Death Oddities in Animation

Family Guy


South Park

The Animaniacs

Baby Blues

The Simpsons

Disney and Death


The Family Guy

Peter helps Death get a girl after experiencing a near-death experience (Peter is struck by lightning on the golf course).  During this episode, we discover that Death:  1) still lives with his mother; 2) dates a girl from the Pet Store; and 3) secures Peter Frampton to perform for Peter and his wife, Lois.  Best line: When Peter Frampton first sees Death, "Aren't you suppose to be looking for Keith Richards?"  (Note from Grinny:  I'm a neophyte "Family Guy" viewer and I'm sure there are several episodes that deal with death and dying.  Please alert me of the one's I need to check out.  Thanks!)


From the movie "ANTZ":

Mandible (Gene Hackman): "You're an ant after my own heart. You looked Death right in the eye and laughed."

Z (Woody Allen): " I made discouraging remarks and snickered behind Death's back."


South Park

A RARE Death/Cemetery Reference WITHOUT Kenny

The "South Park Classics" episode (11/29/00) is hosted by a non-cartoon "British person" portrayed by Malcolm McDowell, sitting in a proper den-like setting and reading from a leather-bound book.  This "Masterpiece Theater" meets Monty Python version of Dicken's "Great Expectations" explains the importance of the "Pip" character on this show. The four key boys, including Kenny, are not in this episode and it's clearly a Pip showcase.  It's one of the all-time funniest episodes, complete with a bizarre science fiction-like ending.    Cemetery moment:  The story opens with young Pip visiting his parents, Philip and Georgina Pirrup, in the local cemetery.

Kenny's Big Screen Death Debut (1999)

"South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut" provides some of the BEST contemporary social satire in recent memory, as it takes the baton from "The Simpsons" as the most cutting-edge, comic animated series of the decade. The musical numbers are inspired, the Terrance and Phillip movie segment is hysterical, and the Bill Gates gag - alone - is worth the price of admission. Of course, Grinny's main interest concerned Kenny's big-screen demise: he catches fire as he tries to light a fart (as shown in the T&P movie) only to have his heart replaced with a baked potato during a gory "ER" moment. Once dead, the audience views Kenny's vision of Heaven and Hell. A VERY BIG DECOMPOSING THUMB UP FROM GRINNY!

Kenny's First Funeral

In the "South Park" episode which aired on April 14, 1999, Kenny dies from spontaneous combustion (speculation is that the "combustion" occurred as a result of his retaining farts while he was in the presence of his girlfriend). For the first time in the series' history, Kenny is waked after he dies and his remains are shown to be in a coffin. Kenny's service turns into a Denver Broncos rally, a possible nod to indie-film, "Buffalo 66," where the lead character's "fantasy grave scene" shows his parents as cheering Buffalo Bills fans.

How Kenny dies in each episode.

The Spirit of Christmas (the original): Killed by Frosty The Spirit of Christmas (the sequel): Decapitated by Santa Episode 101: Kenny gets shot by an alien spacecraft, trampled by cows, and ran over by a police car. Episode 102: Mr. Garrison shoots Kenny in a failed attempt to kill Kathy Lee Gifford. After getting shot he lands on a flagpole and slowly slides down like a shish kebab. Episode 103: A big ball of lava falls right in front of Kenny and everyone thinks he's dead but he steps out from behind the lava all in one piece. Near the end of the episode, someone drops their gun and it fires and kills Kenny. Episode 104: Killed on the football field. Episode 105: Microwaved. Episode 106: Gets touched by the Grim Reaper. Episode 107: Crushed by Mir, cut in half with a chainsaw by Kyle and squished by a statue. Episode 108: Turned into a rare duck-billed platypus and shot by Jimbo. Episode 109: Eaten by wild turkeys. Episode 110: KENNY LIVES!!!!!!! Episode 111: Stabbed by Miss Ellen. Episode 112: Kenny strangles himself (accidently) with a tetherball rope. Episode 113: Gets run over by a train. Episode 201: Kenny didn't appear in this episode. Episode 202: Fried himself (on purpose) to get the power back on at the hospital so Cartman could find out who his father was. Episode 203: Falls into an empty grave and them a tombstone lands on him. Episode 204: Kenny has many near death experiences in this episode. First, he almost gets crushed by a car during the riots. Second, he gets thrown against a brick wall in the school playground. Third, he gets wounded by the Chicken F*ckers gun. Finally, when the credits start to scroll, Kenny gets crushed by a tree. Episode 205: He gets squished against the wall after getting hit with a dodge ball by a Chinese player. Episode 206: On the talk show, "Jesus and Pals," Kenny gets ripped in half by two angry audience members after a fight breaks out. Episode 207: He gets eaten by a monster, but you'll notice that Kenny is still alive afterwards on the bus. I don't know what to tell you there (a case for The X-Files?). Episode 208: The giant snake knocks down some bleachers on top of Kenny. Jay Leno Special: Killed by Jay Leno's chin. New Years Special: Killed by the number "7" in the "1997."

Please Note:  We stopped tracking Kenny's deaths after the second season.

