(SPOILERS AHEAD, so proceed with caution, South Park fans!)
Season 17, Episode Eight: “Black Friday”
Written and Directed by: Trey Parker
First off, sorry for the delay! (Side note: If you’re ever at a sports bar and the waitress refuses to bring you your check, don’t sit and wait for it out of politeness — you might end up missing the new South Park episode.)
Anyway, back to your regularly scheduled programming.
After last week’s dramatic cliffhanger in “Black Friday,” we pick right back up with the Console Wars craziness: As the holiday savings apocalypse looms, Cartman and Kyle (the X-Box clan) are still preparing for battle against Stan (the PS4 clan), with both camps using increasingly deceptive and extravagant methods to claim their coveted gaming system. Meanwhile, after the death of grizzled security guard Miles “Happy” Davis (So that’s his name! Also…what?), Randy has taken over the title of crazed survivalist mall cop weirdo, preparing his team for the coming zombie-shopper catastrophe.
It’s a much funnier and more focused episode than its predecessor. It also takes wiener jokes to a transcendent new territory.
We’re ushered back into the Black Friday mindset with a dramatic “Previously on South Park” intro, filled with epic Game of Thrones-styled intro credits. An ominous black crow calls out its sickening song, and we’re reminded again that “winter is coming.”
After some throwaway stuff with Princess Kenny (who has officially chosen her side with Stan’s team), we cut to Cartman’s crew in training, with Butters grunting quite awkwardly while brandishing a fake sword. Cartman is disgruntled about the betrayal of that “traitor whore Kenny,” and Kyle is equally pissed, resigning to a possibly gruesome outcome.
Knowing that the president of Sony is offering (all together now!) a Brack Friday Bunduru as a promotional gimmick, Cartman aims to settle the score. He calls up the CEO of Microsoft, Steve Ballmer, who isn’t fazed by the threats of the coming Console Wars and insists they remain neutral. But neutrality doesn’t appeal to Bill Gates, who shows up with an assassin to wipe Ballmer off the map and claim the throne for himself.
Meanwhile, the mall is now offering another 10% off Black Friday deals in order on the mall cop’s tragic death. Randy, now donning his hero’s beloved eye scar, surveys the growing zombie crowd outside. The end appears to be nigh. (Stretching this episode out to a trilogy really hurt the first episode’s pacing — this one flows a lot better, mostly because they avoid stuff at the mall.)
Back at his headquarters, Cartman wants to follow the Game of Thrones model of strategy, though Butters is still only concerned about the show’s disturbing amount of wiener screen-time. After some convincing, Butters and Scott journey to see the one person who knows the truth: Thrones writer George R. R. Martin. Of course, Martin (to Butters’ disgust) is totally preoccupied with wieners to even talk about the show’s plot. (“Soft and flaccid, his wiener glistens in the golden sunlight!” literally made me cackle. Martin even leads an all-male choir in an outright spit-take-hilarious Wiener chant.)
Cartman turns out to be the true traitor: Throughout the episode, he promises an alliance with basically every member of his team — but he meets his match with Bill Gates, who shows up to give Cartman a taste of his own medicine, taking over the Microsoft operation, even down to the Console Wars themselves.
The executives are now fully engaged in their own Console War. While Gates is manipulating the South Park mall shoppers with his own special Black Friday goodies, the Japanese Sony exec shows up to bestow a shining medallion to Princess Kenny (Cut to “Princess Kenny” anime bit). And back at the mall, Randy continues to prep his crew for the coming Black Friday riots — but it’s gonna be another episode until we’re there. Of course, the mall has decided to postpone Black Friday one week to help shoppers prepare for the insane savings (“96% off for the first 100 people inside the wall”)
As the news station’s field reporter says, “No doubt a lot of people you love are going to die.”
We’ll see next week, I guess.
Overall, a much smoother, more satisfying episode. And again, I’ve never laughed harder at a wiener joke — the Martin penis choir bit might be the funniest bit of the season so far. Did this plot (especially in a 10-episode season) really need to be a trilogy? Not at all. But let’s hope Parker really brings his A-game for the final installment.
Now for some random thoughts and my favorite moments of the night…
“One wiener next to another, two wieners alongside another” — lyrics I caught during the choral wiener segment
Sony exec’s ejaculation noise is terrifying and hilarious.
“Tom, I’m standing in your doorway because we have a hot new story to report” — field reporter crashes the bedroom of news reporters Tom and Tammy Thompson, the love-making brother and sister duo.
“Stan is still the nuts and balls of the operation.” — Cartman
Of course it didn’t ‘NEED to be a trilogy’ – BUT seeing as these are in largest part a parody of Game of Thrones, & there have been 3 completed seasons of that so far, (not to mention part of the joke is how they keep dangling us along in an-ti-ci-pation from season to season), I think it’s therefore rather perfect that SP have also stretched it to a corresponding 3 episodes – (one per procrastinating season of GOT). …
So whilst I too certainly lament the fact we’re only getting a rather unfortunate 10-episode shorter season, I still don’t begrudge a ‘GoT-parody’ a 3-episode arc – in fact I think it’s all the better for it ! – (Well providing this 3rd one is at least as good as the previous 2 have been.) 🙂
Whilst I am a huge GOT fan, I have always found the theme song really dull. South Park’s version really made it more exciting!
does anyone know the name of the actress that was doing the narration at the beginning? i’m guess it’s what kenny’s inner voice sounded like when he’s in princess kenny mode.