Synopsis: Alien visitors wreak havoc in South Park when they kidnap Kyle's little brother, Ike, mutilate dozens of innocent cows and give Eric Cartman an anal probe. Flaming flatulence, skeptical school officials and a preteen seductress named Wendy Testaburger are a few of the obstacles the boys must face as they try to rescue poor Ike from the clutches of the mysterious visitors.
Only being five at the time, it's for me to imagine the cultural landscape back in 1997. It's also hard for me to fathom exactly what viewers would have made of their first South Park experience. Needless to say, they probably hadn't seen much like it before; I mean, how many television shows would title their pilot episode "Cartman Gets An Anal Probe" and then present a crudely animated cartoon about four foul-mouthed third grade boys, one of whom has a giant satellite stuck up his arse? No, straight off the mark Matt and Trey dared to be as different and as vulgar as their minds and television executives would let them.
Seeing what would become of this off-colour animation, it is easy to go over the top and label it as 'classic', but in truth, this is far from it. Unappealing animation aside, this episode lacks the sharp wit and/or the bold, profound satire that would come to define the series, and place it high on the sacred mantle for many intellects. Instead the characters, storyline and humour remain largely one-dimensional. Sure, it has its moments: The "I Love to Singa'" song from a 1936 Tex Avery cartoon for one, and Ike is adorable, as is is impression of David Caruso's career. Assuming that you haven't seen the previous shorts, we get our first introduction to such endearing characters as Chef, Mr. Garrison, Officer Barbrady, Wendy, Kitty and Cartman's mum. And, of course, "Oh my God! They killed Kenny!" "You bastards!"
Poorly received at the time of its release, this episode is far from the apogee of humour the series would later reach, and the characters, with the possible exclusion of Cartman, are yet to develop any trace of personality. But still, it was this little bacterium that multiplied and multiplied into the thirteen seasons we love so much. And it deserves credit for that alone. - 6.1/10
Quotable Notables: "I'm not fat, I'm big-boned!" -Cartman
Stan: "Oh my God! They killed Kenny!" Kyle: "You bastards!"
"Eric! Do you have to sit in the corner until your flaming gas is under control?" - Mr. Garrison
"No! You go to Hell! You got to Hell and you die!" - Mr. Hat