ESC

Amazon Comes to South Park in ‘Unfulfilled’

After months of making cities jump through hoops and top each other with tax breaks and corporate welfare, Amazon finally decided to open its new headquarters in New York and Washington, D.C. Because of 2020 Democratic front-runner Bernie Sanders, Amazon also made news by raising all employees’ pay to at least $15 an hour. Unfulfilled, tonight’s new episode of South Park, took a biting look at both the company and our reliance on it, and seems to bring a very unusual political viewpoint for the Parker and Stone series.

The episode opens with Butters working on his bike for a bike parade, hoping to win a cash prize, which makes his dad, as usual, get mad over nothing and start yelling about money issues. What I love about Butters is he just stands there and listens with the same goofy look on his face while his dad yells “Fuck you, Butters,” and storms out. We find out in the next scene that Butters’ dad, along with Kenny’s dad and a lot of other people, are working in a new Amazon fulfillment center in South Park.

There’s an accident in the fulfillment center which leads to a strike. The whole thing has a very UK miners’ strike feel to it, which seems intentional with the addition of a prominent Scottish warehouse employee, complete with a Tam O’Shanter. It’s an interesting position for the show as Parker and Stone have generally taken the side of giant, soul-crushing corporations, such as in Something Wall-Mart This Way Comes. The strike means that no one can get their packages delivered, which basically upends everyone’s life and causes Jeff Bezos to personally come to town to deal with it.

For some reason I have yet to discern, Bezos is portrayed as a Talosian from the Star Trek episode The Menagerie and communicates telepathically. This isn’t the series’ first reference to that Star Trek episode; the boys’ kindergarten teacher was in the same beeping iron lung/wheelchair that Captain Pike used in the episode. Also, the back of head looks like a giant ass, which I’m sure wasn’t an accident. It’s a good gag in an episode that’s full of them.

I’m not sure if I’m reading too much into this, but my favorite joke in the episode is the worker injured in the accident is packed inside a box which he can’t be removed from or he’ll die. He’s leading the striking worker and spends the entire episode giving far-left talking points, and the reporter covering the strike just keeps asking him about the box. It seemed to me that this was a reference to the media coverage of socialist Congresswoman-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, which has focused mainly on her clothes and creepy dudes taking pictures of her ass as opposed to what she’s saying and doing.

Stan, Kyle, Kenny and Cartman all come together in this episode, and even address how the show used to be about the four of them having adventures together and how far it’s drifted with the boys going their own way. They even address how Kyle doesn’t really have a role in the new series with the changes that have taken place. In order to secure parts for their bikes for the bike parade the boys travel to the mall, which is now an overgrown jungle filled with mutants, a thing that could very well have happened to your local mall. Would you even know? When was the last time you set foot in a mall?

The episode ends on a cliffhanger, to be resolved in next week’s season finale. I’m a bit apprehensive, because the last two-parter had a strong start and a weak ending, but I can’t find anything bad to say about this episode. It’s as solid an episode as the show has produced in years, and hopefully next week’s episode ends the season just as strong.

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