It’s been more than 14 years since South Park first aired on Comedy Central. Yeah, I’m not kidding. It’s been around for that long.
If back in 1997 most people were shocked due to the phenomenal success of a show that featured amateurish animation and toilet humor, it’s now a lonely source of social and political satire in mainstream media. And going 15-seasons strong, it is still very popular. The main reason: the creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker just laugh at everyone. And with Stone being Jewish (though a self-proclaimed atheist), there are a lot of Jewish references. A lot.
For the return of season 15 on Wednesday I hand-picked the show’s eight most memorable Jewish moments:
(after the jump)
8. Kyle’s Jewish lack of rhythm almost kills his whole class (“Rainforest Schmainforest“)
7. Cartman forces Kyle to give him his “Jew Gold” (“Two Days Before The Day After Tomorrow“)
It was right after Hurricane Katrina and the country was freaking out about global warming. South Park decided to tackle the issue by making a parody of the oh-so cliche film The Day After Tomorrow. As the town of Beaverton, Colorado finds itself underwater, the boys decide to be heroes and save the locals. However, they made the situation even worse by burning the town down. It’s only when a FEMA helicopter tries to rescue them, when Cartman tells Kyle he won’t let him go on the helicopter unless Kyle gives him his “Jew Gold,” because every Jew has a Jew Gold necklace around their necks. Even when Kyle hands Cartman the gold he is not convinced, because “all Jews carry fake bags of gold around their necks to keep the real bags of gold around their necks safe.” So Kyle is forced to give Cartman his Jew Gold. That’s right, we all have Jew Gold.
6. Kyle’s cousin Kyle is a Jewish stereotype (“The Entity“)
Kyle is excited to meet his cousin from New York, who also goes under the name of Kyle. While Kyle thinks his cousin is a cool East Coast dude, he is actually the most obnoxious, nasally and nerdish boy. The original Kyle (now nicknamed “Kyle 2”) actually pays Cartman $40 not to make fun of Kyle 1. And while Cartman is battling not mocking Kyle 1 he eventually caves in after telling him that if he has concentration issues then maybe he should go to a concentration camp. Kyle Broflovslky confesses his true feelings about having his cousin around: “I spent five years in this town making a good name for Jews and this… this… stereotype shows up and wrecks it all! You know what my biggest fear is? That I’ll become him. That somehow his mannerisms will start rubbing off on me, and I’ll become a stereotype. I mean, I’m a Jew and he’s making me hate Jews.” Eventually Kyle 1 leaves, but he leaves us with one memorable quote: “I’m ba-ack!”
5. Ike’s circumcision scares the kids (“Ike’s Wee Wee“)
In this season two episode, we finally find out the story behind Ike, Kyle’s baby brother. As the kids are getting ready to attend Ike’s festive Bris, one of them finds out that a Bris actually means circumcision. Or in other words: “They’re gonna chop off (Ike’s) weewee!” Kyle decides to hide Ike in Nebraska and fake his death, and it is only at Ike’s funeral (featuring a bagpipe version of “Hava Nagila”) that he finds out that Ike’s actually an adopted Canadian. Eventually, after a lecture from the Moel, Dr. Schwartz (“We’re not going to cut it off! We’re just goin’ to snip it, so it looks bigger!”), the boys understand that it’s not THAT bad, and they even have their own Bris (including Cartman). And Ike gets a special circumcising knife, because he’s Canadian.
4. The Joozians of the planet Fognl (“Cancelled“)
In the hilarious season seven opener, we find out that Earth is actually a reality TV show, and that we are living a Truman Show-style existence, being watched by aliens from all over the galaxy. Apparently, billions of years ago different species were put together on Earth to make the show. Unfortunately, thanks to the kids, people of Earth discover that they are a part of the production, causing them to act insanely stupid and repeatedly yell “I’m on TV!”
The “Fognl Network” (FOX parody) executives decide to cancel the show now that earthlings have caught on, and the kids decide to go to Planet Fognl to talk to the “Joozians,” the network executives who run the media. The Joozians are basically very Jewey and pretty perverted people, who enjoy going to strip bars (hekmubahs) and getting their “jagons” sucked. They also enjoy a food called “gespahtgaplachfenachenblah” (I won’t be surprised if there’s an Eastern European food with that name), which Kyle loves (Joozian: “You must have some Joozian ancestry.” Cartman: “Tell us about it.”). Eventually a framing photo of the Joozians with a hooker, taken by Kenny, is used as a blackmail, and Earth is once again saved!
3. Kyle traumatized after watching Passion of the Christ (“Passion of the Jew“)
Matt Stone and Trey Parker publicly admitted that they could not stand Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ, claiming that he actually seem to derive greater pleasure from showing Jesus suffer than delivering his word. Their response was to create an episode where Kyle is horrified by the persuasion of Jews in Gibson’s movie, and decides all Jews should apologize for the Crucifixion. At the same time, Eric Cartman, who loves the movie so much, decides it’s the right time to take to the streets, and ends up leading the masses dressed as Hitler and chanting in German. Meanwhile, Kyle is trying to convince his congregation to apologize, outraging the ironically stereotypical attendants. Cartman’s actions prompts the Jewish community (which apparently is not only the Broflovskis) to go to the local theater and demand they stop showing the movie. As they meet up at the anti-Semitic rally, Mel Gibson makes a surprise appearance, and everyone learns that he is just plain crazy, and shouldn’t be taken seriously.
2. Jew Scouts (“Jewbilee“)
One of my personal favorites features Kyle and Ike going to “Jew Scouts,” with Kenny joining despite being a gentile, although he gets a Judaism 101 class on the way to camp. Things go a little crazy when during the meeting of camp elders, Garth, the elder of the “Anti-Semitic Jews” sect, repeatedly says that Jews should stop worshiping Moses (do we worship Moses?) and start following Haman. When all the scouts deliver their traditional macaroni pictures and popcorn necklaces to Moses (who is actually a giant floating dreidel resembling the red mainframe from Tron), Kenny makes a macaroni picture of The Last Supper, and is banished from the camp for not being Jewish. But he ends up being the one who saves the day after Elder Garth, the anti-Semitic Jew, captures Haman inside a seashell.
1. Kyle’s “Lonely Jew on Christmas” song (“Mr. Hanky the Christmas Poo“)
Almost 14 years have passed, and this is still one of the most memorable episodes in South Park history. Kyle, the only Jewish kid in town, is upset because everyone celebrates Christmas by him; he sings a heartbreaking ballad about how hard it is to be a Jew on Christmas. (“I can’t sing Christmas songs or decorate a Christmas tree… Or leave water out for Rudolph ‘cuz there’s something wrong with me… My people don’t believe in Jesus Christ’s divinity… I’m a Jew, a Lonely Jew… on Christmas.”) The song became the anthem of many Jewish kids around Christmas time and you can still find people singing it (just go to a karaoke bar in New York around the holidays) — that’s because it pretty much sums up all of our feelings about the festivities we are usually not a part of…