"Cartman Gets an Anal Probe", the first episode of Comedy Central's animated series South Park, originally aired on August 13, 1997. It was re-created in the season seven episode Cancelled.
This episode and Damien are the only episodes on Comedy Central of South Park not to be rated TV-MA. Instead, this episode is rated TV-14-DLV. On the syndicated series, it retains this rating.
This episode was ranked the #4 in the UK poll Paramount Comedy's Top 10 Episodes.
, and Cartman
wait for the school bus, they argue over the meaning of a dildo
, and Cartman tells them that he dreamed that he had been abducted by aliens who gave him an anal probe
. The others try to convince him it was real, but Cartman dismisses them as just trying to scare him. Chef
pulls up in his car and, after telling them what was being served on the lunch menu for the day, asks if they saw an alien spaceship, inadvertently confirming Cartman's "dream". After Chef leaves, the school bus shows up, driven by Ms. Crabtree
, a scary-looking, loudmouthed, middle-aged woman who constantly tells the children to "sit down and shut up". As the bus is driving away, Kyle looks back and sees two aliens holding his brother, Ike
. Kyle pleads with Ms. Crabtree to let him off the bus, but she yells at him to sit down or else he gets an office referral.
Meanwhile, several cows have been turned inside out. Incompetent Police Officer Barbrady has been called to investigate and explains that cows turning inside out is not unusual. As he talks with the rancher about the recent gossip about UFOs, several aliens try to lure the remaining cows away by whistling and offering them straw. The cows, not taking the bait, run away from the ranch. Barbrady ends up trying to retrieve the cattle for the rancher, even as they try to take a train out of town.
Kyle asks his teacher Mr. Garrison if he can be excused to find his brother. Mr. Garrison tells Kyle he has to ask Mr. Garrison's puppet, Mr. Hat, who uses Mr. Garrison's catch phrase of, "You go to hell! You go to hell and you die!" against Kyle.
After class, the four are standing in the cafeteria line when Stan reveals his love for Wendy Testaburger by vomiting when she talks to him. When Chef is asked what to do when someone does not believe you, he breaks out into a sultry, erotic (but off-topic) song.
When Chef learns that Kyle's brother was abducted by aliens, he freaks out and says, "What the hell do you think you're doing in school eating Salisbury steak? Go find him, damn it!" The boys explain that Mr. Garrison won't let them out of school, and Cartman farts again. This is when a cycloptic robot pops up from behind Cartman and quickly retreats to whence it came. To help the children find Kyle's brother, Chef pulls the fire alarm.
Once they are outside, Cartman repeats that it was just a dream, when he suddenly he is hit by a beam and starts singing and dancing to I Love to Singa. Soon afterward, a flying saucer appears. Kyle throws a stone and the spaceship fires back, hitting Kenny, then vanishes. However, Cartman claims to have seen nothing and walks home in a huff.
Stan and Kyle walk to the place they are supposed meet Wendy, and she helps them realize that the thing in Cartman ass might be able to make the visitors return.
To lure the aliens back, Stan, Kyle, and Wendy use a rope to anchor Cartman to a tree. After Cartman farts flames several times, an 80-foot satellite dish protrudes from his butt. The alien spaceships show up, revealing Ike behind a door on one of the ships. Kyle tries to get his brother to jump down by telling him to do his impersonation of David Caruso's career. The aliens apologize to the cows, explaining the inside-out thing was the "new guy, Carl's fault," and give them the device that makes people break into song and dance.
The next morning, Cartman falls from the sky and lands at the bus stop next to Stan and Kyle, now with pinkeye that he claims was given to him by Scott Baio in a dream. Kyle informs Cartman that he really does have pinkeye and the whole circumstance was not a dream. Cartman responds by saying, "Aw, son of a bitch!", which is the final line of the episode.
This is the only episode Trey
animated completely by themselves, along with a bit of help from Eric Stough
(the current head of animation), which took three months to make using traditional cut paper stop-motion
animation techniques. Almost all subsequent episodes, including the new scenes made exclusively for the pilot episode that aired on television, were fully computer animated using Power Animator
Additionally, due to time constraints, scenes had to be cut from the 30-minute pilot or be changed. For instance, instead of pulling the fire alarm, in the original, Chef gives the boys "special extra-hot tamales" to raise their body temperature to give them an excuse to go home. Also, a notable cut scene was the boys picking on Pip in the lunch line, which was later shown in An Elephant Makes Love to a Pig.
