The Death of Eric Cartman
Stan's mom comes home with a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken the boys have been anxiously waiting for. While Stan, Kyle and Kenny go help unload groceries, Cartman sneaks off to peel and eat the crunchy skin off all the chicken. The other boys return only to find the best part of the chicken gone. Cartman takes off, as the boys sit in disbelief.
Stan, Kyle and Kenny wonder why they are friends with Cartman and decide to ignore him the next morning. When the boys don't acknowledge him, immediately he concludes that he's dead and walks as a ghost. This belief is reinforced when he runs home to see movers carrying out a box with what he assumes is his corpse (inside is a toilet ruptured from too much chicken skin) and his mother moaning hysterically in the house (she's having sex with one of the movers).
Cartman next arrives at school, where everybody has also agreed to ignore him. Feeling like he's a lost soul, he wanders the streets in despair. He passes by Butters who, unaware of the boys' plan, casually greets him. Cartman is ecstatic he is noticed and pleads for Butters' help. However, Butters becomes terrified he can see ghosts.
After being harassed, Butters reluctantly helps Cartman find closure with his friends and family. When this fails to move his spirit to the afterlife, Cartman escalates his good deeds. Through song, he and Butters send gift baskets to every person he's ever wronged. This display of atonement doesn't have any effect either.
Meanwhile, Butters' parents worry their son is losing his mind and have him institutionalized. In an effort to uncover his trauma, Butters undergoes a series of tests involving his anus. Cartman breaks Butters out of the institution and drags him to a psychic, who tells them that sometimes earthbound spirits must accomplish something important before they depart. She realizes Cartman is a ghost and runs away in fear.
Just then a TV newscast reports that three escaped convicts are holding hostages at the local Red Cross. Cartman figures this must be the important event the psychic mentioned. He goes to the Red Cross building, walks straight in the front door and distracts the convicts (who can see him quite clearly) while Butters frees the hostages. The two kids sneak away as the police rush in and arrest the convicts.
Outside, Cartman thanks Butters for his help and in a touching moment calls Butters his true friend. Feeling his spirit is at rest, he tries one last time to cross over to the afterlife. As he does this, the fourth grade boys appear to tell Cartman that, in light of his heroic actions, they won't ignore him anymore.
Stunned, Cartman takes a moment to process this information. Then he angrily blames Butters for his humiliation and vows to get his revenge.
What I Learned Today
"Boy oh boy, Eric, you've got a lot to atone for."
- "I'm gonna sit on the toilet and read comic books." Cartman
- "Ghosts don't exist and there's nothing to be afraid of. Except for Super AIDS." Stephen Stotch
- "God forgave the Jews, you should be able to forgive me!" Cartman
- "I took a crap in the principal's purse . . . seven times." Cartman
- "Stupid butthole God!" Cartman
- "Please leave me alone, Eric. My bottom is really sore." Butters
- "I hate my stupid psychotic brain." Butters
- "SHE'S GOT COLONEL!!" Cartman
- "He's a fat, racist, self-centered, intolerant, manipulating sociopath." Kyle
- "Hey, I hate Cartman too, can I ignore him with you?" Craig
- "I'm not going to heck Butters, I'm not black, alright?" Cartman
- "Don't be sad, Butters. What awaits each person in heaven is eternal bliss, divine rest, and $10,000 cash." Cartman
- "I'm supposed to help him find out why his spirit is wandering the Earth, even though I know I'm most likely just completely insane." Butters
- "Come on Butters, the Psychic Boy and his Ghost Pal are going to save the day!" Cartman
- "I'll miss you too Ghost Pal." Butters
We meet two medical "experts" in this episode -- the Doctor that examines Butters and institutionalizes him, and Doctor Lindsay, the expert on the paranormal. Also, three escaped convicts.
Cartman attempts to make up for all his wrongs with the catchy, upbeat "Make It Right." Unfortunately, the song isn't powerful enough to get him into heaven.
Behind The Scenes
One of the biggest story problems (and the last bit to be written and animated) was the opening scene in which Cartman did something so heinous that it caused the other boys to freeze him out. This set the bar pretty high, considering all the things that Cartman had already done. The writing staff was eating Kentucky Fried Chicken together -- and commenting on how the skin was the best part -- when the solution hit them.
Where Did The Idea Come From
The concept occurred to Trey during a production break, while he was hiking in Tasmania. It's the only time (so far) that he's come up with a usable idea while on vacation.
Pop Culture References
Butters is terrified after discovering his "ability" and screams out, "I'm like the kid in that movie! I'm seing dead people!" He's referring, of course, to Haley Joel Osment's spooky character in the 1999 thriller The Sixth Sense.
The toys in Butters' room include a box of Leggoze, a board game called Sink My Ship (a parody of Battleship), a Chinpoko Mon action figure, a Sea Man action figure (based off the superhero from "Super Best Friends"), and a doll modeled after Niblet, Korn's mascot from the Season 3 episode "Korn's Groovy Pirate Ghost Mystery."
We hear Butters sing his infamous "Loo Loo Loo, I've Got Some Apples." song again here. It can be heard again later this season in "Erection Day" .
Cartman compiles a massive list of things he must atone for. Many of these incidents we've seen: the time he convinced a woman to have an abortion so he could build a Shakey's Pizza (from Season 5's "Kenny Dies"); when he pretended to be retarded so he could join the Special Olympics ("Up the Down Steroid"); when he tried to have all the Jews exterminated last spring ("The Passion of the Jew"); and of course, the kid who's parents he had killed and made into chili which he then fed to the kid ("Scott Tenorman Must Die").
- e1 Mr. Garrison's Fancy New Vagina
- e2 Die Hippie, Die
- e3 Wing
- e4 Best Friends Forever
- e5 The Losing Edge
- e6 The Death of Eric Cartman
- e7 Erection Day
- e8 Two Days Before the Day After Tomorrow
- e9 Marjorine
- e10 Follow That Egg!
- e11 Ginger Kids
- e12 Trapped in the Closet
- e13 Free Willzyx
- e14 Bloody Mary