Comedy Central was showing some South Park episodes over the weekend, and "Free Willzyx" came on. The one where two employees of the sea park play a prank convincing the boys the killer whale is actually an alien from the Moon, who desperately needs to get back home. The boys do that, with the help of the Mexican Space Program.
The episode ends with the boys reflecting on how, whenever they look up at the Moon from now on, they'll think of Willzyx dancing in his castle with his family. Then the show cuts to an image of the whale on the moon's surface, where it is dead, naturally. They roll the credits over that silent image.
I crack up at that every time. I was actually wondering whether I would this time, since I haven't seen the episode in a few years. So many things I used to find funny, or cool for that matter, I see differently now. I don't generally find violence to animals funny, be they real animals or cartoons. I don't watch nature shows and laugh when the Komodo Dragon bites a deer, and the deer gradually dies because of the cesspool the dragon's mouth is. I recognize it's part of life, animals dying to sustain other animals, but recognizing biological necessity isn't the same as comedy. I don't even try to watch that Futurama episode about Fry's dog, because it depresses the hell out of me (yes, I know that fate was averted by time travel shenanigans). But the whale dead on the moon is hilarious to me.
I thought it could be the boys' belief that they'd done a good thing, and then the confirmation that no, they'd killed it. I mean, aliens exist in the South Park universe. It wouldn't have been totally out of left field to learn the whale was in fact an alien (other than the point there'd been no indication of that up until then). But the episode makes certain to dash any hope of that by demonstrating that it was a whale, and whales can not survive on an airless, waterless world. The sea park may have been a crappy existence for the whale, but it was still alive. But, to bring up the Futurama comparison, Fry believed Seymour had already lived a full life when he opted against having him cloned, and then we see the dog actually spent the rest of its life sitting patiently in front of the pizza place, waiting for Fry to return.
Plus there's the fact I don't start laughing until they show the whale, so maybe it's just the bizarre combination of images. A whale, on the moon, Earth in the background. It doesn't make any sense for a whale to be there, but it makes perfect sense that if a whale were there, it wouldn't be alive. Maybe I'm just a cynical ass that enjoyed them making fun of heart-warming children's movies.