When 'South Park' Skewered Pokemon the First Time It Was a Phenomenon
Yes, Pokemon is a thing again.
The Japanese anime craze that gripped America's youth in the late 1990s in the form of toys, a TV show, movies and games has come back for a second cycle, this time as a mobile app, Pokemon Go, which has swept the nation, prompting a lot of people to hunt invisible cartoon characters. Those not participating are left wondering what the heck is going on around them.
As it has done with numerous fads that have swept the country through the past two decades, South Park took the Pokemon craze to the woodshed in Novermber 1999 with its own take, titled "Chinpokomon." (The show's co-creator and episode writer Trey Parker said in a previous interview that "chinpoko" is Japanese for "small penis.")
Parker and Matt Stone reimagined the craze at that time not as a tool to sell toys, but as a way for Japan to overtake the U.S. government by infiltrating the system through children's obsession with fads. The episode — the 11th of their third season — nabbed the guys their second Emmy nomination.
Basically, the episode boils down to Stan, Kyle, Kenny and Cartman trying to acquire enough toys and games to reach the ultimate level of Chinpoko Master, all the while the adults of the quiet mountain town notice the "Chinpokomon" seem to be issuing strange, military-esque orders to the boys. The Japanese "Chinpokomon" company representatives reassure the parents that they have nothing to worry about because they have "big American penises."
The 20th season of South Park will premiere Sept. 14.
In the lead-up to the anniversary, a "South Park 20 Experience" will be featured at San Diego Comic-Con next week. The exhibit will allow fans to explore and insert themselves into 20 iconic scenes from the show, a Hulu viewing lounge, “The Coon & Friends Experience” video game from Ubisoft. Twenty unique artists will also honor the 20th season with new work that has been curated by world-renowned pop culture artist Ron English. There is also a retrospective gallery, according to Comedy Central.
Watch Parker and Stone discuss "Chinpokomon" below: