In South Park, S01 E03 Weight Gain 4000 starts with the conversation between the boys in a classs room and Cartman thinks something else instead of rainbows.

From here,

Kyle: Nobody hates rainbows.

Stan: Yeah, what's there to hate about rainbows?

Cartman: Well, you know, you'll just be sitting there, minding your own business, and they'll come, marching in and crawl up your leg and start biting the inside of your a**, and you'll be all like: "EHY! GET OUT OF MY A** YOU STUPID RAINBOWS!"


Stan: Cartman, what the hell are you talking about?

Cartman: I'm talking about rainbows, I hate those friggin' things!

Kyle: Rainbows are those little arches of color that show up during a rainstorm.

Cartman: Ohh, rainbows. Oh yeah, I like those, those are cool.

Stan: What were you talking about?

Cartman: Huh? Oh, nothing, forget it.

What was Cartman thinking about before Kyle said they actually are? I think he was meaning some insects but no insect's name is no where near to rainbows. Is it known which insect or what he was thinking about?

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    @BCdotWEB That looks like it should be an answer
    – David Z
    Oct 17, 2017 at 0:50
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    Cartman's a* was invaded by aliens on multiple occasions, and even suffered semi-permanent installations of alien equipment. Thus, we can not discard the possibility that "rainbows", in fact, were artifacts of alien activities.
    – oakad
    Oct 17, 2017 at 3:17
  • @BCdotWEB Even so, post it as an answer because it answers the question. You can mention the lack of a credible source in the answer, but that doesn't keep it from being an answer in the first place.
    – David Z
    Oct 17, 2017 at 6:54
  • sounds like ants to me. Ants crawl up your leg and eat your sweat? never happened to me but maybe it happens?
    – mk mcmahon
    Oct 17, 2017 at 17:12
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    I think it's one of the instances of surrealism or dadaism that Trey Parker and Matt Stone imbued into the show. You know, just being silly. It doesn't have to have a meaning.
    – Chloe
    Oct 17, 2017 at 17:41

3 Answers 3


This is a common theme in the early seasons of the show- the overriding theme is that Cartman is constantly picking up these bizarre "facts" from his mom, who is of course on the cover of Crack Whore magazine. In another early season episode, "Ike's Wee Wee"(season 2), Kenny answers Chef's question of what is more sacred to a man than anything (referring to the penis) in his muffled tone, and Cartman responds "You're not supposed to call it that, Kenny. You're supposed to call it a Fireman, that's the proper term, or else you get a spanking."

I think the general idea is these little snippets provide a window into how bizarre Cartman's home life is, and whatever he thought Rainbows were probably fit into some odd thing his mom said. Great line, one of my favorite episodes!


According to several fan forums, like this one, Cartman's rant has its origins in something Matt and Trey encountered:

The Rainbow sequence with Cartman does not refer to anything. Believe it or not the rainbow thing is a totally obscure reference to nothing at all. One day Matt and Trey were eating in a restaurant and they heard some girl say that she hated rainbows and that is where they got the idea. It's as simple as that.

This would indicate that it is included here simply as some absurd joke, and that looking for an explanation of Cartman's words might be futile.


The script that you posted touches on your exact question:

Stan: What were you talking about?

Stan is asking the exact same question as you.

Cartman: Huh? Oh, nothing, forget it.

And that's the answer that Stan (and by extension you) gets. Cartman is avoiding the topic, because he doesn't want to talk about it.

The humor derives from Cartman's willful omission of any further explanation.

There are several possibilities as to why he feels that way. Most likely, Cartman feels embarassed about what he was talking about. Keep in mind that he's talking about creatures that crawl up his ass.
When he thought that the boys were already talking about these creatures, he felt comfortable talking about it. But now that he realizes that no one was talking about these ass-crawlers, Cartman doesn't want to publically embarass himself any further, and instead tries to avoid the topic.


The continuation of the above script:

Stan: What were you talking about?
Cartman: Huh? Oh, nothing, forget it.
Kyle: No. What marches in, crawls up your leg…
Cartman: Nothing.
Kyle: …and starts biting the inside of your ass?
Cartman: Nothing.

And that's the last we hear of it. Cartman never specifies what he was talking about.

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    That may all be 100% true, but it doesn't really answer the question the OP actually asked. Which is the same question asked jointly by Stan and Kyle shortly after the quoted section of the script; "What marches in, crawls up your leg and starts biting the inside of your ass?". That's the question to answer.
    – aroth
    Oct 17, 2017 at 1:46
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    @aroth: I posted Kyle's questions. Cartman remains vague and does not answer those questions either. We can't answer this question unless Cartman answers the question (or the show reveals to the viewer what Cartman was definitely talking about). This never happens. We could sit here and think of things that march in, crawl up your leg and bite the inside of your ass, but we have no way of knowing whether Cartman was thinking of the same thing that we are. The lack of explanation contributes to the joke.
    – Flater
    Oct 17, 2017 at 8:11
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    But the question isn't "Why is this scene funny?" or "Why doesn't Cartman explain what he's talking about?" The question is "What was Cartman actually talking about?" It could be that Cartman was talking about some actual thing. For example, your answer would be essentially the same if Cartman had said that a rainbow is an animal with four legs that you get milk from, and then refused to elaborate. In that case, despite his refusal to elaborate, he's probably talking about a cow. The fact that the script doesn't answer doesn't on its own imply that there is no answer. Oct 17, 2017 at 12:48
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    @DavidRicherby: I'm not arguing that the scene is funny, I'm arguing that the precise answer to the OP's question is intentionally omitted, and it happens to be done for comedic purpose by having Cartman avoid answering the question. Secondly, if we don't know what Cartman is talking about, then we can muse about it all we want but we can never truly know what Cartman was referring to. Even for your example, he could've been referring to cows, horses, goats, sheep, ... basically any four-legged mammal. A guess is not an answer.
    – Flater
    Oct 17, 2017 at 13:01

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