Dr. Alphonse Mephesto
- 1 About
- 2 Personality and Traits
- 3 Notable Skills
- 4 Memorable Quotes
- 5 Design and Outfits
- 6 Family
- 7 Close Friends
- 8 Rivals
- 9 Affiliations
- 10 Possible Residence
- 11 Appearances and Sightings
- 12 Video Games
- 13 Behind the Scenes
- 14 Bonus Factoids
- 15 Myths & Legends
Once one of the all-time brightest minds at the University of California-Davis, Dr. Alphonse Mephesto has proven himself an adept and skilled scientist, held back far more by his own stubborn fixations than society's rules. Having previously succeeded with an experiment involving a retail-friendly cloned asparagus, he now lives in comfortable obscurity on top of a hill at the outskirts of South Park. His hope is to create something truly useful that can change the world for the better, such as a a monkey with four asses, continuing to conduct mysterious science experiments in his laboratory including cloning, gene splicing, cross-breeding, and adding more asses to animals. His greatest creation may have been the "seven-assed Galapagos Turtle" for which he almost won the Nobel Prize, but unfortunately, he narrowly lost to rival Randy Marsh. He is rarely seen without his silent companion, Kevin, and also has a less known son named Terrance.
Reclusive by nature, Mephesto spends much of his time alone with his sons at the South Park Genetic Engineering Ranch, working on his experiments and looking after his various animal hybrids, but he is still always happy to help out children interested in the wonders of science, or assist others in need of his unique services. On the odd occasions, he ventures into town for town hall meetings, a quick drink, or a dire warning about an experiment actively endangering the townspeople. Whenever the people in town need help dealing with the supernatural, the extraordinary or the insane, Dr. Mephesto is there with a convoluted, multi-assed solution to their problems.
Personality and Traits
Often expressing his pleasure in helping others around him and desire to create something useful to humanity, Mephesto is an empathic figure who is concerned about the problems of those around him. Many of his appearances have involved other characters requesting some form of assistance which he would be happy to provide, such as the boys looking for help understanding genetics, lending Stan pills for his father, or helping Eric Cartman make adult friends. Even his genetically-modified turkeys were originally conceived a solution to world hunger. While his genetic creations may not prove very useful, he is nonetheless concerned with helping others.
Despite his pursuit of mad science despite logic to the contrary, Mephesto is not incapable of recognizing his mistakes and feels a great deal of remorse for both the harm his creations cause others as well as the deaths of his creations, even when he has had to perform the act himself for others' safety. He refers to his turkeys as a part of himself, and is saddened to see multi-assed cats taken down by the New Kid, and after these events of destruction often experiences self-doubt about his role as a genetic engineer and the ethics of whether or not he should perhaps be playing God after all. He also exhibits remorse for the conspiracy surrounding Eric Cartman's paternity, bowing his head as he confirms his father's identity.
Often described by the other townspeople as "crazy" or "insane", few characters in the South Park universe have as many inexplicable and often unrelated eccentricities as Mephesto, from his unusual obsession with multi-assed animals to his odd choices of words (such as 'lusciously') as well as his strange outfit and reclusive nature. He has also often been dismissed by others, particularly Mayor McDaniels, for this outlandish behavior.
While there is frequent disagreement about whether or not his choices in study are wise or useful, Mephesto has nonetheless come to exhibit a high amount of scientific knowledge and intelligence while working in the town, showcasing not only knowledge of genetic engineering, but understanding of advanced physics, surgical procedures, botany, evolutionary biology and forms of technology, and an implied understanding of chemistry as well. His cross-disciplinary work has resulted in such scientific breakthroughs as a real human clone, and even time travel. With such a wide body of work, he still remains best-known as South Park's resident genetic engineer.
