Thanks to Pluto TV's Comedy Central Animation channel, I've been binging episodes of Beavis & Butt-Head and South Park, much to the benefit of my brain-cells, as you can imagine. When watching some classic, early episodes of the latter this weekend, I was reminded of the time the controversial animated show once used the capital of Iowa as the punchline of an episode.

The episode is "Prehistoric Ice Man," the finale of season two that aired all the way back in 1999. The episode revolves around friends Kyle and Stan stumbling upon a man they found frozen in ice from 1996.

The government and a local mad scientist named Dr. Mephesto attempt to steal the man to use him as an exhibit attraction while Kyle and Stan bicker over what to name the man and who gets the honor of trying to break him out.

Beyond being notable for one of the few episodes where best-friends Kyle and Stan get into a bitter feud with one another, "Prehistoric Ice Man" also makes humor out of the state of Iowa.

It comes during the second half of the episode. After breaking the ice man (who Kyle names "Steve" and Stan names "Gorak," even though his name is really "Larry") out of a government-controlled exhibit, the two later find the man trying to refreeze himself in a swimming pool. That's when Kyle has a brilliant idea...Larry can move to Des Moines!

Here's a portion of the episode script, per South Park's Fandom site:

Kyle: Steve, you don't have to freeze yourself. Look!
Larry: What is that? [drops the hose]
Kyle: It's this place called Des Moines. It's like, lost in time, see? [opens the guide to show Des Moines's assets] Everybody looks like you do. [flips the page] Fashion is two years behind, Technology is two years behind, fads, are two years behind, just like you.
Larry: [closes it with affection] Home.
Kyle: Come on, Steve, you're going to Des Moines!

You can also see the clip from the episode itself, albeit in imperfect quality.


There's two funny things to note about this random, unexpected reference to Des Moines, IA. For one, it's such an innocent dig at the state capital that you can't help but chuckle. Furthermore, there is actually a neighborhood in Des Moines known as "South Park." The Polk County neighborhood reportedly has a population of just over 5,000.

You can watch the full episode of "Prehistoric Ice Man," and every other South Park episode, on Max, with a subscription. Read more about the episode's plot on Wikipedia.

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