Black Friday (South Park)

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"Black Friday"
South Park episode
CarmanWizard.png
Eric Cartman as a wizard consulting the other South Park kids about Black Friday.
Episode no.Season 17
Episode 7
Directed byTrey Parker
Written byTrey Parker
Production code1707
Original air dateNovember 13, 2013 (2013-11-13)
Episode chronology
← Previous
"Ginger Cow"
Next →
"A Song of Ass and Fire"
South Park (season 17)
List of South Park episodes
 
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"Black Friday"
South Park episode
CarmanWizard.png
Eric Cartman as a wizard consulting the other South Park kids about Black Friday.
Episode no.Season 17
Episode 7
Directed byTrey Parker
Written byTrey Parker
Production code1707
Original air dateNovember 13, 2013 (2013-11-13)
Episode chronology
← Previous
"Ginger Cow"
Next →
"A Song of Ass and Fire"
South Park (season 17)
List of South Park episodes

"Black Friday" is the seventh episode of the seventeenth season of South Park, and the 244th episode of the series overall. It is the first episode of a three-episode story arc, and premiered in the United States on Comedy Central on November 13, 2013. The plot, which employs themes and motifs from the TV series Game of Thrones (in a manner similar to the 2002 Lord of the Rings parody episode "The Return of the Fellowship of the Ring to the Two Towers"), concerns the characters' anticipation of a Black Friday sale, with Randy Marsh taking a temporary job as a mall security guard to gain an advantage over the holiday shopping crowds, and the children of South Park split into two factions over whether to collectively purchase bargain-priced Xbox Ones or PlayStation 4s to facilitate their online group gaming. The episode's opening title sequence shows the characters dressed in the role-playing garments they wear in the storyline. The story is continued in the follow-up episodes "A Song of Ass and Fire" and "Titties and Dragons".[1][2]

Plot

The security management at South Park Mall briefs its guards on the upcoming Black Friday shopping day, on which people have been seriously injured or killed in the past. The security Captain, a grizzled veteran with a large scar running down his face across his blind left eye, tells the guards that this year, the mall is offering an 80% discount to the first 30 people in the mall, which is certain to again incite violence among shoppers, much to the concern of the guards. Among the guards is Randy Marsh, who has taken the temporary job not to earn extra holiday money as he says, but to acquire the discounts ahead of the crowds that will camp outside the mall.

Meanwhile, the children of South Park are once again dressed in medieval garb while engaging in role playing, this time playing Game of Thrones, and are themselves anticipating Black Friday, which they see as an impending "battle". Cartman informs his classmates of the 80% discount, and says if they work together, they can all purchase one of the new gaming systems together so that they can play online games together. However, the children become split over whether to purchase Xbox Ones or PlayStation 4s (PS4), and are split into two factions. Kyle and Stan find themselves on opposite sides of the schism, with Kyle allied with Cartman's Xbox One faction, and Stan on the PS4 side, a parting that the two troubled best friends realize will pit them against each other on Black Friday. Butters, newly introduced to Game of Thrones, is allied with Cartman, but seems more preoccupied with the show's focus on male nudity over dragons. The two factions then begin recruiting other children to increase their ranks. At stake, according to Stan, is that if one system is purchased in high volume over the other, that system will become the standard, rendering the other one obsolete, as occurred with the videotape format war. Cartman, strolling through the "Garden of Andros" with Kenny, whose character is "Lady McCormick", tells him that they are only recruiting Xbox One loyalists to help them get inside the mall so they can get cheap Xbox Ones. He wants Kenny to use his influence to "take care" of Kyle, should his loyalty to their faction falter. The garden is then revealed to be the elaborately landscaped back yard of an elderly South Park resident, who orders the children to stop trespassing on his property. This gag recurs throughout the three-part storyline, with Cartman playing different participants in the conflict against each other, only for the old man to inform them of this from his window, much to Cartman's irritation.

The mall's security is further daunted by the news that a new Tickle Me Elmo called "Stop Touching Me Elmo" is being released in time for Black Friday, which leads to shoppers camping outside even earlier than anticipated. As Randy peruses the products to purchase that day, the Captain thanks him for his service, telling him that he can tell that Randy took the job because he genuinely cares about people, a compliment that troubles Randy. Meanwhile, the head of Sony learns of Cartman's campaign, and fearing that an Xbox One sell-through would be bad for Sony's image, decides to market a Black Friday bundle to further entice PS4 customers, which includes four game controllers, a map of Japan, a $100 rebate, and the ability to pre-order Metal Gear Solid V. To address increasing crowds, the mall's security tries to hand out wristbands so shoppers can hold places in line, but this leads to a brawl in which the Captain is fatally stabbed. Cradling his dying superior, Randy reveals his true motives for having taken the job. The Captain notes that Randy now knows how serious Black Friday is, and peels off the scar over his left eye, revealing it to be a prosthetic appliance. Before expiring, he places it on Randy's face, telling Randy that regardless of his early motives, he is the Captain now, and must now protect the town. Inspired by the new responsibility, Randy tells his fellow guards that they now have work to do. At the same time, Stan rallies his assembled army, telling them that a new leader has joined them to make sure that the winner of the console war is the PS4: Princess McCormick (Kenny).

Critical reception

Max Nicholson of IGN gave the episode an 8.7/10 "Great" rating, writing, "Cleverly fusing elements of the Next-Gen Console War with HBO's Game of Thrones, 'Black Friday' was easily one of the best South Park episodes we've seen in Season 17."[3]

Ryan McGee of The A.V. Club gave the episode an A-, praising the Game of Thrones parody, saying, "Why wrap Game Of Thrones in all this? There's no real reason to do so, except that it's really amusing and offers up a great way to frame the overall narrative. What makes the approach really work is that 'Black Friday' is not a one-for-one parody so much as a thematic one."[4]

References

  1. ^ Matt Stone and Trey Parker. "Episode 1708 "A Song of Ass and Fire" Press Release". South Park Studios. Retrieved November 10, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Episode 1709 "Titties and Dragons" Press Release". South Park Studios. December 1, 2013. Retrieved December 2, 2013. 
  3. ^ Nicholson, Max (November 14, 2013). "South Park: 'Black Friday' Review: The Console War is Coming...". IGN. 
  4. ^ McGee, Ryan (November 13, 2013). "Black Friday". The A.V. Club. 

External links