|South Park episode|
Imaginary characters are taken hostage by terrorists.
|Episode no.|| Season 11|
|Written by||Trey Parker|
|Directed by||Trey Parker|
|Original airdate||October 17, 2007|
|Season 11 episodes|
| South Park - Season 11|
March 7, 2007 – November 14, 2007
|← Season 10||Season 12 →|
|List of South Park episodes|
"Imaginationland", or "Kyle Sucks Cartman's Balls: The Trilogy" (as it appears in the episode), is episode 1110 (#163) of Comedy Central's animated TV series South Park. Imaginationland premiered on October 17, 2007.  It is the first episode in a three-part story arc which won the 2008 Emmy for Outstanding Animated Program for One Hour or More.
The episode begins in a forest, with Cartman directing the other boys in searching for a leprechaun. Cartman claims to have seen it in the woods for three days in a row, and a skeptical Kyle is there, having made a bet that if Cartman can prove leprechauns exist, Kyle will suck Cartman's balls, but if not, Cartman will owe Kyle $10. At that very moment, the boys do indeed spot a leprechaun. Now shocked by this, the boys chase it down, and catch it in a trap. The leprechaun says he was sent to warn of a terrorist attack, and that being chased by the boys has made him late, before vanishing. A triumphant Cartman declares that Kyle must now suck his balls, but Kyle initially refuses, asking why a leprechaun would be warning of a terrorist attack and that there has to be a logical explanation.
The next day, as Kyle is conversing with Stan, Kenny, Jimmy and Butters, a strange man who appears to be a parody of The Dreamfinder from the original "Journey Into Imagination" ride at Epcot, suddenly appears, asking them if they have seen the leprechaun. When Kyle argues that leprechauns are just imaginary, the man tells him that just because something is imaginary doesn't mean it isn't real. He then invites the boys for a ride in his magical "Imagination Flying Machine" (the blimp from Little Nemo) while he serenades them with "The Imagination Song" (consisting simply of the word 'imagination' sung repetitively in various tonal inflection). They arrive in a bizarre place called Imaginationland, where all the beings created by human imagination reside (various pop culture icons such as Blue Meanies, Mario, Mighty Mouse, a Mermaid, Grumpy Bear, Gizmo, The Prince of Space, Jack Skellington, and the creatures from Where The Wild Things Are and My Neighbor Totoro can be seen), and the man turns out to be the Mayor of this land. The imaginary creatures are all fascinated by the presence of the "creators", and ask them about the leprechaun. At that moment a band of Muslim terrorists suddenly appear and set off a series of bombs, which kill hundreds of the imaginary creatures and destroy most of the city as Stan stares into the mayhem (as Captain Miller did in the Omaha Beach Scene in Saving Private Ryan, complete with Ronald McDonald looking for, finding and grabbing his own severed arm amidst the chaos). The boys flee on the back of Draco (the dragon from Dragonheart), who flies them to safety. Butters, however, gets left behind, and he and the surviving imaginary characters are taken hostage by the terrorists.
The next morning, Kyle wakes up in his bed, and is at first sure the whole thing must have been a dream—until he calls Stan, and discovers that he had the exact same dream. They also discover that Butters is missing, much to his parents' shock. Meanwhile, Cartman, angry that Kyle has refused to fulfill his part of their agreement, sues Kyle in court, where the judge, seeing the written contract the two made and the evidence put up by Cartman, orders Kyle to suck Cartman's balls within 24 hours or he will be arrested for contempt.
Meanwhile, the United States Department of Defense has learned about the attack on Imaginationland. They receive a video from the terrorists, showing that they have the survivors of the attack, including Butters, hostage. Butters reads a note from the terrorists at gunpoint, and cries out to Stan and Kyle as the video ends. Unsure of how to counter the terrorists, they turn to Hollywood filmmakers, hoping that they can use their creativity to get ideas. After being disappointed by several directors, including M. Night Shyamalan (who only provides plot twists) and Michael Bay (who suggests special effects), they seek the advice of Mel Gibson. He suggests that they examine the video the terrorists sent, and determine if there is anyone in it that somehow doesn't fit. The officials at the Pentagon immediately perform a background check on the video and realize that Butters is not an imaginary character. The general orders his men to locate both Stan and Kyle.
