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Recap / South Park S 21 E 2 Put It Down

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This episode contains examples of:

  • Attention Whore: Cartman tries to get as much attention as he can for his suicide awareness act, even trying to steal focus away from the students trying to raise awareness for the very real issue of distracted driving.
  • Bait-and-Switch: The first verse of Tweek and Craig's song appears to be about distracted driving. Then the chorus kicks in and reveals it's actually about tweeting while you're President.
  • Beyond the Impossible:
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    • Several of Garrison's tweets exceeds the then-140 character limit on Twitter posts.
    • It's physically impossible to run over people with bumper cars.
  • Bookends: The episode begins and ends with Tweek playing a song on the piano in the school auditorium. While the first is a panicked mess about North Korea, the second is an uplifting song about not looking at your phone while driving or being a president.
  • Brick Joke: When Cartman tells PC Principal he wants to stage a grandiose performance to raise suicide awareness, one of the things he says he needs is a group of singers in robes. Later on during the "Put It Down" number, the student chorus members are all wearing them.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Garrison constantly taunts North Korea with petty insults, despite knowing what kind of weaponry they have.
  • Character Development: While PC Principal used to bend over backwards in order to make Cartman feel good, here he's shown to be somewhat fed up with his complaints and only offers a few reasonable resources instead of the long list of extravagant props Cartman wants for his show.
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  • Crosses the Line Twice: Kids getting run over by cars driven by distracted drivers? Horrifying. Kids getting run over by bumper-cars and suddenly derailing track-bound cars driven by distracted drivers? Hilarious.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Tweek and Craig are the subject of the A-Plot.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Mr Garrison's name is never actually said during the episode. Everyone just refers to him as "The President".
  • Evil vs. Evil: President Garrison (South Park's equivalent of Donald Trump) vs. Kim Jong-un.
  • Ferris Wheel Date Moment: Craig tries to do this when Tweek says his favorite ride is the ferris wheel, but Tweek is too distracted by Garrison's tweets to enjoy it.
  • Foil: Cartman & Heidi serve as this to Tweek & Craig. Cartman only cares about himself and uses the threat of killing himself to keep Heidi with him despite their issues driving them further apart. While Tweek & Craig, despite fighting, work through Tweek's issues together realizing they were both being selfish.
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  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: If you pause at the right time, you can read the articles Tweek scrolls past until he reaches the cupcake response.
  • Gilligan Cut: After Heidi shows Stan the voicemail where Cartman threatened to kill himself, she asks him not to let anyone else know about it. Stan tells her he won't, but then it cuts to him playing the message for Kyle, Kenny, Butters, Token, and Jimmy in the bathroom while they all laugh.
  • Greater-Scope Villain:
    • While Mr. Garrison never appears in person nor has any lines, it's his tweets that drive the whole plot of this episode.
    • The Member Berries serve as this to an extent. While they haven't appeared in this episode at all, they are still corrupting Garrison into making those racial and derogatory tweets.
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: Garrison apparently learned nothing from the previous season and remains the only member of Season 20's Big Bad Ensemble to still be an active threat.
  • Hidden Depths: Tweek is shown to be a good piano player when he's not freaking out. He's also at least decent at baking.
  • Hope Spot: North Korea liked Tweek's cupcakes to the point of making their own, but the situation isn't diffused for long thanks to Garrison.
  • Hypocrite:
    • Cartman claims to his friends that Heidi threatened to kill herself unless they got back together, acting like she should be ashamed for doing so. But when it's revealed that he was the one to make that threat, he immediately demands sympathy for his actions.
    • When Cartman hears that actual suicidal youngsters have been gaining support from his campaign, he immediately claims that they're "just trying to get attention", which is exactly what he is doing.
  • Irony: When Craig finally has enough of Tweek's paranoia, he tells him "Well, I'm sorry that I'm actually in control of my goddamned emotions, ya baby!" He says this while yelling.
  • It's All About Me: Cartman openly admits his suicide awareness is only to keep him from killing himself not other students. He also gets back together with Heidi due to his crippling need for attention.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Lola is usually as an Alpha Bitch with the limited screen time she gets, but here she's one of the leading volunteers to help raise awareness in distracted driving.
  • Kick the Dog: Garrison repeatedly escalates the situation with North Korea, and encourages them to threaten Tweek, knowing full well his former student's personality, and there doesn't seem to be any reason for him to do this.
  • Killed Offscreen: Kenny is one of the kids in the Really Dead Montage, but was never shown run over by a distracted driver.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: Cartman chooses to abandon his phony claims of killing himself at the end of the big musical number, claiming that everyone there had "convinced" him not to do it.
  • Lack of Empathy: Cartman's only concern of the children getting killed by the distracted drivers is how much this will take away from his suicide awareness act.
  • Metaphorically True: During the montage, all of the kids killed by distracted drivers are shown with the caption, "Killed by a president on his cell phone." Considering that every one of the actual distracted drivers had been reading news websites reporting on Garrison's escalation of the North Korean crisis...
  • Mood Whiplash: It is kind of weird for Craig to tell Tweek to calm down and list all of the logical reasons why North Korea will not start a war, when the previous season had nuclear Armageddon come within a hair's breadth of actually happening.note 
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: PC Principal. He tells Cartman he doesn't have the resources to help his cause but gives Cartman all the help he can assure him.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: Tweek is right to be paranoid at the amusement park. Not because North Korea is going to launch a missile at him there, but because some dumbasses can't keep their phones down while on the car themed rides.
  • Self-Serving Memory: Cartman blames Heidi for starting the suicide subplot by telling everybody that he was suicidal, even though A) he initially claimed that Heidi was the one who was suicidal, and B) Heidi told only Stan about it before word got out.
  • Shout-Out: Cartman's rap performance is an allusion to Logic's performance at the 2017 MTV Music Video Awards.
  • Space Whale Aesop: The ending song preaches the message that if you are elected President of the US, you should stop tweeting so that people driving won't get distracted by your posts and accidentally run over people.
  • Take That!:
    • To Trump's deliberate brinkmanship, the clickbait "news" sites that report on it, and the people who are expecting the worst from it.
    • To those who who blame Donald Trump for things he's not even at fault for. Mr. Garrison is blamed at the end for the distracted drivers hitting people rather than, the people who can't stay off their phone and watch the road.
    • To how much Trump tweets.
    • Hillary Clinton is among those who take the pledge not to use Twitter if elected, to which the background music chants "NO ONE CARES".
    • To fidget spinners. People keep giving them to Tweek to calm him down, but they're shown to be completely ineffective.
    • Also one to people using logic to act condescending instead of empathetic.
  • They Killed Kenny Again: Kenny died from getting run over offscreen.
  • A Wild Rapper Appears!: During the ending song, Cartman gets a rap segment, which of course revolves around his suicide bluff.

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