Helen Keller! The Musical

"Helen Keller! The Musical" is episode 61 of South Park. It originally aired on November 22, 2000.


The fourth graders are rehearsing for the "Thanksgiving Extravaganza", where they have to perform The Miracle Worker, which is the story of Helen Keller, starring Timmy as the famous deaf and blind girl. Butters comes in, exclaiming that the kindergarteners' play is the greatest show he has ever seen. The fourth graders worry that they will be outdone by the kindergarteners, so they agree to put extra effort into making their play extravagant. Cartman agrees to adapt the play into a musical, and eventually Jeffrey Maynard, (a man who looks and sounds exactly like Colm Wilkinson )who played the lead in Les Misérables for the Denver Community Playhouse and cannot resist the urge to sing what he has to say, is brought in to help. Most of his songs resemble ones from Les Misérables. The kids also decide to replace Helen's pet dog with a turkey, which is also to perform tricks for the audience.

Timmy helps to pick out the turkey, and chooses a disabled turkey which he names "Gobbles." Kyle brings it back to the rehearsals, much to the disdain of the rest of the fourth grade. They all agree that the turkey is pathetic, which prompts Jeffrey Maynard to bring in a professional performing turkey. Her name is Alinicia, and her trainer Lamond declares that she will not perform with Gobbles. Alinicia is a very snobbish creature. Lamond tells Cartman that "the other turkey" needs to go, and Cartman agrees to arrange an "unfortunate accident" for Gobbles.

Meanwhile, Cartman tries to write lyrics for the new songs. Jeffrey comes in and tells Cartman that if he really wants to understand Helen, he will have to be like her. He blindfolds Eric and puts a headphone over his ears, thus making him deaf and blind. But all Cartman sees is "the same crap I always see when I close my eyes". This is rather disturbing, for he sees fragments of surgical operations, decapitated bodies, marching Nazis and a banana split.

Eventually, Lamond tricks Timmy into letting Gobbles go, by telling him that Gobbles will be subject to terrible mutilation if he is caught being owned by the mentally retarded Timmy. After leaving Gobbles to fend for himself various scenes are shown with citizens of South Park in highly emotional circumstances (Heidi Turner grieving over her dead cat, an elderly father being consoled by his son concerning how he has lived his life, a father and young son coming to terms with the death of their wife/mother) with a woman at the end of the scene breaking the Fourth Wall and asking "Have you always done the right thing in you're life?". Gobbles wanders off until some men from a turkey processing factory capture him for "processing". Gobbles and the other turkeys are brought to an unloading bay and dumped into a room (where a sign says "Our turkeys are killed humanely"). A movie plays which catches the turkeys' attention. Suddenly the movie stops and a buzzsaw emerges from the wall and chops off the heads of the turkeys. Gobbles' disability saves him: since he is unable to lift his head off the ground, the saw passes over him without harm. He is then pushed into a truck with the corpses of the other turkeys. Eventually, Timmy finds out the truth, and rushes off to save Gobbles, eventually finding him at the end of Jimbo's gun. Timmy flings himself into the air just as Jimbo shoots, and takes the bullet intended for Gobbles.

In Timmy's absence, Maynard goes on as Helen Keller. He alters the play by singing, even though he was supposed to be incapable of speech. Also after hearing the kindergarteners' play even has pyrotechnics Cartman rigs laser shows, choreography and water effects into the fourth graders' show - the result is so extravagant it leaves the audience very confused.

After Timmy saves Gobbles, he somehow manages to convince Jimbo to go to the Thanksgiving Extravaganza and shoot Alinicia as revenge towards her owner for tricking Timmy into letting Gobbles go. Gobbles goes onstage and jumps through the ring of fire during the grand finale, and the audience is surprisingly impressed.

In the end, when the kindergartners put on their show, they just sing a song to the tune of "Old MacDonald Had a Farm" about the first Thanksgiving, set off a small explosion which sends one kindergartner fleeing the stage, and bring a prop horse on stage. The whole thing lasts only about a minute and is rather lame. Everything Butters had said about their skit was true, but it was not nearly as exciting as he had built it up to be. All the fourth graders are mad at Butters for having them go through the trouble of making a big spectacular musical for nothing.


The episode was selected for inclusion on the DVD release South Park: Timmy!, along with "Timmy 2000", "4th Grade" and "The Tooth Fairy Tats 2000". Walt Belcher of The Tampa Tribune highlighted the episode as part of "holiday TV shows that'll leave you shouting out with glee".


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