Differences from aired pilot
This episode was the pilot episode of South Park
, but the original pilot was edited and censored due to time constraints and company policy. The unaired pilot differs from the version shown on television in several ways, including:
- The opening sequence song was slowed down generously, and everyone's voices are changed. Also, instead of clips of season 1 playing in the background, clips from "The Spirit of Christmas" are displayed on a sign.
- Instead of banjo riffs, the scene transition music is composed of pianos.
- The closing credits end with a clip of 6 naked men from Le Petit Package, a short film made by Stone and Parker during the making of the unaired pilot. The words "Braniff Airlines" obscure the actual nudity as the characters sing the words. Le Petit Package was shown at the alternative Utah film festival Lapdance in 1998. For the majority of the series, the Braniff Airlines animation happens as a few chords from Cannibal! The Musical play in the background.
- A sound clip of Cartman's third fart in the playground plays after the Comedy Central logo is shown.
Different scenes were shown as well, including:
- Mr. Garrison berates Kyle longer; Mr. Hat refers to Kyle as a "little turd". Also Kyle says "Fuck Mr. Hat." Garrison replies "No, no. Fuck you!".
- Instead of Chef pulling the fire alarm, he gives the boys hot tamales.
- There is a scene on the playground where Pip hits his head on a pole and runs to the nurse, with Wendy giving the note to Stan happens in this scene instead of in the cafeteria in the aired episode. The 6th Graders also make their first appearance here (ostensibly as 5th graders).
- In the scene where the boys try to convince Cartman that Kenny is dead after the visitors attack him and Officer Barbrady and the cows run him over, the music cuts off when Cartman first says, "No!" In the televised version, the music continues to play until Kyle pulls Kenny's head off.
- Cartman had a family in the original pilot, while in the rest of the series the boys makes fun of the fact Cartman has no father figure. A father and sister are shown at the table (along with Mr. Kitty with fire all over his fur, because Cartman farted fire on her). Both the father and the sister do not move at all except when Ms. Cartman goes to get the gravy and the sister moves as her mother passes by.
- While the children were waiting for the alien mother ship to appear, Chef drives up (wearing the same outfit he wore while waiting for the visitors to appear in the aired episode) and sings his song again in an attempt to calm Kyle down before helping the children call down the visitors, leaving as soon as they appear.
- Kyle promises to be good to Ike and not ever play "kick the baby" again, instead of mentioning David Caruso to entice Ike to jump.
- The ending was completely rewritten for the television premiere; after Kyle proclaims that they're running out of friends, the camera pulls back to show Kenny, standing next to the boys alive and well, saying hi to them (this was clearly intended to set up Kenny always showing up after dying in a previous episode). As Officer Barbrady arrives to try to convince the boys that nothing unusual happened the night before, the fate of the cows he had been chasing is revealed in that they were barbaqued by the visitors, as the scene where the visitors give the cows their mind-controlling device had not yet been conceived (this moment was also depicted in the broadcasted opening sequence for the early seasons). Ike appears at the bus stop and Kyle kicks him into a window at Cartman's house, remarking beforehand, "You know, I still can't believe how upset I was when I thought he would be gone for good." Cartman appears as in the finalized episode, except he doesn't have pinkeye and doesn't describe the previous night's events as a dream. After Stan declares, "What a grand adventure this has been," Pip appears and says, "God bless us, everyone," causing Cartman to get mad.
"I Love to Singa
," performed by Cartman while under alien control, and by Officer Barbrady after the cows are given the aliens' device, is a song written by Harold Arlen
and E.Y. Harburg
originally for the Al Jolson
film "The Singing Kid" (1936), and later used in a Merrie Melodies
cartoon directed by Tex Avery
. (At the time of the original airing of this episode, Time Warner
, which owns the rights to the cartoon, also owned a stake in Comedy Central).