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"Spontaneous Combustion"
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Episode no. Season 3
Episode 2
Production no. 302
Original airdate April 14, 1999
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"Spontaneous Combustion" is the second episode of Season Three, and the 33rd overall episode of South Park. It first aired on April 14, 1999.[1]


When the citizens of South Park start exploding randomly, the mayor enlists Stan's dad, the resident geologist, to find a solution to the problem.[1]


SPW pic -- Spoiler Spoiler warning!
Plot details follow.

The boys are trying to buy a "nerection" for Kyle's dad, but are kicked out of almost every shop. While walking down the street, Kenny suddenly catches fire and is reduced to a pile of ashes. The townsfolk witness this and recognize it as spontaneous combustion, prompting fear to spread in the town. Mayor McDaniels puts Randy Marsh in charge of finding out what is actually happening because he is the 'best' scientist in town even though he is a geologist. She convinces Randy by telling him that once the problem is solved he would become the most beloved man of South Park. Randy happily accepts the task.

At church, the town mourns Kenny's death, burying what was left of his burnt-out coat, with Priest Maxi ending the funeral with a prayer about Denver Broncos. Afterward, Priest Maxi tells the boys he has not seen them in church recently despite Kyle being Jewish. He then asks them to do the stations of the cross. While telling the boys about the stations of the cross, Kyle finds out Jesus had a resurrection, which he mistakes for "nerection", so he agrees to take apart. Meanwhile, a woman named Helen spontaneously combusts outside the church.

The boys go to Stan's house, where Cartman gets to play Jesus after a few arguments. On Friday night, the boys perform stations of the cross. Their performance ends with Stan and Kyle taking Cartman into the wilderness and leaving him on the cross so he can get the "nerection" which Kyle can give to his dad. Cartman desperately demands his friends to let him down but is left there for days.

Upon hearing that Kenny had earlier been spending time with his girlfriend (introduced in the previous episode, "Rainforest Shmainforest"), and townfolk jamming into his basement reporting another incident, Randy finds out that spontaneous combustion is caused by people not passing gas enough. People with a boyfriend or girlfriend are the most likely victims because they are less flatulent than others. He advises the townsfolk to fart regularly. Everyone begins to do so and Randy is awarded and praised by the town. Later on, he wins a Nobel Prize for his formulated break wind theory on spontaneous combustion, which frustrates Dr. Alphonse Mephesto who thinks the prize should go to himself for his seven assed Galapagos Turtle.

The extreme amount of farts contributed to a hole in the ozone layer which begins to make the temperature rise drastically in the town. Dr. Mephesto appears as a guest on Jesus and Pals, revealing the cause of rising temperatures and blames Randy Marsh for it, causing people to rally against Randy.

Some prostitutes find Gerald in his office and want him to sue Randy Marsh for giving them skin cancer. This somehow stimulates him and he finally gets an erection, so he goes to Sheila to "set things right". Kyle is glad that it is off his chest, but once again forgets that Cartman is still waiting for his "nerection".

Stan convinces Randy to work to find out how to stop it although he is now hated by all. He then explains that people need to fart, but in moderation, which means they should fart only at appropriate times or when it is really funny. The town praises him once again for the theory of moderation. Meanwhile, Stan and Kyle remember that they had left Cartman on the cross and go to get him down. He has survived three weeks on his fat and is now incredibly thin. Infuriated that he has been left up there this long, he swears revenge on Stan and Kyle as soon as he gets down.


  302: "Spontaneous Combustion" edit
Story Elements

Randy MarshThe Unified Theory of Moderation • "You and Me, Girl"


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