Last night, like all good people, I turned over to Comedy and I caught the annual South Park Halloween episode.
Because it was South Park, of course!
What Was It About?
It’s Halloween in South Park and Randy Marsh has just spent $10,000 to buy the deserted Blockbuster Video Store. Randy drags his family down to their new store and puts them to work, sorting films left over from the late 90s and the early 21st Century. Despite getting absolutely no costumers (and the fact that the theme from Kubrick’s The Shining keeps playing in the background), Randy remains convinced that DVD rental remains the way of the future. Even though his family doubts him, Randy finds some comfort with the ghosts who live in the Blockbuster and who encourage him to go on a Jack Nicholsonesque rampage.
Meanwhile, Stan, Kyle, Kenny, and Cartman have come up with the perfect plan for Halloween. Each one of them is going to dress up like a member of the Avengers and, as a group, win the town’s costume contest. However, when Stan is forbidden to leave the Blockbuster by an increasingly insane Randy, Kyle is forced to use Face Time on his and Stan’s Ipads so that Stan can literally be in two places at once. Cartman, meanwhile, has to deal with the fact that everyone in town thinks that he’s wearing a green Honey Boo Boo costume.
While out trick or treating, the boys come across a group of criminals who are robbing Redbox kiosks. The criminals, already frustrated by the fact that nobody uses Redbox anymore, end up kidnapping Kyle’s Ipad and make plans to capture the rest of the kids at the South Park Monster Mash (which we are assured is a “graveyard smash.”)
Was this the best Halloween episode of South Park ever? Well, I don’t know if I’d go that far but it was definitely one of the best. From the minute that the familiar and ominous music from The Shining started up, I knew that I was going to love this episode.
Among my many favorite moments of this episode:
Randy watching Ted.
The cops talking about how the monster mash is a graveyard smash.
“I’m not Bruce Vilanch!”
“Kids, come look at the green Honey Boo Boo…”
What Did Not Work:
The episode itself was about as close to perfect as one could hope for. Despite this, the hispster Toadsuckers at the A.V. Club still gave it a mixed review. Perhaps if the episode had featured a reference or two to Arrested Development, the A.V. Club folks would have been kinder to it.
“OH MY GOD! Just like me!” Moments
Unfortunately, nobody dressed up as The Black Widow for Halloween, which essentially prevented the entire episode from being a “OH MY GOD! Just like me!” moment.
I was 12 years old when my family first moved back to Dallas and there was a Blockbuster Video located just a few blocks from our apartment. A few months later, we moved to a house in the suburbs and, while it was quite different from living in an apartment in the ghetto, one thing remained the same — we still lived near a Blockbuster. Seriously, it was so much fun going down there and looking at all the movies that were available and I can still remember how heated the discussions used to get between me and my sister Erin as we debated which R-rated movie we should try to talk our mom into renting for us.
(“Oh, mom,” I’d say, “they rate everything R nowadays, it doesn’t mean anything…”)
Perhaps that’s why, even in this time of Netflix and Hulu and streaming movies online and all the rest, I still love the idea of owning actual DVDs, Blu-rays, and even the occasional VHS tape.
I recently had a chance to drive by one of those old Blockbuster stores. It’s a dollar store now and, while it sells a lot of stuff, there’s not a movie to be found. Boo hoo.
(Seriously, it was kinda depressing.)