It's been quite some time since "South Park" has done a Halloween episode: "Hell on Earth 2006" was the last time the show celebrated the holiday (and caused waves of controversy over a was-it-too-soon-or-not Steve Irwin joke), and it's about time the show returned to some Halloween themed hoodwinks.
Of course, a lot has changed in 6 years, both in the real world, and in "South Park," and apparently everybody but Randy knew this. Taking the Marsh family's savings and investing it in a Blockbuster Video, Randy was sure they were bound to become rich, even as Stan rode in the car watching movies on his iPad.
"South Park" has been known for really running jokes into the ground recently, and while it didn't show much restraint in hitting home the Blockbusters are old and ancient territory, it was a good nod to see Randy immediately sick of the jokes and mocking both Stan, and the ghosts who started showing up in the Blockbuster (Blockbusters are so ancient they have ghosts...well, you get it). Stan delivered the line of the night, though, with "Renting DVDs is more ancient than Madonna's boobs!," and I mean, let's face it, he was probably right.
Meanwhile, Kenny, Kyle, and Cartman are waiting on Stan to go trick-or-treating, but Randy won't let Stan leave the store because he is convinced that on Halloween, of all nights, people will come in to rent scary movies. You've got to love that within the humor and the jokes "South Park" always manages to cut right through the shit to the heart of the problem: It is a little sad that people aren't renting movies anymore, even if, as Randy lamented to Sharon, many rural neighborhoods aren't equipped with fast enough internet for streaming so renting DVDs or blu rays still presents the best movie watching experience. Poor Randy, and poor DVDs.
Ironically, it was technology that saved the day, as Stan started up a FaceTime chat with Kyle, who tied his iPad to a skateboard so the four could still be the Avengers. I mean, Stan was Captain America, and you can't just dress up as the Avengers without Captain America! The group was also hoping to win the costume contest, which was a nice nod to Halloween episodes of the show way back in the day. (So far back, I think I actually watched the episode on a DVD, spooky shit!).
The boys ran into real trouble though, as they tried to stop some burglars robbing the Kum & Go (snicker, snicker). Turned out that they were a group of thieves running around town trying to get rich by breaking into Red Box machines, only to find them as well suffering from that bastard invention that is the internet. The thieves captured Stan (still in iPad, video chat form), which was a running gag that only got better the longer it went it. The thieves scratched the screen of the iPad trying to make Stan rat on his friends. He did, leading the Avengers and the thieves all to the big Monster Mash, and yeah, I know it was silly, but the few line Monster Mash jokes of the cops was just great. It's a graveyard smash! It gets on in a flash!
The Mash continued the show's strong, stand out moments, including the very cute Were-rechaun costume of Butters, and the clever Gangnam-stein (We are going to see so many Gangnam style costumes next week just like the show predicts, I fear).
Back at the Blockbuster, Randy continued to go crazier and crazier (so crazy he was stuck staring at "Ted" on the movie screen, and we all know how much Matt Stone and Trey Parker can't stand "Family Guy" material) with a quite funny scene of him sneaking up on Sharon. He took Stan's iPad away from him just as he entered the Monster Mash, leading to Randy ravaging town as Gangnam-stein attacking people watching movies on streaming devices.
Unfortunately, the twenty some-odd minute limit of the show was fast approaching, and we got a funny scene with Stan dying (you know, those iPad batteries don't last forever), and then everything wrapped up quick, with Shelly burning down the Blockbuster and Randy freezing outside and being unwilling to admit he was wrong (And an odd placed McDonalds joke). We never find out about the costume contest, and the concept was so strong, I'd love to see it go on into next week's episode (which is actually Halloween), but it looked like Matt and Trey chose to wrap it up fast rather than expand it for another whole episode. There were a few slow moment, but the time limit of the show and the rushed/botched ending was the only real problem here, and I just have to say it: Butters like two lines this week were funnier than everything he said last week.Willie is dressing up as Gandalf for Halloween next week, because yes, he is sure you all really really want to know. He probably won't be doing a Gandalf Style dance though, but you can always try requesting it to him on Twitter or Facebook.
Theater: "Barrymore," a one-man play about John Barrymore, kicks off at 8 p.m. tonight at MuCCC (142 Atlantic Ave.). The show continues through June 8, and tickets cost $10-$12 in advance, and $18-$20 at the door. Call 527-0884 or visit muccc.org for additional information.
Music: Whereas Baltimore’s All Time Low has been known to unabashedly wear its collective influences on its collective sleeve, its latest record, “Don’t Panic,” has smoothed out the seams of all the band’s Frankensteined influences. Instead it arrives at its own jagged take on pop-infused punk.