Merry Christmas Charlie Manson!
Dinner with Cartman's family takes a bizarre twist when Uncle Howard shows up after breaking out of prison with his cellmate Charlie Manson.
Kyle, Kenny and Stan accompany Cartman to Nebraska to visit his grandmother for the holidays. It turns into the road trip from hell. All of Cartman's relatives are in attendance and they're just as fat and obnoxious as him. The guest list includes Uncle Howard, who gets in touch via a satellite link from state prison. That evening he pays an in-person visit, having broken out with another inmate, his friend, criminal mastermind and noted lunatic Charles Manson.
Manson volunteers to drive the boys to the nearby Mall of Nebraska, where Mr. Hankey is allegedly appearing. Once there, the infamous killer parks himself in front of a department store television display and becomes engrossed in watching Christmas specials.
Meanwhile Kyle and Stan visit the supposed Mr. Hankey, who turns out to be a guy in a costume. Disappointed, they out the imposter to the mob of kids waiting to see him. A bloody riot erupts and police are called in. They recognize Manson and a televised high-speed car chase ensues.
Manson and Uncle Howard make it back to the Cartman residence and hold everyone hostage, a development the Cartmans too busy watching Terrance and Phillip barely notice. When Stan's furious parents arrive to take him home, he asks the two criminals if he can go on the lam with them. Manson, who's suffered some sort of holiday TV special-induced epiphany, lectures him about the importance of family.
Stan changes his mind about leaving. Kenny is gunned down by the cops. Manson and Uncle Howard surrender and go back to prison. The Cartmans, Stan and Kyle surprise him in his cell by shouting, "Merry Christmas Charlie Manson!" and singing "Hark the Herald Angels Sing."
What I Learned Today
"I'm sorry for what I did, but that doesn't make up for it. I deserve to be in jail. All I hope is that I don't make mankind lose faith in itself. Yes there's murderers in the world, there's rapists and thieves, but those are the vast minority. The majority of mankind is made up of caring people who try every day to do what they think is right. And that's the spirit of the season."
- "Oh my God! They killed the little orange coat kid!" (Charles Manson)
- "Mister Hankey kicks ass!" (Elvin Cartman)
- "The holidays are bullcrap!!" (Eric Cartman)
- "No, Jimmy! That's grandpa's pot pie!!" (Florence Cartman)
- "Stan, don't be such a dumbass. You have to trust people." (Eric Cartman)
- "Folks need to understand that I am terror. I am fear! I AM - Oh look, another holiday special " (Charles Manson)
- "I'm glad I'm not you right now kid." (Charlie Manson)
Although we briefly saw Cartman's grandmother in "Roger Ebert Should Lay Off the Fatty Foods", the rest of his extended family is introduced. They all make another appearance in "Cartmanland" for Grandma Cartman's funeral.
And of course Charlie Manson.
Kenny for sure. He's shot, beaten with a baton, and then handcuffed by policemen. There's also a massive pileup during the police chase that leaves a lot of cops in bad shape.
Manson breaks out into song after his Christmas epiphany, singing the jolly yule tune "Happy, Happy Holiday".
Behind The Scenes
The title is a reference to the Peanuts animated special A Charlie Brown Christmas. At the end of the episode, the boys and the Cartman family shout "Merry Christmas Charlie Manson!" and begin singing "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing", much like the end of the aforementioned Christmas special.
Pop Culture References
Charlie Manson is mesmerized by a Christmas special called The Grinchy Poo, a reference to the 1966 special Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas, based on the eponymous children's book.
Manson, once back in jail, pens a series of introspective books including Are You There God? It's Me, Manson. This is a rip on the novel Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Bloom.
In the Terrance and Phillip Christmas special, Terrance and Phillip take turns farting on a reindeer who's nose glows red with every fart, an obvious homage to Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
In a scene allegedly from the Christmas film It's A Wonderful Life George Bailey tells Mr. Potter, "You know what you are? You're a little bitch. That's right, you're a bitch and I'll bet you'd like to suck it, wouldn't you?" This version uses lines not in the actual film.
The Cartmans are watching a football game featuring The Nebraska Cornhuskers of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln playing against The Arkansas Razorbacks. Both are real college football teams.
The entire state of Nebraska, which is portrayed as pool table-flat and covered with wheat. A sign at the state line reads "You are now in Nebraska, sorry."
- The Mall of Nebraska crowd unaccountably includes Craig, Red, Annie, Butters, Kevin Stoley, and Tolkien. There are kids using rehashed color schemes of Bebe, Clyde, Butters and Kevin.
- Cartman sleeps in his Weight Gain 4000 t-shirt from the episode of the same name.
- Cartman is also first of the four boys seen without his hat. Kenny is second as he is seen naked in bed at the beginning of South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut. Finally, Stan and Kyle take off their hats for school pictures in "How To Eat With Your Butt".
- To get his cousin Elvin to stop crying, Cartman takes a stick and whacks him over the head. He does the same thing to an Underpants Gnome in "Gnomes" and an endangered monkey in "Rainforest Shmainforest".
- The reporter covering the Manson chase is named Robert Pooner. This alias was also used as the name of the "Executive Producer" for Barbrady's cop show in "Chickenlover". Pooner signs off with "God bless us, everyone", a classic line from A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.
- Kyle complains that "ever since Mr. Hankey was in that movie, he got all famous". This is a callback to the Tom Hanks independent film Mr. Hankey and Me from "Chef's Chocolate Salty Balls".
- While Manson and the boys are being chased by the police in a car, a Visitor is on Manson's forehead.
- e1 Terrance and Phillip in Not Without My Anus
- e2 Cartman's Mom Is Still a Dirty Slut
- e3 Chickenlover
- e4 Ike's Wee Wee
- e5 Conjoined Fetus Lady
- e6 The Mexican Staring Frog of Southern Sri Lanka
- e7 City on the Edge of Forever (Flashbacks)
- e8 Summer Sucks
- e9 Chef's Chocolate Salty Balls
- e10 Chickenpox
- e11 Roger Ebert Should Lay Off the Fatty Foods
- e12 Clubhouses
- e13 Cow Days
- e14 Chef Aid
- e12 Spookyfish
- e13 Merry Christmas Charlie Manson!
- e14 Gnomes
- e15 Prehistoric Ice Man