The plot of the show shows all the kids in the 4th grade getting head lice.

There's a subplot of the show where the lice on Clyde's have developed into a thriving culture and they discover their world is alive and conscious. It seems like this was derived from some film or book.

Am I right? Is this episode derived from some past movie?

  • 1
    I also assumed I must be missing some reference when I saw that episode.
    – Ben Brocka
    Jan 4, 2012 at 15:02
  • It is none of the above! The whole plot of the lice planet is taken from an animated movie, unfortunately I can't remember its name. Their planet was dying and and had something about moving to the forbidden zone through upside down trees.
    – user15844
    Jul 9, 2013 at 14:29

3 Answers 3


Calling the episode based directly on a scifi book or movie is bit of a stretch.

The episode does have numerous cameos and references to popular scifi elements. To name a few :

  • The Cartman headlice test closely resembles the tests done in The Thing (1982)
  • All the talk about "The forbidden zone" might be linked to The old space hunter flicks (1983) fanned by Trey Parker, the writer of the episode. Could also be a reference to Planet of the Apes where a similar desolate area exists beyond civilization.
  • The scene where a louse argues with the Vice President is similar to a scene with Dennis Quaid from The Day After Tomorrow.
  • The scene featuring lice running through a "forest" of hair is a reference to Apocalypto.

There are even references to Lord of the Rings in there as well.


There are a couple of possible influences.

There's an SF story which I can't track down at the moment where a man has an abscess on his tooth, but delays going to the dentist, in which time it evolves into a complex intelligent society.

The other one that springs to mind is Greg Bear's story Blood Music (later expanded into a novel of the same name) where a scientist infects himself with microscopic intelligent computers which quickly develop into a civilization, taking over first his own body and then the rest of humanity's.

  • 3
    The concept vaugely also parallels The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror VII: The Genesis Tub where Lisa's tooth left in soda becomes it's own society. I searched for the inspiration for that episode but couldn't find one; must have been too silly to even be a Twilight Zone story.
    – Ben Brocka
    Jan 4, 2012 at 15:01
  • 3
    The inspiration for The Genesis Tub was indeed a Twilight Zone story: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Little_People
    – HorusKol
    Jan 4, 2012 at 22:39
  • I think The Genesis Tub was mentioned in another South Park episode, possibly called The Simpsons Already Did It. Jul 9, 2013 at 15:26

When I saw the episode, it reminded me of The Carpet People by Terry Pratchett.

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