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"The Hobbit"
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Episode no. Season 17
Episode 10
Production no. 1710
Original airdate December 11, 2013
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"The Hobbit" is the tenth and final episode of Season Seventeen, and the 247th overall episode of South Park. It aired on December 11, 2013.[1]

Synopsis

When Wendy tries to fix one of her girlfriends up with Butters, she ends up in the counselor's office.[1]

Plot

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

While the South Park Elementary cheerleading squad is practicing, one of the cheerleaders, Lisa Berger, shows herself as meek and lacking in self-confidence, going so far as to call herself "the fat, ugly cheerleader". The squad's captain, Wendy Testaburger, offers encouragement to Lisa, defending her from the annoyed sneers of the other cheerleaders. When Wendy encourages Lisa to project a better self-image, Red and Heidi Turner state she only cares about Butters, on whom she has a crush. Though Lisa is embarrassed at this fact, Wendy suggests that she ask Butters out on a date to improve her confidence. However, when Lisa does ask out Butters, he rejects her, saying that she is "too fat" for him, causing Lisa to walk away in shame. Clyde Donovan and Craig Tucker laugh at Butters for "getting asked out by a fat girl", while Eric Cartman admonishes them, saying that they should rip on Lisa because she is ugly, not because she is fat.

Later, Wendy confronts Butters for being insensitive to Lisa's feelings, but Butters insists that he just prefers slimmer women, noting his celebrity crush, Kim Kardashian. Angered by this, Wendy further criticizes Butters, saying (to Butters' disbelief) that Kim Kardashian in real life has "the body of a hobbit" and manipulates her image with Photoshop to make average girls feel horrible about themselves.

Wendy is later summoned to Mr. Mackey's office, after Butters tells Mackey about Wendy's comments about Kardashian. Wendy is stunned that Mr. Mackey is criticizing her, rather than addressing Butters' comments against Lisa Berger, to which Mackey accuses her of being "jelly" (slang for "jealous"), a label which she denies. Following this, Kim Kardashian's fiancé Kanye West speaks before Mr. Garrison's class to explain that Kim Kardashian is not a hobbit. However, as he tries to make this argument, he constantly undercuts himself by acknowledging the great number of attributes she shares with hobbits, and is forced to call Kim several times to clarify exactly why she is not a hobbit.

Later, as Wendy sees Butters walking past the computer lab, she asks him to come and look at something, which Butters does, despite initially believing that Wendy is going to beat him up. In the lab, Wendy uses Photoshop to "improve" Lisa Berger's looks in order to prove to Butters how easy it is for someone like Kim Kardashian to manipulate their appearance to unrealistic, fantastic levels. However, Butters, oblivious to this lesson, falls in love with Lisa's photoshopped image, believing it to represent her true appearance. He states his desire to ask her out, much to Wendy's shock.

After posting her photoshopped picture online, he prepares to ask Lisa out the next day, only to discover that she is already going out with Clyde. When Wendy sees everyone regarding Lisa's photoshopped picture as her real appearance, including her boyfriend Stan Marsh, Wendy confronts him and states that Lisa is actually "fat and ugly", just as Lisa an Clyde walk by. Lisa calls Wendy "jelly", a label that Wendy again denies.

Wendy is again summoned to Mr. Mackey's office, where he threatens to send her to "jelly school" if she does not change her attitude. She is unimpressed, knowing that Mr. Mackey is not actually on the line with a "jelly school", but tells him that she will change her attitude for the better.

At the Time magazine Person Of The Year Award presentation, as Pope Francis is named Person Of The Year and receives his award, Kanye West storms the stage, interrupting the ceremony, to try and continue to challenge the belief that Kim Kardashian is a hobbit, however he further hampers his argument when he learns from calling her that a new film she is acting in, is in fact, The Hobbit, which he then says is loosely based on Kim's television show, Keepin' Up With The Kardashians.

Back at the gymnasium, the cheerleading squad performs before the student body, but only Lisa Berger gets applause and attention. Following this, the other cheerleaders ask Wendy to create photoshopped images of them, as well, in order to compete with her, which she refuses to do, believing that doing so would further degrade women and encourage further shallow behavior. After Wendy leaves, Lisa appears, now scantily dressed, and tells the girls that if they want to "improve" their looks, they need to "work out".

