Let Go, Let Gov
|"Let Go, Let Gov"|
|South Park episode|
|Episode no.||Season 17
|Directed by||Trey Parker|
|Written by||Trey Parker|
|Original air date||September 25, 2013|
"Let Go, Let Gov" is the first episode in the seventeenth season of the American animated television series South Park. The 238th episode of the series overall, it first aired on Comedy Central in the United States on September 25, 2013. The episode's story satirizes the 2013 mass surveillance disclosures, and casts Eric Cartman in an Edward Snowden-like role, in which he infiltrates the NSA in protest of the agency's surveillance of American citizens.
Kyle Broflovski grows increasingly irritated at Eric Cartman's habit of having indiscreet phone conversations while using the speakerphone function of his phone. When he complains about this to Cartman, Cartman accuses Kyle of invading his privacy, and comes to suspect that Kyle is an agent of the National Security Agency (NSA), which Cartman believes is tracking the movements of American citizens. When Butters Stotch learns this, he begins worshipping the government.
Cartman acquires a new social media device called Shitter, which is being advertised on TV by Alec Baldwin. The device broadcasts a user's thoughts audibly and sends them directly to the Internet without the use of a phone. Cartman decides to use this device while infiltrating the NSA in order to broadcast his thoughts to the Internet. Meanwhile, Butters goes to a Colorado Department of Motor Vehicles office and confesses his sins to the person behind the counter. He is subsequently visited by two Jehovah's Witnesses. Butters shares with them the truth about the government and the three of them begin sharing DMV literature with their neighbors. Eventually, others begin showing up at the DMV to confess their sins.
Cartman goes to the NSA headquarters impersonating a job applicant under the name Bill Clinton. The NSA chief hires him to help monitor emails and phone conversations. Cartman is irritated to learn that he himself is not being monitored by the NSA and tries unsuccessfully to convince the chief that Eric Cartman is really a threat. The chief explains that the NSA cannot change someone's status in the Central Computer. When Cartman questions this, the chief reveals the mechanism by which the NSA monitors citizens: they have Santa Claus imprisoned and hooked up to their computers. Cartman then reveals his true identity, telling the chief that he will inform the public of the truth.
Cartman is subsequently heartbroken to learn that nobody cares that the NSA is monitoring them. He is consoled by Butters, who convinces him to join the group at the DMV.
Max Nicholson of IGN gave the episode a score of 6.7 out of 10, saying that "the beginning of 'Let Go, Let Gov' featured the best jokes from this storyline" and that "as the arc progressed, the episode veered more and more into preachy territory." Marcus Gilmer of The A.V. Club gave "Let Go, Let Gov" a C−, saying that "instead of reaching for some sort of sharp satire, there's a settling for an easy, cheap joke." He adds that the central story-line about the NSA "wanders a bit with stale riffs and a lackadaisical payoff".
- Gilmer, Marcus. "Let Go, Let Gov". The A.V. Club. Retrieved September 26, 2013.
- "Let Go, Let Gov". South Park Studios. Retrieved September 23, 2013.
- Kondolojy, Amanda (September 23, 2013). "Cartman Infiltrates the NSA on the 17th Season Premiere of 'South Park' on Wednesday September 25". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved September 23, 2013.
- VanDerWerff, Todd (September 25, 2013). "South Park casts Eric Cartman in the role of Edward Snowden for its first episode since November". The A.V. Club. Retrieved June 15, 2016.
- West, Kelly. "Cartman Takes On The NSA". Cinema Blend. Retrieved September 23, 2013.
- Nicholson, Max (September 26, 2013). "South Park: "Let Go, Let Gov" Review". IGN.