Last week’s episode of South Park was…very confusing. I’m still not sure if we were all inceptionized the entire time we’ve been watching the going on 18 seasons of the show, or if the ending was part of some weird dream or…really I have no idea what happened there. Spoiler alert – Stan ends up realizing he’s been stuck in virtual reality this whole time and takes off his Oculus Rift headset. The scene cuts to four real life foul-mouthed human boys standing around Stan’s computer.
But this isn’t the only episode on tech culture the show has referenced this season. Last week South Park chartered into drones, privacy and “Snappening” territory. Before that an Uber-like car sharing service made up of handicapped people (Timmy!) called Handicar enters the “Wacky Races” – a global race including all taxi and other ride share services.
The town goes nuts, grabbing up all the milk and cereal in the grocery store in preparation. Meanwhile, one of the leads of Handicar informs the public in an eerily familiar way that this race is just one more way corporations try to keep handicapped people from sharing their rides.
Timmy races in his Handicar against Lyft, ZipCar, Elon Musk in his new Tesla D, a taxi “driven by an angry Russian” and some total banana villain up to no good named Dick Dastardly. Matthew McConaughey even becomes a Handicar driver and enters the race. The True Detective star pulls up in his Lincoln Continental and cooly states that he, “just likes the feel of it.” It’s clearly a reference to the Lincoln ads that went viral and sparked a bunch of Internet parodies. It was possibly also alluding to Uber’s branded Black Car service.
In “Go Fund Yourself” – a show we wrote about earlier – the gang decides to drop out of school and create a startup that gets funded on KickStarter. Cartman goes all-out Tim Cook mode as CEO of the “Washington Redskins,” the name of their startup.
Best line in the episode is when Cartman shouts to a conference full of faithful fans, “Fuck you. Those words mean a great deal to us. They help us express as a company how we see things differently. And now our company is thrilled to show you all the latest innovations we’ve come up with. To begin with, we have moved the couch from the left side of the office, to the right side,” he says as he waddles back and forth across the stage, Cartman style.
There was even an episode about freemium mobile games that entrap addiction-prone players into overspending. It’s considered so evil that the devil has to take over in order to help Stan break the cycle.
There’s a lot going on here this season. Several episodes obviously pay homage to tech culture. It’s an admittance that the tech that comes out of Silicon Valley has infiltrated every corner of pop culture.
It’s not clear what the next episode, which airs this Wed, Nov 19, will be about. Comedy Central only shows a black and white holder image and says the show is “TBD.” Show creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker will no doubt continue to satirize our livelihoods in the way they do best – with four crude grade-schoolers residing in the dysfunctional community of South Park, Colorado.