Writer: Trey Parker
Director: Trey Parker
Network: Comedy Central, airs Wednesday nights
Original Telecast: March 22, 2012
One of the most ground-breaking moments in SOUTH PARK history came last season when the mid-season finale “You’re Getting Old” tackled some serious issues while still bathed in the show’s filthy potty humor.
It was an amazing episode – not only touching, but also grasping at something a little deeper. The show has always been about pushing boundaries and occasional political commentary, but there was a rawness to that episode that polarized fans. Those that got it though, appreciated that, in some ways, creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone kind of grew up – or did they?
“Cash For Gold” is striving for something a little deeper too – but perhaps not as wholly effective. There is more warmth and heart packed into the episode though – something that hardly ever happens on this show. Maybe the boys are getting soft, but either way, this is definitely a mixed bag episode of SOUTH PARK redeemed by its surprisingly heartfelt ending.
When Stan visits his grandpa (who calls him Billy), he gives Stan a gift – a really tacky bolo tie. The first thing Stan thinks of doing is selling it, because it looks ridiculous. Then he embarks on a journey to find out why his grandpa and tons of other senile older people are duped by the Home Shopping Network into buying crappy jewelry for exorbitant prices that their offspring could care less about.
The journey leads all the way to India and a sweatshop factory.
Meanwhile, Cartman with the help of Butters starts his own crappy jewelry Home Shopping Network-esque show to bilk unsuspecting elderly people too.
For a SOUTH PARK episode, the show breaks some new ground in that they really milk the style of the Home Shopping Network and how they constantly lower their already outrageous prices to make it seem like a bargain. Many of the scenes dwell on the close-up of the sale pitches and they’re terribly deranged and occasionally funny. They also must have been a breeze to animate.
The big pleasure though comes from the ending – which offers up what old people really want. They’re always giving horrible gifts to their kids or grandkids, but what they really want is someone to be thoughtful back to them.
A great ending doesn’t make up for the ho-hum of the rest of the episode. Sure, SOUTH PARK doesn’t have to be laugh-out-loud funny, but the comedy and humor isn’t as sharp as it normally is. I forgave the rest of the episode for the pay-off at the end, but this really is an uneven episode at its core.
Still, it’s better to try something new, rather than tread water and SOUTH PARK wouldn’t be SOUTH PARK if it didn’t constantly experiment. Kudos to Parker and Stone for this episode, which sadly, is more of bummer than a home run.
AGREE? DISAGREE? LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD – COMMENT BELOW
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Article: TV Review – SOUTH PARK – Season 16 – “Cash For Gold”