SOUTH PARK “Ginger Cow” Episode Recap
I love an episode that pays attention to the world that’s been built in previous episodes. I’m not talking about simple references and gags. But using character traits to build on moments that came before. We’ve seen Cartman in a wide array of situations, expressing his darkest moments and most vile desires. However, I’m not sure we’ve seen such a big episode in this way.
Considering the world building, you’d think Cartman would have learned his lesson making fun of gingers. Apparently not, as Cartman’s never learned his lesson about anything…ever. Furthermore, he’s taking a joke (or a lie) too far, reaching a terrible conclusion. Again, not learning his lesson at all. When the story begins to spread, there is a series of foreign-language non-subtitled scenes, revealing how fast the news is spreading. Which makes the next joke that much better. Kyle is brought into the principal’s office to translate for some men from Israel. But it turns out they’re just Jewish stereotypes and Mackey and Principal Victoria just don’t understand them. It’s a beautifully structured joke, that at first is funny, but reveals it has a few more layers.
Cartman’s “ginger cow” joke turns into a holy war apocalypse, which then turns into peace in the Middle East. Could this be one of Cartman’s finest moments? It could be mediocre if that was that. But then Cartman takes it one step further forcing Kyle to be his slave, much like the slave for a day sitcom trope. Unlike most sitcoms, this is the sickest, most vile take on that trope ever. But unlike when Kyle refused to suck on Cartman’s balls, Kyle plays along. At first, he’s depressed. And who wouldn’t be? Cartman speaks at length about the flavor of his farts. But then Kyle has a dream and speaks to God. Afterwards, he’s at peace with the situation. But every time he tries to explain his happiness, everyone else says he sounds like a dick. So goes martyring oneself for the greater good. Gee, thanks and all, but shut the hell up already.
I do love how serious the fart jokes are taken. This easily could have become a worn-out joke by the second commercial break, but instead of remaining on one level with the joke, they take it further. Stan shows up at Kyle’s concerned about his well-being. Kyle is severely torn up about the whole thing. The melodramatic soap spin on the moment keeps the joke from going stale. But Stan’s best friend meddling of course screws everything up. Once he announces that he saw the cow descend and appear with a flash, the Middle East devolves into turmoil once again. It is explained that no, it’s not the existence of a red cow, the prophecy said, “a fat child with a small penis would decorate a cow to look ginger”. This one fine final comedic twist sold the episode for me, referring to Cartman’s small dick issue and how his pride is directly connected. Cartman has a chance, once again, to bring peace to the Middle East, but refuses saying that his dick his huge.
This is an incredible episode. It’s an episode that stands far and above the rest so far this season. Maybe it’s the newness. Maybe it’s that I needed a good laugh. But honestly, I feel like this is an instant classic South Park episode. Hyperbole aside…it’s fucking amazeballs.
- Speaking of world-building…the Airport Hilton makes and appearance (See “Ginger Kids” Season 9, Episode 11).
- “No doubt Israel is the happiest, rockinest place to be”.
- “What can this reporter say but that Israel freakin’ rocks”.
- “I’m not a dick, I’m like Gandhi”.