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Goin’ Down to South Park Guide S 2 E 2 ‘ Cartman’s Mom is Still a Dirty Slut’

Television

Goin’ Down to South Park Guide S 2 E 2 ‘ Cartman’s Mom is Still a Dirty Slut’

South Park never gives us what we think we want

“CHRIST, ARE YOU PEOPLE DIABETIC OR SOMETHING?”

April 22, 1998

The boys get snowed in at the hospital while waiting to learn the identity of Cartman’s father. Meanwhile, the townspeople resort to cannibalism when they get snowed in. 

After pissing off the whole country by not leading this season with the reveal of Cartman’s parentage, Trey and Matt supposedly return to answer that question. But since this is South Park, the reveals are long-winded and when we get them — they kinda suck — intentionally. 

What made “Cartman’s Mom is a Dirty Slut” work was how it didn’t slut-shame Cartman’s mom, Liane, as much as the entire town. However, this episode backtracks and has a subplot where Liane sleeps her way to the top of the government to abort Cartman. Well, not actually, because she mistook “abortion” for “adoption.” What?

This is at least topical. During the late ‘90s, Republicans and Bill Clinton were at war over abortion. Puzzling however is that it almost seems like Trey and Matt side with the Republicans. Liane talks about needing autonomy, her body her choice, but the context is that she wants to kill her son. 

south park 2.2.2
Comedy Central

But what about the big reveal? It turns out that Cartman’s mom is a “hermaphrodite,” which leads the men she slept with to puke in disgust. Although Trey and Matt are making fun of intersex people for just existing, the joke simultaneously manages to cast shade on the men she slept with for being so petty and sexist (although maybe this was just Trey and Matt expressing their own disgust of intersex people). But I mean, if you had a good time with Liane back in the day, why puke now? 

The Americas Most Wanted crew comes to South Park to cover the mystery, which is an amusing parody of the true crime craze we’re still in. Despite the absurd mystery they’re covering, the crew insist their show is “about family,” which calls to mind blockbusters like Fast and Furious and Star Wars parading that theme around as a justification.

There’s a fun moment where the TV director doesn’t choose the actual person they’re re-creating (Mr. Garrison), and instead chooses a George Clooney-esque handsome leading man type. On a personal note, a friend of mine’s dad (who’s a cop) was a talking head in one of these shows and they indeed cast a stunningly handsome guy that didn’t look anything like my buddy’s dad. So, good job on accuracy, Trey and Matt. 

Goin’ Down to South Park Guide S 2 E 2 ‘ Cartman’s Mom is Still a Dirty Slut’
Comedy Central

Trapped with residents of South Park, like the the Mayor and Jimbo, the crew ends up getting prematurely cannibalized, which indicts the town’s lack of morals and calls to mind the Donner Party. 

Dr. Mephisto is shot, so the gang takes him to a not-so realistic hospital. Once they enter, they’re immediately greeted by a doctor performing surgery…with a needle. There’s a one-armed nurse, which leads to a lame line about “equal opportunity” hiring. This joke might have worked if there was more of a reason for the lack of arms, but it seems to be included because to Trey and Matt find disabled people funny. Jokes like these reek of Adam Sandler comedies. 

There’s a bevy of aged references that are included for confusing reasons, which is a big reason why a commentary track would be helpful. Meredith Baxter Berney from Family Ties is name dropped as having had sex with Chef. “Come Sail Away” by Styx has to be finished by Cartman whenever it plays. Quincy, M.E. an old medical drama show is referenced by Chef. 

In 2013, there was a Battle Royale from South Park Studios website where people voted in tiered elimination fashion for the best Season two episode. Surprisingly, this episode won, because other than trolling the audience more about Cartman’s origins, “Cartmans’ Mom is Still a Dirty Slut” is a tangled mess of references and mean-spirited jokes just for their own sake. The strange thing about South Park is that sometimes Trey and Matt really stick it to the bigots and problems of the world…but oftentimes they implicate themselves in the process. 

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