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Recap / South Park S 9 E 6 The Death Of Eric Cartman

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Air date: April 13, 2005
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After Cartman eats the skin off of every piece of KFC, Stan, Kyle, and Kenny decide to ignore him, which leads Cartman to think that he is dead.


  • Abusive Parents: Stephen threatens to ground Butters if he has another nightmare and has him physically tortured in a mental institution for the mess Cartman made.
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: Mr. Stotch warns Butters about Super AIDS... which, as it turns out, is real.
  • Anal Probing: Butters gets anally probed for 14 hours straight at the South Park Institute for Mental Health.
  • Apology Gift: Cartman gives all the people he mistreated gift baskets as an apology for all the bad things he did to them.
  • Apophenia Plot: When Cartman sees that nobody is responding to him, he convinces himself that he's died and become a ghost, a thought further "proven" when he sees men seemingly carrying away his dead body in a box (actually plumbers having replaced his toilet) and hears his mother sobbing (actually her having sex with one of the men). However, nobody told Butters about the pact, so when he greets him like always, Cartman assumes that he can see him and talk to ghosts.
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  • The Atoner: Cartman gives an Apology Gift to everyone he mistreated over the years. Not because he feels remorse, but so he can venture into heaven.
  • Bait-and-Switch: A particularly disturbing example: After Cartman awakes and believes that he's dead, he overhears his mother apparently crying loudly over him. Turns out, her "grief" was in actuality her receiving the business from the man who replaced her broken toilet away.
  • Bedlam House: The South Park Institute for Mental Health, whose methods of "therapy" include getting anally probed for hours on end.
  • Big Eater: Cartman manages to eat all the skins off the fried chicken pieces in less than 15 seconds.
  • Call-Back: Some of the people Cartman gives gift baskets to as part of an atonement include Scott Tenorman, Sally Struthers and the Special Olympics committee.
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  • Downer Ending: Cartman, upon finding out that he was never dead, reverts back to his old habits and blames Butters for his own mistakes, threatening retaliation. And it's implied that Butters is going to be sent back to the asylum.
  • Everybody Cries: When Cartman has Butters tell the former's mom that he loves her, she begins to cry, which is followed by Cartman himself, then by Butters.
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: Played with by Stan, Kyle and Kenny as they misinterpret Cartman’s final goodbyes and good deeds (in an attempt to get into heaven) as a way to become their friend again. The kids eventually relent in the final act after seeing Cartman play a part in saving a dozen workers in the Red Cross building.
  • I See Dead People: Parodied. After everyone suddenly refuses to acknowledge Cartman's presence, the latter goes to Butters, who, due to being Locked Out of the Loop, greets him. This convinces Cartman that Butters has the ability to see dead people, and Butters innocently goes along with it.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: Cartman decides to atone for his sins not out of guilt, but so he could reach the afterlife. When he finds out he was never a ghost, he clearly regrets every single moment of it.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Butters is the only one who is not participating in the trend of ignoring Cartman because he wasn't with the others when they all decided to do it.
  • Misplaced Retribution: Stephen sends Butters to the mental institution after Cartman made a mess in the house.
  • Mistaken for Afterlife: Cartman thinks he's a ghost after the other boys at school ignore him and he sees a kid-sized box leaving his home with people sympathizing with how stuffed with chicken skins it was (in reality, it was the toilet Cartman clogged).
  • Moral Event Horizon: Played for Laughs; after all the terrible things Cartman has done, eating the skin off everyone's fried chicken is what finally makes his friends abandon him. invoked
  • Never My Fault: Cartman blames Butters for mistaking him as a ghost, even though he was the first one to mistake it.
  • Not-So-Imaginary Friend: Since Butter's parents never see Cartman (and he isn't a ghost anyway), they are left convinced Butters is hallucinating an imaginary ghost and acting up.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Butters attempts to help Cartman atone for his sins and pass on to the afterlife results in him getting thrown into a mental institution and subjected to a series of torturous tests.
  • Rule of Three: Cartman when he attempts to make his way to Heaven. It takes the third time to realise that he didn't die.
  • Running Gag: Cartman, thinking he has finally earned the right to go to Heaven, making an emotional goodbye to Butters, only to find out he's still stuck on Earth.
  • The Scapegoat: Cartman goes berserk and destroys everything in Butters' room, which makes it look like Butters is the one who has mental problems and is then committed to the mental health institution.
  • Serious Business: Stan, Kyle, and Kenny consider Cartman eating the skin off all of their KFC fried chicken to be the worst thing he's ever done and decide to shun him. Kenny actually started crying when he saw what Cartman did.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Despite Butters trying his best to help Cartman out (and going through a lot of suffering in the process), Cartman still gives him grief upon learning he was never a ghost to begin with.
    Cartman: How stupid are you?! So help me God, Butters! I'm gonna get you back for this! I'm going to get you back!

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