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Recap / South Park S 14 E 10 Insheeption

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Original air date: 10/20/2010

Stan and Mr. Mackey suffer a hoarding disorder. In an attempt to find the cause for it, they get trapped in Mr. Mackey's dream.


  • Adaptational Heroism: Freddy Krueger is hired as a last resort to save everyone in Mackey's dream. It's implied the killings he did in A Nightmare on Elm Street were actually part of a government operation against the Russians and he was not happy about it.
  • Ambiguous Ending: Stan refuses to go through his own hoarding therapy after witnessing Mr. Mackey's therapy and proceeds to just clean out his locker like he should have in the first place. Kyle asks him, "How do you know that wasn't your therapy?"
  • Animal Hoarding: Justified. Mr. Yelman is a sheep herder and has every right to hoard sheep. Not that the psychologist would agree.
  • Background Music: Invoked — the psychiatrist tells his colleague to explain the logic while he'll "provide the background" and proceeds to hum the music from Inception as the other explains the logic.
  • Bait-and-Switch: At first it seems that the episode is going to follow the usual gag of adults and sometimes children taking something far too seriously when the gathered people act like Stan's cluttered locker is a disaster zone. Then Dr. Chinstrap starts taking items out which include a broken toothbrush and a rotting sandwich, both of which Stan is reluctant to throw away until he snaps and refuses to throw anything away, proving he has a problem.
  • Berserk Button: Don't call Mr. Mackey a hoarder.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Freddy Krueger ends up saving the day.
  • Blind Alley: In his dream, Mr. Mackey escapes Billy and his mooks by hiding in a storage room.
  • Bond One-Liner: "There's a real hoot for ya, Woodsy."
  • The Bully: Billy Thompson.
  • Butt-Monkey: Mr. Yelman is forced into therapy, has his every attempt to protest overridden, and is the only person to be killed inside Mackey's dream by getting decapitated by Woodsy the Owl (which somehow decapitated him in the real world, too).
  • Chandler's Law: "Just keep shooting".
  • Comically Missing the Point: Mr. Yelman is a sheep herder. Everyone else mistakes him for a hoarder in need of therapy.
  • Creepy Good: Freddy Krueger, of horror film fame, turns out to be a family man and a former government agent, who specialized in dreamscape operations. He did kill those teenagers, but it was done for the sake of national security, and it was the reason he left the service.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: The end of Europe, that is. Because reasons.
  • Face Your Fears: Stan encourages little Mr. Mackey to stand up to the bully.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: We only learn of Mr. Yelman's real-life decapitation by seeing his body in the background when everyone wakes up from the dream.
  • Freudian Excuse:
    • We learn Mackey was molested by the guy dressed as Woodsy Owl, whose slogan was "give a hoot, don't pollute." He repressed the whole event, but any time he had the opportunity to throw something away, he'd subconsciously remember Woody's slogan and the trauma he endured. He thus felt safest by not throwing anything away.
    • Stan suspects he has a deep-rooted, psychological reason for his hoarding. However, after seeing what Mackey has gone through, he's content to not bother finding out any details. Though maybe he got his therapy for it anyway.
  • Fun with Homophones: Mr. Yelman mentions that he is herding his sheep while the regression therapist agrees that he is hurting them.
  • The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body: After going into the dream to save Stan, Randy turns into a butterfly and becomes more concerned with having sex with other butterflies.
  • Mondegreen Gag: The therapist mishearing "herding" as "hurting".
  • Mr. Exposition: One of the scientists goes to some length to explain the inception procedure.
  • Noodle Implements: The episode begins with Cartman finishing a story: "And then, the guy hits the ping-pong ball with his dick, and it goes right in the other guy's mouth."
  • Ominous Owl: When Mr. Mackey faces up to his traumatic memory in a dream, the owl mascot turns into a monstrous embodiment of Mr. Mackey's trauma.
  • Only Sane Man: Freddy Krueger is the only one who recognizes that Mr. Yelman is a sheep herder.
  • Parody Episode: Of Inception.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Dr. Chinstrap maintains the usual zaniness of a South Park adult, but he has his moments. When he is going through Stan's locker, he tries to accommodate Stan's decisions; but gets more insistent when he pulls increasingly undesirable items from the locker. He finally gets insistent about throwing something away when he pulls out a sandwich full of maggots.
  • Recruiting the Criminal: They bring in Freddy Krueger to stop the owl.
  • Red Herring: Billy Thompson and the other bullies that threatened to beat up a young Mackey during the field trip. It seems like they're the cause of the painful memory, but it was actually Woodsy Owl.
  • Red Shirt: Mr. Yelman only appears in this episode and was really only there to be killed by Woodsy.
  • Refusal of the Call: Freddy, at first, but then he hears about the firemen that are trapped in the dream.
  • Running Gag: People telling Mr. Yelman that he's a sheep hoarder.
  • Shout-Out: Young Mr. Mackey's room features posters of "Space: 1989", "The Six Billion Dollar Man", and "Snoopey", as well as figures of Mazinger Z, Brave Raideen and Getter Dragon.
  • Take That!: Twenty minutes of "people who find Inception cool because they think it is complex are dumb, because it's actually pretty simple". Or as Sharon puts it:
    Sharon: Just because an idea is over convoluted and complex doesn't make it cool. Going into multiple dream levels sounds like a really stupid idea.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Wendy's attempt to help Stan with his hoarding problem only ends up getting him trapped in a dream.
  • The Watson: Stan's mother asking questions about the procedure.
  • Wham Shot: Mackey turning on the lights in the storage closet he's hiding in to find Stan.
  • You Can Run, but You Can't Hide: The school bully reminds Mr. Mackey of this.