Cash for Gold (South Park)
2nd episode of the sixteenth season of South Park
"Cash for Gold" is the second episode of the sixteenth season of the American animated television series South Park, and the 225th episode of the series overall. It originally aired on Comedy Central in the United States on March 21, 2012. The episode centers on fourth grader Stan Marsh's irritation with J&G Shopping Network and television home shopping networks in general, as he discovers that they prey upon the elderly and fleece them of their money, as well as Eric Cartman's new entrepreneurship inspired by that same idea.
The episode was written by series co-creator Trey Parker and is rated TV-MA L in the United States.
Stan Marsh's grandfather Marvin gives him a bejeweled bolo tie, saying that the Jewels & Gems (J&G) Shopping Network, from which he bought it, claimed that its 14 carat gold and diamonds makes it worth $6,000. After Cartman teases him for wearing such a tacky and unfashionable item, Stan takes it to a Cash For Gold store where he is offered $15 for it. Other such merchants similarly offer him little or nothing for the item, and Stan realizes that his grandfather has been swindled. Cartman shows his friends the J&G infomercials, where half-senile senior citizens are conned into buying cheap jewelry for their relatives at outrageous prices. Stan tries to talk Marvin out of buying him or his sister Shelly more worthless items, but Marvin suffers from Alzheimer's disease and instead relates to Stan an often-repeated anecdote of a Border Collie named Patches he once had, but laments that he can no longer remember what she looked like.
Stan begins a crusade to stop the exploitation of the elderly in this manner, and vows to track down whoever is at the top of the trade. Meanwhile, Cartman decides to get into the infomercial business with Butters as his sidekick, and not only starts offering his classmates cash for gold, he also sets up his own television channel and mimics the tone and techniques of Dean, the host on J&G. He visits a jewelry shop to restock, but he notices the women at the shop are using the very same mannerisms that he and Dean use, thus revealing they are scam artists as well. During one of Dean's shows, Stan calls in and tells him to kill himself for having conned numerous elderly people out of their money.
Cartman arrives at a factory in India where the jewelry is made, intending to buy directly from them, and finds Stan is here as well, complaining about what they are doing. In a montage, it is revealed that the business is a continuous loop: the jewelry made at the factory is shipped to the United States, where scam artists sell it to senior citizens, who give them as gifts to relatives. The relatives sell the gifts for cash, and the gold and gems are separated and shipped back to the India factory to be made into new jewelry. An employee at the factory gives Stan a picture frame, which he accepts. Stan presents Marvin with a photo of Marvin and his deceased dog Patches in the frame. Marvin then notices Stan's tie, not remembering having given it to him, and tells him it is "gay". Stan replies that he will not to wear it anymore. Meanwhile, Stan's earlier call sparks a trend, and Dean, deluged with calls from the elderly telling him to kill himself, eventually complies and shoots himself in the head, covering a display of worthless jewelry with his blood.
Max Nicholson of IGN gave the episode a "Great" score of 8 out of 10, noting that although the episode "did take a few scenes to really get cooking", the clips from the infomercial segments were the highlight of the episode, as was "the montage surrounding whoever smelt it denied it and rhymed it actually dealt it". Nicholson also noted the similarity of Stan's phone call to J&G, in which he angrily urges the host to kill himself, to the "Marketing and Advertising" bit from comedian Bill Hicks' 1997 album Arizona Bay.
Marcus Gilmer of The A.V. Club gave the episode a score of "B-". Comparing it to the previous episode, he noted, "There were plenty of lines that made me laugh" but that "the episode falls short of previous efforts at social commentary, including last week’s episode".
- ^"Episode 1602 'Cash For Gold' Press Release". South Park Studios. March 19, 2012. Retrieved March 24, 2012.
- ^Kleinman, Jacob (March 22, 2012). "South Park New Episode Exposes 'Cash For Gold' Conspiracy". International Business Times. Retrieved March 28, 2012.
