I'm a Little Bit Country
The boys naively join an anti-war protest just to get out of school, but they are soon caught between the two clashing sides -- pro-war and anti-war contingents.
Angry at the kids' lack of knowledge and total indifference to the issues at hand, Mr. Garrison orders his students to create reports on what the Founding Fathers would think of the situation.
Instead of just doing the work, Cartman develops a novel "research" technique. He loads his TV recording system with 50 hours of History Channel documentaries, then tosses it and himself into a tub of water, triggering his electrocution -- and a flashback to 1776.
While his body lingers near death in the hospital (a mere side effect of his research technique), Cartman's mind embarks on a fantastical adventure in which he carries the first draft of the Declaration of Independence to the Continental Congress, and learns (from none other than Benjamin Franklin) that America gets its strength from its ability to "say one thing and do another."
In other words, while a part of the U.S. population can instigate a war against an adversary, another part can bitch and complain about it. Thus, an American cause is advanced while the nation's appearance as a liberal, pluralistic society is preserved.
Cartman awakens from his coma and rushes to tell the townspeople, who've been engaged in a seemingly endless riot. His words cause them to come together and perform their own rendition of the Donnie and Marie standard, "I'm a Little Bit Country, I'm a Little Bit Rock and Roll."
What I Learned Today
"This country was founded by some of the smartest thinkers the world has ever seen. And they knew one thing: that a truly great country can go to war, and at the same time, act like it doesn't want to. You people who are for the war, you need the protesters. Because they make the country look like it's made of sane, caring individuals. And you people who are anti-war, you need these flag-wavers, because, if our whole country was made up of nothing but soft pussy protesters, we'd get taken down in a second. That's why the founding fathers decided we should have both. It's called 'having your cake and eating it too.'"
- "Cartman, you are hereby declared a full-fledged retard!" Kyle
- "Get out of my flashback you God-damned Jew!" Cartman
- "We'll trizzle the shizzle all over the hizzle!" Skeeter
- "The Founding Fathers want you all to know that we can disagree all we want, as long as we agree that America kicks ass." Cartman
- "No war, mkay!" Mr. Mackey
- "If you don't like America, why don't you get out!" Skeeter
- "Say guys, 1776 was so long ago, I wonder what life would have been like back then back then back then " Cartman
- "Don't you see? All this dividin' up the town -- it's just ridiculous. What we really should be doing is just beating the hell out of each other." Skeeter
- "I'm not from here at all, I'm having a flashback!" Cartman
- "Wow The Declaration of Independence Day " Cartman
- "Do you think kids in every town have to deal with this crap?" Kyle
- "P.S. Every Thursday should be free ice cream day." John Adams reading the Declaration of Independence
- "I like to rock, but I don't want to rock Iraq!" Randy
- "It's like having your cake and eating it too." John Adams
- "Think of it, an entire nation founded on saying one thing and doing another!" Stephen Hopkins
- "I hate this town. I really, really do." Kyle
Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, both of whom Cartman meets during his flashback.
Norman Lear provided the voice of Franklin.
We also meet several other Founding Fathers: John Hancock, John Dickenson, Stephen Hopkins, and John Adams.
The courier who was supposed to deliver the Declaration of Independence to the Continental Congress is bludgeoned to death by Cartman, who takes his place. Also, a number of townpeople are impaled, beaten, and killed during the brutal, violent fight that breaks out between the pro- and anti-war supporters.
Cartman sings a heartfelt flashback tune "1776" as he rides down the old cobblestone streets of Philadelphia. Also, Randy and Skeeter's dualing rock/country ballad "I'm A Little Bit Country, I'm A Little Bit Rock 'N Roll" gives a fresh,modernized South Park take on the classic song by Donnie and Marie.
Behind The Scenes
Where Did The Idea Come From
Matt and Trey noticed that while all the pro-Iraq War songs were by country artists, all the anti-war songs were by rockers. This made them think of the old Donnie and Marie standard, "I'm A Little Bit Country, I'm A Little Bit Rock 'N Roll" Thus the entire episode hinged on getting rights to use the song -- rights that weren't secured until the last possible moment.
Ben Franklin was voiced by TV legend Norman Lear (creator of All In The Family, Sanford and Son, The Jeffersons, etc). Lear was on staff for part of Season 7.
Pop Culture References
Cartman sings the theme from Dawson's Creek while clubbing a courier to death during his 1776 flashback. The Continental Congress as seen in this episode is laid out in similar fashion to the musical film 1776. Also, the townpeople's brutal hand-to-hand combat and killing is an homage to battlefield scenes from movies like Excalibur and Braveheart.
The guitar player backing Randy on the anti-war/rock side is musical icon Slash, best known as the lead-guitarist in Guns n' Roses.
Cartman's DVR box is called "TV OH!," a joke on the popular recording device TiVo.
At the end of the episode there's a brief mention that this is South Parks' 100th episode. Originally "Cancelled" was supposed to get that honor. In the big finale on stage, tons of characters from the past 100 episodes are there singing along. To name a few: Towelie, Cheech and Chong (from "Cherokee Hair Tampons"), the Marklars (from "Starvin Marvin in Space"), Jakovasaurs, The Star Trek Nerds, Nurse Gollum (from "Conjoined Fetus Lady"), Jared (from "Jared Has Aides"), The Thompsons (the butt-faced couple from "How to Eat With Your Butt"), Joseph Smith (he's there twice; from the upcoming episode "All About Mormons"), "Halfie" (from "Chickenlover"), Scott Tenorman, David Blaine, Kathie Lee Gifford, Terrance and Phillip, Ms. Crabtree, Sally Struthers, and Professor Chaos.
Hat McCullogh, the baby-killing convict from "Free Hat" can be seen in the crowd of pro-war rednecks, as well as onstage with the big group at the end.
There's a picture of Cartman's little cousin Elvin in his hallway, and of his grandparents in the living room. We meet them all in "Merry Christmas Charlie Manson!"