City on the Edge of Forever (Flashbacks)
A freak accident leaves the South Park Elementary school bus teetering precariously on the edge of a cliff. To cope, the boys reminisce the good old days.
When Ms. Crabtree's school bus slides on some ice and winds up teetering on the edge of a cliff, she goes for help while telling the children that if they try to leave, a monster will eat them. To fight the boredom, they start having flashbacks to previous episodes.
Except that these flashbacks are all wrong. They mess with the reality of the episode they reference. Stan succeeds in kissing Wendy instead of vomiting on her; Mr. Garrison succeeds in shooting Kathie Lee Gifford, who turns out to be an alien; and Kenny kills Death instead of the other way around. There's even a flashback to an old Happy Days episode in which Fonzie jumps his motorcycle over a line of buses.
Each vignette somehow involves ice cream and ends with the child who recalls it saying, "Now that's what I call a sticky situation!" Finally one kid, dressed tellingly in a red Starfleet uniform, ventures off the bus. He's promptly eaten by an enormous black monster voiced by Henry Winkler.
Meanwhile Ms. Crabtree meets a trucker named Marcus, who's hauling a load of the date rape drug "rufies." She then stumbles into a theatrical agent who launches her on a career as a successful comedian. Then Cartman and Kyle get on an altercation on the bus, causing it to fall down the cliff. But disaster is averted when it lands in a pile of ice cream. Which makes no sense. Realizing this, Cartman suddenly wakes up in his own bed. His mother brings him a bowl of beetles to eat.
This causes Stan, who's actually having the dream, to wake up. The show closes with Ms. Crabtree and Marcus (who's also referred to at Mitch) watching a sunset. Even though their union is just the product of a child's dream, they don't care because they're happy.
What I Learned Today
"None of this is real. It's... It's all been a little eight-year-old's dream."
- “I don’t wanna die on this bus with you assholes! You guys suck!” (Eric Cartman)
- “Y’all be quiet or the cute little bunny dies!” (Veronica Crabtree)
- “Oh my God! Kenny... killed... Death.” (Stan Marsh)
- “KIDS! Do not get off this bus! If you do, a big, scary monster will EAT YOU!” (Veronica Crabtree)
- “Now that’s what I call a sticky situation!” (Stan, Kyle, Cartman, and Kenny)
- “Please, call me muffin.” (Veronica Crabtree)
- “My father is John Elway! My father is John Elway!!” (Eric Cartman)
- “Dude, that’s a pretty fucked up dream.” (Kyle Broflovski)
Technically, nobody died because it was a dream. But there were some dreamt casualties -- the 3rd grade kid in the Starfleet shirt, and Kenny twice (once by the monster and once by the Fonz's motorcycle).
The parents all join together in a "Band Aid"-type collaboration to sing "Please Come Home", with hopes that their "runaway children" would hear it and return home.
Behind The Scenes
Where Did The Idea Come From
This episode abuses and makes fun of flashbacks used in a narrative, as well as the "all just a dream" ending cliche. The episode title "City on the Edge of Forever" is named after the original Star Trek episode of the same name.
Pop Culture References
Ms. Crabtree's "comedy stylings" are featured on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
Marcus the truck driver is humming the tune "Lookin' For Love" when he picks up Mrs. Crabtree. It's a country tune made popular by Johnny Lee.
The comedy club Mrs. Crabtree stumbles into is called "Pauly Shore's Funny Pit". Pauly Shore was an MTV VJ who starred in several 90's comedy films including Encino Man, Son in Law, and Bio-Dome.
Cartman complains he is missing the new Fantasy Island on the bus, then later complains about missing Barnaby Jones. Both shows were on TV before Cartman was born. Coincidentally a few months after this episode aired, Fantasy Island was revived though only for one season.
Cartman also has a flashback involving "Fonzie jumping over buses with his motorcycle". This is a reference to the Fonz from the show Happy Days.
John Elway, former member of the Denver Broncos, is shown as Cartman's father even though this clearly isn't true.
In a flashback, NFL sportscaster Brent Musburger (who voiced himself) serves as Scuzzlebutt's leg instead of Patrick Duffy, shown in "Volcano". In the closing credits his name is misspelled as "Musberger".
The comedy club in the episode features stand-up comedian Carrot Top (the name on the marquee is "Carrot Ass"). Mrs. Crabtree humiliates him with her "Sit down and shut up" routine, and Carrot Top pees his pants on stage.
Jay Leno, who's shown with chin the size of his entire body.
When the parents are posting up pictures of their missing kids, there's a missing child poster of Macaulay Culkin, famous child actor and star of the Home Alone films.
- The red-shirted kid who's killed by the monster is a reference to the original Star Trek series. Starfleet officers dressed in red (called "redshirts") were stock characters who always died soon after they were introduced.
- This is the only episode in which Stan actually kisses Wendy. He smooches her twice.
- The talent agency that reps Mrs. Crabtree has pictures of Kathie Lee Gifford, Leonard Maltin, and Carrot Top on their wall.
- Most flashbacks were based on clips from previous episodes, including "Cartman Gets an Anal Probe", "Weight Gain 4000", "Volcano", "Death", and "Cartman's Mom Is Still a Dirty Slut".
- Visitors can be seen getting ice cream. The Visitor from the end of "Cartman Gets an Anal Probe" can also be seen.
- A tour guide tells a bird-watching couple that "red-bellied chickadees" are indigenous to the area. The chickadees indigenous to Colorado are not red-bellied.
- e1 Terrance and Phillip in Not Without My Anus
- e2 Cartman's Mom Is Still a Dirty Slut
- e3 Chickenlover
- e4 Ike's Wee Wee
- e5 Conjoined Fetus Lady
- e6 The Mexican Staring Frog of Southern Sri Lanka
- e7 City on the Edge of Forever (Flashbacks)
- e8 Summer Sucks
- e9 Chef's Chocolate Salty Balls
- e10 Chickenpox
- e11 Roger Ebert Should Lay Off the Fatty Foods
- e12 Clubhouses
- e13 Cow Days
- e14 Chef Aid
- e12 Spookyfish
- e13 Merry Christmas Charlie Manson!
- e14 Gnomes
- e15 Prehistoric Ice Man