South Park: “Freemium Isn’t Free” Season 18 Episode 6 Review

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Freemium Isn’t Free was a step in the right direction for the season, delivering more than a few laughs and a clever satire of the mobile gaming industry.

In our digital age, we come into contact with a myriad of cheaply made games that, while free for the initial download, expect you to by fake currency once you advance to a certain point. For most of us, that’s when we stop playing a delete the app.

Stan Marsh is one of the people who actually pays for this stuff. It’s hard to imagine that people like Stan even exist, but if the business wasn’t successful, there wouldn’t be so many games asking you to pay once you’ve already started playing.

Therefore, Stan joins the other Marsh men with addiction problems. His grandfather is an avid gambler and his father, Randy, is a pretentious alcoholic (“It’s not one glass it’s six glasses, it’s a wine tasting, it’s classy!”).

Stan prays to the one who controls his temptation, causing Satan to appear in his room to offer council. The Devil’s matter-of-fact explanation of how addiction works in the brain was cute. Satan’s rare appearances on South Park are almost always winners (though none quite as victorious as the classic Hell on Earth 2006).

Meanwhile, Terrance and Phillip, the stars of said game, find a moral leg to stand on and approach the company making the game. The explanation of freemium games and how they make money was pretty hysterical, although direct. Eventually, it’s revealed that the genius behind freemium games is the Canadian Devil, who then sprouts horns and wings and raps Terrance and Phillip.

Our own heroic Satan recognizes the work of his adversary upon seeing the game Stan is addicted to. He politely asks if he can borrow Stan’s soul for a while and possesses him to go fight the Canadian Devil.

Their high-flying battle was the typical South Park being ridiculous for the sake of being ridiculous, which despite itself tends to work pretty well. The Canadian Devil’s defeat was pretty anticlimactic though.

Then the episode just sort of ends. Not that it needed a larger resolution, but it certainly felt abrupt.

Freemium Isn’t Free is smack-dab in the middle of Season 18 quality wise. It’s superior to the last two episodes for being focused and coherent, but it doesn’t quite take it that extra step further to achieve the greatness that was The CissyGrade: B

By Matt Dougherty

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