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Recap / South Park S 16 E 12 A Nightmare on Face Time

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Original air date: 10/24/2012

The boys are excited to go trick-or-treating, dressed as the Avengers, but Stan is unable to come because Randy has bought a Blockbuster Video franchise location in South Park.

"A Nightmare on Face Time" contains examples of:

  • Big "NO!": Stan when the lead robber scratches Kyle's iPad and again when said iPad is tossed into a field.
  • Break the Haughty: After an ill-thought investment in Blockbuster, followed by a lack of clientelle and a colossal bout of Sanity Slippage, Randy's left staring at the smoking ruins of the building, no longer able to deny that he wasted his money and his family's time.
  • Brick Joke: Randy walks by Shelley pouring gasoline all over the store and later, the Blockbuster is burnt down.
  • Captain Obvious: After Randy has yelled at the imaginary ghost looking for Emily.
    Stan: I think there might be something wrong with Dad.
    Sharon: Ya think?
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Cartman is mistaken for Honey Boo-Boo, a reference to "Raising the Bar", and also for Bruce Vilanch, a reference to "The Coon" and "Coon vs. Coon and Friends."
    • At one point, you can see a video cover for a film called The Moose Who Wouln't Die with a picture of Sarah Jessica Parker in a moose suit. This is a reference to "The Tale of Scrotie McBoogerballs".
  • Halloween Episode: The fifth one in the series after "Pinkeye", "Spookyfish", "Korn's Groovy Pirate Ghost Mystery" and "Hell on Earth 2006".
  • Harmless Freezing: Randy ends the episode the same way Jack Torrance ends The Shining, except in his case the freezing is non-fatal, and he simply mutters his McDonald's order to Sharon before she leaves with the kids, choosing to sit in the snow and sulk over his catastrophic investment.
  • Idiot Ball:
    • Everyone in this episode who treated the iPad Stan was face timing on as if he were really there, but special regards to the cop who played the body for Stan's costume at the party who, once a crazed Randy took over, went on a destructive rampage breaking into houses and terrorizing the town as if there wasn't an entirely separate person in the costume apart from the iPad. One cop even lampshades this, but another shushes him in front of the sergeant.
    • Randy is holding it indefinitely when he believes customers will come to Blockbuster, refusing to accept that the internet has killed brick-and-mortar video rental stores.
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex: Taking to a comedic extreme. Randy stubbornly refuses to admit he made a bad investment purchasing a Blockbuster store, but as days pass and its lack of profit become more and more obvious, Randy's defensiveness reaches delusional levels, to the point he starts hallucinating spirits mocking his investment and arguing with them.
  • I Reject Your Reality: Randy is convinced that the Blockbuster will be a major cash cow, despite Stan repeatedly telling him that streaming services have rendered video rental stores obsolute. Even as the days roll by without any customers, Randy stubbornly insists that word just hasn't gotten out yet, and that streaming services aren't that popular.
  • Irony:
    • Kyle is Jewish and dresses as Thor. Norse mythology was quite popular among the Nazis. Of course, heís dressed as Thor from the Marvel Cinematic Universe who is not literally a god but a very powerful humanoid alien so itís not entirely the same thing.
    • Kenny, the kid who gets teased for being dirt poor, is dressed up as Iron Man, who is known for being a billionaire philanthropist.
    • Randy's hallucinations imply that Stan and Sharon's doubting of the Blockbuster is somehow sabotaging its success. He gets so caught up in this belief that he fails to notice a frustrated Shelly setting fire to the store, which is what ultimately dooms whatever little hope it had.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: The robbers "torture" Stan (who is on an iPad screen) by scratching the screen he's on.
  • Just for Pun: The description of The Monster Mash dance uses the lyrics from The Monster Mash song.
  • Kubrick Stare: Randy gives off a couple of these as his grip on reality gets ever looser. He gives a particularly homicidal glare that would have done Kubrick proud as Ted plays on the in-store televisions.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: After blowing a large sum of cash on an obsolete Blockbuster store and dragging the rest of the family into running it, to the point of making Stan miss trick-or-treating with his friends, Randy ends up having the whole venture literally go up in flames, leaving him sitting numbly in front of the ruins while Sharon, Stan, and Shelly go to McDonald's.
