'South Park' Tears Into Cable Companies, Content Controls, Network Bundling and Murder Porn
It also weighed in on the influence on society of violence and depravity in easily accessible media content. But the tables were turned: It was the children of the title town who were trying to stop their parents from overindulging in potentially harmful programming.
The story began with a school report by a boy named Peter, a classmate of Cartman and his gang. “My report is on the vile and despicable trash that our parents are watching on television,” he began, the anger rising in his voice. “There is a plague of smut on our cable boxes. Shows that feature reenactments of unsolved crimes and spousal homicides. I’m talking, of course, about murder porn.”
At this point, there appeared on a screen behind Peter a logo for ID Investigation Discovery, along with still photos of stabbings, shootings and other mayhem.
“According to the Nielsen ratings, viewership of shows like ‘Cold Case Files,’ ‘Dateline Murder’ and ‘Deadly Affairs’ is skyrocketing amongst married couples,” Peter continued. “The increased viewership has brought about a slew of shows that use graphic sex and innuendo to make spousal murder more titillating. Shows like ‘Southern Fried Homicide,’ ‘Sinful Secrets,’ ‘On the Case with Paula Zahn.’
“Your parents are watching this stuff,” Peter excitedly concluded. “Go home and ask them! And as we ask them we must also ask ourselves, if they are obsessed with this stuff, how long before one of our daddies dresses up in lingerie and bashes mommy’s head in with a brick?”
Later, young Stan returned home to the sounds of his parents Randy and Sharon engaged in heavy foreplay in their bedroom. He soon discovered that they were watching graphic murder porn to heighten their arousal. When he confronted them about what they were watching, his dad explained, “Stan, this is just an investigative crime show.”
Kyle later revealed to his schoolmates that there exists a new app that allows kids to block things that their parents watch on television, and that it is password protected with a security code that only a child would know. Stan was the first to try it. That night, with such shows as “Sexy Betrayals” and “Hot Load Case Files” playing on ID, his parents hungrily got down to business when their screen suddenly locked, the words “Content Blocked” displayed across the top. “To unlock, answer the security question,” the graphics stated. “How do you tame a horse in "Minecraft"?”
Randy scurried to the office of his local cable provider and asked the customer service representative to unblock his content. “We need it now!” he demanded.
“I’m sorry sir, if you need it now perhaps you should switch to another cable company,” the representative coolly and condescendingly replied while suggestively rubbing his own nipples. “Oh wait. There’s not another cable company, is there? We’re the only one in town.”
The parents of South Park vowed to fight back against the oppressive behavior of their children and learned the ins and outs of "Minecraft" from a helpful and easily bribed kid named Corey. They were soon out into the community reenacting "Minecraft" behaviors, which further agitated the kids. When Cartman and friends confronted Corey, he calmly explained, “Your problem ain’t with me, mates. Sure -- one or two people might act out what they see in video games, but … people copy everything they see people do on cable! You want to protect your family? You’re going to have to go fight the cable company.”
That’s exactly what Cartman, Stan, Kyle and others then tried to do, but they had to deal with the same nipple-rubbing customer service representative Randy had earlier encountered. When Kyle asked that the company drop all networks with murder porn, including “ID, A&E, Oxygen and Oprah’s network,” the representative sneered.
“You don’t like paying for all the channels? he asked, rubbing his nipples as the boys looked on. “Our company actually packages channels together!”
“Can you un-package them so we only get the channels we want?” Kyle naively asked.
“I’m sorry, our company doesn’t work that way,” the representative said.
The kids then asked to speak to a supervisor, who was also a smooth-talking nipple-rubber. “You have to pay for the bundle,” the supervisor explained. “You can’t just pay for what you want to watch.”
“You mean we’re forced to pay for the Oprah channel?” Kyle asked in disbelief.
“I guess if you don’t want to pay for the Oprah channel you’ll have to shut off your cable altogether,” the representative said. When the boys agreed to do so, they learned they would have to wait three weeks for an appointment.
Moments later there was a cut to an “important message from the president of your local cable company.” A silver haired man in a plush office addressed the camera. “In an effort to comfort the anguished cries of children everywhere, your local cable company has decided to drop all networks that sexualize spousal homicides from regular programming.
“Customers still wishing to view true crime networks will now need to purchase a separate package,” he added, rubbing his nipples as he revealed the details, which included nightly visits from a cable technician and receiving 300 Portuguese-language channels.
“We realize this may be an inconvenience to you and we hope you will voice all your concerns to us,” he added, “because at your local cable company the customer is always our bitch.”
The episode ended with Stan’s parents learning to live without cable and finding a new outlet for their sexual frustration deep in the world of "Minecraft."