South Park Rails Against BMI and Government Involvement in Silly Weight-Based Matters

I love South Park. I always have. I’ve written a book on South Park called The Zen of South Park, and I’ve written multiple blog posts and papers on South Park, including one on South Park’s treatment of “fat,” which I delivered at 2010’s Popular Culture of America conference.

But last night, South Park outdid themselves in an episode called TMI.

For those of you who might be squeamish or know that South Park regularly offends you, I encourage you to stop reading, or at least say beep! wherever you see language that offends you.

Weight Measurements in School! Might as Well Measure Penis Size!


In this episode, the school posts the fourth grade boys’ growth chart, which angers Eric Cartman, a fat child (you’ll see why that’s relevant shortly) because he believes that they have posted the length of all the boys penises – and his is the smallest.

When the boys decide to remeasure and post their real penis lengths – not the school’s botched measurements – Cartman learns that the numbers represented the boys’ height differential from the previous year, not their penis lengths. Due to his anger management problem and inability to think when he’s mad, Cartman is sent to therapy. To test what sets him off, the doctor immediately starts calling him fat and making fun of his size and weight – in case we weren’t already aware of what this was about.

In the meantime, made aware of this public penis measuring, Randy Marsh, a local father, goes to school to explain to the children how a penis should really be measured, presenting them with a complicated formula detailing a variety of related penile measurements. It’s convoluted and ridiculous and reminds one of how BMI is calculated.

When the Surgeon General presents her own way of measuring penis size – seemingly just as silly – making Randy’s penis seem smaller, Randy is outraged. He, in turn, is sentenced to anger management, where Cartman’s therapist starts to recognize the relationship between penis size and anger issues. That is, people emphasize penis size and that makes people with small penises angry.

A Tea Party-like group rises out of these angry people who hate the government’s inadequate understanding of penis size, making numerous and outrageous demands. In response the Surgeon General declares TMI flawless science that cannot be changed yet lowers the length a penis needs to be to make it above average.

What the Penis Size!?

You may have read that and thought to yourself, what the hell is Jay talking about? Why does he keep talking about angry people and their penises? You might be thinking that even if you are familiar with BMI and the government’s ridiculous means of measuring people’s weights, its involvement in school weight-based programs, and the unjust discrimination fat people face every day for being different under an arbitrary standard – and even if you get really angry about these things.

For however muddled this episode was and however haphazardly I summarized it, South Park just laid down a scathing indictment of the ridiculousness of Body Mass Index, or BMI, the government’s absurdity at propagating and changing elements of BMI to suit its own agenda, and the inanity of government-based programs that isolates fat children and sanction discrimination against them.

I always knew that South Park had a knack like no other satire for seeing through bull crap, but I always worried that when it really counted – like the ability to see that our weight-based obsessions were ridiculous and had gone way too far – South Park would let me down.

But they didn’t.

They saw this nonsense for what it is – bologna . . . bologna that our government wants to ban from school lunches and prevent fat people from eating so that we can all be so pretty again! No wait, that’s b.s., too.

I encourage everyone to seek out this episode on Comedy Central and use it as a means of reaching friends and family with whom you’ve argued about your own ability to be happy and fat and left alone just the way you are. And, of course, the silliness of the BMI scale.

Did you see the episode? What did you think? Want to learn more about unjust weight-based discrimination? Then check out, More of Me to Love.

Kyle Swims Through a Water Park of “Pee” in the South Park Season 13 Finale

This was the last episode of the 13th season of South Park. That makes me sad. Wednesday nights will be forever emptier because of this. Well, not forever more. They’ll be better again in a few months when South Park is back.

In this episode, the boys go to the local water park, Pi Pi’s, where Kyle opts to stay out of the water indefinitely due to its incredibly high concentration of urine. Cartman, however, is disappointed for other reasons: the water park is filled with minorities.

Black people.

Mexicans.

Chinese.