In Imaginationland, the terrorists take one of the creatures, "Rockety Rocket", and begin to modify him, planning to use him to blow up "the Barrier", the wall that separates the good and evil halves of Imaginationland. The imaginary creatures urge Butters to stop the terrorists. Butters urges them not to destroy the Barrier, arguing it won't make them "feel any better" and that they should learn to live in peace with other people. The terrorists refuse to do so, launch the rocket at the Barrier anyway, and the Barrier begins to collapse, killing Rockety.
Cartman, meanwhile, dons a Sultan's robe and throws a huge party, during which the other kids are supposed to watch Kyle come over and suck his balls. Kyle has resigned himself to the task, and is about to walk into Cartman's house with Stan when members of the military arrive and take them away for questioning about Imaginationland. Cartman, furious at being foiled, quickly leaves and hitchhikes with a trucker (who is concerned for his safety) to Washington, D.C. to force Kyle to fulfill his end of the bet. He ends the episode tracing his finger lustfully across a photo of Kyle.
Production for the episode began in July, 2007, nearly three months before the final airing, which is very uncharacteristic of South Park, in which most episodes are produced in one week or less. This is because the original intention was to make the story into a feature-length film, however, for unknown reasons this did not come to pass thus, becoming a television trilogy. According to the source "It's a shame [that it did not end up as a movie] because we rendered some of the shots in 4K and it would look amazing on a big screen." The three episodes were later put together with additional unseen footage and rendered completely uncensored to create a second (Straight-To-DVD) South Park movie. The movie was released Tuesday, March 11, 2008. For the release of the movie, however, South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker denied this statement, joking that they "only thought about making it into a movie."
On May 30 and 31, 2008, Imaginationland was aired in high-definition on the DirecTV channel, The 101 Network. This was a complete censored version of the trilogy presented without commercial interruption, and in full resolution HD. It also included a new HD render of the Season 8 premiere episode, "Good Times with Weapons". It was later announced that Imaginationland: The Movie will be able to be streamed online for free in summer 2008.
The episode was both a critical and commercial success. It drew in over 3.4 million viewers and was the most watched program in all of television for Wednesday night among Men between ages 18-24 and 34-49 and ranked #1 in cable among Persons 18-49. 
On the critical side, IGN gave the episode a rating of 9.1/10 and praised it for being "smart, inventive and provides a number of moments that'll stick with you long after it's over."  411Mania also gave the show a positive review, calling it "a great episode", praising it as an improvement over what the site perceived to be two weak episodes, and awarding it 7/10. TV Squad also gave a positive review saying that "They're still on a roll with another great episode." 
- ↑ Episode guide. South Park Studios. Retrieved on 2007-10-14.
- ↑ Peter Bart. "Pentagon calls for rewrites on war script". Variety. http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117854200.html?categoryid=1&cs=1. Retrieved 2007-10-19.
- ↑ "South Park 1110 Imaginationland final roll off 10AM". http://m.flickr.com/photo.gne?id=1602443008. Retrieved 2007-10-22.
- ↑ "SP 1110 Imaginationland final roll off 10AM". http://youtube.com/watch?v=Pa2F4VB-f4M. Retrieved 2007-10-22.
- ↑ AV Club Interview with Trey Parker and Matt Stone at spscrpitorium.com.
- ↑ "The HD World Premiere of South Parks Imaginationland' to Air Exclusively on DIRECTV's The 101 Network From May 30-May 31". http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/080530/nyf040.html?.v=101. Retrieved 2008-06-04.
- ↑ News. South Park Studios. Retrieved on 2008-04-29.
- ↑ Comedy Central Press Release
- ↑ Travis Fickett. "South Park: "Imaginationland" Review". IGN. http://tv.ign.com/articles/828/828428p1.html. Retrieved 2007-10-19.
- ↑ Jerome Cusson. "Goin' Down to South Park 10.17.07: Imaginationland". 411mania.com. http://www.411mania.com/movies/dvd_reviews/61737/Goin%5C%5C-Down-to-South-Park-10.17.07:-Imaginationland.htm. Retrieved 2007-10-19.
- ↑ "South Park: Imaginationland". TV Squad. http://www.tvsquad.com/2007/10/18/south-park-imaginationland/. Retrieved 2007-10-21.
- ↑ "60th Primetime Emmy Awards". Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. http://cdn.emmys.tv/awards/2008pte/CTA08_wrap.php. Retrieved 2008-09-14.
- Summary at TV.com
- Episode highlights from Comedy Central
- List of Imaginationland characters hosted at South Park Scriptorium
|South Park episodes|| Followed by|
“Imaginationland Episode II”
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