Dr. Alphonse Mephesto is a supporting character in the early Seasons introduced in "An Elephant Makes Love to a Pig". He is an eccentric geneticist and stereotypical mad scientist who lives and works at South Park Genetic Engineering Ranch.
Dr. Mephesto used to be a prominent supporting character in the first four Seasons, with the people of South Park turning to him when they need something beyond the natural. He was shown to be a typical mad scientist living in a secluded part of town who performs several unusual experiments that include putting more than one butt on different animals, always being accompanied by his mutated lab assistant and adopted son, Kevin Mephesto. The character's prominence lasted until Season Four, before transitioning to a minor character with only guest appearances, along with Kevin.
Mephesto made his first appearance in Season One's episode, "An Elephant Makes Love to a Pig", where he is first seen stealing a blood sample from Stan after informing the boys that the DNA of a pig and an elephant doesn't splice, which he later uses to create a human clone for his first son to show at the science fair, which eventually resulted in an aggressive mutant version of Stan, who was eventually let loose by his son and wreaked havoc on the town. Mephesto then enlists the help of Chef and the boys to help him find the mutant Stan. Mephesto then finally shoots the clone to death after finding it, and apologizes to the boys for the inconvenience, at the end giving a moral lesson stating that one should not play with God's creations and just leave nature alone. After his first appearance, his character began to play a supporting role throughout the episodes.
In "Starvin' Marvin", Mephesto tries to make genetically modified turkeys for Thanksgiving, but the result is several angry mutant turkeys that end up launching an attack on the town. Mephesto tries to alert the Mayor about the case, but ends up being ignored. He later tells Chef about the turkeys and claims they are growing at an exponential rate when he shows him their DNA. As Chef warns the town to protect themselves from the mutated turkeys, he asks Mephesto what exactly his lab assistant was supposed to be, with Mephesto only replying that it wasn't important at the moment. In the end, when all the turkeys are killed by the people, Mephesto feels sorry for his creation and once again gives the same moral lesson, stating that he shouldn't play with God's creations, but this time being interrupted by Chef.
In "Cartman's Mom is a Dirty Slut", Mephesto offers to help Cartman find out who his biological father was, through a DNA test, albeit for a price of $3,000. When he is finally paid, he fulfills his promise to help Cartman with his father's situation. In the sequel, "Cartman's Mom is Still a Dirty Slut", when he is about to reveal the identity of Cartman's father, he ends up being shot twice after a blackout in the room, thus being taken to the hospital. When Mephesto wakes up after having recovered, he finally reveals that Cartman's father was his own mother, as she is a hermaphrodite. He also reveals that the person who shot him was actually his brother, who tries to kill him every month.
In "Prehistoric Ice Man", Mephesto takes the frozen man discovered by the boys to his lab to thaw him. When thawed, he places him in a habitat from 1996, which was the last time he was free. Some federal agents arrive at the ranch to see him, intending to use him as a weapon, but cover up this plan from Mephesto, which allows people to pay to see the man. When the man is released and freed by Stan, Mephesto and the federal agents immediately set out in search of him, with the help of Steve Irwin, but end up failing in the end after he escapes with a helicopter.
In "Spontaneous Combustion", Mephesto tries to win the Nobel Prize with a "seven-assed Galapagos Turtle", but loses to Randy Marsh. Later, he reveals that Randy's theory about Spontaneous Combustion is causing a change in the environment.
Mephesto plays his final role as a supporting character in the Season Four episode, "Cartman Joins NAMBLA". When Cartman is on a quest to find more "mature" friends, he asks Mephesto for help so he can genetically create a friend for him. Mephesto ends up denying Cartman's request due to the fact that genetic engineering doesn't reach the point of creating people, however, he solves Cartman's problem by inviting him to NAMBLA, which is under his leadership. Cartman then addresses the North American Man-Boy Love Association, which raises an impression that Mephesto was a Child Predator to some extent, when it is revealed that he was actually the leader of another group with the same acronym, called the North American Marlon Brando Look-Alikes Association, and that Cartman had gotten mixed up and joined the wrong group. After FBI agents break into Mephesto's meeting with the organization unaware of the existence of another NAMBLA, they inform the members of the other NAMBLA's presence in South Park, surprising Mephesto and the other members, who claimed to hate this organization for its purpose and for stealing their acronym, thus helping the FBI locate and arrest members of the North American Man-Boy Love Association.