At the gym, instead of exercising the girls are taught how to use Photoshop and successfully create manipulated pictures of themselves, and upload them for everyone to see. The next day, all the boys gather on the playground to ogle the photoshopped pictures of the girls. Stan is sad, seeing that not a single one of the pictures are of Wendy, and leaves to find her. When he brings up the subject, Wendy becomes defensive and shames him for wanting her to create photoshopped pictures of herself, and remarks on one of Stan's imperfections, his short legs. She then continues to list flaws for many others at the school, not realizing that a crowd is gathering. When she does finally notice the attention, Bebe calls her a "hater" and Mr. Mackey orders her into his office, yet again.

Meanwhile, Kanye West produces a music video attempting to prove that Kim Kardashian is not a hobbit, but the results are the same as before.

Back at the South Park Elementary gym, the cheerleaders are practicing just as they were at the beginning, except now Wendy is the meek one. When the other cheerleaders sneer at her, Lisa tells Wendy she just needs to have more confidence and recommends that she ask out Butters. Wendy, annoyed, says that she just wants to get back to cheering, but the others will not have it, demanding that she go to their "gym" and get a new self-image. She angrily tells the other cheerleaders that they are believing in their own "bullshit" and declares that if society would not do anything to stop Photoshop, she will.

Later, Wendy appears on the news with Tom and Tammy Thompson to discuss her campaign against Photoshop, but they too accuse her of being "jelly". Following this, news correspondent Rick tells her that he is at "the jelly school in Aurora", which is ready to take her in. Wendy calls him out, saying that the "jelly school" he is standing in front of is actually a Dunkin' Donuts. Rick concedes this is true, but states that she is still a hater. Wendy says that she does not care about the names people call her and vows that she will not rest until photoshopped images are properly labeled as "fake".

In the middle of the night, as Wendy is sleeping, Kanye West walks in and wakes her. When Wendy asks him why he is in her room, Kanye sits down, opens a book, and begins to read her a sad story about a poor ugly hobbit who found that Photoshop was the only thing that could make her beautiful. He reads that an evil "Jelly Monster" wanted to take the magical power of Photoshop away from the hobbit, and breaks down into tears at the conclusion. Wendy feels guilty and tries to console Kanye West, admitting that she has been "jelly" and a "hater".

The next day at school, Wendy is again in the computer lab, this time with a picture of herself opened in Photoshop. She begins to edit her picture to look more conventionally attractive, as tears drip from her eyes. When she is done, she sends a mass email of her photoshopped picture to everyone, wipes away her tears, and solemnly leaves the computer lab. The credits roll in silence.

Critical Reception

AV Club gave "The Hobbit" a "B+" rating saying: "Honestly, for most of tonight’s running time, “The Hobbit” felt like a pale retread of the heights attained during the show’s Console Wars saga. As with most recent targets of South Park satire, the idea that people are obsessed with manufactured images of what constitutes “beauty” is hardly new. Neither is the notion that there’s a fine line in the eyes of some between “feminist” and “hater.” And while the running gag of Kanye West trying to convince the world (and himself) that Wendy’s characterization of Kim Kardashian as the titular Hobbit was amusing enough, it was also extremely one-note and repetitive. Not as repetitive as the use of the word “jelly,” but repetitive all the same."[2]

IGN gave "The Hobbit" a "8.7" rating saying: "South Park's "The Hobbit" ended Season 17 on a high note, thanks to a well-thought-out premise and a significant character arc for Wendy (probably her best). Meanwhile, the return of Kanye West made for a wealth of pop culture references that ranged from hilarious to decent. Overall, this year's finale was a great final bow for the season."[3]

References


  1710: "The Hobbit" edit
Story Elements

Lisa BergerKanye WestPope FrancisWendy Testaburger • "Work Slut" • "Camptown Races" • "My Bitch Ain't No Hobbit"

Media

ImagesScriptsVideo

Release

South Park: The Complete Seventeenth Season

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