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294 - breayle: June 26, 2001

A couple of people on the BBS, as well as in e-mails, have been bringing up the fact that certain episodes of South Park air out of order. For example Episode #501, "Scott Tenorman must Die," will be the fourth episode to air this season after Episodes #502 to #504. There are several other examples of episode shuffling starting all the way back to the first season when #103 "Volcano" aired before #102 "Weight Gain 4000," and #108 "Damien" aired after #110. Now you may be asking yourself: "Why don't they just renumber the episodes? Why don't they just make it easier on themselves AND their dynamic database system." Well, there's a very simple answer to those questions, but I will try to answer it in the most complicated way possible. Here goes:

At the beginning of a season, or at the beginning of a run of episodes, Matt and Trey meet with the other South Park writers to brainstorm ideas and pitch story lines. For example, at the start of the fourth season they came back from a retreat with ideas and outlines for the first four episodes, the titles of which would end with the tag "2000" (e.g. "Cartman's Silly Hate Crime 2000"). As script was delivered to the Storyboard and Production departments, they were given an episode number, #401. From that point on, everything associated with the episode (Corels, storyboards, temp lead sheets, audio, purchase orders, billing, etc...) has to have the same number, changing it midstream would just confuse everyone. So even though #402 "The Tooth Fairy's Tats 2000" launched the fourth season, "Hate Crime 2000" kept the #401 tag.

Stay tuned for part two of this increasingly convoluted answer, coming soon!