"Crack Baby Athletic Association" is the fifth episode of Season Fifteen, and the 214th overall episode of South Park. It originally aired on May 25, 2011.
Cartman has a new protégé. He's found someone who is smart, ambitious and willing to look the other way in order to get to the top. Kyle is brought in on the ground floor of Cartman's latest business venture, the Crack Baby Athletic Association.
Stan and Kyle are watching a Buddhist-themed Terrance and Phillip episode until a commercial featuring Sarah McLachlan about babies addicted to crack comes on that is so sad that it sways Kyle to go to Colorado Medical Center to volunteer. He is about to start helping crack babies there, but he finds that Cartman is also volunteering. Kyle follows him and sees that he, Craig, Clyde, and Butters have gathered together to form a new business which takes crack addicted babies and makes them fight each other for a small crack rock. At first, Kyle is shocked and horrified at what Cartman has done, but the money causes Kyle to see it Cartman's way work and with him. While Craig and Clyde struggle to find the musician Slash to get him to play halftime at an upcoming game, the group prepare to cut a deal with EA Sports for a video game based upon their sport. Kyle convinces Cartman to spend the money from the deal on a state-of-the-art orphanage for the crack babies, but EA Sports screws the group out of the entire business and refuses to pay them anything.
This is made worse with the revelation that Slash is a make-believe character based on a Dutch legend named Vünter Slauche. However, there is some evidence at the end of the episode that suggests Slash is real and that he used his money to build the orphanage for Kyle, reaffirming the boys' faith in Slash.
AV Club gave "Crack Baby Athletic Association" a "B+" rating saying: "One of South Park’s strengths is that no matter how close to downright preachy its satire can sometimes be, it can always make up for any hint of self-seriousness with something completely, cartoonishly ludicrous. For example, the proposition that well-known rock guitarist Slash is actually a mythical character based on the ancient Dutch legend of "Vunder Slash," and whose participation in everything from Cartman’s birthday party to his entire tenure in Guns ’N’ Roses can be explained away as somebody’s parent donning a hat and wig just to bring a little love into the world. To name another example, a hot tub filled with KFC gravy. It’s often these little things that keep South Park’s satire from turning into full-bore sermonizing, and thankfully tonight had a lot of them."
IGN gave "Crack Baby Athletic Association" a "7.0" rating saying: "The problem here (as is often the case in South Park episodes) is that the story runs the main joke into the ground. Once the link between crack baby basketball and the NCAA was made, there wasn't much else to the main plot. The episode needed a strong side-story to supplement its main premise with a few extra laughs, and the writers halfheartedly tried with the "Slash as Santa Claus" idea, but that concept was too random and odd to add enough comedy to elevate this story above mediocre. This Slash side-plot was such a bad fit with the main story that I'd almost say it was just tacked-on filler to take up some empty airtime when the writers finally ran out of jokes in the NCAA story.
But the flaws in this episode aren't horrible, they're just disappointing. I expected more and the story didn't deliver, but that doesn't take away from what actually is there. I did like that the episode showed Kyle falling into Cartman's schemes as the allure of money clouds his judgement, and Stan stoically acts as the cavalier voice of reason. Cartman will always be Cartman, but the rest of the cast members often go through some interesting personal dilemmas, and it was nice to see Kyle fall to the dark side, but make his way back. And then there's Butters doing karaoke, which I could watch all day. Add to that Cartman's entertaining southern businessman shtick, and you've got a number of moments that keep this episode afloat despite a smart but halfheartedly executed main premise."