7

Normally, until recent episodes, Cartman rags on Kyle any chance he gets and seems to revel in any pain or discomfort Kyle experiences. However, in Li'l Crime Stoppers, when Stan gets angry and suggests that Kyle has 'forgotten why [he] joined the force' Cartman intervenes on Kyle's behalf, emphatically saying "Hey! Broflovski's a good cop!". He even physically puts himself between Stan and Kyle.

The official website and the main fan wiki don't give any insight into this scene and I was wondering if the creators have ever stated or even suggested a reasoning behind Cartman's action here. Is he still in 'play mode' and feels like his 'character' would defend Kyle's? Later in the same episode, when the boys are playing laundromat, Cartman and Kyle are shown as co-owners of their play laundromat. Is any explanation given for their sudden closeness here? They seem to go back to their normal interactions after the episode.

11

Cartman isn't as fixed about his friends/enemies as other characters are.

If anything, Cartman is the most capable (of all the characters) to switch his opinion based on what benefits him.
Using the "Ginger Cow" episode as an example, Cartman was trying to keep his prank about a ginger cow going at all costs. However, when he realized that Kyle actually wanted the story to hold true (due to creating world peace), Cartman switched sides and acted like he needed to come clean about the whole thing. Cartman much preferred to extort Kyle, as opposed to simply pulling off a prank. He changed his stance accordingly.

Similarly, although Cartman does seem to target Kyle more than Stan or Kenny, he still considers Kyle a friend (Cartman's definition of "friend" is different than most people's). You can see this in past actions:

  • Cartman had no qualms siding with Kyle in the great Console Wars (the Game of Thrones parody episodes) because Cartman and Kyle both wanted an XBox over a PlayStation. Note: Cartman betrayed Kyle, but that wasn't related to Kyle. Cartman was literally betraying everyone every step of the way, Game of Thrones style.
  • In the episode where Kyle moves to San Francisco, Cartman specifically travels to SF to save Kyle from the smog/smug storm. This was not an imaginary catastrophy, he actually saved his life.
  • Cartman saved Kyle's life in the Imaginationland trilogy (after he was savaged by ManBearPig). Granted, it was because Kyle still needed to suck his balls; proving the point that Cartman only cares about what Cartman wants. Saving Kyle helped him get waht he wants, so he did it.
  • I also remember Cartman saving people from the planetarium, IIRC Kyle was part of the rescued.

Overall, Cartman generally only picks on Kyle (or Kenny) when nothing else is going on. It's how he treats his friends by default (Stan is so average that he doesn't really have anything to get mocked about other than liking Wendy).


So why did cop Cartman stick up for cop Kyle?

We can't really know for sure, but there are reason why Cartman would stick up for Kyle (without breaking Cartman's character):

  • Cartman was playing a cop, and therefore acted like a cop (regardless of the identity of the actors). This makes sense, especially because Cartman is using an overused cliché. The boys have a habit of losing themselves in their playacting (e.g. The Return of the Fellowship of the Ring to the Two Towers)
  • Siding with Kyle was more beneficial, compared to siding with Stan; so he picked Kyle's side.
  • Cartman had an active beef with Stan, which (in the moment) generally overrides his long-standing dislike of Kyle's Jewish nature.
2

To add on above, Cartman only saved Kyle from the smug storm to ensure his verbal punching bag/ entertaining rival was brought back, as Butter's reactions weren't angry and sensitive enough to give him the pleasure he derives out of bullying and belittling... Cartman does consider Kyle an enemy though, this is obvious through his paranoia of Kyle constantly being up to no good or trying to stop him when he isn't: Poor Kid, Insecuritiy, The Magic Bush, ect. He also calls Kyle is arch rival in Grounded Vindaloop. He hates the boy for always ruining his schemes, calling out his delusionals of narcissism, and being the general opposite of him in terms of clashing personalities.

Cartman considers everyone a friend despite hatred as long as it suits his cause. He's uncaring to the core.

  • I wouldn't describe Cartman as uncaring. If anything, he cares strongly about certain things, as he is often the plot catalyst to urge others into action (e.g. Die Hippie Die). It's not that he doesn't care, it's that he has a different (messed up) standard on how to handle the things he cares about. He has little self control and isn't introspective. He is deeply flawed, which bleeds into him caring about the wrong things (often unethical); but you can clearly see that he does care about the things that matter to him. – Flater Jun 12 '18 at 6:44
  • By uncaring in this context, I'm referring to how he feels in general about others, outside what they can offer him. He is indifferent to the danger Stan and Butters are in during Imaginationland. He doesn't care about Ike's plight in Dead Celebrities until he discovers this affects his idol, Billy Mays. He also doesn't care about how the others feel about pirating in Fatbeard, or how his mother feels about him leaving. This is why I choose to call him "uncaring to the core", because in regards to others, if they don't provide him with some sort of gain, he simply doesn't care. – OP_rah Jun 12 '18 at 6:52
  • Kenny is a slightly simpler example here: Cartman rips on him endlessly, but is genuinely surprised if Kenny bails on him or gets upset. Other than the few instances of Cartman faking caring about Kenny (e.g. Kenny Dies), there are also instances where Cartman actually relies on Kenny's friendship (whenever Kyle and Stan pair up, Kenny tags along with Cartman). I think "dysfunctionally caring" is a more appropriate evaluation than "uncaring". – Flater Jun 12 '18 at 6:58
  • I need to look into the first point for in order to get back to you on that, but about Cartman caring about Kenny: In Best Friends Forever, Cartman is ultimately unfazed by Kenny's death, and only opts to intervene when he can get a PSP out of it. It's possibly one of the biggest deconstructions of a friendship Cartman has ever had. – OP_rah Jun 12 '18 at 7:01
  • You also need to consider that Cartman is almost a pathiological liar (although I don't think he needs to lie, he generally relies on doing so). It's realy hard to distinguish fact from fiction. He hates Kyle, but saves him from the smug storm, but then says it's so he can rip on Kyle more. He could claim wanting to rip on Kyle is the reason, to avoid admitting caring about Kyle. It seems naive to either assume that he must be truthful, or assume he must be lying. It could be either. But in reality, he did risk his own life to save Kyle. He cared about not losing Kyle. – Flater Jun 12 '18 at 7:05

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