Pop Culture Spin

26 Days of Thanksgiving Episodes: Helen Keller: The Musical! (South Park)

We’re counting down the days to Thanksgiving by looking at a variety of Thanksgiving-themed TV episodes. Thanksgiving episodes are all different, but they have lots of tropes in common. Today we’re looking at the South Park episode “Helen Keller: the Musical!”

Basic Info

Directed by: Trey Parker

Written by: Trey Parker

Episode Number: Season 4, Episode 13

Where to Watch It: Hulu

Found Family

In this episode, Timmy forms a close bond with a turkey named Gobbles, who catches his attention because, like Timmy, he’s disabled. Things quickly gets very emotional as their bond is tested by Cartman, who will do anything to make the play the fourth graders are putting on stunning. This means replacing Gobbles with a more impressive turkey and even resorting to attempting to kill Gobbles. (Don’t worry, he only successfully kills Kenny).

There are some truly heartbreaking moments in this episode after an evil turkey trainer convinces Timmy that he needs to release Gobbles into the wild. You will be amazed how invested you get in Timmy’s relationship with this turkey.

Food

This episode is all about a turkey, but in this one turkeys are friends, not food. Gobbles ends up not becoming food when his disability saves him.

Football

No football in this one.

History

For reasons that are never really explained, the fourth graders always do The Miracle Worker as their play in the Thanksgiving pageant. But, in this version it’s a musical. (Sample lyrics: “Walter, Helen, water/She’s never gonna do it. There’s no way she’ll ever do it/Helen, Helen. Water, Helen/How can she talk if she can’t hear?/This is absolutely pointless”)

The history you expect– the story of the first Thanksgiving– is also included in the very end, when the kindergarteners do their part of the pageant. They sing a quick song about the pilgrims and Native Americans. Butters is real into it.

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