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This is part five in a 13-part series of hand-typed Internet posts concerning the first season of South Park, the show not the town.
I trust the edibility of my local hot dog cart’s questionable corn relish more than I trust my withering memory, but I have no other choice but believe my brain when it whispers into my inner-ear, “The first South Park episode you ever saw was this one.” Whether or not this is true, there’s something about the appearance of Dr. Mephesto and his fondness for extra asses that really strikes a chord with me. How will this affect my rating of this classic episode? Who cares!
“An Elephant Makes Love to a Pig” premiered September 10, 1997
In the last episode, Stan got a new dog and in this one, Kyle gets a new elephant, while Cartman all of a sudden owns a potbellied pig—what is this, the damn Littlest Pet Shop? The problem with the elephant is that the thing is too big! The gang gets an idea to splice the genes of the elephant with Cartman’s pig and thus begins an adventure that includes a lesson in genetic engineering, sex education and LOVE, both platonic AND exotic. Oh, and Stan must battle his sister and mutant twin.
Dr. Mephesto is a crystal clear goof on Marlon Brando and his role as the titular character in The Island of Dr. Moreau (he plays the doctor, not the island). Also influential to this episode was the clone craze of the mid-’90s that really exploded when Dolly the sheep was created via cloning by Scottish scientists for purposes seemingly unrelated to the stereotype of Scots’ fondness for physical intimacy with the woolly mammal.
There’s a couple references to legendary Canadian band Loverboy and a song of theirs called “Pig and Elephant DNA Just Won’t Splice,” sang by both Chef and Mephesto. Later, when Chef sings “Love Gravy” to put the elephant and pig in the mood to get down, he’s joined by Elton John, a famous singer known for singin’ and piano playin’ and getting new hair.
Officer Barbrady warns the kids they’ve been watching too much X-Files, a show that was hard to avoid in 1997 unless you were scared of aliens, creatures, or David Duchovny.
The very last line of the episode is “That’ll do, pig,” which is from Babe, one of the best pig movies that ever oinked.
“Yeah, if some girl tried to kick my ass I’d be like “HEY, WHY DON’T YOU STOP DRESSING ME UP LIKE A MAILMAN AND MAKING ME DANCE FOR YOU WHILE YOU GO AND SMOKE CRACK IN YOUR BEDROOM AND HAVE SEX WITH SOME GUY I DON’T EVEN KNOW ON MY DAD’S BED!”” – Cartman
Cartman is more straight up mean in these early episodes compared the more nuanced and conniving Cartman of today. They say “retarded” and there’s a visual gag involving a special ed class that doesn’t really fly in today’s society. Also, the Island of Dr. Moreau references don’t really hold up but I guess if you had no idea that movie existed then it’s just another eccentric character.
This classic episode gets 3 out of 4 asses for being yet another reminder of how good this show was straight out the gate.
South Park returns for its 21st season on September 13 on Much!