Kyle's dad can't perform sexually and things around the house are pretty grim. Kyle, misunderstanding the nature of the problem, visits various stores in an attempt to purchase a "nerection" for his father.
During this fruitless search Kenny spontaneously combusts. Soon other townspeople catch fire too. The terrified survivors flock to church, where Stan, Kyle and Cartman agree to perform the Stations of the Cross. Cartman does it because he wants to play Jesus, and Kyle participates because he confuses the finale of the "resurrection" with the "nerection." He wants for his dad.
After the service Stan and Kyle take Cartman, still bound to the cross, the top of a deserted hill and leave him to die, so that he will get the desired "nerection."
Meanwhile, Stan's dad Randy is told by Mayor McDaniels to find a solution to the people-bursting-into-flames issue. Even though he's a geologist -- and thus clearly unqualified -- he gets the job because he's the only scientist in town. He theorizes that Kenny died because he had a new girlfriend (who he meets in "Rainforest, Schmainforest"), and was holding in his gas in her presence. This caused his body's methane levels to rise dangerously, triggering an explosion. . . .
Randy believes that South Park will be safe if everyone farts freely -- which everyone promptly does. Randy wins the Nobel Prize for his Break Wind Theory of Spontaneous Combustion. But the town starts heating up because of all the methane released into the atmosphere. Randy is stoned and ridiculed by the populace. However he saves the day when he realizes that spontaneous combustion and global warming can be avoided if people fart in moderation. Also, Kyle's dad finally manages to get a "nerection" when three beautiful women visit his law office and strip to show him possible skin cancer lesions for which they want to sue Randy.
Much later, the boys remember that they left Cartman tied to the cross. They return to find him emaciated but still alive, having survived for three weeks on his Walrus-like stores of fat.
What I Learned Today
"I learned something from the Stations of the Cross. At first Jesus was all like, 'Why me?' And he was all pissed off and stuff. Then he saw that what mattered most was everybody else. So he stopped thinking about his own misery and did what had to be done."
- "You're too fat to be Jesus!" Kyle
- "Lord, is it so much to ask that you not let us suddenly burst into flame for no apparent reason? I mean, come on. Amen." Father Maxi
- "Have you boys been sure to pass gas regularly so you don't spontaneously combust?" Mr. Mackey
- "You die on that cross and get resurrected before I kick your ass!" Kyle
- "As soon as I get my superpowers, I'm gonna smote you two assholes off the planet!" Cartman
- "I just want a nerection so I can go give it to my mom!" Kyle
- "You're not too Jewish to worship Jesus are you?" Father Maxi
- "On this blessed Friday, let us give thanks for stuff and things." Father Maxi
- "Dude! I think you pulled mud!" Kyle
Kenny and Helen, plus various other South Park residents who also spontaneously combust.
The seventies style, happy-go-lucky song "You and Me Girl" plays while Randy daydreams at the end of the episode.
Behind The Scenes
Where Did The Idea Come From
The crucifixion of Cartman was a concept Matt and Trey long wanted to do. They dreamed it up even before South Park debuted.
Pop Culture References
Stan says that Jesus (the real one, not Cartman) told his followers that, "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few." In fact, Spock said this to Kirk in Star Trek: The Wrath of Kahn. Also Stan's dad lapses into a bizarre dream sequence, during which he and the boys are chased by someone in a mask and, incongruously, wind up playing in a pop band. It's an homage to similarly illogical scenes found in pretty much every episode of the various Scooby Doo cartoons.
Priest Maxi's entire sermon at Kenny's funeral is about the Denver Broncos. He starts, "Lord though we have lost Neil Smith to free agency and Steve Atwater to the Jets "
Whoopie Goldberg, who hosts the 42nd Annual Nobel Prize Awards. Her "monologue" consists of repeatedly saying "Republicans are so stupid." Nick Nolte also presents at the award show, giving a belabored, boring speech.
Also, Bob Dole, who shills for an impotency drug on the radio.
In Randy's speech about the disastrous effect of spontaneous combustion, he closes with a picture of Jocelyn Wildenstein -- a wealthy socialite best known for her hideous amounts of plastic surgery.
Kenny's dad and Mayor McDaniels are both seen reading a porn mag called Guzunga's.
Before Kenny explodes, Cartman nags Kenny for spending so much time with his "little girlfriend". This is actually a continuation of the storyline from "Rainforest Shmainforest", in which Kenny gets a girlfriend named Kelly.
Although he loses the Nobel Prize to Randy, Dr. Mephesto finally created a 7-assed turtle.
A Visitor head will be spotted in various episodes after this point on a poster in the lunch room.
- e1 Rainforest Shmainforest
- e2 Spontaneous Combustion
- e3 The Succubus
- e4 Tweek Vs. Craig
- e5 Jakovasaurs
- e6 Sexual Harassment Panda
- e7 Cat Orgy
- e8 Two Guys Naked in a Hot Tub
- e9 Jewbilee
- e10 Chinpoko Mon
- e11 Starvin' Marvin in Space
- e12 Korn's Groovy Pirate Ghost Mystery
- e13 Hooked on Monkey Fonics
- e14 The Red Badge of Gayness
- e15 Mr. Hankey's Christmas Classics
- e16 Are You There, God? It's Me, Jesus
- e17 World Wide Recorder Concert