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Recap / South Park S 8 E 14 Woodland Critter Christmas

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What a special time and a special day, it's Woodland Critter Christmas! note 
Airdate: December 15, 2004

Stan helps a group of seemingly innocent woodland critters build a manger for their savior, only to find out they're Satan worshippers.

This episode contains examples of:

  • Affably Evil: The Woodland Critters, even as Stan and Santa try to stop them, are still the chipper, carefree, devil-worshipping animals from the forest.
  • An Ass-Kicking Christmas: The Woodland Critters are going to birth the Anti-Christ? Not if Santa and his 12-gauge have anything to say about it.
  • Animalistic Abomination: The Anti-Christ takes the form of a snarling, hairless rat-like critter. Which makes sense, as it was birthed by a porcupine.
  • Badass Santa: Santa gets a gun and shoots the Satanic critters dead.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Kyle assumes the story is going to end with Santa killing him with the Anti-Christ in his body to save Christmas. Cartman tells him that's not the ending and he's telling the truth. The lion cubs actually remove the Anti-Christ from Kyle and Santa then kills it. However, Kyle still dies at the end from AIDS.
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  • Bestiality Is Depraved: The animals getting impregnated is meant to foreshadow that their savior isn't exactly a wholesome figure.
    Stan: Anti-Christ?! You said she was giving birth to your Savior!
    Squirrely: Yes, to the son of our lord, Satan, the Prince of Darkness.
    Stan: But I thought you meant the Son of God!
    Deery: Well, think about it. You really think God would have sex with a porcupine?
    Chickadee-y: No way! Only Satan, Prince of Darkness and King of all Evil would do that! Yay!
  • Bittersweet Ending: Played for Laughs. The Woodland Critters and the Anti-Christ are killed, and the residents of South Park all had a Merry Christmas. But Kyle ends up dying from AIDS two weeks later.
    Kyle: Goddammit, Cartman!
  • Bloody Hilarious: Santa's aforementioned asskicking he unloads on the Woodland Critters, capped off by him taking the snarling, babbling fetal Anti-Christ and smashing it to paste with a sledgehammer.
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  • Boom, Headshot!: Santa kills some of the Woodland Critters by shooting them cold in the head.
  • But Thou Must!: Stan wants absolutely nothing to do with the story, but is forced to do it anyway by the narrator (who happens to be Cartman in a disguised voice). Ironically, Stan who is being told the story himself as a third-person is curious about and entertained by what he's hearing.
  • Christmas Episode: A gruesome parody of wholesome Christmas tales, including the nativity. Ultimately the last one South Park did before taking a long hiatus from holiday-related episodes.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death:
    • Rabbity the Rabbit gets disemboweled by the Woodland Critters as a part of their "blood orgy".
    • Kyle dies of AIDS at the end of the story.
  • Dirty Coward: The Critters scream and run when Santa shoots Beaverie in the head after they boast about how their saviour was going to cover the forest in darkness (and after Raccooney had gleefully suggested to the others that they eat Santa's flesh). Squirreley is the only one that attempts to fight back against Santa but his fire seems to have no effect on the latter.
  • The Dreaded: The mountain lion is the only thing the Woodland Critters are afraid of. They never even attempt to use their powers on her (maybe she's immune?).
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Cartman ends his story by having Kyle die of AIDS, to which Kyle angrily replies with "Goddammit, Cartman!"
  • Exact Words: Cartman tells Kyle that the story doesn't end with him getting killed by Santa Claus. It ends with him dying from AIDS.
    Kyle: Goddammit, Cartman!
  • Gilligan Cut: Invoked by the narrator. Upon learning he's supposed to take the cubs to an abortion clinic, Stan immediately tries to refuse and begins arguing with the narrator. The narrator gets the final say by just cutting to Stan appearing at the clinic with the cubs in tow, much to his frustration.
  • The Ghost: Despite Satan being both an established character and mentioned prominently throughout the episode, he never actually appears in-person. This makes some sense, as even leaving aside the fact that it's a story being told in-universe by Cartman, Satan's long-established Sissy Villain characterization wouldn't mesh very well with this story's events.
  • Good Is Not Nice: The mountain lion is the Big Good, but she attacks Stan when he confronts her instead of trying to explain things to him (she can talk; she does briefly when Santa revives her). It's possible she mistook him as a servant of Satan and was protecting her cubs, but everything prior to the reveal makes her appear exclusively intimidating.