He thinks he even saw some Native Americans.

This, of course, is less stated than it is sung in a beautiful song. Trey Parker is quite the composer – always has been. Indeed, Cartman predicts that the Mayans got the year of the Apocalypse wrong and that rather then 2012, it’s actually happening in 2009, since the water park has been taken over by minorities and Cartman is the “last of his kind.”

When warned that the pee content of his water park is so high that the park is on the verge of disaster, Pi Pi does nothing – to the detriment of human kind . . . well, human kind currently in attendance at his water park. With the urination of one final little girl, the water becomes 100% pee and disaster ensues. Everything goes to hell – in Cartman’s eyes, the Mayan Apocalypse.

In order to drain the pee from the park, Kyle has to hold his breath and swim through it down to an underwater release valve, but in order to do that he must first drink pee in order to avoid the bends. Since pee grosses him out so much, this is obviously a monumental task. It’s pretty hilarious listening to the other boys be honest about all the things they do related to pee that Kyle considers unacceptable:

– pee in the shower

– pee in the pool

– not wash their hands after peeing

Gross!! I’d never not wash my hands after peeing. Yeah . . . never . . .

Obviously the moment Kyle drank the pee they were all rescued, since is was discovered that the antidote to anger caused by the overexposure to pee is bananas. And yes, the part where the monkeys got angry while getting urinated on was hilarious and disgusting.

Funny enough, I loved that Kyle hated bananas so much and had to eat one after drinking the pee. Why? My wife loves most foods but HATES bananas. She finds them revolting, particularly the smell. Sometimes to be cruel when we’re at the grocery store I’ll hold a bunch of bananas behind her head and then say her name so that she turns around and finds them there. She hates that. I’m very mature.

This wasn’t a killer episode like a few of the other poignant ones this season, but it was amusing, particularly the unbearably racist sentiments that got called out and exposed for being illogical: minorities are beginning to make up the majority. Get used to it. It’s okay and that’s where things were going. We’re all immigrants – thanks White Stripes.

An interesting aside: there was a commercial for Avatar during South Park, which is interesting because last week’s episode made fun of Avatar and showed South Park being really angry that the movie was ripping off something else (I asked what that something else was but nobody knew to tell me).

What’d you think of this episode? Did you like it? What did you think about the 13th season? Which episode was your favorite.

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Cartman Becomes the School Announcer and Rips on Wendy (like she’s Obama) in South Park Episode 1313 – and a lot of Smurfs die in an Avatar Satire

The profundity never ends on South Park – god, I f-in’ LOVE it!

The episode began with the brutal murder of the kid who does the school announcements – a murder we all hear happen over the course of five minutes on the announcements (I know that this probably undermines my opening sentence about the profundity of South Park, but I assure you that this is going somewhere). With his death there’s obviously a need to fill the spot of morning announcer, and so auditions are held. Upon beating out Casey Miller, who describes his voice as “audible chocolate,” by telling Mr. Mackey that Casey described his haircut in an unsavory fashion, Cartman becomes the new morning announcer.

On his first day as said announcer, he adds in quite a bit of impromptu commentary about the way that the school has been suffering as a result of the direction taken under its new leader, Wendy Testeberger. From here forward it’s quite clear that everything Cartman is saying about Wendy is meant to echo the way that some people in the news talk about the United States president, Barack Obama.

Essentially, Cartman drones on continuously about Wendy’s horrible policies and how she’s trying to turn the school into a liberal, socialist, left-wing, communist haven that wants to destroy the Smurfs. Upon writing a book and gaining an increasing amount of support, Cartman is told that he can no longer continue with these senseless ramblings or sell his book on school property. He storms out of school but does his morning announcements by video from abroad. Abroad where? The Smurf Village.

Cartman claims to have gone to live with the smurfs, to learn their ways, to pick Smurf berries and to live a Smurf life; Cartman also says that he fell in love with Smurfette. Tragically, he alleges, Wendy Testeberger came and destroyed the Smurf Village. But why, Wendy, why? In order to take all of the Smurf berries which she will use to power the school.

