Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Radiohead's Thom Yorke Apparently Struggled To Emote During His South Park Cameo

Radiohead's cameo is just one of the elements that makes "Scott Tenorman Must Die" such a recognizable and iconic "South Park" episode. The episode's story — appearing in Season 5 — is generally seen as one that morphed Eric Cartman (voiced by Trey Parker) from a run-of-the-mill spoiled, mean-spirited elementary school student into a full-blown child sociopath. Parker said as much in a 2011 New York Post interview: "He was originally always gonna be the kid with satellite dishes coming out of his butt. But over the course of the show he got a little bit meaner and darker, and then came the Scott Tenorman episode."

That episode went down in history due to the sheer, unhinged lengths Cartman went to get revenge on Scott Tenorman (voiced by Toby Morton): having his parents killed, chopping them up, and feeding them to him in chili before unveiling it all just in time for Scott's favorite band of all time — Radiohead — to show up and mock him for crying. As it happens, all members of Radiohead lent their voices to the episode. As Parker told Pitchfork (via Far Out Magazine), the band was touring in Santa Barbara during the making of "Tenorman," and he drove up from Los Angeles to record them.

South Park's odd history with guest voices

But for as wide-ranging as Radiohead vocalist Thom Yorke's singing voice is — Pitchfork described it as being able to move instantly from a delicate falsetto to an unmoored yelp — Trey Parker apparently had a tough time getting York to show emotion. "This guy just emotes so heavily when he sings and he was sitting there reading the lines. I was like, 'Emote more.' They were really cooperative and really cool."

What makes this extra surprising is that all of Radiohead's members, including Yorke, are on screen for a very short amount of time. Yorke is there pretty much to agree to meet Scott Tenorman, then to tell him to stop crying like a baby. That's it. Still, voiceover work can take some warming up. Even veterans like Kevin Richardson have admitted as much.

"South Park" has an odd history with guest voices generally, particularly during its earlier seasons. Though Yorke may have had trouble emoting as a cartoon version of himself, he could have had it even harder if he, say, would have been limited to barks and grunts, as when George Clooney voiced Stan's (Trey Parker) gay dog Sparky. Or he could've had nothing to say but meows, as Jay Leno did when he voiced Cartman's cat.