  • Got Volunteered: The Christmas Critters drag Stan into helping with their Satanic ceremony. When it's revealed what they're up to, he then gets forcibly dragged along the story by the narrator.
  • Happily Ever After: Cartman ends his story with this line: "And they all lived Happily Ever After, except for Kyle who died of AIDS two weeks later".
  • Interactive Narrator: The narrator is pretty much Railroading Stan into taking part in the plot, outright arguing with Stan when he wants to stay home.
  • It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time: After Kyle absorbs the Anti-Christ, he realizes how painful it is to be possessed.
    Kyle: Oh God it burns! My soul is on fire! Oh, I don't like this! I didn't know it would feel so... dark and evil!
    Stan: Well, what did you expect, dude? It's the son of the devil!
  • Kafka Comedy: The entirety of Stan's role throughout the story is getting caught in the middle of a Satanic plot, being The Drag-Along to the villains, then the heroes, and even the narrator.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Stan eventually grows tired of the narrator trying to get him to do things to move the plot along and tells him to leave him alone.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: Santa blows Squirrely into explosive chunks of gore.
  • Monster Is a Mommy: Stan finds out that not only was the mountain lion the Big Good in this scenario, but she also had three cubs who pull a Please Wake Up after he kills her.
  • Muggles Do It Better: Apparently Satanic powers are no match for a good shotgun.
  • Narrator All Along: Just as Kyle is about to allow the Anti-Christ to possess him, the episode cuts to Mr. Garrison's class where it's revealed the entire episode has actually been a story Cartman wrote and was reading to the class for an assignment.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Stan kills the Mountain Lion who was going to kill the Anti-Christ.
  • No Sympathy: Santa berates Stan for helping the woodland critters even after Stan tells him that he was tricked, calling him stupid.
    Santa Claus: Little boy, you should be ashamed!
    Stan: But I didn't mean to help them! I tried to stop them!
  • Not So Above It All: When the real Kyle makes Cartman stop telling the story, Stan and the rest of the class protest because they want to hear whether Stan gets a happy ending or not.
  • Person with the Clothing: The narrator constantly refers to Stan as "the boy in the red poofball hat."
  • Rage Against the Author: Stan intentionally disregards the narrator throughout the majority of the episode. Doing so ultimately results in a shouting match, culminating in Stan screaming at the narrator. The narrator of this story is in fact, Eric Cartman telling a story to the class, which puts a whole new spin on things. In the classroom, it's Kyle who rages against the author, as he regards it as a basically anti-Semitic tract. After it's revealed that Cartman is the author of the story, the rest of Stan's lines are in character, seeing as how the story is now proceeding the way Cartman wrote it now that we know the whole truth about this.
  • Revenge via Storytelling: The plot is revealed to be a story Cartman is telling. This explains why the story's version of Kyle, who has a long-established beef with Cartman, willingly absorbs the Antichrist into his body in order to take over the world for the Jews. Kyle calls Cartman out on just using the story to once again mock Kyle for being Jewish. Everybody at the end of the story is allowed a happy ending except for Kyle, who dies of AIDS.
  • Theme Naming: The Woodland Critters are all unimaginatively named after their species with a "Y" on the end (Squirrely, Porcupiney, Chickadee-y, et cetera). After all, the creator of these critters is Eric Cartman.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: After being dragged into one hell of a Kafka Comedy with Satanic Funny Animals, Stan gets to undo the Mountain Lion's death and have a Merry Christmas. Kyle on the other hand...
  • Unwitting Pawn: Stan, during the episode's first act, wants little to nothing to do with the critters, but gets guilted and railroaded into it. He ends up greatly regretting this once he learns the truth of their nature.
  • Wham Line!: "Now our Critter Christmas can finally happen! Hail Satan!" From that point on, the story shifts from a seemingly wholesome nativity story to a horrifying bloody Satanic ritual, and Stan goes from helping the Woodland Critters to desperately trying to stop them.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Both the Christmas Critters and the Mountain Lion will gladly maim or try to kill Stan at the first sign of interference. Comes with a heavy case of Not Helping Your Case with the Mountain Lion, who is actually the Big Good.
  • You Wouldn't Shoot Me: Invoked when Beary coyishly tries to avoid getting shot like the other critters. Turns out Santa would.

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