Weight Gain 4000
- 1 Story
- 2 Characters
- 3 Locations
- 4 Original Songs
- 5 Behind The Scenes
- 6 Pop Culture References
- 7 Bonus Factoids
- 8 Season 1
When Cartman's environmental essay wins a national contest, America's sweetheart Kathie Lee Gifford comes to South Park to present the award.
South Park Elementary teacher Mr. Garrison announces that Cartman has won the school's "Save Our Fragile Planet" essay contest, much to the anger of his classmate Wendy Testaburger, who immediately suspects him of cheating. The rest of the town becomes a flurry of excitement upon learning celebrity television host Kathie Lee Gifford will come to South Park to present Cartman with an award on national television. Mayor McDaniels plans a big event to showcase the town, with hopes of furthering her own career. Mr. Garrison directs rehearsals for a play with the schoolchildren depicting the history of South Park, which is to be shown at the event. Mayor McDaniels is horrified, however, to learn the historically accurate play includes children playing pioneers who attack and brutally beat the students portraying Native Americans. Garrison later gets fired for badmouthing Gifford.
Unbeknownst to the rest of town, Mr. Garrison relives a traumatic childhood memory in which a young Gifford defeated him in a national talent show. Mr. Garrison is manipulated by his hand puppet, Mr. Hat, to assassinate Gifford out of revenge. He purchases a large rifle from Jimbo Kern's gun shop and plots to shoot Gifford. Meanwhile, Cartman is excited to appear on live television, and Mayor McDaniels instructs him to get into shape for Gifford's visit. Seeing a television commercial for a bodybuilding supplement called "Weight Gain 4000", Cartman asks his mother to buy it for him. Cartman becomes extremely fat from the product, although he believes he is in excellent shape and the excess weight is strictly muscle. Back at the school, Wendy looks through Mr. Garrison's papers and confirms Cartman indeed cheated on the contest by writing his name on a copy of Walden by Henry David Thoreau. Wendy also learns about Mr. Garrison's assassination plan, and enlists the help of her friend Stan to stop him.
Gifford arrives, and most of the town attends the celebratory event, where Chef sings a song to seduce her. Mr. Garrison takes his position in a tall book depository, but he is frustrated to see that Gifford is hidden behind a bulletproof glass bubble.
Wendy and Stan arrive and try unsuccessfully to stop Mr. Garrison, saying that they understand his pain, but when Stan accidentally reignites Garrison's anger, he decides to go through with the assassination. Just as he is about to fire, Cartman's new immense weight causes the stage to collapse, catapulting Gifford off it, and causing the bullet to hit Kenny in the head. Kenny is propelled through the air and impaled on a flagpole. Gifford's bodyguards whisk Gifford away, costing a disappointed Cartman his chance to be on television. Wendy takes to the stage and reveals that Cartman cheated on his essay, but the townspeople are too upset about Gifford's departure to care. Mr. Garrison is taken to a mental hospital, where Mr. Hat is placed into a straitjacket. Mr. Garrison apologizes to the kids for costing the town a chance to be on television, although Kyle explains to him that Cartman is now appearing on talk show Geraldo Rivera because of his tremendous obesity. Meanwhile, Chef is lying in bed with Gifford post-coital while watching Geraldo.
What I Learned Today
"You can't win all the time. And if you don't win, you certainly can't hold it against the person who did, because that's the only way you ever really lose."
- "Get out of my ass you stupid rainbows!" (Eric Cartman)
- "How are my little crackers today?" (Chef)
- "Screw you, hippie!" (Eric Cartman)
- "C'mon people! We've got to turn this place around! Hang up the lights, string up the banners, castrate the cows!" (Mayor McDaniels)
- "Beefcake! BEEFCAKE!" (Eric Cartman)
- "Do you have a big dick?" (Kenny McCormick to Chef)
- "God damn it, that's a big fat ass!" (Kyle Broflovski to Cartman)
- "Follow your dreams. You can reach your goals. I'm living proof. Beefcake. BEEFCAKE!" (Eric Cartman)
This is the first episode we see South Park's mayor of the town Mayor McDaniels who has to have her town look good for Kathie Lee Gifford. We also get a good look at Jimbo Kern, though it's not mentioned in this episode he is Stan's uncle.
An unnamed kid who looks exactly like Kevin Stoley and of course, Kenny.
Behind The Scenes
Where Did The Idea Come From
A satire on American consumerism and willful purchasing habits in pursuit of happiness. Throughout the episode Cartman deludes himself into thinking the Weight Gain 4000 works even though it obviously doesn't and carries additional health risks.
Weight Gain 4000 is a parody of companies that sell protein supplements for muscle gain. They are effective only if the consumer exercises and do body building regularly, but commercials don't usually mention this important point.
Pop Culture References
When Wendy pleads with Mr. Garrison not to kill Kathie Lee Gifford, he responds by saying, "It is too late for me... young Wendy." The line is a lift from Star Wars' Return of the Jedi.
Gifford's talent show song "If My Friends Could See Me Now" is the same tune she sang for Carnival Cruise Lines commercials during the early '90s. It in turn is a spoof of the song with the same name from 1966 musical Sweet Charity.
When Mr. Hat is arrested by Officer Barbrady at the end of the episode, he says "I would have gotten away with it if it weren't for those meddling kids". This is a reference to a popular line used in cartoon series Scooby Doo, usually uttered by villains after their plans were thwarted.
After becoming so obese from drinking Weight Gain 4000 that he can't even leave his house, Cartman makes an appearance as "Fat Ass" on the skeevy daytime show Geraldo hosted by Geraldo Rivera.
A golden version of the titular superhero from Trey and Matt's Orgazmo is featured on top of Kathie Lee Gifford's trophy to Cartman. It can also be seen on top of the World Champion dodgeball trophy in “Conjoined Fetus Lady". The superhero is a frequently used easter egg throughout the show.
Singer, hostess, and actress Kathie Lee Gifford who at the time was the co-host of the daytime show Live with Regis and Kathy Lee. In the course of the episode, Chef professes his love for her while Garrison confronts his hatred for her.
Kathie Lee's husband and previous NFL football player Frank Gifford also gets a nod as Chef tells the boys that he's "three times bigger" than Frank Gifford. Chef's talking about his chocolate salty balls, of course.
Mr. Garrison's hatred for Kathy Lee was foreshadowed in "Cartman Gets an Anal Probe" where the sentence, "I'm not positive, but I think that Cathy (sic) Lee Gifford is much older than she claims to be" can be seen on his classroom's chalkboard.
- In his talent show flashback, the 8-year-old Mr. Garrison is shown already bald on top, with gray on the sides. Yet in a flashback during "Cartman's Mom Is a Dirty Slut", he possesses a full head of hair.
- This episode contains the first reference to Jesus and Pals, a public access TV show hosted by no other than Jesus himself. Although we only see a commercial for it here, Jesus and Pals can actually be seen in the next episode "Big Gay Al's Big Gay Boat Ride".
- On the chalkboard in the students' classroom, you can see the sentences "Chupe mis Chi Chis", "No me Toquen los Huevos" and "Mi verga es Fea y Morena". In Spanish they read "Suck my Boobs", "Don't Touch my Balls" and "My dick is Ugly and Black".
- Bebe in this episode is voiced by late actress Mary Kay Bergman. She is voiced by the show's supervising producer Jennifer Howell afterwards.
- During the play about South Park's history, it is mentioned the "Ute Indians" originally inhabited the land. The Ute tribe did indeed occupy parts of Colorado and Utah.