07 February, 2007

Life: Hold your breathe ...

... and maybe your nose.

Yes, I am about to post a link here that some of you may seriously not appreciate. The message is so accurate, though, that I am going to do so.

Here is the Southpark episode, "Tsst"

There's just too much to say about how spot-on accurate this episode is. And I am too very out of time to go much into it. But if you want to see:
+ The problem with how we raise children
+ The solution to it
+ And why we fail to implement the solution

... this is a fantastic 20 minutes.


If you would rather not spend 20 minutes watching some pretty vile comedy, here's a summary.


Erik Cartman is the ultimate spoiled brat. His single mother simply cannot control him, and in fact, relies on him for much of her self-image. Finally, though, it's too much, and she hires Nanny 911. Cartman has 2 nannies for breakfast. In a fit of desparation, she brings in the Dog Whisperer.

Deep spoiler:

This guy's got it right. Seriously. Everything he says is spot-on. He encourages mom to quit being a wimp, and exert true, meaningful dominance. I have only heard one other man get it so right, and he was a dog trainer too. The point is not to treat children like pets, but to expect reasonable respect without being played like a kazoo. Mom is able to do so with a little coaching, and her son begins to experience real, valuable, and edifying change.

Final spoiler:

It turns out she was able to take control of her son, because she thought she was getting close to the Dog Whisperer. As soon as he leaves for his next gig, she turns to her son for comfort, and undoes all the good that had been accomplished (thereby saving the show from ending.)


Moral: To the degree we are unable to bear the mantle of parent, our children will pay.


Milly said...

I suppose I’ve used some of my dog training skills on the kids. Although I once got a handler correction during a show.

It’s a difficult thing raising children.
Each one is different
I had a dog that when it was board of the training would start to tug at my pant leg. The more I forced her into place the more she bit at me. I got rid of her and found one that wanted to please me. We then added her son to our home. (I have a point. . . I think) When I told him to do something he would look at my husband as if to ask really I have to do what she said. My dog did the same to him. We established an order to the house and they tested it constantly.

Point one You can’t trade in your kid if they bite your ankles

Two you have to establish order and stick to it because they will test you

Three You can’t let them manipulate you. I have a scar on my arm to prove it. (From Nikita the dog not the kid)

Four You do the best you can. You set boundaries and you love them, you want to protect them. You press them to succeed because you want them to be successful. At some point they need to realize that you love them that you made mistakes but bottom line you wanted nothing but the best for them.

Patchouli said...

(Whispering)You watch South Park--too?

We catch an episode once in a while and shoo the kids out of the room--it's one of those "I canNOT beLIEVE I am WATCHing this! and LAUGHING!"

Anyway, there's an old Sandra Dee movie about the same subject--she reads a dog training manual to use on her husband--and realizes after all that SHE'S the one who changed, not him.

Milly, great points and both of you made me laugh way before coffee-an accomplishment indeed!

codepoke said...

Thanks, both, for taking the post the way it was meant. :-)

I had some serious buyer's remorse after posting this one.

Southpark is indescribably hilarious, but I only watch it with my son. He's 17 and I'm a single parent. His mother let them start watching it at least 5 years ago, long before I would have. It's all very disappointing, but he will assure you that it would have been very bad for him developmentally not to be allowed to watch it.

I dislike the meanness of the show more than the gratuitous immorality.

None of that changes the fact that it is devastatingly insightful, and unbelievably funny.

codepoke said...


Great, great points! I love it.

codepoke said...


Every time I watch it, I laugh. And their moral lessons are hard to beat sometimes.

Your Sandra Dee movie sounds really great. I might look it up. That's exactly the lesson of this show, except for the 'take-back' at the end.

codepoke said...

"They killed Kenny!" is my favorite line, BTW.

Milly said...

The longest I have ever watched is this time and I wasn't able to get far. I can't take it something about it just sends my nerves on edge. They were still in the first few moments so I was glad to see the spoilers. I don’t think I could watch an entire episode. If my son saw me watching he’d make me turn the tv off and ground me. He doesn't allow that stuff to be on. I get to hear "Oh my. Mom should you be watching that kind of stuff?"

karen said...

I'm not a Southpark fan, King of the Hill, Simpson's, etc., cp..for the same reasons you mention...it's interesting that they use crudeness to make a point...but, that said...the point is good.
We all mess up so very much! Can't wait to hear from my kids when they're 30 how bad I did! ;-)

codepoke said...

No sweat, Milly. :-)

I don't mean to make a sister stumble through the muck that is Southpark. And I certainly don't want you to be rebuked. :-D

codepoke said...


You get to wait until 30 to hear?

Milly said...

That’s right you’re a bad influence on me. Son! Codepoke made me watch Will & Grace and the show *** in the City and HBO!

He also thinks I need to get that tattoo!

Now you’re in for it!

DugALug said...


Well, ummm, that is the first South Park I've ever watched all the way through (no kidding).

And yes, not only was it funny in a crude way, it was pretty true. There is so much truth with parents who want to be their kid friends. The tell was when she said "I've lost a friend and gained a son!".

Working in children's ministry, you see a lot of different parenting styles. I am of the opinion that about 80 percent of a child's behavior is a result of their upbrining. The other 20 percent is genetic temperment. We, as parents, have created the bed that we must now sleep in.

I can't believe I'm writing that I agree with South Park...lol.... Next thing you'll see me burning a flag!... ROFL. Well let's not go all willy-nilly!

God Bless

Lynne said...

I must admit I've never watched it -- I'm sure my subversive sense of humour would carry me through but my husband would never cope. And i don't watch much TV anyway.

my views on parenting? Well, I've only raised 2, but they're 27 &22 and we've always been on speaking terms and seem to have survived my muddling rather well:
# don't sweat the stuff they're going to grow out of anyway.
# treating everyone with thoughtfulness and respect is non-negotiable
# teach them that all our actions have consequences, and they have to wear them
# let them know that you always expect their best because they're too precious for 2nd best
# demonstrate grace
# parenting is always about shaping character, not about what's easiest to live with right now.
# love them like crazy.