South Park Pays Homage to Batman: The Killing Joke

This week, in an episode that was surrounded in controversy thanks to the warnings of a Muslim group over South Park's depiction of the Prophet Muhammad, creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone paid homage to Alan Moore and Brian Bolland's classic Batman tale; A Killing Joke. For those that haven't seen Wednesday night's episode of South Park, turn away now lest ye be spoiled.


Coming as part of the culmination of the mystery of Eric Cartman's father, an incredibly-spot on recreation of the Joker's funhouse (aptly changed to a Chili Con Carnival for the episode) featured Cartman's one-time nemesis Scott Tenorman in a surprise return. First, the scene from The Killing Joke in which Joker attempts to drive Commissioner Gordon mad:

Batman: The Killing Joke


And in Wednesday night's South Park episode 201, Scott Tenorman returns to drive Cartman similarly mad by finally revealing the long-unknown identity of his father:

South Park: 201

South Park

The recreation continues to show Cartman tormented by Tenorman from video screens around the carnival while being forced to ride the tram. It may also be worth noting the used the same colors as the original printing of The Killing Joke, and not the recolored edition from 2008.

Unfortunately, due to the sensitivity of the rest of the episode, Comedy Central bleeped sections of the show before it went to air, and pulled the episode from its normal midnight rerun slot. On the South Park Studios website, they explain that because of the last-minute changes, they do not have approval to stream the show on their website as normal protocol would dictate. As of this writing, the episode in question is also unavailable for purchase on the iTunes Store.


  1. South Park has turned me around a couple times. I loved the Christmas animation but despised the cartoon. Then a few years back I took another look and was surprised by how smart it was. Either it got better or I wasn’t ready for it to be on tv (somehow the internet got a pass). But I have to say, how can anyone dismiss comics and cartoons when they have the power to instigate and arouse people’s emotions enough to make death threats? 

  2. I’m very glad I recorded this episode.  Can’t wait to watch it.

  3. i hope they sell an uncut version of the episode on the dvds.

  4. I watched this last night and almost leaped out of my chair when the scene started.

  5. went to catch the rerun at midnight only to find I had missed out!  curse you Ultimate Fighter!

    I’m sure I’ll catch it eventually.  The first half was so great I can only imagine how they finished it.  And I missed this incredible reference!  

  6. The fact that they bleeped out the entire "lesson" speech at the end of the episode was pretty funny even if it was just Comedy Central doing it.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the creators made it offensive on purpose just so that the Comedy Central would bleep it out.

  7. I watched the 200th episode and felt great happiness as they brought much nostalgia to the series. Sadly I forgot about this episode and now it seems like Comedy Central will never air this episode again. Cowards.

    But those pics alone and the description makes me sound like I missed a lot. 

  8. I’m hoping the canadian airing won’t be as censored. They’ve said they’re going to do whatever they can to get the uncensored one out there.

  9. Cool. The first Scott Tenorman episode was one of the first South park episodes I enjoyed in a long time. And while I don’t currently watch the show, I might just check this episode out.

  10. I just watched the episode.  It’s interesting that it is still able to deliver a rather straightforward message even while censored.  It could also be argued that the censorship actually strengthens the message.

  11. I thought that scene looked familiar. 

  12. This episode was hysterical, especially the last scene with Tom Cruise and an old hysterical ending. The Killing Joke bit was great, I may have laughed harder at that then anything else in the episode. But man South Park has been on a roll this season. 

  13. that’s actually the second time they have homaged The Killing Joke. In last year’s "The Coon" episode, they had a scene very similar to the one where Joker attacks Batman in the carnival.

  14. You know, as much as I want to hate or like this, I feel indifferent. The show is fine for some people, but I prefer to just not watch it. I won’t tell people they shouldn’t, nor would I like people telling me I should.

    I shouldn’t like this show just because they used a scene from a comic book. 

    Though I will say that this like every other episode of South Park, blurs the lines between Homage and Copy Right Infringment. If I were to call the shots here, I’d say this was Copy Right infringment, if only because, the question "What’s the Point?" Okay, they used a Comic scene. Why should I care? What does that mean? Does that change anything? 

    Like every other episode, they take a Pop Culture Theme, and drag it out for 30 Minutes. That’s fine for some people, could be fine for everyone else, but for someone who aspires to tell stories in any medium, that’s 30 Minutes (or 22 without commercials) of time wasted not showing something worthwhile or meaningful. If you think it’s worthwhile, then you watch it, I have nothing against that, but there are plenty of channels and not one shows something truely worthwhile in my eyes at that time slot, yet I know plenty of people out there who can write something worthwhile. 

  15. Holy hell, I can’t believe I didn’t catch this. Fantastic episode. This whole two-parter has really renewed my love for South Park.

  16. I would give up blow jobs before I gave up south park.

  17. @blitheh Then someones not doing their job very well.

  18. It’s got to be said, this whole crazy censorship thing that happened only made the episode funnier and more than likely got it more viewers because of the controversy. Way to backfire. I thought it was bloody hilarious though, The Killing Joke scene was awesome. Thoroughly enjoyed it.

  19. Wow @calebthetimetraveler. Your opinion of South Park aside, calling that copyright infringement is incredibly out of line.  By your logic, then, everytime someone quotes Shakespeare or makes a biblical allusion, they’re infringing copyright?  I don’t think you quite understand copyright laws.

    And, uhhh, if you feel indifferent about the show, why comment on it at all?

  20. @calebthetimetraveler  You didn’t enjoy MAD Magazine as a kid either, I assume?  It is called satire and full protected free speech, at least in the U.S.
  21. Oh wow, I watched this & didn’t even realize there was a Killing Joke tribute … I was too busy being pissed off at half the dialogue being BLEEPED OUT. I swear, they censored so much of this episode there was no point even airing it. 

  22.  Well, it was censored between being sent in and being aired… They couldn’t just leave off on that cliffhanger (Like they did between Season 1 and Season 2)… on another note, while I don’t condone piracy, I’m sure Matt and Trey wouldn’t mind me pointing you to

  23. @Calebthetimetraveler


    You said…

    That’s fine for some people, could be fine for everyone else, but for someone who aspires to tell stories in any medium, that’s 30 Minutes (or 22 without commercials) of time wasted not showing something worthwhile or meaningful.



    You don’t watch the show, do you?  Not all, but most episodes, ESPECIALLY THIS ONE, have a huge morale core that comments on the fraility, foibles and fear of our modern society.  They’re using a cartoon to actually try and make social change in our culture.


    But yeah….It’s meaningless.

  24. When I was watching this I thought that scene was very Joker-ish, but could not put my finger on it till it was pointed out here that it was the Killing Joke. Cool…

  25. Scott Tenorman is to CArtman as JOker is to batman or as batman is to joker…. I can’t decide