Fan Questions: Do you pick episode names before production, or during it?

Question: How do you come up with the episode names? Is it already determined before production, or do you make up the title in the middle of that episode’s production?

Answer: That’s an awesome question. Much like the show itself, nothing is ever locked before production starts. So name changes do frequently occur in the 6-day production process.

Here’s how it works: Each show is given a title on the first draft of the script (usually on a Thursday). But as more drafts and pages come in, the story often changes, and similarly, so does the title.

For instance, the episode “It’s a Jersey Thing” started with the name “New Jersey” on Thursday, then changed to “It Came From New Jersey” on Friday afternoon, before finally settling on “It’s A Jersey Thing” on Sunday.

Similarly with Season 18’s “The Cissy”, on the first six drafts of the script, the show was called “Cartman’s Bathroom”. Then on Saturday morning, the writers changed it to “The Cissy”. All of these titles reflect where the story was heading at the current time.

1803_1stDraft
(an excerpt from the 1st draft of “The Cissy”)

But in general, no matter how many times it changes, the episode title is locked by the Sunday before it airs.

Some episodes, however, get a name on the first draft of the script, and that stays with it all the way through. That happened recently with “Cock Magic“. It really just depends on the episode.

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