"Lice Capades" is the third episode in the eleventh season of the American animated television series South Park. The 156th episode of the series overall, it first aired on Comedy Central in the United States on March 21, 2007. In the episode, all the students at South Park Elementary are checked for head lice and, to his horror, Clyde discovers that he has lice. He tries to hide it from his classmates, knowing they will make fun of (if not torture) him. The episode was written and directed by series co-creator Trey Parker.
|South Park episode|
|Episode no.||Season 11|
|Directed by||Trey Parker|
|Written by||Trey Parker|
|Original air date||March 21, 2007|
Mrs. Garrison announces to the class that the school has a head lice problem, and every student must now be checked. During the check, Clyde is informed that he has head lice, much to his horror. The nurse gives him a note and he goes to the doctor, who prescribes Clyde a special shampoo to deal with the problem, but Clyde remains shocked and embarrassed by the situation, knowing the other kids are going to bully and pick on him. Meanwhile, from on top of Clyde's head, the lice are living peacefully in a village until one of them, Travis, witnesses the nurse parting Clyde's hair and sees her as a gigantic eye in the sky staring down at him. Travis tells the other lice the world has become aware of them and is angry, that they need to move away, but he is ridiculed by all. That night, Clyde washes his hair with the shampoo, killing many of the lice. Travis' wife Kelly is killed, but Travis, their baby Hope and a handful of other lice, including the villainous Vice President, Greg, survive.
The next day in class, the kids ask Mrs. Garrison if somebody did have lice. Mrs. Garrison tells the children that someone had lice but refuses to reveal who because of a policy in school, lest the child is bullied/ridiculed. The kids begin to suspect each other and plot to discover who had the lice in order to both evade and humiliate them. Cartman eventually devises a test to tell who had head lice (a parody of the blood test in the 1982 horror film The Thing, something even Kyle points out and calls Cartman out on), and rigs it to frame Kenny, whom he assumes has lice because of the fact he is poor and therefore has bad hygiene - according to Cartman only poor people get lice. Kenny flees the room, and Clyde is somewhat sympathetic yet relieved.
Back on Clyde's head, the few survivors of the disaster gather and Travis tells them that they must flee the world for another better one that welcomes them, and to do so they must go to the "Forbidden Zone" beyond the forest. While other lice stay behind to find other survivors, Travis, Greg and another survivor go to the "Forbidden Zone". There, Greg fatally shoots the other survivor. He then aims at Travis and tells him he will rebuild the village and finally become President and that there's no room for deep thinkers like him. While taunting Travis (at the same time shooting both his kneecaps), Greg mocks Travis' theories of a living world that's self-aware and conscious. To drive home his point, he shoots the "ground" several times, stating that if the world was indeed alive it would feel the gunshots and react. In that moment Clyde reaches up to the back of his neck, picking up the surprised and screaming Greg and tossing him away to his death. The wounded Travis can do little more but laughs up to the sky, as he clutches tightly his precious little nit/Hope.
The boys manage to track Kenny down to the park, where they intend to punish him, each carrying a bar of soap in a sock as their weapon. They tell Clyde to come, but before he does, filled with guilt he calls Mrs. Garrison to warn her of Kenny's danger. Kenny is caught in the park, stripped to his underwear and given what Cartman calls a "sock bath" (i.e. washed with the soap then dried with the socks). Then, Kyle forces everyone to stop, that he cannot go through with it, can't let Kenny take the fall for him, and admits that he's the one who had lice; much to Clyde's surprise. Stan, then Cartman also come forward admitting to the same thing; just then, Mrs. Garrison shows up and tells the boys that everyone (boys and girls alike) in the class had head lice, as it spreads extremely quickly, and then leaves while calling the kids "dumbasses." In response to this, the boys nevertheless proceed with the sock bath for Kenny's lies and denial of having lice.
On Clyde's head, Travis, near apparent death, sees an apparition of Kelly in the sky flying towards him like an 'angel' (a soprano in the music score sings "Pie Jesu" from Fauré's "Requiem".) The apparition turns out instead to be a housefly, and Travis, still tightly holding his child, grabs on to one of its legs before it flies off. The fly finally lands on another world/body and Travis is glad to be eagerly welcomed by its populace, larger, red/brown-colored lice at a much grander, well established city; and is told they have lived in peace for many a generation, having "never been disturbed". The shot zooms out from the 'trees' and out from between someone's legs, revealing that they are living on a celebrity, just then stepping out of a limo' at a red-carpet event. Camera flashes go off, just as someone announces : "Ladies and gentlemen, it's Angelina Jolie" (who then waves and greets everyone, 'Hello', whilst proceeding to a quick scratch of her pubic area).
IGN rated this episode 7.5 out of 10: "South Park often parodies the overblown drama found in Hollywood blockbuster movies, and this is [sic] episode is a disaster parody of sorts...It seems like the episode had larger ambitions, but becomes bogged down in the parody bit with the lice." For the week of March 19 to March 25, 2007, this episode of South Park was the 13th-most-watched cable program, with 3.1 million viewers.
- Fickett, Travis (March 22, 2007). "South Park: "Lice Capades" Review". IGN. Retrieved August 23, 2012.
- "Cable Ratings Round-Up (Week of March 19–25): 'Earth' Big for Discovery". The Futon Critic. March 29, 2007. Retrieved August 24, 2012.