In later Seasons, starting in Season Five, Mephesto began to only make cameos, usually being seen in crowd scenes that feature earlier characters.
Mephesto's many cameos throughout the episodes include:
- Being seen with Kevin during the town's Christmas party in "Red Sleigh Down".
- Singing the Bleeding Heart Rock Protest Song vs. Pro War Country Song reprise at the end of "I'm a Little Bit Country".
- Singing "Queef Free" with the other men in "Eat, Pray, Queef".
Mephesto finally played another significant role in "201", where he is first questioned by Cartman about his father's true identity and is later asked for help by the other boys so he can clone Muhammad. After being captured by the ginger kids, he witnesses Scott Tenorman's Chili Con Carnival and sadly reveals the real identity of Cartman's father to be Jack Tenorman, erasing his statement in "Cartman's Mom is Still a Dirty Slut" by that Cartman's father was his own mother.
Despite eventually getting a big role, Mephesto continued to make guest appearances in the episodes, though this time they were a little more notable, as in "The City Part of Town", where he is seen shopping at Whole Foods Market and in "Bike Parade", where he is seen watching the bike parade with Kevin.
Mephesto has a relatively more notable appearance in "South ParQ Vaccination Special", where he is seen with Kevin waiting in line outside Walgreens for a vaccine, saying to the Underpants Gnomes to join the queue. He also makes a cameo at the end of the episode, where he is seen celebrating the end of the pandemic with several other characters from earlier seasons.
Dr. Mephesto has genetically engineered many different species, such as a four (later five) - assed monkey, a four-assed ostrich, a four-assed mongoose, a mouse/duck, a gorilla/mosquito, a rabbit/fish (this is fake because Cartman said the ears are tied on them), a four-assed frog, a seven-assed Galapagos Turtle, loads of pissed off turkeys and a mutant clone of Stan.
The character is an extended reference to Marlon Brando's portrayal of Dr. Moreau in the 1996 film version of The Island of Dr. Moreau. He is even a member of the North American Marlon Brando Lookalike Association (the other NAMBLA). Like Dr. Moreau, Dr. Mephesto creates strange creatures with his talents; however, his creations are things like animals with multiple sets of buttocks. Mephesto believes it is for the good of the Earth, and that animals with one set of buttocks are inferior and must be destroyed. He even goes as far as presenting a "seven-assed Galapagos Turtle" in an attempt to win a Nobel Prize, but loses to Randy Marsh's "Unified Theory of Fart Thing". He also performs experiments ranging from simple DNA tests to creating a genetic clone of Stan Marsh for his son's project and later a clone of the Muslim prophet Muhammad.
Mephesto is a middle-aged man with gray hair and a wrinkled face. He wears an old brown hat over a white bandana that covers his hair, in addition to brown pants and a yellow flowered Hawaiian button-down shirt with an open collar, revealing chest hair. He is usually seen walking around with a cane, whose handle is shaped like a pair of buttocks. In "201" with the character's return, Mephesto's appearance underwent a major redesign to suit the show's current animation style, with his clothing and cane now being smoothed and detailed, as well as less coarse facial wrinkles and a completely new and less rectangular side view.
- To see images of Dr. Alphonse Mephesto, visit Dr. Alphonse Mephesto/Gallery.
Although Mephesto is shown to be Terrance's father, they are never seen together save for one episode.
In "An Elephant Makes Love to a Pig", Terrance is shown to greatly admire his father for his inventions and praises him after creating a human clone for his science fair, though they fall out when his son disobeys him, releasing the clone after he suggested getting rid of it after realizing it was too dangerous. Mephesto however, still offers his son one of his creations to present at the science fair.
Kevin is Mephesto's adopted "son" who works as his lab assistant, being almost always seen by his side and accompanying him. Kevin was shown to be quite loyal and helpful to Mephesto, even though he was quiet and silent.
