Weight Gain 4000
When Cartman's environmental essay wins a national contest, America's sweetheart Kathie Lee Gifford comes to South Park to present the award.
Cartman wins a "Save Our Fragile Planet" essay contest, for which he's to receive a trophy from Kathie Lee Gifford on national TV. To "get in shape" for his big moment he gorges on a high-calorie body building product called Weight Gain 4000. Soon he's packing on pounds of extra fat.
The entire town is excited about Gifford coming, except for Mr. Garrison. Decades earlier Gifford crushed and humiliated him during a children's talent show. Mr. Garrison and more importantly Mr. Hat never forgave her. On the day of the award ceremony Mr. Garrison takes a rifle up to the second floor of the town's book depository and waits for his chance. Wendy, who gets wind of his plan, enlists Stan to help her stop it.
Kathie Lee Gifford finally arrives, encased in a bullet-proof plastic bubble. Mr. Garrison, figuring she'll have to expose herself to give Cartman his trophy, bides his time. Suddenly Wendy and Stan burst in and try to talk him out of it. He hears them out, then goes ahead and squeezes off a shot at Gifford. But the stage collapses under the strain of Cartman's Jabba-esque bulk, launching Gifford out of harm's way. The bullet instead hits Kenny, who is blasted high into the air and impaled through the head by a flagpole.
Gifford is hustled out of town. Wendy announces to the crowd that Cartman's "winning" essay is really a copy of Walden with Henry David Thoreau's name scratched out and Cartman's written in. No one cares. Mr. Hat is arrested and sent to a mental hospital to recover. Of course Mr. Garrison, for obvious reasons, has to go too.
There's a happy ending of sorts. Chef has sex with Kathie Lee Gifford, and Cartman finally gets on TV -- specifically a Geraldo episode about the morbidly obese.
What I Learned Today
"You can't win all the time. And if you don't win, you certainly can't hold it against the person who did, because that's the only way you ever really lose."
- "Get out of my ass you stupid rainbows!" (Eric Cartman)
- "How are my little crackers today?" (Chef)
- "Screw you, hippie!" (Eric Cartman)
- "C'mon people! We've got to turn this place around! Hang up the lights, string up the banners, castrate the cows!" (Mayor McDaniels)
- "Beefcake! BEEFCAKE!" (Eric Cartman)
- "Do you have a big dick?" (Kenny McCormick to Chef)
- "God damn it, that's a big fat ass!" (Kyle Broflovski to Cartman)
- "Follow your dreams. You can reach your goals. I'm living proof. Beefcake. BEEFCAKE!" (Eric Cartman)
This is the first episode we see South Park's mayor of the town Mayor McDaniels who has to have her town look good for Kathie Lee Gifford. We also get a good look at Jimbo Kern, though it's not mentioned in this episode he is Stan's uncle.
An unnamed kid who looks exactly like Kevin Stoley and of course, Kenny.
Behind The Scenes
Where Did The Idea Come From
A satire on American consumerism and willful purchasing habits in pursuit of happiness. Throughout the episode Cartman deludes himself into thinking the Weight Gain 4000 works even though it obviously doesn't and carries additional health risks.
Weight Gain 4000 is a parody of companies that sell protein supplements for muscle gain. They are effective only if the consumer exercises and do body building regularly, but commercials don't usually mention this important point.
Pop Culture References
When Wendy pleads with Mr. Garrison not to kill Kathie Lee Gifford, he responds by saying, "It is too late for me... young Wendy." The line is a lift from Star Wars' Return of the Jedi.
Gifford's talent show song "If My Friends Could See Me Now" is the same tune she sang for Carnival Cruise Lines commercials during the early '90s. It in turn is a spoof of the song with the same name from 1966 musical Sweet Charity.
When Mr. Hat is arrested by Officer Barbrady at the end of the episode, he says "I would have gotten away with it if it weren't for those meddling kids". This is a reference to a popular line used in cartoon series Scooby Doo, usually uttered by villains after their plans were thwarted.
After becoming so obese from drinking Weight Gain 4000 that he can't even leave his house, Cartman makes an appearance as "Fat Ass" on the skeevy daytime show Geraldo hosted by Geraldo Rivera.
A golden version of the titular superhero from Trey and Matt's Orgazmo is featured on top of Kathie Lee Gifford's trophy to Cartman. It can also be seen on top of the World Champion dodgeball trophy in “Conjoined Fetus Lady". The superhero is a frequently used easter egg throughout the show.
Singer, hostess, and actress Kathie Lee Gifford who at the time was the co-host of the daytime show Live with Regis and Kathy Lee. In the course of the episode, Chef professes his love for her while Garrison confronts his hatred for her.
Kathie Lee's husband and previous NFL football player Frank Gifford also gets a nod as Chef tells the boys that he's "three times bigger" than Frank Gifford. Chef's talking about his chocolate salty balls, of course.
Mr. Garrison's hatred for Kathy Lee was foreshadowed in "Cartman Gets an Anal Probe" where the sentence, "I'm not positive, but I think that Cathy (sic) Lee Gifford is much older than she claims to be" can be seen on his classroom's chalkboard.
- In his talent show flashback, the 8-year-old Mr. Garrison is shown already bald on top, with gray on the sides. Yet in a flashback during "Cartman's Mom Is A Dirty Slut", he possesses a full head of hair.
- This episode contains the first reference to Jesus and Pals, a public access TV show hosted by no other than Jesus himself. Although we only see a commercial for it here, Jesus and Pals can actually be seen in the next episode "Big Gay Al's Big Gay Boat Ride".
- On the chalkboard in the students' classroom, you can see the sentences "Chupe mis Chi Chis", "No me Toquen los Huevos" and "Mi verga es Fea y Morena". In Spanish they read "Suck my Boobs", "Don't Touch my Balls" and "My dick is Ugly and Black".
- Bebe in this episode is voiced by late actress Mary Kay Bergman. She is voiced by the show's supervising producer Jennifer Howell afterwards.
- During the play about South Park's history, it is mentioned the "Ute Indians" originally inhabited the land. The Ute tribe did indeed occupy parts of Colorado and Utah.