- "It's thanks to the wonders of genetic engineering that soon there will be an end to hunger, disease, pollution, even war. I have created things that will change the world for the better. For instance, here is a monkey with four asses. " (An Elephant Makes Love to a Pig)
- "You know, it's amazing what we can do with a little blood sample these days." (An Elephant Makes Love to a Pig)
- "How luscious. Our creature has come to fruition, boys." (An Elephant Makes Love to a Pig)
- "Oh my God! He only has one ass. He's of no use to me, I'll have to burn the room." (An Elephant Makes Love to a Pig)
- "Oh thank Buddha I found you boys." (An Elephant Makes Love to a Pig)
- "Sir, if making mutant animals spliced with humans is crazy… then… uhhhhh… hmmm… oh, nevermind." (An Elephant Makes Love to a Pig)
- "Boys, I'm sorry I've caused you such - inconvenience. I tried to play God, and I failed." (An Elephant Makes Love to a Pig)
- "I'm glad that you could all come. I can finally reveal who the father of Eric Cartman is. But first, I want to thank Kenny McCormick for sacrificing his life- " (Cartman's Mom Is Still a Dirty Slut)
- "Well, that's that. Thank you all for playing." (Cartman's Mom Is Still a Dirty Slut)
- "Mayor, this man has not been conscious for almost three years. He won't understand what he sees! He'll be frightened and confused!" (Prehistoric Ice Man)
- "I most certainly do! The cause of global warming is Randy Marsh! It was Marsh's theory on spontaneous combustion that told everyone to fart all they want. Now all the methane from all those farts has ripped a hole in our ozone layer. We are all doomed to die!" (Spontaneous Combustion)
- "My pleasure. I just love helping people." (Are You There God? It's Me, Jesus)
- "I've done it, Kevin. I've successfully spliced this chipmunk with a piece of provolone chese. Do you know what this means, Kevin? No more will the world have to look in two different places for squirrels and provolone cheese. No more will mankind have to pick-" (Cartman Joins NAMBLA)
- "Oh, Eric, I'm afraid it's not that simple. Genetic engineering has not yet evolved to the state where I can just make people." (Cartman Joins NAMBLA)
- "It's true... Jack Tenorman was your father." (201)
- "Ha, you Bible-thumpers are all alike. Don't play God, you'll pay for it!" (South Park: The Fractured But Whole)
- "You see, Super Craig, once we know how to do things to animals, we can hopefuly apply that to mankind." (South Park: The Fractured But Whole)
- "You think having more asses is impossible? I tell you it's not." (South Park: The Fractured But Whole)
- "Well, we'll look back at this and laugh if we live, which we won't." (South Park: The Fractured But Whole)
- "All I ever wanted was to genetically engineer something useful, but I failed. Perhaps we shouldn't be toying with God's creations. Perhaps we should just leave nature alone, to its simple one-assed schematics. "
- "Yes, puberty is a very wonderful thing, Stan. It'w what links us all together, makes us one."
- "All this time I thought more asses were better than one, but it's what's inside the ass that counts."
Design and Outfits
Dr. Alphonse Mephesto is a relatively short and moderately obese man with light Caucasian skin. He has dark gray hair that is mostly hidden beneath a white bandana around the top of his head, and a wide brown hat. He has a wrinkled face with thick gray eyebrows, a large nose and baggy eyes, and wears a yellow Hawaiian shirt featuring blue, green and red flowers and a notch lapel, buttoned only from below his hairy, exposed chest. He also wears light brown pants. In all of his appearances, he carries a long cane that is adorned by a small partial figure, composed of a pair of legs and a large ass. He is almost always accompanied by his assistant Kevin.
His character design was revised slightly in the episode "201" to include a fuller lapel, a more detailed hat, more flowers on his shirt, and more hair, alongside the somewhat customary softer wrinkles of many character revisions. He is also granted a much more realistic, less rectangular sideview.
During the City Hall and public town meetings to gentrify the town, he seemed to wear a new white lab coat.
Dr. Mephesto's relationships with his sons have never been explored in the series, but he is almost constantly accompanied or assisted by Kevin, who seems to intrinsically understand his wishes. His relationship with his son Terrance is more complicated, and they are rarely seen together. Terrance seems to appreciate his father's advanced scientific knowledge, but unlike his father, shows little regard for the risks to human life entailed.
As an ambitious pioneer within his field of scientific research, Mephesto is responsible for a number of creations that could very well make the world a better place, whether it's a monkey with four asses or his retail-friendly cloned asparagus. Some have even suggested that he may have created a deadly beast that's half-man, half-bear, and half-pig, but that's nowhere near confirmed. Here is just a small sampling of the creatures that Mephesto's science has made possible:
With his reclusive nature and dedication to his work, Mephesto rarely spends time around others and has cultivated few friendships with those outside his immediate family. When they worked together to save the town, he got along well with Chef however, and credited him as the only person in town who might believe him about his escaped turkeys. He has also worked with the boys on multiple occasions, allowing him into his ranch freely for assistance, and seems to feel a particular fondness for Eric Cartman in his last few appearances.
Dr. Mephesto has tried to concentrate on his work instead of petty rivalries, but that doesn't mean he hasn't made some enemies over the years. He once claimed immediately after waking up in in the hospital from a shooting that his brother tried to shoot him once a month, although it has been suggested this may have been due to his brother's fondness for the Denver Broncos rather than a genuine rivalry. Mephesto has also had an ongoing feud with the NAMBLA organization... due to a dispute as much over domain name rights as the safety of children.
Although he has gone to lengths during some incidents to let Mayor McDaniels know about his escaped mutations, she has always brushed him off due to his insanity, and her lack of respect for him has caused her to dub geologist Randy Marsh the "only scientist in town"... which created a rivalry between Mephesto and Randy when the latter beat him for a Nobel Prize. Nonetheless, when Stan claimed his father hadn't undergone puberty, Mephesto promised to keep his secret.
He's also been held hostage by the evil Scott Tenorman, who narrowly escaped, but seems to retain a distaste for Mephesto and his creatures. Mephesto also had some profound differences with Super Craig on the best ways to advance science.
