Cash for Gold (South Park)
|"Cash for Gold"|
|South Park episode|
|Episode no.||Season 16
|Directed by||Trey Parker|
|Written by||Trey Parker|
|Original air date||March 21, 2012|
"Cash for Gold" is the second episode of the sixteenth season of the American animated television series South Park, and the 225th episode of the series overall. It originally aired on Comedy Central in the United States on March 21, 2012. The episode centers on Stan's irritation with J&G Shopping Network and television home shopping networks in general, as he discovers that they prey upon the elderly and fleece them of their money, as well as Cartman's new entrepreneurship inspired by that same idea.
Stan Marsh's grandfather Marvin gives him a bejeweled bolo tie, saying that the Jewels & Gems (J&G) Shopping Network, from which he bought it, claimed that its 14 carat gold and diamonds makes it worth $6,000. After Cartman teases him for wearing such a tacky and unfashionable item, Stan takes it to a Cash For Gold store where he is offered $15 for it. Other such merchants similarly offer him little or nothing for the item, and Stan realizes that his grandfather has been swindled. Cartman shows his friends the J&G infomercials, where half-senile senior citizens are conned into buying cheap jewelry for their relatives. Stan tries to talk Marvin out of buying him or his sister Shelly more worthless items, but Marvin suffers from Alzheimer's disease and instead relates to Stan an oft-repeated anecdote of a Border Collie named Patches he once had, but laments that he can no longer remember what she looked like.
Stan begins a crusade to stop the exploitation of the elderly in this manner, and vows to track down whoever is at the top of the trade. Meanwhile, Cartman decides to get into the infomercial business with Butters as his sidekick, and not only starts offering his classmates cash for gold, he also sets up his own television channel and mimics the tone and techniques of Dean, the host on J&G. He visits a jewellery shop to restock, but he notices the women at the shop are using the very same mannerisms as he and Dean use, revealing they are scam artists as well.
Cartman arrives at a factory in India where the jewellery is made, intending to buy direct from them, and finds Stan is here as well, complaining about what they are doing. In a montage, it is revealed that the business is a continuous loop: the jewellery made at the factory is shipped to the United States, where scam artists sell it to senior citizens, who give them as gifts to relatives. The relatives sell the gifts for cash, and they are then smelted down into raw gold and shipped back to the India factory to be reforged into new jewellery. An employee at the factory gives Stan a picture frame, which he accepts. Stan presents Marvin with a framed picture of Marvin and his deceased dog Patches in this frame, and Marvin, not remembering giving Stan the bolo, tells him it is "gay," and Stan promises not to wear it anymore.
Stan calls the J&G host, Dean, and tells him to kill himself for having conned numerous elderly people out of their money. This sparks a trend, and Dean, deluged with calls from the elderly repeating the request, eventually complies and shoots himself in the head, splashing a display of worthless jewellery with his blood.
Max Nicholson of IGN gave the episode a "Great" score of 8 out of 10, noting that although the episode "did take a few scenes to really get cooking", the clips from the infomercial segments were the highlight of the episode, as was "the montage surrounding whoever smelt it denied it and rhymed it actually dealt it". Nicholson also noted the similarity of Stan's phone call to J&G, in which he angrily urges the host to kill himself, to the "Marketing and Advertising" bit from comedian Bill Hicks' 1997 album Arizona Bay.
Marcus Gilmer of The A.V. Club gave the episode a B- score. Comparing it to the previous episode, he noted, "There were plenty of lines that made me laugh" but that "the episode falls short of previous efforts at social commentary, including last week’s episode".
- "Episode 1602 'Cash For Gold' Press Release". South Park Studios. March 19, 2012. Retrieved March 24, 2012.
- Kleinman, Jacob (March 22, 2012). "South Park New Episode Exposes 'Cash For Gold' Conspiracy". International Business Times. Retrieved March 28, 2012.
- "'South Park': Cartman Opens His Own Cash 4 Gold Business". TV Replay. The Huffington Post. March 22, 2012. Retrieved March 24, 2012.
- Nicholson, Max (March 22, 2012). "South Park: "Cash For Gold" Review: The dawn of tacky keepsakes is upon us". IGN. Retrieved April 6, 2012.
- Gilmer, Marcus (21 March 2012). "Cash for Gold". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 22 May 2012.