South Park: Winter is Coming!

south_park_60532South Park once again spoofed Game of Thrones this past week. Using Black Friday as a plot line, the episode had the children dressing up as characters from the GOT universe and plotting to get their hands on the new Xbox One’s and PS4’s. In true GOT fashion, this involved plotting, making and breaking alliances, and the use of the slogan “Winter is Coming” to portend the need for swift action.

And of course, the show itself was reference, much in the same way that Lord of the Rings or World of Warcraft was worked into the plot in previous episodes. As usual, Butters is the only one who doesn’t know about it yet and is promptly told to get on it by Cartman. Plotting ensues, and a war of GOT proportions is declared.

And just like with the Lord of the Rings and World of Warcraft episode, Butters is confused by (and has some hilarious observations about) the pop culture phenomena once he actually starts experiencing it. I’m sure fans of the GOT series know exactly what he’s talking about.

And there’s even a thread where Randy Marsh (Stan’s dad) joins the mall cops, ostensibly to earn more money for the holidays, but really so he can get a better shot at scoring some Black Friday deals. After the head cop, an old man with a scarred face, is stabbed and passes leadership onto Randy it’s clear they are alluding to John Snow and Jeor Mormont of the Night’s Watch. While I could not find a clip of that part, trust me when I tell you its quite accurate.

This is the second time that South Park has referenced this show, and about the millionth time that GOT was spoofed, referenced, or satirized in some way. Man, that show has made some serious inroads into popular culture, and dammit if they aren’t taking their precious time getting Season 4 out!

South Park Spoofs the NSA

south-park_NSAI just finished watching the Season 17 premiere of South Park, and came away both impressed and confused. Now is it just me, or this show really socially and politically relevant? Half the time I think its an example of how far we’ve declined as a culture. Other times I think it’s modern day satire at its best. Well, not exactly finest, but you get the idea…

Basically, in this episode Cartman joins the NSA hoping to blow the whistle on their government surveillance program from the inside. And despite exposing the truth – the weird, whacky truth which I shall I not mention for fear of spoilers – no one seems to care. Cartman goes home thinking he needs to move to Russia since he’s now a whistle blower and this is what they do.

Here are the highlights, as obtained from Youtube:

And interestingly enough, in a separate thread, the naive but loveable doormat Butters hears from Cartman that the government is watching them all the time and interprets it in rather… religious terms. That night, he chooses to pray to the government, thanking it for watching over him and letting it know what he wants for Christmas.

south-park_DMVAs if that wasn’t enough, when he sins, he goes to the DMV to confess and says the Pledge of Allegiance as if it is a Hail Mary. He also recruits a bunch of Jehova’s Witnesses come to his door and begins going door to door, telling others about how the Government wants to forgive them and be let into their hearts. Thanks to Butters and his followers, the DMV becomes a church in its own right, with prayer services and sing-alongs.

The DMV is then inspired by this and decides to become an actual church, and is then promtply shut down for having sex with little boys(!) Apparently, they seemed to think this “came with the territory”. Those looking to confess were told to go to the Post Office, which shortly thereafter was also closed down for having sex with little boys! Here’s the highlights from that thread:

Terrible no? And yet, somehow very spot on!

The Future is Here: The Airport Virtual Assistant

You ever walk into a Walmart, look at the greeter and think to yourself, “I bet a hologram could do that guy’s job.” Yeah, I’m guessing probably not, huh? But in all seriousness, these individuals and other members of the service industry may find themselves being declared redundant pretty soon. Thanks to the introduction of the AVA (Airport Virtual Assistant) by airportONE, the job of being the happy, smiling face that people see when they arrive and leave and get their helpful info from may soon be filled by a virtual lady. That’s right, holograms are taking our jobs!

Already, the technology has been installed in three major New York City Airports, including La Guardia, Newark, and JFK. Washington Dulles and Boston Logan are following suit, and expect to have theirs up and running soon. At present, the capabilities of the AVA are limited to reciting a 90 second loop of general airport information to anyone looking for guidance. However, airportONE is looking to expand on that by adding voice-recognition software and a fully interactive program which can answer people’s questions. They also plan to make future versions multilingual so that they can assist international travelers.

According to the company’s own promotional material, which isn’t creepy at all, the benefits of this technology are obvious:

“She works 24 hours a day, seven days a week and doesn’t charge for overtime. She never gets sick and doesn’t require a background check.”

Isn’t that exactly what Mr. Dyson, the guy who built Skynet, said in Terminator 2? Anyone remember how that out? And according to airportONE, plans are underway to create new and different models that can be used in hospitals, business offices, stores and museums. Very soon, the entire service industry could be outsourced once more… to a land of microchips and directed photons.

So far, reaction to the AVA has been a bit mixed. But I can imagine what the folks at South Park have to say about this act of technological outsourcing!

Game of Thrones, now appearing on South Park!

I guess it was just a matter of time. But it seems that Matt Stone and Trey Parker, creators of South Park, have finally decided to include a Game of Thrones pop-culture reference into their show. Despite how low-brow the humor can get, and an overabundance of toilet humor, I’ve always been drawn back to this show because of it’s ability to stay current.

In fact, after reviewing the whole of season 14, in which they mocked all the crap Jersey reality TV, cooking shows, the shake-weight, Tiger Woods, “sex addiction”, Nascar, Facebook, and BP, I became convinced that the show a certain hidden genius to it, like it was one of the most relevant sources of pop culture mockery and satire available to viewing audiences. Yeah, that impression kinda wore off…

In any case, I’m just glad they threw out some GOT references for all the geeks out there! Watch the clip, it’s quite funny if you’ve read the books or follow the series: