If you've seen the season 20 finale of South Park, "The End of Serialization As We Know It", you'll know that it wraps up the continuous storyline trend the show has been following since Season 18.
Season 20's storyline satirizes internet trolling and follows Gerald, Kyle's dad, posing as a troll known as skankhunt42. After a session of trolling Danish Olympic gold medalist Freja Ollegard goes too far, he becomes paranoid and meets up with another troll, Dildo Shwaggins. From there, all hell breaks loose, and eventually, Ike is believed by Sheila, Kyle's mom, to be skankhunt42. Kyle realizes the true identity of skankhunt and Sheila sets out to punish them both for what they've done. But later on, she discovers it isn't Ike, and Gerald and the rest of the troll community successfully shut down TrollTrace and the internet, and all is well once more.
But did you know there was a different version of the episode?
It is a common fact that each episode of the show takes 6 days to produce. There exist "dark weeks", where the cast and crew take a week off from producing new episodes. Seasons 17, 18 and 19 had dark weeks, and season 20 was no stranger.
Here's where the story gets interesting: "The End of Serialization As We Know It" started production earlier than you may think.
During the third dark week between "Members Only" and "Not Funny", the script for the episode was already written and animation and voice work had begun. Since most of the staff was suffering from sleep deprivation, what came out was much more demented and disturbing than the final product.
Upon realizing what they ended up with, the episode was rewritten and reworked after production on "Not Funny", and the animation and dialogue were altered heavily.
What follows is a detailed breakdown of the original version.
The episode starts off as it does in the final version: the opening scene at the Pentagon, the kids of South Park kelping Kyle troll people on the internet, and Sheila trying to get out of the pantry, threatening to lock the boys in their rooms indefinitely.
The episode continues normally from here. Heidi finds a way to get to Mars, and Cartman tries to prevent that from happening, and Dildo helps Gerald shut down TrollTrace.
This is where the differences begin: Sheila manages to escape the pantry with her strength, bewildered and steaming with rage. Only in this version, she looks even angrier. Her face has turned red, her eyebrows are positioned slightly differently, making her look a little more unhinged and crazed, her nightgown is even more of a mess, and her eyes are bloodshot and look like they're ready to pop out at any minute.
What's more is that when she yells in frustration, there is an actual banshee screech in place of Mona Marshall's voice.
We then cut to the scene where Gerald shuts off the breakers, which plays out normally.
Afterwards, we cut to Ike giving Kyle troll lines on his computer as Sheila angrily approaches from behind. After Ike says "lick my asshole, you Mexican bitch", Sheila shrieks. "IIIKE!!!"
Ike notices and screams in fear. Another difference arises at this point. Sheila's voice has returned, but has taken on a more enraged, infuriated tone than in the final version.
"YOU... DARE... LOCK ME IN THE PANTRY, SO YOU CAN PLAY ON YOUR COMPUTAAAH?!?!"
Sheila charges after Ike and grabs his computer, but instead of throwing it on the floor, she throws it directly at Ike, to whom his computer throws him against the wall with force. He looks up at his dishevelled mother.
"YOU'RE GONNA PAY FOR WHAT YOU'VE DONE!!"
Ike gets up and starts limping out into the hallway, attempting to run away from Sheila, who screams in rage. Unfortunately, Sheila catches up to him, picks him up and throws him forcefully into Gerald's study. Kyle takes notice at a bloodied and bruised Ike, who feebly calls out for him.
Kyle exclaims "Shit!", throwing down his headset.
"Mommy g-got... out!"
"YOU... YOU HELPED MAKE YOUR BROTHER THIS WAAAY!!"
Sheila begins slowly approaching the two boys.
"Mom, there's been a mistake. Ike isn't the school troll. We're trying to help the pe--"
"SHUT THE FUCK UP!!! NOT ANOTHER WORD FROM EITHER OF YOU!! YOU'RE BOTH GROUNDED FROM THE COMPUTER... FOREVAAAH!!!"
"Mom, please, you gotta listen to me. Ike is innocent."
Without hesitation, Sheila strikes Kyle across the face as he yells in pain and falls to the floor.
"DO YOU THINK I'M STUPID?!?!"
"No... mom... you're not listening to me. You just don't know everything. I'm trying to protect my fam--"
Kyle is cut off by Sheila punching him in the abdomen.
