A ‘South Park’ Writers Lunch Inspired This Season 9 Episode

Inspiration can come from the unlikeliest of places. At South Park, it can literally come from anywhere since they produce every episode in six days. Co-creator Trey Parker once revealed one idea came from a writers lunch late in a week’s production.

Soth Park: Cartman hides under a bed in 'The Death of Eric Cartman'
Cartman | Comedy Central

Parker and South Park co-creator Matt Stone give mini commentaries on the DVD set for season 9. In the episode “The Death of Eric Cartman,” Parker revealed how one idea came from lunch. 

‘South Park’ needed Cartman to do the worst thing he’s ever done 

In “The Death of Eric Cartman,” Stan, Kyle and Kenny have finally had enough. They decide to ignore Cartman. This leads Cartman to believe he died. So he goes to Butters for help, and since Butters isn’t in on the boys’ plan, he acknowledges Cartman. Cartman still thinks he died, but that Butters is his conduit to make amends. 

South Park: Butters gets probed in The Death of Eric Cartman
Butters | Comedy Central

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“What it hinged around was I knew I wanted all the boys to say basically ignore him, Cartman to think he was dead and then go to Butters who did acknowledge him,” Parker said. “It all hinged around Cartman’s going to have to do something so horrible finally the boys are going to say, ‘We’re going to ignore him. We’re never talking to him again.”

Cartman’s unforgiveable offense in ‘South Park’ Season 9

At the beginning of the episode, Stan’s mother brings Kentucky Fried Chicken home for dinner. She asks the boys to bring in her groceries before they eat, while Cartman eats all the skin off the chicken and leaves.

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“We sat around the writers meeting for a long time,” Parker said. “He’s done such horrible [things], what’s the worst possible thing he could do? Finally, we were eating Kentucky Fried Chicken in the writers meeting and talking about how it was really all about the skin, that’s all that matters. Then someone was like, ‘Well, what if someone just came and took all the skin off that chicken right now? That person would be dead to me.’”

Trey Parker and Matt Stone had animated the rest of the episode first 

South Park moved ahead with the episode before that lunch. They just left the beginning blank. When they had the KFC idea, they added the beginning, and a part where Cartman breaks the toilet after eating chicken skin. That also contributes to his confusion that he’s dead. 

We animated a whole bunch of the show. We just didn’t have the first scene. We had them sitting there going, ‘Can you believe it?’ Kyle going, ‘He always does this stuff.’ Stan going, ‘Well, this time it’s final.’ So we’re like what is this thing going to be? Then it all fell together because then he goes to the toilet, he’s sick and that’s why they’re pulling out a box. Before it was just he went home and they just happened to be taking the refrigerator out in a box and he thought that was his dead body. As soon as we made it stinking up the toilet with chicken skin, it all came together really nicely.

Trey Parker, ‘South Park’ Season 9 DVD commentaary