Kevin's story is told in the song "Mephesto and Kevin" by Primus from Chef Aid: The South Park Album; he was apparently a failed attempt to create a perfect pop singer, a test tube baby created from Michael Jackson's sperm and the egg of an unspecified, musically talented female donor, brought to term inside the womb of a llama. It is also revealed Kevin is legally Dr. Mephesto's son.
His brother has never been seen, but it was first said in the episode "Cartman's Mom is Still a Dirty Slut" that he attempts to shoot Mephesto every month on routine. Later in "201" it is revealed the real reason that he shot Mephesto is that he was a Broncos fan, and revealing that Cartman's biological father played for the Broncos may distract the team, which was having a good year.
- Dr. Mephesto is likely a Buddhist as in "An Elephant Makes Love to a Pig" he says "Oh, thank Buddha I found you boys!"
- Trey Parker later commented that by this point he and Matt Stone simply didn't find the character funny any more, and that they should have made him a member of the real NAMBLA to write him out permanently.
- He is the first character to be taken out of the show without dying, the second being Officer Barbrady, although Officer Barbrady did come back with a much more prominent role in Season 19.
- Dr. Mephesto seems to be based on Marlon Brando's character in the infamous bomb "The Island of Dr. Moreau", as he belongs to a Marlon Brando-look alike club, conducts genetic experiments, and has a small but deformed assistant.
- In "201", it is revealed that Dr. Mephesto surgically alters his test subjects rather than genetically.
- Comedy Central has consistently spelt his name as 'Mephisto' in press materials, however, Trey Parker's scripts including those for "An Elephant Makes Love to a Pig", "Cartman Joins NAMBLA", and "201" all spell the name as Mephesto, and the name is pronounced as such.
- His name is a reference to Mephistopheles.
- In South Park: The Fractured But Whole Mephesto says "You ever played that video game, Half-Life?" when showing the children around the complex. This likely implies that he's a fan of the Valve Franchise. (Although this was before parodying the game). Cartman also said something similar in "Skank Hunt" but about Counter-Strike instead.
- "An Elephant Makes Love to a Pig" - Debut; rejects Kyle Broflovski's idea of splicing the DNA of a pig and an elephant. Later, he helps his son to make a clone of Stan.
- "Starvin' Marvin" - Creates genetically modified turkeys, but they go crazy and put the whole town in danger.
- "Cartman's Mom is a Dirty Slut" - Offers to help Cartman find out who his father is, but only for a price.
- "Cartman's Mom is Still a Dirty Slut" - Gets shot by his brother right before he can reveal the identity of Cartman's father.
- "Prehistoric Ice Man " - Helps unfreeze and talk to the prehistoric ice man.
- South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut - Seen in the crowd singing Mountain Town (Reprise) at the end of the movie.
- "Spontaneous Combustion" - Tries to win the Nobel Prize.
- "Jakovasaurs" - Helps the Jakovosaur to reproduce.
- "Hooked on Monkey Fonics" - Seen during the spelling bee.
- "Are You There God? It's Me, Jesus" - Gives hormone pills to Stan.
- "Cartman Joins NAMBLA" - Suggests Cartman joins NAMBLA but Cartman joins the 'North American Man Boy Love Association.' instead of the 'North American Marlon Brando Look-Alikes' which is what he really means. Also is the spokesperson of 'the other NAMBLA' and helps the police catch the pedophile NAMBLA.
- "Red Sleigh Down" - Seen in the crowd.
- "I'm a Little Bit Country" - Cameo during the final song.
- "It's Christmas in Canada" - Seen in the crowd.
- "Britney's New Look" - Seen leaving and entering the crowds to take photos of Britney Spears.
- "Eat, Pray, Queef" - Seen as one of the men singing "Queef Free".
- "201"- Cartman and Mitch Conner ask him who Cartman's real dad is, and Stan, Kyle, and Kenny ask him to clone Muhammad.
- "The City Part of Town" - Cameo during the final scene in the newly opened South Park Whole Foods Market.
- "Bike Parade" - Seen watching the bike parade.
- "South ParQ Vaccination Special" - Seen waiting in line outside Walgreens for a vaccine and is later seen at the end celebrating that he has been vaccinated against COVID-19.