  • Never My Fault: A Running Gag has people mistaking Cartman's Hulk costume as something else, but he blames Stan FaceTiming as the reason why.
  • No Sympathy: Double subverted. Even after being denied getting to go trick-or-treating, Stan admits to Kyle that the whole Sanity Slippage makes him still feel a little bad for Randy. After getting yelled at to hang up the phone, Stan says he's back to hating Randy.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: Just as he really starts cracking up, Randy laments how things used to be so simple before streaming services came along.
  • Pet the Dog: Despite dragging his whole family into the doomed venture of running a Blockbuster, Randy actively opposes one of his hallucinations telling him to take drastic measures against Stan and Sharon because of their doubts. Even when he really starts to lose it, he doesn't hurt either of them.
  • Sanity Slippage: Randy gradually loses his mind as more time passes and still no-one comes to his branch of Blockbuster.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Upon finding a bunch of robbers in the store and the clerk dead, Kenny advocates this.
    Kenny: Dude, fuck this! Let's bail!
  • Shout-Out:
    • The boys go trick-or-treating as The Avengers, with Stan as Captain America, Kyle as The Mighty Thor, Kenny as Iron Man, and Cartman as The Incredible Hulk.
    • When the robbers ask the names of his friends, Stan lies and says they're Bruce, Tony, and Curt. The first two are Hulk and Iron Man's civilian identities, while the third is a reference to Chris Hemsworth's character in The Cabin in the Woods.
    • People at the Halloween dance are dressed as Finn, Merida, SpongeBob SquarePants, Batman, a Smurf, an angry bird, and many copies of the Gangnam Style Guy, PSY.
    • Randy's Sanity Slippage is an extended homage to The Shining, with shots referencing Jack being served by a phantom bartender (in this case, a phantom video store clerk), giving a Kubrick Stare as he becomes more insane, staggering around the hedge maze in the driving snow (in this case, staggering around the shelves of DVDs), and ending up frozen the next morning (though unlike Jack, Randy survives his freezing).
    • Stan tells Kenny to "Stay gold."
  • Stupid Crooks: The Redbox Killers who somehow thought the Redbox machines actually carried any sort of physical cash.
  • Take That!:
    • This episode satirizes the decrease of movie rental stores in favor of rental services like Netflix and the Internet, which has legal and illegal means to get the shows and movies people want to see.
    • During his Sanity Slippage, Randy gives a sinister stare at a TV screen showing the movie Ted, continuing Trey and Matt's crusade against Seth MacFarlane.
    • According to Stan, "Renting DVDs is more ancient than Madonna's boobs."
  • Thousand-Yard Stare: After the Blockbuster burns down, thus completely tanking any remaining shred of the notion that it would ever be any kind of valid business, Randy can only sit there in the snow and stare numbly at the smoldering wreckage.
  • Two Decades Behind: Randy still thinks that brick-and-mortar video rental stores are a lucrative business, when they've actually been decimated by the rise of online streaming.
  • The Unintelligible: Averted for once, Kenny has understandable, albeit distorted, lines while in costume.
  • Waxing Lyrical
    • After Stan urges the Monster Mash costume party be shut down, the police lift lyrics from the actual song.
      Yates: How many people at the Monster Mash?
      Officer 1: Most of the town, sir. It's a graveyard smash.
      Officer 2: Look, whatever we do, we'd better hurry. It gets on in a flash.
    • Double Subverted when Jimmy, dressed as Psy, intentionally quotes a lyric from "Gangnam Style," but due to his stutter, it ends up coming out in the same rhythm as it does in the song.
      "Opp- Opp- Opp-Opp- O-Oppan G-Gangnam style."
  • Whole-Plot Reference: Randy's story is a reference to The Shining.
  • You Keep Telling Yourself That: No matter how many times the family disagrees with him, Randy keeps insisting that Blockbuster is superior to streaming services and that he was right to buy this place.


Video Example(s):


Randy Torrence

Randy dissolves into a Jack Torrence-like madness.

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