South Park's first film festival attracts crowds of tofu-eating movie lovers to the quiet town, badly affecting Mr. Hankey. Chef makes some money by selling his chocolate salty balls.
Robert Redford decides to move the Sundance Film Festival from Park City, Utah, to South Park. The town which is immediately overwhelmed by tourists and celebrities. Mr. Garrison tells his class to see and write a report about one independent film, while Chef makes money by selling a special confection called Chocolate Salty Balls.
That evening Kyle thinks he hears Mr. Hankey the Christmas Poo, calling from inside the toilet. Stan, Cartman and Kenny join him on a trip into the sewers, where they find a very ill Mr. Hankey. It seems that the influx of out-of-towners with strange, healthful diets has dangerously disrupted the sewer's "ecosystem."
The boys try to tell the town's guests about the problem, but everyone thinks they're trying to pitch a script. An agent even convinces Cartman to sell the rights to Kyle's story. Within hours a Mr. Hankey movie appears, with Tom Hanks as Kyle and a monkey as Mr. Hankey.
Meanwhile, the real Mr. Hankey has turned ghostly white and lingers near death. But the timely consumption of one of Chef's Chocolate Salty Balls revives him. After giving Robert Redford one last chance to take his festival elsewhere, Mr. Hankey causes sewage to inundate the town, killing Redford and his wife and sending the festival's attendees fleeing for their lives. South Park's residents are happy to have their town to themselves, even though it's now covered in human feces.
"Sometimes I forget that even though a few independent films are great, most of them suck ass."
Kenny is trampled by an audience leaving a movie screening. Also Robert Redford and his wife are drowned by raw sewage.
The episode is based on how the Sundance Film Festival has grown from a low-budget independent film festival to a large Hollywood event. A couple of years earlier, the Sundance Film Festival rejected Trey and Matt's film Cannibal! The Musical.
The 1998 American remake of Godzilla and the 1996 film Independence Day are singled out for scorn. They were both directed by Roland Emmerich.
When Mr. Hankey seems about to die, he motions Kyle toward him and says, "There is another Skywalker." Yoda says this to Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars film Return of the Jedi. Mr. Hankey's climactic sewage assault is an homage to "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" segment in Disney's Fantasia. Mr. Hankey even wears Mickey Mouse's wizard robe and hat.
In the fictional exploratory lesbian film Witness to Denial, one of the women is wearing a "Lillith Fare" t-shirt. This is a reference to the Lilith Fair concert tour, which only featured bands with female vocalists.
Robert Redford "honors" South Park by demolishing the town library to make way for a Hollywood Planet Restaurant. This is a take off on the popular tinsel-town themed chain Planet Hollywood.
After Mr. Hankey dries out and "dies", a man in a hazmat suit comes by and scoops him up. This, as well as the following scene in the white containment room, is a take off on the film E.T. the Extra Terrestrial, where the sick alien is taken away from his friend Elliot and put into a containment facility.
Pop Culture Reference That Now Seems Strangely Prophetic: One of the fictional films screened at the festival was called A Bunch of Gay Cowboys Eating Pudding. This was long before 2005's Brokeback Mountain, which made gay cowboys (though not pudding) a big deal.
Sundance Film Festival founder Robert Redford, who gets a steaming plate of payback with a side order of cous cous for blowing off Cannibal! The Musical.
Fred Savage, diminutive star of TV's The Wonder Years, is singled out for mockery. When he exits a limo, the nearby crowd groans in disappointment.
Finally Tom Hanks, whom Cartman asserts "can't act his way out of a nutsack." The fictional movie Tom Hanks stars in, Mr. Hankey and Me, is a parody of the 1993 film Philadelphia.