting but they tried to, but the parents kept insisting they were intolerant. And for making the parents suffer.
  • Only Sane Man: Chef is the only adult who understands that the kids aren't being intolerant towards gay people because they are uncomfortable with Mr. Garrison's teaching methods. He puts it very nicely.
    Chef: Children, there's a big difference between gay people and Mr. Garrison.
  • Political Correctness Gone Mad: Why Mr. Garrison can't get fired despite doing wildly inappropriate things in front of children: nobody wants to be accused of discrimination for firing a gay man for any reason. And then there's the titular camp, a literal concentration camp that propagandizes correctness.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Chef's attempt to tell Principal Victoria about Mr. Garrison's inappropriate behavior falls on deaf ears because he called Mr. Garrison a "sick queer" in the process.
  • Running Gagged: The joke of the kids not getting Miss Choksondik's Punny Name is put to rest when the kids finally get it and laugh when Mr. Mackey mentions her name.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: When Chef tries to call out Mr. Garrison on his "teaching methods", he's faced with an ultimatum of either apologizing for calling Garrison a sick queer in the process or going to a tolerance seminar. Without hesitation, he picks the seminar.
    Chef: Kiss my black ass.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Springtime for Hitler: Mr. Garrison can't get fired no matter how hard he tries. His behaviour only gets him praise, and even an award for his "courage".
  • Status Quo Is God: Mr. Garrison is the boys' teacher again after two seasons of either being unemployed or a kindergarten teacher.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Stan's reaction when Mr. Garrison asks Butters to retrieve Lemmiwinks from his cage and he senses what's about to happen:
  • You Keep Using That Word: Mr. Garrison tells everyone that they are treating the word 'tolerance' like it's 'acceptance'.