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Recap / Southpark S 21 E 1 White People Renovating Houses

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Airdate: September 13, 2017

Everyone in South Park has been using automated and intelligent personal assistant products like Alexa, which angers many of the town's rednecks who believe the increase in automation is taking their jobs.

"White People Renovating Houses" contains examples of:

  • Aborted Arc: The only hanging plot thread from last season that is given any mention is the Cartman/Heidi relationship, which winds up being sunk at the end. Nothing regarding the Member Berries, President Garrison, Gerald's identity as Skankhunt-42, or the Gender Wars is mentioned so far.
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  • Achievements in Ignorance: Darryl's pronunciation of "Took Our Jobs" ends up causing Alexa to play a song called "Dook re Derr".
  • Bait-and-Switch: When one of the rednecks takes an Alexa out of the store, the viewers are led to believe that the crowd is gonna smash it to pieces. Instead, they put it on the ground, and... wave the flag on front of it asking it "HOW DO YOU LIKE IT!"
  • Both Jerkasses Have a Point: Randy may have been rude about it, but he isn't wrong when he tells Darryl that many of the jobs he complains about being lost (coal mining, truck driving, etc.) are simply outdated and being replaced by progress like many other professions from decades past were. The protesting rednecks are right in that this still means people losing their only means of income.
  • Breather Episode: This episode is quite tame compared to most of the recent South Park episodes from Season 20.
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  • Chubby Chaser: Heidi claims she doesn't mind how fat Cartman is.
  • Demoted to Extra: Stan, Kyle and Kenny only appear in cameos in this episode. More notably, Kyle, since Stan and Kenny had next to no role in the previous season either.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The rednecks hold a protest because they feel automated technologies are replacing them.
  • Domestic Abuse: Subverted. Cartman thinks Heidi is emotionally abusing him, but in reality, he's just a selfish sociopath who wants to be cared for without caring back in return, making Heidi's attempt to make their relationship an open and honest one where each participant cares about the other feel burdensome. This is why he gravitates towards Alexa while drifting away from Heidi - Alexa is literally an unfeeling machine built to serve its owner (he even yells "Heidi, stop!" at one point, but it obviously doesn't work).
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  • Dumbass Has a Point: Well, Dumbasses. No-one even tries to deny that because of rapidly progressing technology they're all losing jobs. Randy just counters it by claiming that some people have to settle for poor career prospects, recalling Gerald's 'Gods and Clods' speech all the way back in Season Two's episode "Chickenpox".
  • Easily Forgiven: Cartman, against all odds, seems to hold no grudge against any of his friends for destroying his electronics and getting him into (what he thinks) is an abusive relationship. Justified with Kenny because he wasn't a part of it, and with Kyle since he apologized, but Stan, Token, Butters, and Jimmy all hang out with Cartman as if nothing happened.
  • Harmless Villain: Aside from the one guy who pepper-sprayed Randy (after Randy threatened him first), the most the rednecks do is wave the Confederate flag while yelling about their jobs being taken. They also calm down once they're given work...except for Darryl.
  • Job-Stealing Robot: Because of present-day technology automating jobs such as Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri, more and more blue-collar workers have become obsolete and unemployed.
  • Literal Metaphor: Darryl can't be "more open" to new ideas or people because his house can't be "more open" without collapsing.
  • Playing the Victim Card: Cartman acts like he's the one getting hurt in his relationship with Heidi. This is in spite of the fact that he can't even be bothered to pay attention to her anymore, and rejects her offers to make their relationship more open and honest, pushing her away in favor of Alexa. He even says right to Heidi's face that she's the one with all the problems when he breaks up with her.
  • Overly Long Gag: Cartman gets all of his automated personal assistants to say, "Suck my big balls in your hairy butthole," by exploiting their command phrases in a roundabout way.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: This episode makes reference to the 2017 Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville, VA; one of the chants used by the white supremacists and Nazis was "YOU... WILL NOT.. REPLACE US!", which was what the protesters said in the episode.
  • Robo Sexual: Non-sexual but Played for Laughs, as Cartman is basically having an emotional affair on Heidi with Alexa, Siri and Google Home (because they're subservient and make no demands of him).
  • Ship Sinking: Cartman/Heidi, to no one's surprise.
  • Stating the Simple Solution: When Randy complains the rednecks are ruining their show's brand, Darryl points out he and Sharon could just remove "White People" from their show name. Subverted however, when Randy states that the reason he hasn't done that is because literally every other name has been taken. He even lists some of them.
  • Straw Hypocrite: Darryl starts the protest because he's angry over the machines taking jobs. Later on when Randy comes up with a solution that gives him one, Darryl quits because he considers it beneath him. Subverted, as it later turns out he was angry over something else.
  • Take That!: To white nationalists and home improvement/renovation shows.

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