"Cartman Finds Love" is the seventh episode of Season Sixteen, and the 230th overall episode of South Park. It aired on April 25, 2012.
There's a new girl in school and everyone wants to know who she has a crush on. Cartman is especially excited. He's discovered something inside himself that he never knew he had. Now, to make sure nobody gets in the way of true love, it's time for Cartman to finally let someone know exactly how he feels.
Butters is seen running down the school hallways, screaming for the "fellas" attention. After obtaining this, he reveals that Larry Bartski told him that there is a new girl in school, who has joined the cheerleading squad. Cartman proclaims that they are not going to fight over her; instead stating that they should let her choose who she likes.
The male fourth graders are crowding around the gymnasium, attempting to get a glimpse of the new girl, Nichole, who is cheerleading with Red, Wendy, Bebe, Lola, and Jenny. After noticing she is African American, Cartman congratulates Token (another African American), who angrily walks off. Cartman exclaims endearingly that Token must be shy.
Mr. Garrison is shown teaching Game of Thrones history to his class. Cartman, who is sitting in between Nichole and Token, attempts to get Token to talk to her, however, Token ignores him. Afterwards, in the hallways, Cartman, acting as Token's "messenger", tells Bebe and Red that Nichole should "make the first move" as Token is "shy".
Lola, Bebe, Nichole, Wendy, Red, and Jenny are shown playing "Living", a board game, at Bebe's house. Bebe and the other girls tell Nichole that Token likes her, however, she reveals that she likes Kyle. This angers Cartman (as he watches through a window) perceiving Kyle as in the way of Token and Nicole's relationship. Sometime afterwards, the girls are once again cheerleading, however, Cartman interrupts them, and pulls Nichole to the side. Cartman tells her that he and Kyle are a couple. He claims that Kyle is embarrassed about it, hence why they do not act like a couple in public.
Nichole walks up to Kyle, saying that if he needs anyone to talk to, she is available. Kyle misunderstands, happily proclaiming that the new girl is into him. Afterwards, Cartman speaks with Butters. He tells him to tell Nichole that the coach wants her to take some towels to the boy's locker room after P.E. class is over. Although confused, she agrees. Later, in the locker room, Cartman proclaims that the Batmobile is outside, resulting in all of the boys leaving the locker room, aside from Token, who is still showering.
Nichole walks into the locker room and runs into Token, who is wrapped in a towel. After an awkward moment, Nichole apologizes and attempts to leave, however, she cannot, as Cartman has chain-locked the doors. Token attempts to comfort Nichole, who is frightened. They later discover a deli platter, massage oil, board games, and grape soda. The day after, firemen sever the chain lock, freeing them. Nichole thanks Token for comforting her and suggests they have lunch together the next day. Cartman, with tears in his eyes, is shown watching them. He begins to talk to Cupid Me, a cupid-like version of himself. They congratulate each other on getting Nichole and Token together.
While a song plays, the two are shown doing various activities together while Cartman spies on them. During this, Cartman plants a teddy bear on Nichole's houses' steps as well as Token's houses' steps. Kyle is shown walking through the hallways; all the girls he pass by begin smiling and whispering.
Afterwards, Cartman is seen watching Token push Nichole on the swing. Stan asks why he is so into their relationship. Cartman responds that he "doesn't know". Kyle then runs up to Cartman and pushes him over, asking him why he told everyone they were a couple. Cartman exclaims angrily that Kyle was "standing in the way" of Token and Nichole, who "belong together". Kyle responds, saying that just because two people are the same race doesn't mean they belong together. After Kyle tells Cartman to tell everyone that they aren't a couple, Cartman shows him how happy Token and Nichole are. This causes Kyle to angrily walk off.
Nichole is seen eating dinner with her parents. After a brief discussion about Token, her father tells her that she shouldn't only date other black people. She says that her and Token being the same race is simply a coincidence. Later, Nichole is shown in her room, looking at the aforementioned teddy bear she presumes Token gave her. She looks at its dog tag, which says "To my boo" on one side and "'Cuz blacks belong together" on the other. She proclaims "Oh, no." Because of this, she breaks up with Token the next day.
Later, Cartman is crying over Token and Nichole's breakup. He is being comforted by Butters. In a fit of rage, Cartman proceeds to beat Cupid Me, knocking him out- much to Butters' concern.
Token is shown sitting on a bench in the park, still sad over his breakup. Kyle walks up to him and attempts to comfort him while subtly asking if Nichole is fully single. Token, still believing Kyle to be homosexual, walks off, telling Kyle he likes girls. Kyle angrily exclaims, "what the fuck!"
Cartman, after watching a laxative commercial, is inspired to try and get Nichole and Token back together. He opens a box containing Cupid Me, and, after some convincing words, Cupid Me agrees to help him. Later, he knocks on Nichole's door, asking to speak with her. However, her father reveals she went to a basketball game with a "nice white Jewish boy". Cartman begins to rush to the game. At said game, Kyle and Nichole are watching Brad Paisley sing the national anthem, and, after this, the poster child for "Halitosis Kidz!" attempting to make a three-point shot.
Cartman arrives at the game and begins to broadcast himself over the "Megatron" screen in the center of the arena. He says that love is hard, and that people have to work for it, regardless of what others think. During this he proclaims his "love" for Kyle and begins to sing a duet with Brad Paisley. After the song is over, he tells everyone that the Batmobile is outside; this causes everyone, including the players, to leave the arena. During this, Token and Nichole run into each other. They reconcile their relationship, saying that they do not care about the stereotype that people of the same race belong together. After this, Cartman congratulates himself and Cupid Me. Cupid Me says that he found someone for him as well, the "Halitosis Kidz!" poster child, much to Eric's horror.
AV Club gave "Cartman Finds Love" a "A-" rating saying: "Actually being correct about this, or any, interpretation of the show is somewhat beside the point. Authorial intent is a murky topic, and trying to outguess the writers of this or any show is a fool’s errand. What’s great about “Cartman Finds Love” is that, more than any episode of the show thus far this season, it allows for this type of analysis to occur at all. Too many recent weeks have gone by with the show either explicitly stating its theme or simply forgoing a theme altogether. Now, having no theme isn’t a crime. But it doesn’t provide much fodder for fruitful analysis either. “Fuck fruitful analysis,” cryeth some of you. “Was it FUNNY?” I can’t answer that for you. I can say that I found it occasionally quite funny, but also that I didn’t think “being funny” was the primary goal of this episode. Thus, my sporadic laughter was a feature, not a bug, this time around. Even if tonight’s midseason finale didn’t give us quite as much to think about as the show did this time last year, it still provided plenty of food for thought. And that’s more than enough for now."
IGN gave "Cartman Finds Love" a "7.5" rating saying: "While there were definitely a couple good laughs here and there, "Cartman Finds Love" never really got off the ground for me. It had some good threads going for it and the narrative was structurally sound, but the laugh-out-loud jokes were too few and far between. Having said that, it was nice to see an episode free from pop culture references and celebrity parodies for a change, and I think that helped to end the first half of Season 16 on a relatively high note."