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Revisiting South Park’s First Season: ‘Damien’

Tue, September, 12 by

This is part ten in a thirteen part series of hand-typed Internet posts concerning the first season of South Park, the show not the town.

With this episode we’ve left the comfortable confides of 1997 and entered 1998. This is the year I turned sixteen, got my driver’s license, immediately backed my mom’s Chevy into a high curb at McDonald’s, got it fixed right away, and continued to be the best son money could buy. Meanwhile, the creators of South Park were eager to prove to detractors that they were not pro-Satan by pitting the Lord of Rock ‘n Roll against Jesus himself.

Here are previous posts on Episode 1Episode 2Episode 3Episode 4Episode 5Episode 6Episode 7Episode 8, Episode 9

“Damien” premiered February 4, 1998, a day on which British Prime Minister Tony Blair began a four day visit to the United States of America.  Did he watch South Park? We’ve reached out to Parliament and are awaiting a reply. We thank you for your patience.

Plot Description

There’s a new kid in class named Damien and he’s the son of Satan. The whole school hates him so he’s not invited to Cartman’s big birthday party. Damien coaxes Jesus into meeting with Satan and a boxing match is proposed to once and for all end the battle of good vs. evil. Everyone bets against Jesus because he’s skinny and Satan is strong and Jesus is disappointed.

Pop Culture References

The Damien character is a transparent reference to The Omen, a film that’s also about a Satan boy named Damien.

Mr. Garrison teaches a lesson on musicians of the Baroque era and incorrectly references Nancy Sinatra who is the daughter of legendary suit-wearer, Frank Sinatra and not a lady from the 17th century.

Damien is insulted when Kyle asks if he got his hair cut by Stevie Wonder. Wonder is blind, and thus would not be effective at cutting hair. His throat is not blind though, as he is one of the most celebrated musicians of our time.

Cartman wants a bunch of toys from a line called Mega Man, which was a video game about a blue robot kid with a gun arm. The toys in the show more resemble a cross between real life toys Power Rangers and Voltron.

Legendary boxing promoter and convicted murderer Don King makes a cameo as Satan’s promoter.

The real Michael Buffer appears as himself, announcing the big fight and prepares the crowd for the impending rumbling.

Stan steals a line from Star Trek in order to pump up Jesus. Watch Star Trek: Discovery September 24 on Space. He also tries to motivate Jesus by citing figure skater Nancy Kerrigan who famously got clubbed on the knee by a dude in cahoots with her rival, Tonya Harding.

Best Quote

(Regarding Satan) “Now that is a man who has eaten a lot of beef.” – Jimbo

South Park-isms Introduced

  • This is Damien’s first and biggest appearance.
  • South Park’s version of Satan is unleashed from Hell, and later returns as a main character in South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut.

Facts We Stole From Wikipedia

  • “Parker and Stone originally planned to use the catchphrase without (Michael) Buffer, but when they learned that Buffer had legally trademarked the phrase, they included him in the episode since getting the rights for the catchphrase cost nearly as much as hiring Buffer for a guest appearance.”
  • “Voice actor Mike Judge, star of Beavis and Butt-Head and King of the Hill, had originally been slated to provide the voice of the Damien character, and even recorded several lines for the part.”
  • “Prior to the broadcast, Parker and Stone said “Damien” would be the first episode in which Kenny would not be killed; ultimately, however, Kenny was shot by Jimbo at the end of the pay-per-view fight.”

Does It Hold Up?

Satan, Jesus, boxing, and birthday parties remain in the zeitgeist today so this episode holds up just fine, just like a hamburger or well made bra.

Rating

This episode is pretty much perfect except for the character of Damien who I don’t really like that much. In conclusion, it gets a rating of 134 out of 135 lbs.

South Park returns for its 21st season Wednesday on Much!