- ^"'South Park': Cartman Opens His Own Cash 4 Gold Business". TV Replay. The Huffington Post. March 22, 2012. Retrieved March 24, 2012.
- ^Nicholson, Max (March 22, 2012). "South Park: "Cash For Gold" Review: The dawn of tacky keepsakes is upon us". IGN. Retrieved April 6, 2012.
- ^Gilmer, Marcus (March 21, 2012). "Cash for Gold". The A.V. Club. Retrieved May 22, 2012.
South Park Recap: ‘Cash for Gold’
After last week’s gross-out episode, South Park went dark with “Cash for Gold,” managing to take on capitalism, consumerism, and the exploitative evils of the semi-precious jewelry industry. Cartman starts his own business selling crappy jewelry to old people, Stan screams at a sweatshop worker in India for preying on his grandfather, and an HSN-style jewelry salesman kills himself in the middle of a broadcast, splattering blood all over the faux rubies on the spinning display case as the department store muzak continues.
It all starts when Stan’s grandfather gives him a gold, diamond, and turquoise bolo tie that he proudly tells his horrified family that he bought for $6K. After attempting to sell it at a number of Cash for Gold stores and finding that his two best offers are either $15 or a 7-layer burrito, Stan decides to get to the bottom of why his grandfather was tricked into buying such a piece of junk. Essentially, it all goes back to the show “Jewelry Bonanza with Dean” on the J&G Shopping Network, where Dean manipulates his senile audience into buying his cheesy jewelry.
Just when things are about to turn ugly, the episode cuts to a great montage of the production cycle of the jewelry. Sleazy shows like Jewelry Bonanza with Dean sell it to the senior citizens who give it to their children who sell it to Cash for Gold stores who melt down the raw materials and ship it back to India. Eventually, everything just ends up back in the factory, where more crap is made. Of course no one really wins here. Everyone is being exploited by someone.
Stan was the standout character in “Cash for Gold” providing what could be the thesis for South Park in a rant on Dean’s show: “You should kill yourself. What you do is sort of unjustifiable. And you know it’s unjustifiable. And you don’t care. You’re the definition of evil. So kill yourself.”
Though “Cash for Gold” is fairly bleak and ends with the aforementioned live broadcast suicide, it manages to be a strong episode, thanks to its spot-on satire of television shopping networks, and the sincerity of Stan’s quest to try to make things less awful for his grandfather.
Lindsey Bahr is a writer living in Chicago.
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[Stan calls a jewelry shopping channel]
Stan Marsh: Yeah hi. Erm, you should kill yourself.
Dean - Jewelry Channel Host: What's that?
Stan Marsh: I said, "you should kill yourself." What you do is, sort of, unjustifiable. And you know it's unjustifiable. And you don't care. You're the definition of evil. Kill yourself.
Dean - Jewelry Channel Host: Okay, we're gonna sell this ring for just 37,95. How's that?
Stan Marsh: I just read that the day shopping networks make most of their money is on the day seniors pick up social security checks. Kill yourself.
Dean - Jewelry Channel Host: All right, well, you shouldn't say things like that, 'cause some host of a jewelry channel sure might up and do it. Then you'd feel really bad.
Stan Marsh: No, I wouldn't.
Dean - Jewelry Channel Host: Yes, you would.
Stan Marsh: No, because I really want you to kill yourself.
Dean - Jewelry Channel Host: All right, well how about this? If a jewelry network host goes home tonight and blows his brains out, you might be liable. That's a lawsuit worth 2.7 million dollars. How's that sound?
Stan Marsh: I don't care what happens to me. I care about my grandfather, you morally empty, corrupted maggot.
Dean - Jewelry Channel Host: All right, I'll tell you what. I'll bring the lawsuit down to 29, 39...
Stan Marsh: No, no, it doesn't matter what price you put on anything. Your only chance to right the wrongs you've done and repay all the elderly people whose lives you've destroyed, is to kill yourself.
