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!”
Directed by: Trey Parker
Written by: Trey Parker
Episode Number: Season 4, Episode 13
Where to Watch It: Hulu
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.
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.
No football in this one.
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.