|"Quest for Ratings"|
|Episode no.||Season 8|
|Original airdate||November 17, 2004|
|List of all South Park episodes|
The boys produce their own morning news show on the school's closed-circuit television station and are immediately caught up in an intense competition for ratings.
Plot details follow.
The boys' school news show is in competition against a rival television program created by Craig. Cartman, Jimmy, Butters, Kyle, Token, and Stan are taping Super School News, a newscast airing on South Park Elementary's closed-circuit television system. Cartman and Jimmy play the leading roles as head anchors, Butters is the entertainment/celebrity reporter, Stan is a field reporter, Token is the meteorologist, and Kyle does sports. However, after their news program premieres, their teacher (Mr. Meryl) tells them that they did horribly in the ratings, trailing far behind Craig's home video show, Animals Close-Up With a Wide-Angle Lens (which uses the Benny Hill theme song, "Yakety Sax"), which they consider pointless and banal. Even Kenny has been helping Craig, which Cartman considered betrayal after they had been "super cool" to him (whereas Cartman had actually been mocking Kenny for being poor and using it as an excuse to keep him out of his show).
The news team then pledges to make a program that will be a ratings booster and gain the attention of all students. They rename the show Sexy Action School News and add flashy elements, including random Panda Madness Minutes in which the newscasters spontaneously dance with pandas. However, nothing seems to work; although they beat Craig's original series, they fall behind his follow up Animals Close-Up With a Wide-Angle Lens Wearing Hats. To get ideas, the boys decide to get high on cough syrup. They hallucinate, run wild, pass out, and wake up disoriented an unspecified amount of time later, watching Animals Close-Up With a Wide-Angle Lens Wearing Hats, and with a naked Butters face-down in Kyle's lap, but their notepads contain nothing useful. Remembering that they had seen Craig's program while high and thought it to be brilliant, they conclude that a majority of the school must be perpetually high on cough syrup, accounting for his ratings. They then decide to produce a special report that gets cough syrup banned from school.
Soon after, the ratings drop and Craig's show is cancelled, as the children are no longer high, and they start to cough endlessly. To emphasize the importance of good ratings, the AV teacher then suspends Craig from school and recommends the removal of his testicles. Satisfied with their results, the Sexy Action School News team discovers the curse of a successful show: each subsequent episode has to be just as good. Back in the writer's room, they come up with nothing and eventually decide to just bail.
- "Quest for Ratings (Season 8, Episode 11) - Episode Guide". southparkstudios.com.