The One Episode Where Kenny Doesn't Die (as of second season)

I know what you're thinking, "But Kenny ALWAYS dies in every episode!" Well, I have news for you: there was ONE episode where Kenny didn't die. This was a monumental day in South Park history when they actually made an episode without killing poor Kenny. It was Episode 10 (featuring Mr. Hankey, The Christmas Poo) where Kenny doesn't die. I guess Matt and Trey had a warm heart and didn't want to kill him in the Christmas episode.

The above compilation of Kenny's deaths is provided, with permission, from Mike Howg.


The Animaniacs

Best Death References in Animation

The Animaniacs episode titled "Meatballs or Consequences" where a croaked Yakov is designated the "living impaired" and Igmar Bergman/Grim Reaper references abound.


The Simpsons

Best Tribute to Celebrities You Only Thought Were Dead!

The Simpson's (March 10, 2002) dealt with Grandpa's driving privileges and a road trip to Branson, Missouri.  
While in Branson, the family takes in the "That's Familiar!" revue which pays tribute to celebrities you thought were dead, such as Mr. T, Yakov Smirnoff, and Bonnie Franklin (the celebs walk on to the stage through an upright casket!).  Tennessee Ernie Ford makes an appearance, at least briefly, until Grandpa proves that Ford is actually dead by pulling out his obituary from his wallet.

Best Extremely Weird Finale

The Simpson's finale on May 20, 2001 marked one of the most bizarre episodes ever, as the Simpson's are regaled by a singing hobo who exchanges his stories for sponge baths.
The final tale of a trilogy of fractured American folk tales, involves Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn (yes, I know it's not a folk tale, but a story by Mark Twain) who are drowned/shot at the bottom of the Mississippi River.  The final scene involves the two stiff dead boys, looking quite cherub-like, being lowered into their coffins (!!!).  My question is, what drugs are the writers taking this season?  In fact, is it just me, or are there A LOT of drug references in the last few episodes (especially morphine and large tranquilizer jokes!)?

Best Funeral/Cemetery Episode Ever!

(Spring 2001) This episode actually spent more time on the Simpson's new tennis court (with special guest appearances by Venus and Serena Williams), but it began with Grampa winning a free autopsy at an old folks talent show.  While visiting a local funeral parlor, Homer, Bart, and Grampa, check out:

Best Tombstone Cleaner

Spiffy Jr. - The 21st Century Stain Remover

Introduced in the Simpsons episode where Homer struggles with being a good father while Bart competes in a soap box derby. This episode opens with Homer watching a shop-at-home show called "I Can't Believe They Invented It!" featuring host Troy McClure. McClure introduces Dr. Nick Riviera who developed the stain remover product, Spiffy Jr. To demonstrate its cleaning power, Riviera uses it on Edgar Allan Poe's tombstone. McClure examines the results and exclaims, "Quote the Raven, what a shine!"

Best Slogan for a Cemetery

In the Simpsons episode where jazzman "Bleeding Gums" Murphy dies, Lisa Simpson stands alone at his graveside service. The establishing shot for this scene shows the graveyard entrance gate with the sign: Springfield Cemetery - "Come for the funeral, stay for the pie!"

Simpsons' Graveyard Superstitution #1

In the Simpsons episode where Homer becomes a "Beer Baron" bootlegger, he and Bart try to escape a police chase by cutting through a cemetery in their family sedan and a "Li'l Lugger" filled with pirated Duff Beer. As they maneuver wildly through the granite monuments, their vehicle knocks over several of the tombstones.

Bart: "Dad, knocking over grave stones is bad luck."

Homer: "Really? I heard good."

Simpsons' Spin-Offs of Death!

In the special Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase at the end of season eight, there were two death/cemetery references. In the spin-off "Chief Wiggums P.I.," a mysterious crime figure named Big Daddy kidnaps Wiggum's son, Ralph, and they run through a New Orleans cemetery. Then, in the spin-off "The Love-matic Grampa," Grandpa Simpson dies and he comes back to haunt a "Love-tester" machine in Moe's tavern.

Dialogue from "The Love-matic Grampa"

As the voice of the "Love-tester" machine in Moe's Bar, Grampa complains to Homer that he was buried naked and his suit was hocked to buy a ping-pong table. Homer is annoyed by the whining and pulls the plug on the "Love-tester" machine. When Moe plugs the machine back in, Grampa retorts: "That's the second time he pulled my plug!"


Disney and Death

Quotes from Disney's "Hercules":

"My favorite part of the game...sudden death!"

- Hades (James Woods) from the 1997 Disney animated film "Hercules."


"Slow down or you'll work yourself to death."

- Zeus (Rip Torn) to Hades (James Woods) in "Hercules."



Quote from Disney's "Mulan":

Mulan's mother: "We should have prayed to our ancestors for luck."

Mulan's grandmother: "How lucky can they be? They're dead!"

from Disney's "Mulan" (1998)


"Baby Blues":

The short-lived WB animated series, based on the comic strip of the same name, debuted (7/28/00) with an episode that featured a Drew Carey cameo AND a grave-robbing scene, set in a cemetery,  followed by a "Scooby-Doo"-inspired chase. 


MESSAGE TO THE VIEWER: Do you have a favorite moment from an animated television show or movie that deals with death, dying or cemeteries? Send it to the Grinreaper.

Michael Nejman | Gallery | Cinematic Cemetery Moments | Loose Dirt | Last Words | Dying to Get In | DOA | UnDead Links | Credits |

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