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Grandpa's sole birthday wish is for Stan Marsh to take part in his assisted suicide. Mrs. Broflovski has organized a protest against the boys' favorite TV show Terrance and Phillip.
Stan's grandfather celebrates his 102nd birthday. When asked what he wants, he says he wishes someone would kill him. He tries to talk Stan into helping, first offering him a dollar and then telling him that "I killed my grandpa when I was your age!"
Kyle's mom catches him watching Terrance and Phillip and is horrified by the fart jokes. She starts a campaign against the show. The boys watch an episode in secret, and become so engrossed that they don't notice when Grandpa uses a rope that Stan's holding to try to hang himself.
The case becomes a national scandal with Terrance and Phillip getting the blame. Soon the entire adult population of South Park protests at Cartoon Central headquarters, demanding an end to the show. Kyle's mom uses a giant catapult to fire people at the network's building, splattering their bodies across the facade.
Back in South Park, the boys finally agree to help Grandpa kill himself. But just as they're about to drop a cow on his head, Death suddenly appears. "It's about time you late ass lazy son of a whore!" Grandpa shouts.
But Death pursues the boys instead. They dash through a TV store, where Terrance and Phillip plays on every set. Death watches and laughs. The boys stop running and join in. At the same moment, Cartoon Central finally agrees to dump Terrance and Phillip. Back in South Park the show suddenly vanishes from the TVs. Death goes berserk and touches Kenny, who dies instantly. Grandpa is furious. But then the ghost of his own grandfather tells him that he must wait until he dies of natural causes.
With Terrance and Phillip gone, the boys wonder how they'll kill time. Perhaps by smoking crack. Or inhaling gas fumes. Or watching porn.
What I Learned Today
"I think that parents only get so offended by television because they rely on it as a babysitter and the sole educator of their kids."
- "What has America's youth come to? Kids won't even kill their own grandparents!" (Marvin Marsh)
- "Now get away from here and take your diarrhea with you!" (Carton Central President John Warzog)
- "I think I've caught a touch of the flu from little Kenny this morning. I've got the green apple splatters." (Mr. Garrison)
- "If there are any questions, you may direct them to that brick wall over there." (Carton Central President John Warzog)
- "What what what?!" (Sheila Broflovski)
Stan's grandpa, Sheila Broflovski, Terrance and Philip all make their first appearance this episode. Sheila's overprotective nature and conflict against the Canadian duo is revisited again in the South Park movie Bigger, Longer & Uncut.
Behind The Scenes
"Death" condemns censorship and misplaced priorities parents have over protecting their children from shows with perceived negative influence. The screenplay for South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut is heavily influenced by this episode.
Where Did The Idea Come From
This episode was written in response to the criticism South Park initially received for its juvenile fart humour and simple animation, arousing vocal opposition from parents. Terrance and Phillip itself is an exaggerated parody of South Park and Beavis and Butt-Head.
Pop Culture References
Jack Kevorkian whom Cartman calls "Jack Leborkian" is held up as an example of someone who can go around murdering people and not get in trouble. Jack Kevorkian was a pathologist controversial for actively supporting physician-assisted suicide.
While leading the charge to ban Terrance and Phillip, Mrs. Broflovski demands "more quality television like Full House".
Suzanne Summers, whose sitcom She's the Sheriff replaces Terrance and Phillip.
Stan's grandpa forces him to listen to "Gonna Fly", a parody of pop star Enya's "Orinoco Flow (Sail Away)" to give Stan a sense of what it feels like to be in constant agony and to long for death's sweet release.
- Mayor McDaniel's first name is revealed to be Mary.
- Mr. McCormick is introduced as a "martyr" right before he is catapulted and dies against the side of the Cartoon Central building. Trey and Matt state the man just happens to have the last name McCormick. Kenny's father Stuart McCormick and the rest of his family is introduced later in "Starvin' Marvin".
- This is the only time that there is a bathroom inside Mr. Garrison's classroom.
- This is the first time we see Snacky Cakes, one of Cartman's favorite junk foods. Though never mentioned, the mascot seems to be Wellington Bear, a popular cartoon character later featured on many toys, stationery and clothes in South Park.
- This is only episode where Terrance is voiced by Trey and Phillip by Matt. In later episodes the voice acting roles are reversed.
- Randy Marsh is the only parent who laughs at Terrance and Phillip. His love for the cartoon is shown again in "Clubhouses". In South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut however he protests against Terrance and Phillip with the other adults, though this may have been an act for his wife.