The Death of Eric Cartman
Stan's mom comes home with a huge bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken and the boys are really excited. While they quickly help unload the rest of the car, Cartman manages to eat the delicious, crunchy skin off of every single piece of chicken.
The boys sit down to dig in only to find their chicken ravaged. Cartman then takes off, leaving the boys hopping mad.
The next morning, Stan, Kyle and Kenny decide to completely ignore Cartman all together. When he shows up and no one acknowledges or even looks at him, he leaps to the conclusion that he's dead and no one can see him. That belief is reinforced when he returns home to find his mother wailing uncontrollably upstairs and workers carrying out a kid-sized box.
He doesn't realize that the box contains a toilet (which ruptured due to overwhelming amounts of chicken-skin-crap), or that his mom is "wailing" because one of the toilet repair guys is having sex with her.
Finally, he turns up at school, where everyone else has also decided to ignore him. Feeling he's a lost soul, he wanders the streets in despair -- crying, moaning, and blubbering like a ghost.
Cartman then wanders by Butters, who says "hello" to him when they pass on the street. Cartman is estatic that Butters can "see" him. Butters, however, is terrified that he's seeing ghosts. They decide that Cartman can't "move on" until he finds closure with his loved ones.
So Butters, acting as the mouthpiece for the plainly visible and audible Cartman, tells his "former" friends and family members what he really thinks of them, and apologizes for his wrongdoings.
When all of his hard work fails to propel him to Heaven, Cartman takes more drastic measures. He compiles a list of everyone he's ever wronged, then gives each one a gift basket. But this display of atonement doesn't allow him to pass into the next world either. Meanwhile, Butters' parents worry that their son is losing his mind and have him institutionalized. In an effort to uncover his "past traumas," Butters undergoes a series of anal-intensive tests and experiements.
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. Then she realizes Cartman is a spirit and runs away in a panic.
Just then a TV newscast reports that three escaped convicts are holding 12 people hostage at the local Red Cross. Cartman figures he's found his mission.
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 display, calls him his friend. He then tries one last time to get his eternal reward and transcend to heaven. As he does this, the fourth grade boys appear and tell Cartman that, in light of his heroic actions, they won't ignore him anymore.
After taking a stunned moment to process this information, Cartman blames Butters for his humiliation and vows to get him back.
What I Learned Today
"What awaits each person in heaven is eternal bliss, divine rest, and $10,000 cash."
- "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
- "Boy oh boy, Eric you've got a lot to atone for." Butters
- "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