Helen Keller! The Musical
- 1 Story
- 2 Characters
- 3 Locations
- 4 Original Songs
- 5 Behind The Scenes
- 6 Pop Culture References
- 7 Bonus Factoids
- 8 Season 4
The fourth graders are rehearsing for the "Thanksgiving Extravaganza", where they have to perform The Miracle Worker, which is the story of Helen Keller, starring Timmy Burch as Helen. Butters provides them reports that the kindergarteners' play is the greatest show he has ever seen, and the other kids agree to put extra effort into making their play better. Cartman agrees to adapt the play into a musical, and eventually Geoffrey Maynard, who played the lead in Les Misérables for the Denver Community Playhouse (which is why he is singing his lines), is brought in to help. The kids also decide to replace Helen's pet dog with a turkey, which is also to perform tricks for the audience. Timmy helps to pick out the turkey, and chooses a disabled turkey which he names "Gobbles".
At rehearsal, Maynard brings in a professional performing turkey named Alinicia the turkey, and her trainer Lamond declares that she will not perform with Gobbles, and suggests Cartman kill it. Cartman attempts to kill Gobbles with a falling stage-light, but it hits and kills Kenny by mistake. Eventually, Lamond tells Timmy that animal control is going to take Gobbles from him because he is disabled, and Timmy reluctantly lets Gobbles go. When Timmy realizes he has been tricked, he leaves to rescue Gobbles, who has been found by a slaughterhouse and is now being pursued by Jimbo Kern and his hunter friends. In Timmy's absence, Maynard goes on as Helen Keller and surprises everyone by singing ad-libbed songs to express Helen's thoughts, much to Cartman's annoyance. Also after hearing the kindergarteners' play even has pyrotechnics, Cartman rigs laser shows, choreography and water effects into the fourth graders' show, culminating with Alinicia leaping through a ring of fire. Gobbles survives the slaughterhouse due to his limp neck meaning that he is not decapitated along with the healthy turkeys, but is subsequently found by Jimbo and Ned Gerblansky, who shoot him before Timmy arrives just in time to jump in the way of the bullet. Timmy survives, but a guilty Jimbo asks if there is any way he can make it up to Timmy.
Timmy, Gobbles, Jimbo, Ned and the rest of their hunter friends, go to the Thanksgiving Extravaganza and shoot Alinicia, killing her to Lamond's horror. While Timmy cheers, Cartman and Kyle arrive, with Cartman announcing that they are ready for Alinicia but then sees the bloody body of her. Cartman curses at the hunters for ruining the finale but Kyle directs everyone's attention to Gobbles. Gobbles goes onstage and jumps through the ring of fire during the grand finale, and the audience, following a stunned Principal Victoria's lead, gives a standing ovation. In the end, the kindergartners' play is finally shown to be just a song to the tune of "Old MacDonald Had a Farm" about the first Thanksgiving, ending with them setting off a small confetti cannon (Butters viewed this as special effects) which scares one kindergartner into fleeing the stage, and bringing a prop horse on stage. The performance is less than a minute long. The Fourth Graders become disappointed that by listening to Butters, they had "worked their asses off for that" ('that' being the kindergarteners' play,) and promptly get mad at Butters, because it turns out that, in reality, Butters just liked the play and declared it amazing.
What I Learned Today
"They loved it!! THEY LOVED IT!!!"
- "That's Gobbles, the physically challenged turkey." Cartman
- "We can't be outdone by the kindergartners!" Kyle
- "Come on, you blind bitch! Channel your spirit through me!" Cartman
- "Helen Keller, Helen Keller, blind as a bat / She can't hear us speak. What's up with that?" Kids' chorus
- "Gobbles!!! Timmy!!!" Timmy Burch
- "Kyle, why do you do these things to me?" Cartman
- "My turkey does not work with other turkeys!!" LaMonde
- "Alright, maybe I tried to have Timmy's turkey crushed by a stage light, but I didn't do anything else. I'm not an asshole." Cartman
- "I swore that if I had to see it one more time, I'd put a bullet in my head. But luckily I got really stoned before I came." Principal Victoria
Gobbles the turkey. Originally Matt and Trey planned to use a tiny, physically challenged puppy, but the scene in which Timmy abandoned it was simply "too fucking sad."
Geoffrey Maynard, the "expert" on musical theater who sings most of his dialogue. LeMonde, the animal trainer, and his show-stealing turkey from Broadway, Alinicia.
Kenny, crushed by a stage light meant for Gobbles. A whole truckload of turkeys at Uncle Joe's Turkey Farm, as well as the ringer turkey, Alinicia, who is gunned down by Jimbo and his hunting buddies.
Behind The Scenes
Where Did The Idea Come From
Matt and Trey decided that even though Timmy can't talk, they still wanted to make him the center of a big, emotional story.
Pop Culture References
The tearjerking scene in which Timmy abandons Gobbles is an homage to a similar moment in the 1997 movie Air Bud. Also, the death of the turkeys at the slaughterhouse mimics the human euthanasia scene in Soylent Green.
Geoffrey Maynard, the expert on musical theater, is an homage to the character Jean Valjean of Les Miserables.
When Gobbles is about to get shot by Jimbo, Timmy jumps in front of the turkey in a super slo-mo shot yelling, "Gobbblllleeess!!". This is a classic action movie scene, where the hero takes a bullet for their friend (and only winds up with a flesh wound).
While trying to sweat out the lyrics for the show's songs, Cartman fumes about whether Tim Rice had to deal with such distractions while writing The Phantom of the Opera. He didn't, in fact, write that (he wrote Jesus Christ Superstar).
LeMonde hints that Gobbles could meet an "unfortunate accident", and Cartman laughs, "You mean like Geena Davis getting her own TV show?" He's referring to The Geena Davis Show, a sitcom that lasted less than a season.
Timmy selecting a handicapped turkey is an homage to Charlie Brown's selection of an unattractive Christmas tree in A Charlie Brown Christmas. The same scene was also parodied in the Halloween special "Spookyfish". Only that time it concerned a puny-looking gourd that Kenny picked for a pumpkin-carving contest.
Cartman has a poster for Mr. T on his wall. He also has a still photograph of Helen Keller on his desk, which he uses to channel her blind spirit.
When Cartman covers his ears and blindfolds himself to try to experience what Helen Keller felt, the images that flash through his mind are perhaps the most disturbing 10 seconds in television history. He sees, in rapid succession, a man on fire, a desiccated mummy, a grisly operation, a mouse eating the brain of a dead mouse, and more. But even worse, when the professional actor who suggested the technique asks if he saw anything useful, Cartman says, "No, just the same old crap I always see when I close my eyes."
- e1 Cartman's Silly Hate Crime 2000
- e2 The Tooth Fairy's Tats 2000
- e3 Quintuplets 2000
- e4 Timmy 2000
- e5 Pip
- e6 Cartman Joins NAMBLA
- e7 Cherokee Hair Tampons
- e8 Chef Goes Nanners
- e9 Something You Can Do With Your Finger
- e10 Do the Handicapped Go to Hell?
- e11 Probably
- e12 Fourth Grade
- e13 Trapper Keeper
- e14 Helen Keller! The Musical
- e15 Fat Camp
- e16 The Wacky Molestation Adventure
- e17 A Very Crappy Christmas