The allegations about Wendy (including the degree to which she’s a heinous slut) have become pretty extreme, and she’s being blamed for everything wrong at South Park Elementary. Since this is supposed to represent the way that people address Obama, I think lines like “maybe you should look into what student council actually does before you listen to an idiot with a microphone” and “just because a guy’s voice is on the intercom and his words are in a book doesn’t mean you should listen to him” are an amazing dig at the idiots out there with a platform to speak and the morons who believe every word they say.

Does that mean I support Obama and disparage his bashers? Hell no! It means that I agree that we all need to get a grip on the things we consider him responsible for and the degree to which his actions are having certain effects versus that which he has specifically put in motion.

Along the lines of Wendy destroying the Smurfs, I imagined at first that the Smurfs represented the “little people” or “small business” (that Obama is supposedly destroying), but as the episode went on it became clear that South Park is really pissed off about Avatar and the idea of somebody infiltrating a group of fakeass blue creatures by pretending to be one, gaining their trust and then going rogue on his own people who are trying to get an important supply of some power source. My question is, what did James Cameron rip off to make Avatar? I have to know! Please help me if you know the answer.

Back in the episode, Wendy agrees to go on Cartman’s show in order to get him to finally shut up (this after Butters urinates on her house in protest of her policies). Most unexpectedly, she admits to the whole destruction of the Smurfs thing, but only in order to take Cartman down with her by saying that his life amongst the Smurfs was meant to infiltrate and destroy them from the inside. Thus, Cartman is made to look like he destroyed the Smurfs. Wendy resigns from her post and hands the student body presidency over to Cartman. Obviously, the job is boring, thankless and sucky, and Cartman runs away crying after everybody hates him.

In a similar fashion, this is saying that those who bash the president and claim to know “what would definitely work” don’t know shit and couldn’t do any better of a job.

The episode also made a nice jab at Glee at the beginning by way of the rehearsals announcement (Glee‘s an awesome show, by the way).

What was your favorite part of the episode? Can you help me figure out the Avatar thing?

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In South Park Episode 1312 the Boys Launch a Campaign to Change the Word “Fag” to Mean a Loud, Douchebag, Harley Rider

By way of having a real meaning I thought this episode was the king of the season so far.

Harley Davidson bikers are driving around South Park trying to be cool and badass. They’re actually just disrupting everyone’s lovely days by making tons of noise and generally being obnoxious. They boys start calling them fags, and when the bikers don’t stop ruining everything the boys shit on their bike seats and spray paint, “Get Out Fags,” all over town.

This, of course, causes grave concern, first amongst the gay people in town (Mr. Slave and Big Gay Al) and then amongst the school administration and the local government. Everyone is shocked that Stan, Kyle, Kenny and Cartman so freely admit that they’re guilty of being abusive towards gays, and this causes the boys to explain their behavior. They say that the loud and obnoxious bikers are fags. Not gay. Gay people are fine. It’s fags (i.e. bikers) that they hate.

It takes everyone a while to understand the differentiation between the words “fag” and “gay” but eventually a dictionary is actually broken open on the show and the evolving definition of the word is explained. Fag has referred to a variety of different hated groups throughout history, only recently gay people, but it’s meaning continues to change as those addressed by the word become irrelevant or no longer hated. That is, as a group, gay people are no longer fags.

In fact, in order to make this entire situation clear and officially make the new meaning of Fag “annoying Harley Davidson bikers,” the boys ask the keepers of the dictionary to make it a permanent definition.

So incensed are Harley Davidson bikers at the idea of being the new fags that they nearly destroy the entire town fighting about it. That, of course, only makes them faggier. By the end of the episode it is clear that those loud bike-riding douches are the world’s biggest FAGS.

