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Elias Lopez
Elias Lopez

[S10E2] Smug Alert!

"Smug Alert!" is the second episode of the tenth season of the American animated television series South Park and the 141st episode of the entire series overall, it first aired on Comedy Central in the United States on March 29, 2006. In this episode, Gerald buys a hybrid car and buys into the whole progressive movement, moving his family from Park County, Colorado to San Francisco, California and disturbing a delicate equilibrium and indirectly causing an environmental disaster along the way. The episode acts as a play on the attitude of owners of hybrid cars, as well as the similarity between the words "smog" and "smug".

[S10E2] Smug Alert!


After failing to convince Gerald to change his mind, Stan writes a song which convinces the entire town to purchase hybrids. Stan is later approached by Ranger McFriendly, who explains that everybody owning hybrids causes more harm than good: although emission levels are down, people who drive hybrids emit "smug", and South Park now has the second-highest levels in the country, after San Francisco.

The cloud of smug forms over South Park and begins to combine with that of San Francisco. McFriendly informs the town that a cloud of smug from George Clooney's 78th Academy Awards acceptance speech will soon drift between the two potential storms, merging them together to create a system which will heavily damage South Park and completely destroy San Francisco. Meanwhile, Cartman realizes that Butters is not a satisfying target for abuse and wishes for Kyle to return. Cartman and Butters secretly travel to San Francisco, and just as the smug storm hits, Cartman finds the Broflovskis in their house.

The storm destroys thousands of homes in South Park, and completely decimates San Francisco, convincing everyone that Kyle and his family have been killed. The Broflovskis reappear, however, unaware that their safety is due to the actions of Cartman. With all their cars destroyed, the townspeople vow never again to buy hybrids, but Kyle tells everyone that it isn't the hybrid cars that cause smug but rather the people who drive them. Implying that people need to drive cars and not act like they are above all other people. The town then agrees that perhaps someday they will learn to drive hybrid cars the same way they drive normal cars but for now the technology is too much.

Stan is horrified that Kyle is leaving, though Cartman is completely ecstatic, throwing a going away party for Kyle and not inviting him. Gerald tells him that the family will not return to South Park until everyone feels the same way as him about the environment. After they leave, Stan writes a song about the importance of hybrid cars, which gets on the radio and, incredibly, causes everyone to drive hybrids (and act as smugly as Gerald about it). Stan is praised for opening everyone's eyes, then meets Ranger McFriendly, protector of the environment, who criticizes and punches Stan in the face for what he has done; for, although smog rates are down, people who drive hybrids create a toxic gas in the air called "smug". South Park now has the second-highest levels in the country, after San Francisco.

In San Francisco, Kyle's father is glad to meet like-minded "progressive" people, who, mid-conversation, loudly fart, bend over and sniff with pleasure, then resume discussing their philosophies. Kyle finds it difficult to fit in with the other kids, who spend their time taking drugs to deal with their parents' "smugginess". Kyle refuses the offer of acid, but after seeing that his dad is even more arrogant than before (sniffing his own fart), Kyle asks for "maybe just half a hit," while Ike asks for three.

With all their cars destroyed, the townspeople vow never again to buy hybrids. But Kyle points out that hybrid cars really are a good thing; the people who drive them should just not be smug about it or act as if they're above everybody else. The people admit they are not ready to drive them without being smug - "it's simply too much to ask" - so they return to driving SUV and other high fuel consumption vehicles. Cartman talks to Kyle, and they get into a fight; as Kyle storms away, Cartman expresses relief to have the status quo returned.

  • "Smug Alert" contains examples of: Abusive Parents: Randy verbally abuses Stan for his song and the smug that it produced. He then has zero sympathy for Stan when he's afraid that Kyle died with San Francisco.

  • An Aesop: Driving an environmentally conscious car doesn't give you the license to be smug.

  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Ranger McFriendly initially comes off as a nice ranger for a few seconds, then he assaults Stan and leads the other adults in blaming Stan for the smug and treating him like shit.

