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Recap / South Park S 7 E 9 Christian Rock Hard

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The boys form a garage band named MOOP with Cartman singing lead, Stan and Kyle on guitars, and Kenny on drums, but their sound is unfocused, to say the least. Cartman has a solution: Christian rock, due to its built-in audience of devout Christians. The others reject the idea, and Cartman bets Kyle that he can get a platinum album before they can. He rushes off and recruits Butters on drums and Token on bass for his Christian rock band, Faith Plus One. Their songs simply involve replacing terms of endearment such as "darling" and "baby" in existing songs with references to God and Jesus (without toning down sexually explicit references), and soon they have a Self-Titled Album which they sell at Christ-fest, a Christian music festival. By locking Sanctified, one of the other bands, in a janitor's closet, Faith Plus One get onto the stage and win over the audience, securing a recording contract with Faith Records.


Meanwhile, Stan, Kyle, and Kenny take to Napster to download MP3s of popular bands for inspiration - and the FBI immediately storm the house and arrest them. They don't understand why Digital Piracy Is Evil, so the FBI agent shows them rock stars who have had to delay or scale back luxury purchases thanks to revenue lost to digital piracy. After being released from custody, Kyle deduces that even if MOOP becomes successful, people will simply download their music for free instead of paying for it, so the band decide to go on strike. Before long, other musicians (most notably the members of Metallica, a poke at their outspoken opposition to music piracy in the early to mid 2000s) have joined them in the strike.

The two subplots re-convene when Faith Plus One's album sells a million copies, and MOOP are invited to the presentation ceremony (on which Cartman has spent all of the band's revenue) so that Cartman can laugh in Kyle's face and collect his $10. Declaring that making music for people to enjoy should take priority over making money (a sentiment none of the other musicians share), Stan, Kyle, and Kenny swallow their pride and go to the Faith Plus One ceremony. However, it turns out that there is no such thing as a platinum album in Christian rock; a million seller is a myrrh album. Enraged that his bet with Kyle is unwinnable, Cartman drives away the entire audience by screaming "FUCK JESUS!" - twice. Token finally snaps after one racist snipe too many and beats the hell out of Cartman, and even Butters farts in his face and delivers a Precision F-Strike.


Tropes Present In The Episode:

  • Artistic License – Awards: In real life, there's no such thing as a myrrh album. Christian and inspirational music albums that sell a million copies go platinum, just like secular music.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Cartman spent all the money he got from selling his albums on his award ceremony and then proceeds to ruin his band's reputation by cursing out Jesus because he's unable to win the bet he made with Kyle. Apparently, losing $10 and a bet to Kyle is worse than losing millions of dollars and fame (then again, it's Cartman, so of course it'd be worse to him).
  • The Dog Bites Back: Token and Butters, at the very end.
  • Digital Piracy Is Evil: Parodied. When the boys download music off of the internet, a SWAT Team bursts into their house and forcibly shows them the consequences of their actions.
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  • Dreadful Musician: When Stan, Kyle, Cartman and Kenny are practicing their music, which sounds relatively off-key, Randy comes in and compares the boys' music to Vietnamese people getting their intestines pulled out through their mouths.
  • Exact Words: The bet was for getting a platinum album, not a myrrh album (though see Artistic License – Awards above), so Kyle didn't lose the bet and Cartman can never win.
  • Faux Horrific: The celebrities having to cut slightly down on their Conspicuous Consumption
  • Felony Misdemeanor: Want to download music off the Internet? The FBI will immediately bust into your house...then you have to pay a relatively small fine.
  • God-Is-Love Songs: Cartman explains all you have to do is cross out words like "baby" and "darling" and replace them with "Jesus". He even does this with songs that have more explicit and sexual content, which the record label head points out in a meeting.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Sanctified tells Cartman how hardcore they are.
    Band Member 1: We're the band Sanctified. We play metal and punk, but with lyrics that inspire faith in Christ.
    Band Member 2: Yeah. We prove that Christian music can be tough and hard core.
    Cartman: Yeah, you guys are real hard core.
    Band Member 1: You bet your gosh-darned rear end we are!
  • Intercourse with You: What a lot of Cartman's God-Is-Love Songs end up being, as he only changed "baby" and "darling" to "Jesus" and didn't think to tone down the other lyricsnote 
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Downplayed. Token knocks Cartman onto the floor with three hard slugs after ruining the band and one too many racist jabs.
  • Only in It for the Money:
    • Cartman's true reason for forming Faith+1. The bet between them and Moop was made that one would owe the other ten dollars if one band manages to get the platinum album before the other. But when the owners of Faith Records want to make sure Faith+1 are in it for God and not this trope, Cartman had to come up with this lie:
      Cartman: I resent that, sir! I have never done anything in my life just for the money! If I'm lying, may the Lord strike me down right now! (cuts to Butters cowering in his chair, fearing this punishment)
    • All the other artists who show up to Moop's strike admit that they're only in it for the money in the end.
  • Precision F-Strike: Butters does a beautiful and uncharacteristic one at the end of the episode.
    Butters: [farts in Cartman's face and flips him off] Fuck you, Eric.
  • Rule 34: Many of the jokes in this episode revolve around Christian faith songs which are about being physically in love with Jesus.
  • Skewed Priorities: Cartman cares more about not being able to win his bet with Kyle than the fact his band has made millions of dollars.
  • Stereotype Reaction Gag: Cartman claims that Token must have a bass guitar at his house somewhere because he and his family are black. Despite being certain that his family does not own a bass, he finds one, but says he doesn't know how to play it. Again, Cartman tells him that he's black, so of course he can play it. Token is offended by Cartman's stereotyping, but Cartman tells him to just shut up and play the damn thing. To his own surprise, Token discovers that he can actually play it perfectly, and can only mutter, "Goddammit..." in defeat.
  • Take That!:
    • Although Christian rock as a genre gets worked over in this episode, Parker and Stone save a special swipe for a band cynics were starting to love to hate by 2003:
      Cartman: Our band should play Christian rock!
      Kyle: Christian rock!?
      Cartman: Think about it! It's the easiest, crappiest music in the world, right? If we just play songs about how much we love Jesus, all the Christians will buy our crap!
      Kyle: That's a retarded idea, Cartman!
      Cartman: It worked for Creed!
    • The musicians and law enforcement who believe Digital Piracy Is Evil; the former are portrayed as Only in It for the Money, the latter as obsessed over what seems like a minor offence.


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