The television series that I will be writing about is South Park, the series is about four white middle class elementary school boys named Stan Marsh, Kyle Broflovski, Eric Cartman, and Kenny McCormick and their daily adventures in South Park Colorado. However, the one character that is touched upon quite a bit in the episode I will be writing about is not a main character but one that appears quite a bit in this series and his name is Al or also known as “Big Gay Al”. South Park is trying to make out Al as a stereotypical homosexual: upbeat, happy, optimistic, and flamboyant.
In the series Al is very compassionate about the things he loves like saving homosexual animals which I will touch briefly on with the episode that I have chosen to write about and being in the scouts since the age of nine. There is not much more that is really known about Al as he has only appeared in a handful of episodes of South Park. The episode that I will be focusing on specifically is titled “Big Gay Al’s Big Gay Boat Ride”. The episode starts out with all four boys standing near the bus stop waiting to get picked up when all of a sudden Stan’s new dog Sparky appears.
Stan mentions that Sparky is the “toughest dog in South Park, however Cartman mentions that Sylvester is actually the toughest dog in town. Then he calls over Sylvester so the two dogs can fight and they can really see who is the toughest, the dogs then start to circle each other and prepare to fight however instead of fighting Sparky jumps on top of Sylvester and starts humping him. After that happens Cartman claims that Sparky is a “gay homosexual”. Later on in the day Sparky did this again to another dog after football practice and this really confuses Stan so the net day after class he asks Mr. Garrison what a homosexual is and he replies with, “Gay people are evil.
Evil right down to their cold, black hearts, which pump not blood, like yours and mine, but rather a thick, black venomous oil”. Stan did not like hearing that so he sets on a mission to make his dog manly, hoping to turn his dog straight. The first thing that Stan does is he gets a female dog for Sparky and the first thing he does is mounts the dog however he does nothing sexual instead he takes off the dogs bedazzled collar and puts it on himself only adding on to the fact that he is homosexual.
Later on in the house frustrated Stan starts ranting about how he wants a butch dog, Sparky overhears him and runs away and he ends up at Big Gat Al’s Gay Animal Sanctuary. Stan notices that Sparky was missing so worried, he goes off looking for him and finds him at the Big Gay Animal Sanctuary. While at the Sanctuary Stan finds out that homosexuality has been around for a long time and he accepts his dog’s homosexuality. He learns that it is okay to be gay. Analysis: There are a few scenes that I will be analyzing from this episode.
The first scene that I want to analyze is when Stan asks Mr. Garrison what is a homosexual. And the first thing that he says is “Gay people are evil’ and follows with “Evil right down to their cold, black hearts, which pump not blood, like yours and mine, but rather a thick, black venomous oil” (). Sexuality is explicitly being represented in this scene, they are saying that homosexuality is something bad. Calling homosexuals evil is stigmatizing them (). This is seen also in the beginning of the episode when Stan and the boys finds out about his dog’s homosexuality.
When Cartman points it out he starts chanting derogatory remarks like “Stan’s dog’s a homo! ” (). The explicit meaning of homosexuality is that it is a horrible thing. Stan also says things like “Don’t be gay Sparky! ” hoping that his dog will listen because he does not like the idea of having a homosexual dog. However, later on in the episode Stan learns to accept his dog’s homosexuality after talking to Al and he learns that it is okay for his dog to be gay because he is happy.
This episode shows how the dominant group attacks and looks down on the non dominant group which is a form of marginalization. There are many things that are said and many ways people react to homosexuals and homosexual ideas that make them seem like they are the lowest class of people. They are shown to be the non dominant group and what is seen is that they are being attacked by the dominant group with all the negative comments and reactions. There is a part in this episode where a priest offers to “pray the gay away”.
This shows how they try anything and everything to turn the dog straight, they do not like the idea of homosexuality. In society at the time the show was aired which was in 1997 homosexuality was still looked down upon greatly by many and they were looked at lower then others and this episode reinforced those ideas. To touch up on Al he is seen outside of town up in the mountains of South Park like if he was pushed out of town. The one thing that Al says that really pops out is when Sparky shows up to his home and says “Come on in little fellow, nobody will ever oppress you here” ().
This can imply that Al must have been oppressed when he was living in town. This shows how homosexuals in the real world are treated. Al also gives Stan a boat ride and he mentions how there are oppressors that are making homosexuality look like a negative thing. The dominant group does look down on homosexuality and this episode shows this with all their examples. The ideas in this episode are explicitly homophobic. From the beginning of the episode when Cartman makes his homophobic remarks about Stan’s dog being gay and saying it in a negative manner.
Also Mr. Garrison who later on in the series revealed as a homosexual himself calling them evil and bad just to hide his own homosexuality from others. Homophobia is seen throughout the whole episode, the title of the episode is “Big Gay Al’s Big Gay Boat Ride”, he can’t be known by just Al but “Big Gay Al”. There is a part of the episode when Stan tries to convince everybody that homosexuality is okay, however no one liked hearing that and acted like he didn’t say that.