  • Breather Episode: Right after a more serious episode where Chef faces a tragic (and quite gruesome) end, this is a light-hearted episode revolving around the typical South Park shenanigans.

  • Foreshadowing: When chastising Gerald for his smugness, Randy remarks that Gerald probably loves the smell of his own farts now. Later in the episode, the people of San Francisco literally smell their own farts as a form of pleasurable stimulus.

  • Holier Than Thou: Every adult who drives a hybrid car becomes this (especially Gerald), to the point where they are incapable of driving their environmentally friendly cars without being smug about it.

  • Humans Are Flawed: At the end of the episode, Kyle explains to everyone that the hybrid cars themselves didn't cause the smug, it was the arrogance of the people driving them. While moved by his words, the people of South Park reluctantly accept that they're not yet ready to own hybrid cars without acting smug about it.Kyle: Hybrid cars don't cause smugness, people do.

  • Hypocritical Humor: Randy, of all people, calls Stan "stupid".

  • Jerkass: The adults in South Park all immediately turn on Stan as soon as they know about the smug and blame him for it, when they're to blame.

  • Ironic Name: Ranger Mc"Friendly" is actually an aggressive douchebag who literally hits Stan for his pro-hybrid song and angrily blames him and forces him to clean up the mess caused by the adults' smugness.

  • Jerkass Ball: Gerald becomes a smug holier then thou asshole due to buying a hybrid and spends the first part of the episode giving fake tickets to SUVs in the hardware store parking lot.

  • Never My Fault: The adults all refuse to take blame for their smugness and verbally abuse Stan the whole episode.

  • Only the Leads Get a Happy Ending: Kyle and his family are saved, Stan has his best friend back, Cartman has someone he can banter with. But thousands are left homeless, the Midwest is devastated, and San Francisco is completely destroyed along with its entire population.

  • Pet the Dog: Cartman saves Kyle from dying in San Francisco during the smug storm solely because he needs Kyle around to banter with. However, he also saves the rest Kyle's family for seemingly no reason.

  • The Scapegoat: Stan gets all the blame and heat for everything the adults did just for writing that gay little song that convinced them to drive hybrids. Even after Kyle point-blank tells them that everything could have been avoided if they stopped being smug while driving hybrids, the adults decide they "aren't ready".

  • Status Quo Is God: The Broflowski family are back in South Park and by the next episode the town's fully rebuilt and back to normal.

  • Stealth Pun: People with smug attitudes are depicted as enjoying the smells of their own farts. In other words, they think their shit doesn't stink.

  • Take That!: People who drive hybrid cars (specifically the Toyota Prius, which allegedly owes much of its popularity to the fact that it's the most recognizable one of its kind and, therefore, a greater status symbol) are depicted as smug jerks who act like the simple act of driving a low-emission car is the most noble act of environmentalism.

  • San Francisco is portrayed as hipster paradise and with almost every adult being so self-important that they enjoy the smell of their own farts.

  • George Clooney's 2005 Oscar acceptance speech ends up producing a smug cloud strong enough to start a huge smug storm when colliding with the ones from South Park and San Francisco. Kenan: Did you hear it? He talked about how people in Hollywood are ahead of the curve on social matters. He even took credit for the Civil Rights Movement.

  • Vehicle-Based Characterization: Drivers of hybrid cars such as Priuses are overly smug.

  • Victory Is Boring: Initially Cartman is ecstatic that Kyle's moved away and denies Stan's claim that he'll find life boring without Kyle to rip on, because he's got Butters. He quickly grows bored when Butters doesn't fight back and apologizes when Cartman calls him on it.

One of the funniest instances of the "South Park" creators teasing their beloved friend is in Season 10 Episode 2, "Smug Alert!" The episode follows the town's latest trend of purchasing hybrid Prius cars to limit carbon emissions. Unfortunately, rather than reduce pollution, the citizens of South Park create even more with their smug attitudes resulting in an enormous smog cloud. The culprit behind starting the toxic smoke is none other than George Clooney and his 2006 Oscar acceptance speech, which some found a little too cringe-worthy (via Reddit). 041b061a72


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