Kyle's dad buys a hybrid car, which instantly transforms him into a smug, environmentally sensitive douche. He attempts to spread the eco-friendly message by giving his gas-guzzling neighbors fake tickets for "failing to care about the environment," but this only pisses people off. Convinced he can't keep his progressive family in an ignorant, SUV-driving place such as South Park, he decides to move everyone to San Francisco.
Stan is unbelievably bummed out by his best friend's departure and, in a long-shot bid to get Kyle's family to move back, writes a song advocating the use of hybrids. It becomes a local hit and does, indeed, turn hybrids into a sensation. Soon everyone drives them -- and feels really, really good about it. But Stan is far from a hero. The town's environmental protector, Ranger McFriendly, informs him that while smog rates are down, the hybrid drivers are generating a huge, toxic cloud of "smug." South Park now has the second-highest smug concentration in the nation -- second only to San Francisco. Meanwhile, in San Fran, Kyle's parents fit in perfectly with their equally self-satisfied neighbors. They hold wine and cheese parties, talk politics, and regularly pause to bend over and sniff their own farts. Kyle and his brother Ike are less than thrilled with their new home and new friends and start using the same coping method all San Francisco kids use to tolerate their douchebag parents: drugs. They drop acid and proceed to trip balls.
Unbeknownst to them, the smug cloud over San Francisco is converging with all the smug being generated by South Park, along with a smaller smug disturbance single-handedly generated by George Clooney's 78th Academy Awards acceptance speech. The resulting "perfect storm of self-satisfaction" will ravage South Park and wipe San Francisco off the map. Cartman decides to take drastic action to save Kyle and his family. Not because he likes them, but because life without his greatest enemy is way too boring. With the help of Butters and a Hazmat suit to avoid contact with hippies, Cartman journeys into San Francisco and locates the Broflovskis -- who lay semiconscious from overdoses of acid and smugness -- then extracts them just before disaster strikes.
South Park is bruised by the storm but not broken. San Francisco, however, disappears "completely up its own asshole." To Stan's relief, the Broflovskis turn up with no memory of how they escaped. Embarrassed that anyone might find out that he saved Kyle, Cartman says nothing.
The townspeople vow never to purchase hybrids again. However Stan points out that hybrids are perfectly fine, as long as you don't turn into a self-righteous asshole when you get one. The adults, feeling this is too much to ask, revert to driving gas guzzlers. Cartman calls Kyle a "sneaky Jew rat" and Kyle calls him a "f***king fat ass." Thus the natural order is restored.
What I Learned Today
"Hybrid cars don't cause smugness. People do. Look, hybrid cars are important. They may even save our planet one day. What you all need to do is just learn to drive hybrids and not be smug about it."
- "You know Butters, you make a lousy Jew." Cartman
- "Kid, thanks to your gay little song, there's not gonna be a San Francisco!" Weatherman
- "I swore I would never set foot in San Francisco." Cartman
- "Being smug is a good thing." Gerald Broflovski
- "I'm totally tripping balls." Ike
- "San Francisco, I'm afraid, has disappeared completely up its own asshole." (TV Reporter)
- "I'm sorry Stan. I'm sorry your gay little song killed your friend." Randy
- "GOOD FOR YOU!" (Hybrid Drivers)
- "Stop talking with your eyes closed! That's what smug people do!" Randy
- "You guys, this is OUR party. That no good back-stabbing Jew rat is finally leaving!" Cartman
- "Yeah! I'm a dumb Jew!" Butters
- "Maybe I'll take just half a hit of acid." Kyle
- "You mean - we should drive in hybrids but not act like we're better than everyone else because of it?" Randy
Ranger McFriendly, the guy who watches over South Park's delicate ecocystem -- and who informs Stan, in no uncertain terms, that his song about hybrids may doom them all. There's also Keenen Williams, the meteorologist for South Park's News Station. He teams with McFriendly to fight the perfect storm of smugness. Finally, there's a whole slew of really smuggy, fart-loving San Franciscans with long, hyphenated last names. Fortunately, they're wiped off the map before this whole thing is through.
The entire population of San Francisco is wiped out by the smug catastrophe, except for Kyle and his family. South Park and Denver also take a hit, but manage to survive the ordeal.
Stan's eco-friendly guitar hit "Hey People, You Got To Drive Hybrids Already" inspires everyone in South Park to buy hybrids.
Unfortunately, this gay little song also causes a smug storm the likes of which have never been seen. There's also a brief snippet of the jazzy "Smuggy Day in San Francisco Town."
Behind The Scenes
Where Did The Idea Come From
The idea that hybrids cause "smug" evolved from numerous true-life experiences. Trey bought a hybrid for his mom, who reported that people in other hybrids regularly flashed her a self-satisfied thumbs up or shouted "Good for you." Matt and Trey also attended a high-powered Hollywood function where all the bigwigs owned hybrids (along with gas-guzzling private jets). Someone said in all seriousness that they "needed to set an example." Trey thinks it's okay to feel good about doing good, "As long as you're not a fucking dick about it."
Pop Culture References
The three storms combining into a single, massive tempest is a reference to the 2000 movie The Perfect Storm, which ironically starred George Clooney, the creator of one of the smug clouds. Cartman sings a bit of the 1969 hit "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye" by Steam.
George Clooney, whose super-smug Oscar acceptance speech single-handedly forms one of the three smug storms that converge to ravage the western United States and annihilate San Francisco. Snippets of his speech can be heard as the smug cloud passes overhead.
- Stan has a Road Warrior poster in his bedroom, which is kind of strange, given that its star, Mel Gibson, tried to kill him in "The Passion of the Jew" . It will remain tacked up on his wall for the next few seasons.
- This is the second time Cartman has saved Kyle's life -- the first being in "Cherokee Hair Tampons," where he [unwittingly] gave Kyle a last-minute kidney transplant. Ironically, he has tried to kill him a number of times since then (and will continue to do so).
- A lot can be learned about smugness from this episode. Smug people talk with their eyes closed; hybrid cars are better for emission levels, but people who drive them are the leading cause of smug; and too much smug in the atmosphere leads to "Global Laming."
Cartman Rescues Kyle
Cartman travels all the way to San Francisco to save Kyle from the deadly smug storm. He actually saves the entire Broflovski family. He rescues Kyle in three other episodes - Roger Ebert Should Lay Off The Fatty Foods, Cherokee Hair Tampons and Imaginationland Episode II.