"AAGGH!! MOM, WHAT THE FUCK?!?"
"YOU SHUT YOUR FOUL TROLL MOUTH, YOU DISGUSTING PIECE OF SHIT!!!"
Sheila then throws Kyle against Ike, causing a trickle of blood to spurt out from Kyle's mouth. What follows next is the scene where Cartman is trying to warn Elon Musk about his visions of Mars, to which Elon doesn't believe him.
It then cuts back to the Broflovski residence, where Kyle and Ike are trying to get away from Sheila, having had their faces smashed in by Gerald's computer. Their injuries are very noticeable, with bloody cuts and bruises all over their faces.
"Come on, Ike! Let's the fuck out here!" said Kyle.
"DON'T YOU RUN AWAY FROM ME, YOU LITTLE BASTARDS!!!"
Shelia charges after them, grabs them and slams them into each other before dropping them. Kyle is clearly in pain as he screams at his mom to listen to him.
"JESUS CHRIST, MOM!!! LISTEN TO ME!!!"
"AND WHAT MAKES YOU THINK I'LL LISTEN TO YOU?!?"
Sheila approaches the two and dishes out a few hard punches, spewing blood on the walls in the process.
"AAUGH!! Please, mom! I'm sorry!"
"SORRY?!?! YOU EXPECT ME TO BELIEVE THAT YOU'RE SORRY AFTER WHAT YOU'VE BEEN DOING?!?! YOU DESERVE EVERY BIT OF WHAT YOU GET, YOU UNGRATEFUL CHILDREN!!!"
Sheila then kicks Kyle in the face, causing blood to leak from his nasal passages. The scene in the helicopter with Lennart Bedrager which follows plays as normal.
Afterwards, we see the boys trying to lose Sheila, only to tumble down the staircase pretty realistically. Sheila runs down to them and drags them into the kitchen, growling and roaring like a wild animal.
"Mom... p-please... you...you don't know what you're d-doing... let it go, for fuck's sake..."
"AND WHY SHOULD I?!?! SO YOU CAN CONTINUE TO TORMENT INNOCENT PEOPLE ONLINE?!?"
"No... listen to me... you dumb bitch!!"
Sheila recoils in shock at what Kyle has just said. Enraged as never before, Sheila screeches like a banshee and slams down on Kyle and Ike, proceeding to beat them savagely. We then cut to an outside view of the house, where sounds of Ike and Kyle being beaten and plates being smashed are heard off-screen inside the kitchen, followed by the sight of blood splashing on the window during Sheila's malicious dialogue.
"I HAVE HAD IT WITH YOU LITTLE MONSTERS, YOU HEAR ME?!?! YOU ARE DONE!!! YOU ARE BOTH DONE!!! AAAAGGHH!!!!'
We then cut to an alternate scene where Stan asks Token, "where the hell is Kyle?!" Token has no idea, and Stan has no choice but to call Butters at SpaceX, the scene of which plays out similarly to the final version, though differently.
The scene where Gerald approaches the last breaker plays out normally, and bits of the confrontation, Stan calling the Pentagon and the SpaceX scenes are cut in-between the following...
Back at the house, Sheila bites down on Kyle's arm and begins mauling him like a zombie.
"SAY YOUR PRAYERS KYLE! BECAUSE THIS TIME, NOTHING IN THIS WORLD IS GOING TO SAVE YOU!!!! I SHOULD HAVE END YOUR SUFFERING YEARS AGO!!!! I’LL MAKE YOU REGRET EVERYTHING YOU DEFY ME!!!! I WISH YOU WERE NEVER BORN!!!! NOW EVERYONE KNOWS WHY!!!!"
She then tears it off and slits his throat with the area of broken bone. Ike begins crying in shear terror, which angers Sheila even further.
"DON'T TELL ME YOU FEEL SYMPATHY FOR YOUR BROTHER, YOU FILTHY CANADIAN SCUM!!!"
Sheila then ran towards Ike while corners him who is crying, nearly knocks him down. Ike throws the cup at Sheila’s face hoping that she will prepare to strike a final deadly blow
"ANY LAST WORDS!"
"Mommy! Don’t hurt me!"
