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South Park 21.4 Review – ‘Franchise Prequel’

October 12, 2017 | Posted by Jeremy Lambert
South Park - Franchise Prequel
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South Park 21.4 Review – ‘Franchise Prequel’  

For the first time in years, South Park completely ignored what’s currently going on in the country. There was no talk of Donald Trump, NFL players kneeling during the national anthem, John Kelly potentially being fired as Chief of Staff, or Harvey Weinstein. Alright, there was one Harvey Weinstein joke, but it wasn’t the central focus of the entire episode.

No, South Park just did…an episode.

It’s tough to judge “Franchise Prequel” given that it’s 100 percent linked to the release of next week’s South Park video game The Fractured But Whole. Some of the stuff that seemed out of nowhere and meaningless in tonight’s episode may make sense once we go through the entire story of the video.

For example, the Facebook stuff with Mark Zuckerberg felt a little out of place given that Twitter has surpassed Facebook as the go to new source in today’s world. However, The Fractured But Whole was developed over two years ago, with the release scheduled for late last year. Two years ago, Facebook and Twitter were closer to equal footing than they are today, so the inclusion of Facebook rumors and super Zuckerberg make a little more sense. Plus, people know Zuckerberg thanks in large part to The Social Network. Can you tell me who invented Twitter? Didn’t think so.

Zuckerberg has been in the news lately with his insensitive virtual reality tour of Puerto Rico and Trump calling out Facebook for promoting fake news, but Facebook was a proprietor of fake news long before Trump invented the term.

The real humor from “Franchise Prequel” came from Matt & Trey ripping on the DC and Marvel universe. The Coon has a lot of friends. Whether it’s Tupperware, Toolshed, Human Kite, Mysterion, or the newly introduced Fast Pass, The Coon is just one of many superheroes in the South Park universe. Plus, there’s arch rival Professor Chaos.

With so many characters, it makes sense that each one would have their own origin story and spinoff as a way to grab money. Sure, the Avengers exist. But the Avengers don’t exist without the multiple Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor movies.

The Coon is telling his fellow crimefighters to be patient as they’ll get their own vehicle. Some might be an animated short, others will be a full blown movie. The timeline doesn’t really matter. Prequel, sequel, present day, the audience will eventually figure it out.

“Franchise Prequel” had its laugh out loud moments. The Coon’s conversation with a Netflix spokesperson, Butter’s dad grounding Vladimir Putin, and Zuckerberg as a character straight out of a bad Japanese action flick all led to moments of laughter. But it’s tough to judge this episode without playing The Fractured But Whole.

Some claim that the show was ripping on Facebook Fake News, but that seems like low hanging fruit that Matt & Trey wouldn’t bother reaching for.. Sure, there’s fake news on Facebook, but Twitter is a much bigger outlet for fake news. Trump attacks in 140 characters, not pictures of dogs.

As a standalone episode “Franchise Prequel” is fine, but nothing special. However, we may look back on this episode in a couple of weeks after we’ve played through through the Fractured But Whole story and say, “I get why they did this.”

This episode felt like a throwaway episode in some respects. It didn’t have a 2017, or even 2016, feel to it. We’ve come to except South Park to touch on current issues happening in the world and there was really none of that on Wednesday night unless you’re trying to grasp at straws.

Maybe, those who say this episode was about Facebook fake news will be proven right when the Fractured But Whole doesn’t have a single mention of Mark Zuckerberg, but I’m willing to bet that Matt & Trey are a bit smarter than that.

Wednesday’s episode was designed to move video game units next week. It may be a prequel to the game or it may be a 30-minute (with commercials) advertisement for the game. Either way, it didn’t feel like your regular episode of South Park.

5
The final score: review Not So Good
The 411
It's tough to judge "Franchise Prequel" without playing the Fractured But Whole. The episode itself wasn't one of the best episodes ever or anything, but we may look back and see that it made perfect sense in line with the Coon and Friends Universe and upcoming video game. Given that the rating is based on standalone, I can't go any higher than a five, because I didn't find it overly funny, but there is definitely room for it to grow depending on the video game.
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