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Recap / South Park S 6 E 16 My Future Self N Me

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After finding a joint in the woods, Stan comes home to find a drugged-out drifter said to be his future self.

Examples:

  • An Aesop: Teaching kids to be afraid of drugs is not the same as teaching them why they're bad, and trying to Scare 'em Straight can have even worse long-term effects.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Stan attempts to get his parents to confess the truth by announcing he's going to cut off his hand—saying his future self's hand would immediately disappear if this was all legit. Stan is, of course, faking it, but when he's looking away, Randy actually cuts off Future!Stan's hand.
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  • Cassandra Truth: Cartman's future self really is his future self. Of course, nobody believes him by the time he shows up and it takes its toll.
  • Character Development: Disregarding "Two Guys In A Hot Tub" (which had a Reset Button Ending) this is the first time Stan is teamed with Butters and bonds with him, his role as an apathetic bully towards him downplayed afterwards.
  • Coincidental Broadcast: Sharon changes from The Osbournes to the news just in time for a report about "a man from the future." Justified because this is part of the scam.
  • Crazy Enough to Work: Cartman's method for getting revenge on parents is to smear poop all over the walls. As Cartman runs out of Butter's house and his Abusive Parents come in, you fully expect them to start on him as they have many times before, grounding him and maybe even beating him. Instead they realise that because they didn't respect their son, he has lost respect for them and apologise to him for lying. They all hug in a room smeared with poop while Stan looks on slack-jawed at Cartman's success.
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  • Decon-Recon Switch: The episode parodies the extreme and insane lengths parents will go to stop their kids from using drugs, but at the end, Randy learns his lesson and gives Stan an honest message about the negative consequences of using drugs, saying while drugs might not turn you into a terrorist, but they will mess you up and make you fine with being bored, when that time could be used to do constructive things.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Mildly discussed. After Stan passes on the first very low key revenge scheme Cartman's next plan is outright killing Stan's parents. Stan understandably passes on this one and notes that it's incredibly overboard.
  • Double Entendre: "Yeah, Stan, why don't you go upstairs and play with yourself?"
  • Drugs Are Bad: Deconstructed as it shows that the extreme messages and outrageous claims associated with such messages will ultimately make kids distrustful of adults and more likely to use drugs.
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  • Even Evil Has Standards: Cartman hates when parents lie because they should respect their kids and not lie.
  • Foreshadowing: The boys finding a discarded joint in the woods, which leads to the main plot.
  • Future Loser
  • Hypocritical Humor: When Sharon warns Stan about The Osbournes being a bad influence on him.
    Stan: It's just a show! It doesn't have any fucking effect on me for fuck's sake!
  • Karmic Transformation: For those upset that Cartman would grow up to be fit and successful after being such a terrible person, it a relief to watch him transform into an obese, miserable mechanic.
  • My Future Self and Me: The Trope Namer zig-zags it. Stan and Butters' future selves are just actors, but Cartman's future self really did travel back in time to meet his younger self.
  • Never My Fault: Randy can think of only one person to blame for all this: Motivation Corp.
  • Noodle Incident: Cartman has carried out revenge for Clyde, Craig, and Kyle (which was a freebie).
  • Rage Breaking Point: When Randy and Sharon attempt yet again to lie to Stan after they walk in on him with Butters and his future self, Stan finally snaps and tells them that he already knows about Motivation Corp and has been trying to get them to admit they lied to him about the whole "future self" thing.
  • Real After All: At the end of the episode, Cartman announces that he actually learned a lesson from all of this and vows to turn his life around, become nicer, lose weight, etc. He is then approached by a man in a nice suit claiming to be his future self, who congratulates Cartman on his choice, since he considers it to be the defining moment of his life and what led him to become the rich and successful owner of a time travel business. Cartman assumes that this is just another actor, and spitefully declares that just because this asshole tried to trick him, he's now going to live his life even worse than before. After he walks away, the future Cartman morphs into a fat mechanic, who curses the fact that he just unintentionally screwed himself over.
    Future Cartman: AH, GOD DAMMIT!
  • Same Clothes, Different Year: Invoked with adult actors pretending to he the kids' future selves, right down to the similar clothing.
  • Scare 'em Straight: The purpose of the future selves is to frighten children into never doing drugs by showing them then and there how badly they'll turn out if they do.
  • Shout-Out: The method of how the kids' "future selves" arrive in the present parodies The Terminator.
  • Take That!: At the extreme methods the media and most parents use to get kids not to take drugs, the idea of which came from Trey Parker and Matt Stone watching an anti-drug PSA that connected drugs to terrorism.
  • Toilet Humour: How do you get revenge on your parents? There's only one way - smear poop all over the walls. Cartman even has poop swatches.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: Just as they're about to reprimand Butters for what was done to their house, Linda and Stephen realize this is their fault and apologize to him.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: A man's hand is cut off and blood sprays everywhere, but Stan and his parents are rather nonchalant about it.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Stan gives one to his parents, telling them that if they keep lying to him to stop him from using drugs, he might never be able to trust them again.
  • You Didn't Ask: Apparently the reason Butters neglected to mention to anyone his future self had been living with him for four months.
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