Thursday, April 5, 2012

South Park: Cartman's Passover Holiday Special

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

A few weeks ago I tweeted about how astonishing it is that knowing about chupacabras comes in handy. When I was in eleventh grade, my Spanish teacher was really into teaching us about the culture, so we read newspapers, watched telenovelas, and learned about El Dia de Los Muertos, chupacabras, and quinceaneras, among other things. So, when I read that Matt Stone and Trey Parker named this episode, "Jewpacabra," I had a feeling that we were in for a Kyle-heavy episode that would feature the infamous goat-sucker. I was pleasantly surprised to see how they wove in the Passover story, a holiday which is often overlooked on television, in my opinion. Plus, I imagine that Cartman's conversion in the end will act as plenty of fodder for future episodes, seeing how he's been teasing Kyle about his Jewish background since the beginning. Now, it's not the most educational story of Passover, but it hits a few points and serves as a jump-off point to go watch a better cartoon that tells the story... like Rugrats, which does an excellent job. Anyway, let's take a look...  

South Park "Jewpacabra" (S16E04): Kyle's mother explains Passover to Cartman, who turns the story into scaring everyone into believing that the Jewpacabras attack children during Passover. Cartman, of course, describes "jewpacabras" as "a horrific four-legged creature from Mexico that sucks the blood of goats," so while he's not completely wrong, he does force it to be a little freakier than necessary. [Butters said "ooh-da-lolly!" flashback to Robin Hood!] Cartman wants Butters to help him capture the Jewpacabra on video, so the kids are out in the woods using the mating calls, "nochrist, nochrist" and "jesusisalie." [haha.] They don't find the animal so Cartman tries to get the local grocery store to cancel their Easter Egg Hunt. Sadly, the soopermarket folks believe a shadow in the video could be dangerous, so they equip Cartman with helicopters to capture the thing. With those at his disposal, however, the first thing the fourth-grader does is head to Atlantis in Nassau to ride the famous waterslide. [random. the thing isn't even new... how did it fit?] Then, it's off to the Bigfoot Research Center, where the "scientists" fall for the video as well, even claiming that they can super-impose a heat sensor to show how warm the shadow is. [haha, Hebrew-jeebies. and, I don't think you can apply a heat sensor LATER... I think that technology would need to be utilized during the filming...] The fellows also convince Cartman that the Jewpacabra will be after him because he was the one who captured its likeness on film.

Cartman goes to the church to hide out, making Butters, Token, and Clyde stand guard. Unfortunately, the soopermarket guys decide to bust in and kidnap Cartman, dressing him as the Easter Bunny and chaining him in the park to lure the
photo courtesy: Comedy Central
Jewpacabra. They then inform Kyle that there's "a sacrifice" in the park. Kyle tells Cartman that he'll free him if he admits to lying, but Cartman believes in the creature too much to do so. [what's sad is that we don't see where Cartman's original knowledge of the Jewpacabra came from... the history channel, perhaps?] The Bigfoot people shoot Cartman with a tranquilizer dart, thinking he's a "BunnyMan," but they run off before getting a closer look. [useless.] Cartman imagines that he's the son of Pharaoh in the time of the plagues. [in all the renditions of the plagues that I've seen, I believe this is the first where the frogs "splat" upon impact, LoL.] He becomes upset when Kyle explains what's going to happen next - Pharaoh's heart will be hardened and he won't give the Hebrews what they want. Cartman tells Pharaoh about the possibility of first-born sons dying, but Pharaoh tells him not to believe it. Cartman witnesses lambs being sacrificed and their blood spread on doors, then boys dying everywhere... and, eventually, Cartman passes, too. [again, not the most realisitc representation, but it did rain frogs and it was Pharaoh's fault. nice little matzoh joke, too.] In the morning, Kyle brings bolt cutters to the park and frees Cartman, wrapping him in a blanket and taking him home. [this was an odd event... Kyle is generally a good kid and all, but why did he go "save" Cartman?] Later that day at the Easter Egg Hunt, Cartman takes the stage, shocked that he's alive, being thankful for a "Passover miracle" that taught him that God is angry and Jesus isn't God. Nobody listens to him, so Cartman tells Kyle that he now understands what it's like to know your religion is right and everyone else thinks it's wrong - Cartman is now committed to Judaism. [it's rare that I'm on the edge of my seat for the next episode of South Park, but that's where I am!] 
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