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Revisiting South Park’s First Season: ‘Mr. Hankey, the Christmas Poo’

Thu, September, 7 by

This is part nine in a 13-part series of hand-typed Internet posts concerning the first season of South Park, the show not the town.

One thing that stands out to me about this classic episode is its liberal use of the word “poo.” A lot of people believe that the word “poop” is funnier but personally I’m a “poo man””—always have been, always will be. By adding the second “p” it’s like you’re censoring the original term that doesn’t need censoring. It’s softens what’s an already perfect combination of one “p” and two “o’s,” the word itself almost resembling that of a butt pooing two round turds. Whatever your preference, this episode is a treat for poo fans worldwide.

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

“Mr. Hankey, the Christmas Poo” premiered December 17, 1997, which happened to be the same day figure skater Shoma Uno was brought into this world.  Despite being born on land, Uno would soon conquer the world of ice, becoming the first skater to successfully land a quadruple flip in international competition.

Plot Description

Kyle is ostracized during Christmas time because he’s Jewish. He turns to his pal Mr. Hankey the Christmas Poo for help, but to everyone else he’s just poo and not an alive talking poo guy. Meanwhile, the Brovlofskis lead a campaign to eliminate every offence out of the jolly holiday with help from the mayor.

Pop Culture References

The entire episode is a celebration of Christmas specials including references to A Charlie Brown Christmas and Frosty the Snowman.

Stan does a little digging and finds out he’s getting a John Elway football helmet for Christmas. Elway was a football player turned football team owner. What’s the logical next step in his career? Selling his skin to be made into footballs.

Composer Phillip Glass makes an appearance as the musical director of Mr. Garrison’s revamped, inoffensive Christmas play. He makes piano music that sounds like the soundtrack to a kind of crappy movie.

The Mr. Hankey toy advertised within the show resembles that of the famous Mr. Potato Head toy. It’s a toy where kids pretend a potato is their dad.

Best Quote

Well, a fecalpheliac is somebody who is obsessed with mookie-stinks, Kyle.” – Mr. Mackey

South Park-isms Introduced

  • Hankey is expelled from the bowels of Parker and Stone’s imagination for the first time.
  • This isn’t the first episode with an original song but it is the first to take on more of a musical quality that they’d later use in other episodes and the movie.
  • Gerald Broflovski talks for the first time and boy does he sound sweet.
  • Garrison unleashes his racist tendencies for the first time.
  • School counselor Mr. Mackey makes his debut… or should we say, de-poo.
  • This is the first episode to mix in live action with the Mr. Hankey commercial.
  • Kenny doesn’t die for the first time.
  • South Park frequently battles political correctness and this episode is the first instance.

Facts We Stole From Wikipedia

  • “The Mr. Hankey character was based on an idea Trey Parker’s father created when he was toilet-training Trey as a child. Parker said he refused to flush the toilet as a child, so his father told him if he did not flush down his stool, which he called “Mr. Hankey”, it would come to life and kill him.”
  • “A stuffed Mr. Hankey became one of the most popular South Park tie-in products of the 1998 Christmas season.”
  • “Mr. Mackey was inspired by Parker’s real-life school guidance counselor; Parker, who provides the voice for Mackey, said the real-life counselor was similarly thin and wiry and that Parker’s voice for Mr. Mackey is an exact, unexaggerated version of how his counselor spoke.”
  • “John Kricfalusi, the creator of The Ren & Stimpy Show, claimed the Mr. Hankey concept was stolen from his cartoon short, “Nutty the Friendly Dump”, which was part of a cartoon book series viewable online.”

Does It Hold Up?

It’s pretty surprising that all the stuff about people being offended still feels relevant today. In fact, it’s only gotten worse these days probably because of the Internet and something to do with no one going to church anymore. That part in the lab where they test people on what offends them could be copied and pasted into a brand new episode and no one would accuse it of being out of touch.

Rating

I haven’t given a perfect rating yet and probably should so this episode gets 2000 out of 2000 flushes for somehow being able to be smart and relevant while being anchored by a character who is talking poo.

South Park returns for its 21st season on September 13 on Much!