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Recap / South Park S8 E5 "AWESOM-O"

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Butters is delighted when a package from Japan arrives for him containing an AWESOM-O 4000 robot friend... that is very obviously Cartman in a cardboard costume. Cartman's angle for the scheme becomes clear when he tricks Butters into telling him his secrets, starting with his hesiated colon and sporadic bowel incontinence. Butters moves on to telling AWESOM-O about Cartman and his bullying, and says Cartman will never play another prank on him. A snickering Cartman is about to unmask himself when Butters says that if Cartman does prank him again, he'll show the whole town a video he recorded of Cartman dressed as Britney Spears, singing "Touch My Body" and making out with a cardboard cutout of Justin Timberlake.

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Now Cartman has to maintain the lie until he can get the videotape. Butters insists on spending every waking moment with him, makes him do chores, and doesn't give him food or water on the logic that robots can't eat or drink. Things get worse when Butters insists on bringing AWESOM-O on a trip to Los Angeles to see his Aunt Nellie and Uncle Bud, and they are spotted on a tour of Catamount Studios. Intrigued studio execs proceed to ask AWESOM-O for new movie script ideas; he supplies over two thousand, nearly all of which are Adam Sandler vehicles with ludicrous premises, and receives $100 per story. Insisting that robots don't need money and all he needs is AWESOM-O, Butters donates the money to children in the developing world, to Cartman's horror.

But even worse is to come when the Pentagon learns of AWESOM-O and decides to turn the robot into a weapon; as Cartman flees a perverted studio exec who wonders if AWESOM-O is a pleasure model, he is tasered and taken to a lab, where he is unable to convince the military that he is a kid in a costume as they assume the robot has been given a fictional child's identity and memories. The scientist tasked with the conversion rebels against his orders and frees AWESOM-O, saying he can't kill a sentient being, and this buys enough time for Butters to catch up and plead for his robot friend's life. The soldiers are touched... until AWESOM-O farts, and the jig is up.

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As revenge for this and every other prank he has suffered, Butters makes good on his vow to show the video of Cartman as Britney Spears to the whole of South Park, as well as the military. As the rest of the audience laughs uproariously, a sullen Cartman simply mutters, "Lame..."


Awesom-O contains examples of:

  • Agent Mulder: The military. A robot designed to be a war machine against terrorists and make movie ideas right on the spot? Makes perfect sense. This same robot being able to make farts that smell? Preposterous.
  • Ass Shove: Cartman is forced to insert Butters' suppository.
  • Asshole Victim: Cartman clearly had it coming for what he did to Butters in previous episodes and was planning to do in this one.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Butters has a devastating revenge planned against Cartman should he ever be pranked again. He makes good on his threat in the end.
  • Call-Back:
  • Dark Reprise: A third verse of "My Robot Friend" from Butters falls under this trope when AWESOM-O is taken away.
  • Facepalm: Stan, Kyle and Kenny only appear in three scenes in this episode (and only have dialogue in the second). In the first, they are watching Butters and AWESOM-O play basketball with expressions of utter disbelief, culminating in Stan facepalming in despair at Butters' gullibility.
  • Friendship Song: "My Robot Friend" by Butters Stotch.
  • Humiliation Conga: The entire episode is this to Cartman, especially at the end. Let's see, he is forced to stick his hand up Butters' butt, nearly dies of heatstroke and starvation in a plane, is forced to give over 2300 movie ideas to Hollywood with Butters keeping all the money and donating it all away to needy children (and with being paid $100 per idea Butters made $230,500), accosted by a Robosexual, captured by the military, almost cut open and experimented on, and having a video of him dressed like Britney Spears with a Justin Timberlake cut-out exposed to the school, the whole town, and the military. Compared to most examples, he deserved every bit of it.
  • Insane Troll Logic: The army believing a cardboard box robot has the ability to be a war machine that can come up with movie ideas, yet it would be impossible for it to make smelly farts. Just the first part alone would qualify.
  • Just Think of the Potential: Said by the unnamed general who wants to turn "AWESOM-O" into a weapon.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Cartman's plan to embarrass Butters backfires over and over.
  • Lost in Character: Butters' family thinks Cartman is just really serious about playing robot.
  • No Sympathy: Everything Cartman went through surely should have made up for everything he did to Butters right? Wrong. Despite rescuing Cartman from almost being killed Butters still reveals his secret.
  • Oh, Crap!: Cartman is about to reveal that he is AWESOM-O and has just tricked Butters into revealing embarrassing secrets to him when things take a sudden and horrifying turn for the worse for him, and it's all he can do to keep pretending to be a robot:
    Butters: Yeah, and he's never gonna get me again! 'Cause what Cartman doesn't know is that I know one of his secrets!
    Cartman: [quietly, in his normal voice] ... what?
    Butters: When Cartman is all alone in his back yard, he likes to dress up like Britney Spears and pretend he's her! He sings and dances around with a life-size cutout of Justin Timberlake.
    Cartman: ... you saw that?...
    Butters: Yeah! And I videotaped him doing it!
    Cartman: [struggling to put on the AWESOM-O voice] Nuh-uh.
    Butters: I've got the whole thing on tape! Even him making out with the Justin Timberlake cutout!
    Cartman: No way.
    Butters: Yeah! And if Cartman ever messes with me again, I'm gonna show that video to everybody! Then I'll have my revenge, boy howdy!
    [Cartman is too shocked to speak for a moment]
  • Out-of-Character Moment: Liane surprisingly had grounded Eric for trying to restart the Holocaust two weeks ago (two episodes earlier), and Butters' parents are fully aware that AWESOM-O is really just Cartman in a costume when most times, the adults of South Park would fall for the trick.
  • Out of Focus: Stan, Kyle and Kenny only appear for a quick reaction shot during the montage of Butters playing with "AWESOM-O", a brief scene where they stop at Butters house to find out why Cartman is still doing his scheme, and the end when they laugh at the video of Cartman.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: The other kids and Butters' family are aware that AWESOM-O is just Cartman in a cardboard box. And yet his costume fools not only the naïve Butters, but also Hollywood and the U.S. military.
  • Reality Ensues: While Cartman does his best under the guise of AWESOM-O, he begins to struggle when it comes to breathing and eating to the point that he desperately consumes toothpaste for sustenance.
  • Robo Sexual: The CEO of Catamount Pictures that tries to rape Cartman/AWESOM-O.
  • Robosexuals Are Creeps: Cartman disguises himself as a robot, and he and Butters eventually get taken to a film studio. One of the producers mistakes Cartman as a "pleasure robot," so Cartman freaks out and flees the studio's boardroom.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: For Cartman. All the shit he went through to find the tape with the embarrassing footage turns out to be in vain when his trick is found out and Butters shows it to everyone.
  • Shout-Out: The studio executive asks AWESOM-O if he's a "pleasure model".
  • Spanner in the Works: Cartman was about to reveal his trick and gloat when Butters mentioned having a certain video tape.
  • Spotting the Thread: "Did that robot just fart?"
  • Stopped Caring: After everything he went through. Cartman just watches the embarrassing video of himself with a bored expression while everyone laughs.
  • Take That!: Plots for Adam Sandler movies are considered so threadbare and interchangeable that a 9-year-old can come up with dozens of them off the top of his head.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: Butters finally gets back at Cartman for years of bullying and makes $200,000 - most of which he donates to charity.
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