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Recap / South Park S 7 E 13 Butt Out

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Airdate: December 3, 2003

The boys get in trouble for smoking cigarettes after being forced to sit through an anti-smoking assembly, but the ensuing outrage has Kyle trying to stay out of it as the scenario of the town being outraged over something minor has all been done before.

"Butt Out" contains examples of:

  • Absurdly Ineffective Barricade: Believing Kyle is going to sneak behind his back to steal the commercial position for the Anti-Smoking team, Cartman sneaks into Kyle's house to nail his bedroom door at night. It turns out not only was Kyle just getting back to his room after getting a glass of water, but the door opened the other way. This still didn't stop Cartman from boarding up the door once Kyle went into his room.
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  • Actually Pretty Funny: Rob Reiner said in a Reddit AMA that he thought his portrayal was pretty funny, his only objection being how he’s not really that fat.
  • Ambiguously Human: Reiner emits green goo in place of red blood.
    "My goo! My precious goo!"
  • Broken Pedestal: Cartman idolizes Reiner for enforcing his will on others at every turn. Then he learns the star of the commercial is going to be killed.
  • Clueless Aesop: In-universe. The anti-smoking group Butt Out comes to the school and puts on a presentation against tobacco usage which is so lame, so unimaginably childish, painfully outdated by at least two decades at the time, and poorly thought-out that all it does is make the kids utterly miserable, while simultaneously giving no actual reasons whatsoever why smoking is bad. Worse still, they end on the message "If you don't smoke, you can grow up to be just like us", which of course prompts the kids to begin furiously smoking to avoid ending up anything like the thing they just saw up on stage.
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  • Fat Bastard: Reiner uses propaganda to point out the dangers of smoking while ignoring his obesity to the point he needs butter to squeeze out of his limo, is constantly eating something and when Cartman stabs him with a fork, he bleeds green goo and deflates.
  • Gilligan Cut: The boys are forced to sit through an assembly by an anti-smoking motivational group they think is really lame and disturbing. The group ends their show by saying that if the kids don't smoke, they can grow up to be just like them. Cut to the boys frantically smoking behind the school.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • Rob Reiner believes the tobacco companies, with their millions of dollars and their slick desks and fancy buildings, are responsible for making people want to smoke before the camera pulls out to show the slick desk and fancy building Reiner is in.
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    • Reiner despite being a stern critic of smoking is a serious junk food addict, is very obese and indulges in greasy fast food all the time even though what he does is just as hazardous as smoking.
  • Idiot Ball: Reiner publicly admits to the entire town that he plans to poison Cartman and blame his death on the tobacco companies.
  • I Have No Son!: Randy is distraught over Stan smoking a cigarette and overreacts by screaming out this trope's name.
  • Innocuously Important Episode: This is the first time none of the characters learned from their mistakes.
    Stan: At least we learned something here today.
    Kyle: (disdainfully) No we didn't, Stan. No we didn't.
  • Job Song: A chorus of cigarette factory workers sing a jolly song about the joys of their job.
  • Just the Introduction to the Opposites: The episode mocks the heavy-handed Black-and-White Morality of the usual depictions by turning Big Tobacco into an industry run by friendly, helpful people, while anti-smoking activists are portrayed as sleazy and corrupt.
  • Missing Trailer Scene: A scene from the episode’s preview shows Butters being peer pressured from the members of "Butt out!" during the assembly doesn’t occur in the episode.
  • The Needs of the Many: How Reiner and his group justify wanting to kill Cartman.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: The titular anti-smoking group from the school assembly seems to be based off of the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) campaign, as both use Totally Radical methods of trying to prevent the youth from using cigarettes and drugs.
  • One Steve Limit: Subverted, two of the "Butt out!" members are named Kyle and Randy, which are also the names to two main characters in the series.
  • Person as Verb: "I'm Rob Reiner, and you've just been Reinered."
  • Plot Hole: Rob Reiner is obsessed with all issues relating to smoking and stays on top of news stories on the subject, so he should have already known that Colorado allows smoking in bars.
  • Properly Paranoid: Cartman reads the lines for the commercial and is concerned about the part saying he'll already be dead by the time it airs. One of Reiner's people then offers him a special cupcake, which Cartman immediately refuses.
  • Rich in Dollars, Poor in Sense: Rob Reiner. He's a millionaire living such a lavish lifestyle that he overlooks maybe some people behave differently from him because they're not as fortunate as he is, such as when he hostilely lashed out at a bar patron simply for smoking indoors (though it's legal in Colorado bars) and asking him why doesn't he just de-stress by going to his vacation house in Hawaii or Mexico.
  • Skewed Priorities: The boys are reprimanded and condemned by their parents for smoking, but not for accidentally burning down most of the school.
  • Strictly Formula: Much to Kyle's annoyance, the episode plays out like so many before it: things getting out of control, the townspeople turning into an angry mob, and the boys having to talk about what they learned.
    Kyle: This is all following a formula!
  • Torches and Pitchforks: Kyle realizes that they should tell their parents the truth because he predicts that if they don't the townspeople will probably show up with torches or something, and there'll be a big showdown until they talk about what they learned, and change everyone's minds. In the next scene the townspeople show up carrying torches ready for a big showdown.
  • Totally Radical: An anti-smoking group performs at South Park Elementary, trying to reach the kids this way. Their approach is so painfully outdated that they actually cause the boys to want to smoke.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: The anti-smoking company. If they hadn't been so lame and outdated with their approach (or at least if they hadn't said that "If you don't smoke, you can grow up to be just like us") then the boys wouldn't have smoked in the first place and there wouldn't have been an outrage.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Rob Reiner is a fat, lying manipulative bastard who is adored by the townspeople for the TV show characters he played and possibly also the movies he directed.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Reiner's group tries to kill Cartman to further one of their attempts to persuade people to stop smoking.

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