"SAY YOUR PRAYERS IKE! NOTHING IS HERE TO SAVE YOU NOW!!! I’LL MAKE YOU REGRET THE DAY YOU WERE BORN!! I SHOULD'VE ABANDONED YOU MANY YEARS AGO!!!!, YOU'LL BEG FOR MERCY AND YOUR BROTHER FOR DEATH TO SAVE YOU!!!! I SHALL FINISH YOU OFF!!!!!! NEVER DEFY ME AGAAAIN!!!! SAY GOODBYE FOREVER YOU WORTHLESS CHILD!!!. I WILL KILL YOU!!!!!!!"
Sheila then grabs Ike by the head and begins pulling, as Ike lets out a gut-twisting shriek of anguish, before she tears off his head, which flies out of her hands as blood erupts from Ike's neck, and his headless body collapses on the floor.
Shelia falls down and has a moment to calm down. Her face returns to its normal colour and her nightgown now has bloodstains all over it. After a brief period of silence, she looks at the dead bodies of her children and the sight takes her by surprise.
She stares in disbelief at their bodies, and suddenly remembers when she got Gerald an iPad.
"Wait... Gerald's iPad!"
Sheila gets up and starts slowly walking up to the bathroom. When she reaches the door, she finds the iPad on the floor, picks it up and turns it on. She then goes to the TrollTrace website and searches up "Ike Broflovski".
From there, she is shocked to find that Ike's history shows no trolling.
"There's nothing here. Kyle was telling the truth."
Sheila then drops the iPad as the truly horrifying realization comes upon her...
"OH MY GOD!!! WHAT HAVE I DONE?!?!
After the scene where the SpaceX building explodes, the town of South Park calms down as the internet is completely reset. Kyle's narration is omitted here for obvious reasons. Gerald arrives at the house and enters with a resounding "Honey! I'm home!"
He is met with silence. He becomes confused and looks upstairs for Sheila. He eventually finds her in the bathroom, quietly weeping with his iPad by her side.
Sheila looks up and is surprised to see Gerald. "Gerald!"
"Honey, what's wrong?"
Sheila continues weeping. Gerald goes back downstairs and notices blood in the kitchen. He runs over to the kitchen and takes notice at the broken pantry door...
...before turning his attention to the broken and battered bodies of Kyle and Ike, with blood staining their clothes and the floor, and Ike's torn-off head.
Gerald recoils in utter shock as Sheila comes downstairs behind him. He kneels down at the bodies and stares in horror.
"Honey... Honey, what have you done?!"
He picks up Kyle's bloodstained body and begins panicking.
"Sheila, what the hell have you done?!?"
Gerald begins to cry softly.
"Come on, Kyle! Come on, answer me! Wake up! WAKE THE FUCK UP!! NOOOOO!!! PLEASE!!"
He drops the body as he realizes Kyle and Ike are dead, and there's nothing he can do, and begins sobbing over their bodies as Sheila watches on in sorrow and regret.
The final scene of the episode is a montage of a depressed Sheila being transferred to a mental institution, followed by Stan, Cartman and Kenny being informed of Kyle's death. Stan and Kenny begin mourning...
...while Cartman heartlessly smirks, as a sort of retribution for him and his friends breaking all of his stuff in "Skank Hunt".
The next shot of the scene where Kyle and Ike‘s funeral was held, Ike’s head was stick back on despite it was torn off. Gerald payed respects to the sons while everyone attend at the memorial and the coffin lifts down and a few days later, the scene of the episode continues when Gerald couldn’t cope for the loss he divorces Sheila and moved away far away
The final shot is Sheila in the asylum, sitting alone in her cell, depressed and crestfallen. The credits roll over a shot of a stormy South Park, and then the episode ends.
After viewing the original version of the episode, Trey Parker and Matt Stone realized what they had done, and fearing it would risk the cancellation of the show, they chose to rewrite the episode shortly after production of "Not Funny", and hoped the original version would never see the light of day again.
Of course, they kept their tracks well-hidden, and the show is set to continue through season 23 in 2019.
One should wonder, though...
What kind of messed-up shit were the staff thinking when they made the original version?
How would season 21 have played out had they gone through with airing this version of the episode?
Were Trey and Matt actually willing to kill Kyle off? Or was it the lack of sleep that drove them to create such a exceedingly fucked up piece of media?
No-one knows for sure...