"Butters' Very Own Episode" is the fourteenth and final episode of Season Five, and the 79th overall episode of South Park. It aired on December 12, 2001.
Butters inadvertently reveals a deep, dark family secret about his father's late night "shopping" sprees. Alone and lost, Butters determinedly makes his way through porn theaters and gay bath houses in an effort to get his dad back home in time to eat at Bennigan's for his parents' anniversary.
The episode begins with a theme song about Butters. Initially, the premise seems light and sitcom-like simple: Butters expresses excitement about his parent's upcoming anniversary, which they are going to celebrate at Butters' favorite restaurant, Bennigan's. A few days before their anniversary, Mrs. Stotch asks Butters to spy on Mr. Stotch, in order to find out what his gift for her will be. She is convinced that it'll be better than her gift for him. Butters follows his dad as he enters first a gay theater called Studcat Theater with Fisting Firemen 9 playing, then a gay bathhouse called The White Swallow, and has casual sex with men. He doesn't understand the seriousness of what he saw, so he is quite cheerful when he tells his mother about what occurred, and shows her the photos he took to prove it, believing his father went to see a sad movie as he left with lots of tissues and that his father was "wrestling" at that bath house. She then goes insane, and spends the entire day next day painting coat after coat of paint on the wall.
Butters again followed his dad to the bathhouse that night, and (after briefly encountering Mr. Garrison in a steam room) meets up with Stephen as he's masturbating on a bed in one of the rooms. Mr. Stotch is horrified upon seeing Butters there, and advises him to go back home, like a good little boy. Butters cheerfully says goodbye, and leaves. When he gets home, Butters' dad explains to him that it's okay to tell a little white lie in order to avoid emotionally hurting people, and asks him not to tell his mom what he just saw. Butters says that it won't be any problem, since she already knows. Mr. Stotch is frightened, now.
Mrs. Stotch then comes into the room, and says in a dull tone that she wants to take Butters for a little car ride. She says she also wants her husband to stay behind so he can think about what he's done. Mr. Stotch is concerned, but momentarily at a loss for words.
It turns out that she intended to kill herself, but before she did that, she decided that she should kill Butters so he wouldn't be without a mother. She is going to drown Butters in the river. Butters once again has no idea what's really happening, and he proceeds to tell his mom about some difficulties he is having at school. She then gets out of the car, without putting the brakes on, and says that she will be with him shortly afterward. Butters, however, does not drown as she expected him to, rather, the current carries the car for a long time down the stream. When it finally stops, Butters, who is convinced that the car-in-the-water incident was merely an accident, gets out and hurries back home so he and his parents can still go to Bennigan's.
Later, Mr. Stotch comes into the house just as his wife finishes her suicide note and goes to hang herself. He manages to stop her from killing herself, and admits to his homosexual affairs. He explains that his bi-curiousness grew out of experimentation on the Internet, and tells her that it's become an addiction. He refuses to take responsibility for his actions, and instead blames the Internet. He insists that he still loves Mrs. Stotch, and he doesn't want to lose his family, but then his wife confesses to having "killed" Butters. He then agrees to cover the murder up, and they tell the press that Butters was kidnapped by "Some Puerto Rican Guy". As the media centers in on the "missing child" case, the pair are inducted into a "club" of people whose loved ones have taken from them by "Some Puerto Rican Guy", including Gary Condit, O.J. Simpson, and John and Patricia Ramsey.
Butters, after quite an adventure, finally returns. But when his parents begin fighting over which version of their story he must tell, he scolds them for lying and trying to teach him to lie as well. Deciding that he is right, they go outside and confess as to what really happened. They explain about Mr. Stotch's bi-curiosity and affairs, Mrs. Stotch's attempted murder, and the whole cover-up, and it is only at this point that Butters realizes what actually happened, and is visibly disturbed. This is followed by a lengthy scene in which Butters' father repeatedly screams about "slimy scumbag liars" and "murdering murderers" while the camera cuts to the blank but smiling faces of Condit, Simpson, and the Ramseys, implying that they themselves are guilty for the loss of their own "loved ones". Butters, having been completely ignorant of the truth, is aghast and deeply traumatized. When Stan, Kyle and Cartman (recovering from the loss of their friend Kenny in the previous episode), look at him in shock, he attempts to respond with a joke. He then explains to the boys that, while the knowledge of what really transpired is horrible and his faith in the inherent goodness of truth is shaken, he's certain a delicious meal at Bennigan's will get him feeling back to normal: "I'm gonna be okay!" The boys are stunned and Stan asks "Really?" to which Butters sadly replies "No, I'm lying." He then leaves to join his family at Bennigan's, and the scene ends with one more round of the theme.