Revisiting South Park’s First Season: ‘Tom’s Rhinoplasty’


Wed, September, 13 by

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

Somehow I thought the Season 21 premiere of South Park is on Sunday, when in reality it’s tonight, which depending on when you’re reading this is either in the near future or distant past. Either way it doesn’t leave me with much time to complete this series that if left incomplete could very well cause the destruction of Much as you know it. I’m not sure how but I got a fortune cookie the other day that said “Salvation will be achieved when blog series are completed”. Can’t argue with that!

Here are previous posts on Episode 1Episode 2Episode 3Episode 4Episode 5Episode 6Episode 7Episode 8Episode 9, Episode 10

“Tom’s Rhinoplasty” premiered February 11, 1998, the same day in which the lyrics to “Candle in the Wind 1997” were auctioned for $442,500. That’s enough money to buy unlimited wind and at least 100,000 candles depending on wick length, scent realism, and wax viscosity.

Plot Description

While Mr. Garrison is off getting a nose job, the boys in his class fall in love with the substitute teacher named Ms.Ellen. This pisses off Wendy because Stan is a boy who becomes smitten with Miss Ellen like the rest of the boys. Mr. Garrison quits teaching because he looks so sexy after his nose job, forcing Wendy to take action in order to stop Ms.Ellen and get Mr. Garrison back.

Pop Culture References

Mr. Garrison elects for a nose job that will narrow his bridge, making him look exactly like David Hasselhoff. Hasselhoff rose to prominence by starring in a show where he and a talking car solved mysteries, and later as a lifeguard who solved mysteries.

When Chef is quizzing the boys on how attractive Miss Ellen is he asks if she’s beautiful like Vanessa Williams, Toni Braxton, Pamela Anderson, or Erin Grey in the second season of Buck Rodgers. All women mentioned are talented singers and/or actresses who are thought of as being objectively beautiful in unique ways, and is thus a good litmus test.

The last lesson taught by Mr. Garrison before he leaves for his surgery was about about how Yasmine Bleeth was going out with Richard Greico. Garrison’s lesson is factually accurate as the two actors did enjoy a tryst in the late 90s around the same time Limp Bizkit began their rise to prominence.

Dr. Tom asks Mr. Garrison if he’s ever seen the movie Contact, a 1997 film starring Jodie Foster as a nerd who hears aliens through a satellite. Mr. Garrison says the movie is terrible, which I disagree with. I OFFICIALLY condemn South Park creators for dragging its good name through the mud. Speaking of “mud”, Contact also stars Mud himself, Matthew McConaughey. I haven’t seen Mud, but perhaps it is more worthy of mockery than the excellent Contact.

Mr. Garrison’s post-surgery confidence is accompanied by the song “Shadow Dancing” by the Bee Gees’ Andy Gibb. The brothers Gibb were responsible for many of disco’s biggest hits, and singing’s highest falsettos.

After Wendy shows up to class wearing black leather, Cartman says she “looks like that chick from Grease.” He is not speaking of Greek-Canadian actress Nia Vardalos, but rather Olivia Newton-John who starred in the film Grease that’s about a gang of poor teenagers who are mental for cars.

Best Quote

“You heard me, stay away from my man, bitch, or I’ll whup you’re sorry ho ass back to last year.” – Wendy Testaburger

South Park-isms Introduced

  • This is the first time we see inside Tom’s Rhinoplasty and its namesake doctor, Dr. Tom.
  • Garrison’s David Hasselhoff face is the first instance of the show’s use of real celebrities’ faces pasted atop animated South Park bodies.
  • The voice of Ms. Ellen is provided by Natasha Henstridge who starred in the film Species. This is the first time a celebrity had a major voice role on the show.

Facts We Stole From Wikipedia

  • “Parker asked for Henstridge solely because he found her attractive in Species, the 1995 science fiction horror film in which she starred.” The nudity in Species is legendary to any young horn dog who was coming of age in 1995.
  • “When production of “Tom’s Rhinoplasty” ended, Parker and Stone were dissatisfied with the final product and believed audiences would hate it, but were surprised to receive largely positive feedback from fans, some of whom described it as their favorite of the latter half of the season.” How did they get feedback if podcasts weren’t invented yet?
  • “During one scene, Wendy tells Stan that she smelled Ms. Ellen taking a “smelly dump” in the bathroom in an attempt to make him less attracted to her. In the original script, Wendy originally told Stan that she had a yeast infection, but Comedy Central censors made Parker and Stone change the line.” If you have diarrhea after you eat a loaf of bread you can technically say you have a yeast infection.

Does It Hold Up?

There are a couple of clues that would lead even the most amateur television detectives to deduce this episode was made in the late 90s. “Ellen” was a hot name back then with Degeneres breaking new ground on television while Barkin getting steady work on the big screen. Some of the references are a bit stale too but the humour is still mostly hot and fresh and ready to be eaten with a big old slab of butter.


I give episode 11 an 8 out of 11 for having some good parts, some bad parts, and some okay parts, just like life itself.

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