Written by Matt Kelly
Plot: Taking advantage of a recent change in the availability of a certain NFL team’s copyright, the boys start their own company and attempt to make money using a classic crowd funding technique: do absolutely nothing.
I guess there are some people who just don’t like South Park, like the Amish or whatever. Sure. This isn’t for them. Everyone else has no excuse to do anything but love Go Fund Yourself. It takes on three of the easiest targets and rips them to shreds. This is among the strongest starts to a season that I have ever seen. Let’s get some context.
A good episode of South Park is one with a mixture of being really, really funny and making a point. A great South Park episode goes one step further and makes a point about something you weren’t even thinking about in the first place. Sometimes you even learn something. In rare occasions you like to believe it even affect change. It’s not usually a tangible change, but maybe it makes you think differently the console wars or the History Channel. No episode is a better example of this than “The Ring.”
“The Ring” was the episode that opened Season 13. It was about purity rings and the Jonas Brothers. Not only was it super funny and full of really memorable moments but it brought to our attention the fact that the Jonas Brothers, and to a greater extent Disney, were manipulating little girls in weird quasi-sexual ways. It’s not like we wouldn’t have some to that conclusion on our own. It’s just that South Park made it their thing for a week and now I can’t look at the Jonas Brothers without thinking of phrases like “selling sex to little girls” and “my ‘gineys tingling”.
Go Fund Yourself really delivers on every front. Obviously, it’s really funny. Most episodes are. The plot is a simple moneymaking scheme involving all four boys and the addition of Butters because Butters is the best. It begins with Cartman having the brilliant idea of using the recently uncopyrighted Washington Redskins name and logo to start a Kickstarter as an attempt to make millions of dollars off of idiots on the internet. Their plan is a huge success until the NFL intervenes and the group’s resolve is tested.
Our three targets are crowd funding, The NFL, and of course The Washington Redskins. If you saw the promo that aired during the Washington Redskins game this week (brilliant) you got the thrust of what was going on here. Don’t get me wrong. It was great and got me really excited about the episode but it played the way you expect. The NFL was also humiliated separately from The Redskins bit. They only had one scene but the idea of using Roger Godell’s own robotic speech as his character’s voice-over was an excellent move. It really made the NFL look stupid.
It was the crowd funding angle that really surprised me. I forgot how stupid the potato salad Kickstarter was. Having the boys try to retrace that path was really funny. It’s also always great to see the boys succeeding with a stupid plan, especially when Cartman is in charge. “Go Fund Yourself” also reminded me of all of the news stories that have come up in the last few years where someone semi-well known starts a Kickstarter but doesn’t end up delivering or Zach Braff tried to fund a movie through Kickstarter and everyone gets mad. It’s one of those things that everybody is aware of but usually doesn’t think about like the Home Shopping Network or the Jonas Brothers and that makes it a perfect target for South Park.
Where will this rank in the pantheon of South Park season premieres? I think pretty high. It is hard to argue with episodes like “The Ring” (Season 13) and “It Hits the Fan” (Season 5) being some of the strongest season premieres but “Go Fund Yourself” seems to belong right up there with them. There are plenty of memorable episodes like “Good Times with Weapons” (Season 8) which were really funny but not as poignant. I think it will end up above “Tonsil Trouble” (Season 12) and “HumancentiPad” (Season 15) but below With “Apologies to Jesse Jackson” (Season 11). That’s a really good place to be.
If you’re like me, you even might like to believe maybe, just maybe this will make someone important think differently about continuing to name a professional football team The Washington Redskins. I mean come on. The WASHINGTON REDSKINS. In the nation’s capital! The nation that essentially executed the Native Americans! They have a football team named after them in the capitol?! Come on!
It probably won’t.
9/10 (It automatically becomes a 10/10 if the Redskins change their name)
Matthew Nando Kelly is a contributing writer for Pop-Break. Aside from TV reviews, he also writes about films, music, and video games. Matthew also has a podcast called Mad Bracket Status where he discusses pop culture related brackets with fellow Pop-Break writer DJ Chapman. He loves U2, cats, and the New Orleans Saints. He can also occasionally be found writing lists on Topless Robot. His twitter is @NationofNando