Lemmiwinks the Gerbil King was a character on Comedy Central’s South Park, introduced in the episode “The Death Camp of Tolerance,” which originally aired on November 21, 2002.
First, some background: The main plot of this episode is Mr. Garrison’s various attempts to get fired for being gay. (He hopes to then file a wrongful termination suit against the school and win $25 million.) To accomplish this task, Mr. Garrison enlists the help of Mr. Slave, your typical leather-clad, bondage type, with whom he hopes to shock the children, who in turn will hopefully report his antics to the school, and, well, you get the idea.
As part of his attempts to get fired, Mr. Garrison demonstrates the difference between exothermic and endothermic reactions with the use of a glass tube, which he uses to insert Lemmiwinks, the class gerbil, into Mr. Slave’s rectum. During the procedure, he queries the children to conjecture what will happen when he introduces “the element of the gerbil to the endothermic heat of Mr. Slave’s ass.”
And thus begins Lemmiwinks’ epic journey.
Throughout the rest of the episode, a subplot involving Lemmiwinks’ search for freedom is revisited from time to time. Much of the journey is narrated through a catchy little folk tune (a la Sir Robin’s minstrels in Monty Python and the Holy Grail and/or the song sung in the animated version of The Hobbit).
A strange amalgam of Beowulf, Homer’s Odyssey, and Back Door Sluts 9, a textual adaptation of Lemmiwinks’ journey appears below for your reading pleasure.
The story begins with Lemmiwinks walking back and forth, looking for an exit, when suddenly a frog appears before him. (The frog is never named, so we shall refer to him as the Frog King for sake of simplicity.) The Frog King holds a gold scepter and is clad in royal garb.
Says the Frog King to our hero: “Lemmiwinks, you must find your way out of this place or you will surely die. This way has been closed off by the Great Sphincter. To escape, you must journey upwards, through the dark regions of the intestine and past the stomach.”
Lemmiwinks looks at the frog and blinks.
FK: “Who am I? Just a friend. Heed my words, Lemmiwinks. Your time is running out. Make for the large intestine. All will be made clear then.”
The frog disappears, a harp is heard in the background, and the song begins.
A great adventure is waiting for you ahead.
Hurry onward, Lemmiwinks, or you will soon be dead.
The journey before you may be long and full of woe,
But you must escape the gay man’s ass or your tale cannot be told.
Lemmiwinks, Lemmiwinks, Lemmiwinks…
Lemmiwinks journeyed a distance far and vast
To find his way out of the gay man’s ass.
The road ahead is filled with danger and fright
But push onward Lemmiwinks with all of your might.
The Frog King reappears.
FK: “Lemmiwinks, you are coming to the entrance of the small intestine. There, you must seek the Sparrow Prince.” (FK disappears.)
The Sparrow Prince lies somewhere way up ahead
Don’t look back, Lemmiwinks, or you’ll soon be dead.
Lemmiwinks, Lemmiwinks, the time is growing late
Slow down now and seal your fate.
Lemmiwinks continues forward and eventually comes to a cavern-like opening within the intestine. The Sparrow Prince is there waiting for him. He, too, is clothed in imperial robes; a silver crown sits atop his head.
Sparrow Prince: “I am the Sparrow Prince. Long has my spirit been trapped within this place. Before you lies the maze of the small intestine. One path leads to the stomach, the other, to certain doom. Take with you this helmet and torch.”
A small, gerbil-sized helmet with a small, gerbil-sized torch attached to the front like a miner’s light appears and is placed on Lemmiwinks’ head.
SP: “Let them be your guide.” (SP disappears.)
Take the magic helmet-torch to help you light the way
There’s still a lot of ground to cross within the man so gay.
Ahead of you lies adventure and the strength still lies within
Freedom from the ass of doom is the treasure you will win.
There's a break, and when we return to the story, Lemmiwinks has finally reached the stomach.
Lemmiwinks came to the stomach part
Beneath the dance of the lungs and heart.
The Catatifish appears. A catfish, he wears an odd samurai-looking hat complete with large red plume. He holds a gun by his side in his left hand.
Catatifish: “You chose your path wisely, Lemmiwinks. I am the Catatifish.”
Catatifish of the stomach’s cove…
Catatifish: “If you answer this riddle, the esophagus will let you pass.”
Catatifish’s riddle will soon be told…
After a short break from Lemmiwinks’ story, we return to find Lemmiwinks spinning in one of those zero-gravity simulators (like the ones found at amusement parks and Space Camp). The Frog King is nearby.
FK: “Hang on, Lemmiwinks! You solved the Catatifish’s riddle. Now your trials are nearly through!”
In the next scene of Lemmiwinks’ saga, our hero escapes, coughed up by Mr. Slave. He runs to his freedom and the Frog King, Sparrow Prince, and Catatifish appear before him.
Lemmiwinks has made it out
The tale is nearly through.
Catatifish: “Great job, Lemmiwinks.”
SK: “Thanks to you, we are all free.”
FK: “But your adventures are just beginning, for you are no ordinary gerbil, Lemmiwinks. You are the Gerbil King.”
The Frog King removes Lemmiwinks’ magical helmet-torch and places a golden crown upon his head.
Together: “All hail the Gerbil King.”
Now that you’re the Gerbil King, there’s more adventures to go on
Fly away to far away lands, into the setting sun.
There are still so many enemies and battles yet to fight
For Lemmiwinks the Gerbil King to be told another night.
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