Mephesto is the longtime leader of the local chapter of NAMBLA, a national organization dedicated to the promotion and preservation of actor Marlon Brando. (Not affiliated with NAMBLA, their bitter domain name rivals)
Throughout all of his major appearances, Dr. Mephesto and his assistant Kevin have always been seen at the South Park Genetic Engineering Ranch, and never has a separate residence has never been suggested or depicted, so it has been assumed that they live in an unseen residential section of the laboratory.
Appearances and Sightings
- An Elephant Makes Love to a Pig (s01e05; debut)
- Starvin' Marvin (s01e08)
- Cartman's Mom Is a Dirty Slut (s01e13)
- Cartman's Mom is Still a Dirty Slut (s02e02)
- Prehistoric Ice Man (s02e18; first identified as Alphonse Mephesto)
- Spontaneous Combustion (s03e02)
- Jakovasaurs (s03e05)
- Are You There God? It's Me, Jesus (s03e16)
- Cartman Joins NAMBLA (s04e06)
- 201 (s14e06; re-design)
- Hooked on Monkey Fonics (s03e12)
- I'm a Little Bit Country (s07e04)
- It's Christmas in Canada (s07e15)
- Eat, Pray, Queef (s13e04)
- The City Part of Town (s19e03)
Dr. Mephesto does not appear in the game, but he is mentioned by Scott Tenorman, who releases many of the doctor's creations as mini-bosses. According to early press information, it is also Dr. Alphonse Mephesto who is helping the boys repair the time stream in their battle against Scott Tenorman.
The character plays a key role in the game's central storyline, where the player is tasked to visit the South Park Genetic Engineering Ranch to uncover the villain's efforts to have cats and his henchmen genetically altered. The level "The Many Asses of Dr. Mephesto", styled on a classic dungeon crawl, portrays the location radically different from the series, featuring it as a sprawling science facility with a wide, bustling variety of scientists, employed under the 'Mephesto's Tech' banner, with the interior visually resembling the Visitor's Center from the 1993 film Jurassic Park, with Dr. Mephesto playing a role as a tour guide. Though he retains his penchant for multi-assed animals and bizarre hybrids, his assistant Kevin is absent and never mentioned, and his son Terrance is indicated to have died long ago, despite evidence to the contrary.
After the end of a lengthy tour of each level of the facility, including a greenhouse, animal enclosures and failed clones of his dead son, Mephesto explains that the facility is funded by donors, including the villain, who has asked him to genetically alter cats and local sixth graders, boosting their aggression and number of asses, for his operation. When the complex security grid is turned off, the player is forced to lead the children and Mephesto through the facility to escape, killing many of his creations in the process, while Mephesto struggles with his own technological designs, including opening electrified doors. The player eventually escapes the facility, and can return to the main hall at any time to snap a selfie with him for Coonstagram.
As Mephesto's ranch looks wildly different from the show, his assistant Kevin is not present, and Terrance has continued to appear in the background of episodes after its release, in addition several episodes after his death is suggested to have taken place, these scenes are presumably non-canon. The facility seems to return to its classic appearance by "South Park: Phone Destroyer", published by Ubisoft one month later.
During the character creation process, Mephesto can be seen working in his laboratory in the background, with his sons occasionally walking past.
Behind the Scenes
Dr. Mephesto's distinctive voice is provided by series co-creator Trey Parker.
The character was inspired by the poorly-received 1996 film adaptation of The Island of Dr. Moreau, a film plagued by a notoriously troubled production. The film notably featured legendary actor Marlon Brando portraying the title character, a mad scientist who surgically and genetically alters animal-human hybrids, as well as his silent assistant and surrogate son Majai. The designs and dynamics between these characters inspired Dr. Alphonse Mephesto and his assistant, Kevin, while Mephesto's hybrid animal creations were based on Trey Parker's old drawings as a teenager.
By the show's fourth season, Matt and Trey felt that the film reference was no longer very relevant, and the character no longer funny, so he was retired from the show, which finally made light of his similarity to Brando, and he has made sporadic non-speaking cameos since then, only coming back alongside other retired/discarded characters for in appearance "201", but he has noticeably been excluded from recent episodes dealing with genetics, such as "Eek, a Penis!" and "Holiday Special".
In the commentary track for his debut episode, "An Elephant Makes Love to a Pig", Matt and Trey observe retrospectively that Mephesto is not an evil character in their view, just eccentric, explaining that "in all the other shows, [Mephesto] becomes kind of a helpful guy, just hanging out there, doing his thing."
- Dr. Mephesto is one of the shortest adult characters on the show.
- Despite having been already unused on the show for several years, he received an action figure from Mezco in their fourth wave of South Park action figures, alongside Tweek Tweak, Damien Thorn, and a variation of Cartman.
Myths & Legends
- His name is a reference to the German demon Mephistopheles, and is often rendered incorrectly as Mephisto, even in official Comedy Central materials - however, the spelling in scripts has always been Mephesto.
- His first name is spelled Alfonz in "Spontaneous Combustion".
- While he has been retired from the show, making only one speaking appearance in seventeen years, rumors of his death have been greatly exaggerated.