by Jeremy Rogers

South Park returned this week to deliver a prequel for their upcoming video game South Park: The Fractured But Whole. The episode follows Cartman and the gang as they try to agree on a strategy to launch their over-complicated superhero franchise. Even before any filming starts, the group’s arch-enemy Professor Chaos and his alter ego Butters Stotch are hard at work sowing chaos into the world and stopping Coon and Friends.

Image from “Franchise Prequel”

Coon and Friends have their initial Netflix endeavor cut short when they find that someone has been spreading fake news about them over Facebook. Hearing about the behavior of some masked kids around town, the residents of South Park invite Mark Zuckerberg to help them protect themselves from these kids and the flood of fake news pouring into everyone’s Facebook feeds. However, Mark Zuckerberg turns out to be a weirdo who doesn’t take responsibility for his actions and is obsessed with people “blocking” his “stoil” (style). He also dubs his voice and has delusions of being an all powerful…something.

It turns out that Butters has been recruiting minions to write fake news on Facebook. The explanation given about how Facebook incentivizes fake news isn’t as blatant and preachy as when the show tackled the economics of free-to-play mobile games, so it gets the job done. Professor Chaos has been working with Mark Zuckerberg to sow chaos all over the world. With Coon and Friends unable to start their franchise until their fake news is taken care of, they make a plan to take out Zuckerberg the only way they know how.

Image from “Franchise Prequel”

Overall, “Franchise Prequel” delivers some quality jokes with a sprinkling of social commentary and a dash of celebrity mockery; it’s a typical South Park episode. None of the jokes were bombshells, but none of them really landed flat. The episode seems more interested in setting up the new video game instead of packing the season with hit episodes.

Featured image from South Park Archives

South Park Season 21, Episode 4: "Franchise Prequel"

7.3 Good

Packing in some decent social commentary and a few laughs, “Franchise Prequel” is a good episode that will never make anyone’s “Top 10 South Park Episodes” list. While it won’t win any awards, it’s still better than the majority of season 20.

  • Humor 7
  • Zuckerberg 8
  • Writing 7
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