I loved that this episode separated the word fag from the word gay. All too often people use gay as a negative adjective, and that’s terrible. Fag, however, is another story. That word is meant to have a negative connotation, and though it’s still a shame to draw that connotation because of its modern relationship to the word fag, it’s great that someone is making an effort to change the word to something new. Leave it to South Park to instigate social change.

Funniest line from the episode: when the boys are asked what someone who is considering getting a Harley and driving it around loudly is called, Cartman replies, “bike-curious.” Say it fast and you’ll get it. Just a nice pun on the use of fag and gay in this episode.

What’d you think of this most recent episode? What was your favorite part.

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The Boys Get Their Wrestling Shot at the WWE on South Park Episode 1310, “WTF”

After an amazing evening watching live WWE “wrestling” the boys decide that they want to take up wrestling themselves. Upon joining the wrestling team at school and deciding that the “wrastling” teacher just wants them to be gay together (not that there’s anything wrong with that), they form the WTF, their own wrestling organization.

It’s just for fun, and they have a great time staging their ridiculous wrestling plots, including sleeping with each others’ girlfriends and being half-siblings with one another, but then people start watching, and the WTF grows and grows. Every redneck in town thinks that the plots are real – that Cartman dressed up as Stan’s girlfriend really did have 7 abortions as a 9 year old.

The “wrastling” teacher grows increasingly frustrated at the misconceptions about what wrestling really is, especially after being fired for not being useful to the school anymore and having gay porn (wrestling videos) on his phone.

As the WTF grows in acclaim, it comes to the attention of WWE and Vince McMahon, who comes to South Park to watch a match and potentially recruit someone into the WWE. Striving for their best and most dramatic performance to date – since they’ve realized that wrestling is just acting – the boys put on a killer show in which Cartman, addicted to abortions, has one right their on stage. Moreover, one of his aborted babies survived and comes back to confront him.

“Get back to the dumpster where you belong!”

And the people all believe it! Incredulity was not the name of the game.

3 Things I Loved About This Episode

1. They killed Kenny for the first time in a while – in Spanish! Like most, I got tired of Kenny’s perpetual deaths (though I have a theory about his resurrection…), but once in a while it’s amusing to kill him. Why this time? Because his wrestling character was El Pollo Loco (The Crazy Chicken), and it was all the Mexicans who loved him.

The episode ends with the “wrastling” teacher attempting to kill Vince McMahon with a rocket launcher. However, when the rocket sputters out on the stage where the kids are wrestling, Kenny grabs the rocket and is shot into the sky and explodes.

Will he return in the next episode!?

2. The reference to the episode, “Goodbacks,” in which the entire town hates the people from the future because they “Took our jobs!” which degrades into “Dey duk er jers!” and worse.

In this episode this only got more ridiculous as the “wrastling” teacher told his tale of woe, and everybody echoed the sentiments he was expressing:

“They took his job!”

“De duk ur doob!”

“They broke his jaw!”

“They took his dog!”

3. The fact that all of the rednecks were drinking wine while watching wrestling. Why? I think because they were trying to be sophisticated along the lines of wrestling being good acting and the wrestling experience being akin to a theater experience (like when Vince McMahon has a Playbill).

Did you like this episode? What was your favorite part?

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Butters is the Greatest Pimp in the Game on South Park Episode 1309, “Butters’ Bottom Bitch”

When the boys harass Butters for not ever having kissed a girl, Butters ponies up the $5 to kiss Sally, a girl who kisses boys behind the trailers. This rise to manhood makes Butters realize that he needs to start making a living. Upon bringing boys to Sally for $5 kisses and getting a cut, Butters’ enterprise only snowballs from there.

Butters becomes South Park’s newest pimp – and he’s damn good at it. He gets more girls to make more money and eventually he’s rakin’ it in. After attending a pimp convention, Butters learns the lingo, getting straight who his hos and bitches are, and always saying, “Do you know what I am saying?”

“Yes, I know what you are saying. You don’t have to keep asking me.”

As his kissing company grows, Butters starts to get adult prostitutes who want a pimp that respects them and doesn’t beat them – and that’s Butters. With so much money coming in he goes to ACORN and even gets low income housing and medicare for his bitches.

At the end of the episode, Butters is inspired by the true love of a pimp and an undercover cop dressed as a prostitute, which makes him get out of the pimpin’ game, realizing that the money women make – whether for kissing or listening to a man’s mother fu#@in problems – is their money.

This episode was hysterical. The plot was hilarious and ridiculous and there were tons of good ol’ South Park lines that just made you laugh. It was great when Stan threatened Butters for harassing Wendy and when Butters offered Clyde $100 to protect him if Stan came over.

Just a great frickin’ episode. What’d you think? What was your favorite line?

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In South Park Episode 1308 Michael Jackson Possesses Ike, Who’s Seeing “Dead Celebrities” Like Billy Mays Selling Chipotlaway

Oh my God! How does the first episode begin with the Broflovskis having dirty sex! Gross and fantastic.

Dead Celebrities – AHH!

But what is this episode really about? Dead celebrities that are stuck in purgatory and who can’t pass into the after life. A lot of celebrities died this past summer, a number of whom were featured in this episode:

– Billy Mays
– Fara Faucet
– David Kerotine
– Ed McMahan
– Walter Kronkite

– And many more (who else did you notice?)

This purgatory in which they’re stuck is akin to being stuck on a plane that’s on the runway waiting to take off. It’s pushed back from the gate and you can’t go to the bathroom, and they haven’t started serving drinks, and you can’t get off the plane. That’s where every famous celebrity has been waiting for 3 months because . . .

Michael Jackson is in denial about being dead!

Just Let It Go MJ

He’s been in denial his entire life: denial about his age, his gender, his race, his history and his life. People who are in denial can’t move on and they hold up the whole plane – especially those who have a ton of baggage . . . and Michael Jackson has a ton of baggage.

After an episode of making fun of dead celebrities – primarily Billy Mays who has designed Chipotlaway to keep the blood stains out of your underwear after you eat Chipotle – and Ghost Hunters and The Sixth Sense, Ike ends up in the hospital with Dr. Phillips (who has the voice of the Sparrow King from the Lemmiwinks episodes), the doctor of Spooky Things.

When Michael Jackson takes over Ike’s body, we learn that the only way to get rid of a ghost possessing a human is to make the ghost feel like what it has never gotten before and what it longs for living people to acknowledge it as. In Michael Jackson’s case, that’s being acknolwedged as a little, white girl.

Chipotlaway Saves the Day

In order to make him feel like a little white girl, the boys dress Ike up as, well, a little white girl and put him into one of those obnoxious pageant shows. And how do the boys ensure that Michael Jackson wins the pageant and feels like a little white girl so that all of the dead celebrities can move out of purgatory? Well, the only judge who wasn’t arrested for jerking off to the girls in the pageant trades Cartman the secret of Chipotlaway for a vote for Ike/Michael Jackson.

Upon winning, Michael Jackson finds himself acknowledged as a little white girl and his soul is freed. He returns to the purgatory plane which takes off and then all of the celebrities go to . . . HELL!

Final Thoughts

So, I thought this was an incredible mid-season opener. It nailed so many things, had some great lines, was gross and silly and touched on a few worthwhile issues. No, it wasn’t super heady or the best episode or anything like that, but it was jam-packed, relatively twisted and pretty great. I’m totally excited that new episodes are back in the making, and I’m really thrilled to be working on my book right now and getting ready to release it as an ebook. Right now I’ve got a FREE Bonus Chapter from The Zen of South Park available to whomever wants it. There will be more free South Park stuff to come, and I’ll keep you posted on the status of the book.

What did you think about this first episode? Did you like it? Was it a good mid-season opener? Let me know in the comments below.

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