Dean - Jewelry Channel Host: [clears his throat] Well, you think it's funny, but that's, that's calling up and telling someone to kill themselves. That's not a joke.
Stan Marsh: I'm not joking.
Stan Marsh: Do it.
South Park Zone
South Park Season 16 - Episode 1602 - Cash for Gold
Watch South Park - Cash for Gold online
South Park Zone - Season 16 - Episode 1602 - Cash for Gold
Eric Cartman launches a gemstones network show and creates a very successful business. Stan searches for the real value of a piece of jewelry that was a gift from his grandfather. Meanwhile, Cartman's lucrative new business preys upon an extremely vulnerable clientele (the old people).
South Park Spoiler Alert!
(The complete plot for this South Park Episode)
Stan, Shelly, Sharon, and Randy are seen visiting Marvin Marsh, who has been placed in a retirement home. Randy attempts to politely leave by claiming they cannot stay for dinner, as the food gives his wife diarrhea. Marvin tells them to wait, saying he has a gift for his grandson. He gives it to Stan, who opens it; it turns out to be a gold, turquoise and diamond and turquoise-studded bolo tie. Randy asks Marvin how much he spent on the tie; he says six thousand dollars, angering Randy, as Randy thinks he should be saving his retirement money so he, Sharon, and Stan can have it when he dies. Sharon says that tomorrow is picture day, presumably at the school, and that Stan can wear the tie there. Marvin proclaims that this will make him extremely happy.
The boys are seen at the bus stop. Stan is wearing his bolo tie. Cartman sarcastically complements Stan. After Stan sees through his sarcasm, Cartman simply begins insulting the tie, calling it "fucking gay as fuck". Stan says that he knows and that he wishes his grandfather would simply give him money as a gift, as opposed to material items. Kyle recommends taking it to a Cash For Gold.
Shortly afterwards, the boys enter a Cash For Gold. An employee, after confirming that the boys did not steal the tie, offers them fifteen dollars for the item, much to their chagrin. Kyle proclaims that the guy is scamming them, so they take the tie and leave. They go into another Cash For Gold, where the employee offers them eight dollars for the tie. After Stan angrily mentions that it's the same tie worn by King Henry the Fifth, she offers them nine dollars. They reject the offer and leave; they once again attempt to sell the tie to a Taco Bell, which is also a Cash For Gold. The employee offers them a six layer burrito for the tie. After Kyle angrily proclaims that they do not sell six layer burritos, the employee offers them a seven layer burrito in exchange for the tie.
The boys are seen sitting on the sidewalk, confused. Stan, dumbfounded as to how someone could possibly be scammed into paying a large sum for a very cheap item. The scene then "switches" akin to switching TV channels to the J&G Shopping Network. Dean, an employee, is seen selling overpriced gold earrings to an old lady over the phone. The scene then switches back to the boys, who were watching the channel. Kyle mentions that what the channel is doing is horrible, and Stan, once again dumbfounded, asks how they get away with scamming elderly people. Cartman reveals a seemingly complex, but in reality, simple mathematical formula that the shopping network uses to make money. Stan's grandfather is heard on the phone with Dean, attempting to buy a Topaz-studded copper ring as a gift for Stan, causing Stan to quickly leave and visit his grandfather. Marvin is seen watching the aforementioned shopping network in his room, while Stan is seen outside his door. After telling his grandfather that Shelly will not like a necklace he wants to buy for her, Marvin reveals that he can no longer remember his beloved dog's face, which saddens him. Stan, suddenly motivated, says he will "take care of this", presumably referring to stopping the shopping network scamming people.
Meanwhile, Cartman is attempting to get South Park Elementary's students to sell him their old jewelry. Leroy Jenkins sells him a gold ring for three dollars. Cartman happily proclaims to Butters that "they have crappy jewelry" and all they need now is old people to buy it.
Dean is seen once again selling an old woman a piece of overpriced jewelry. After he finalizes the deal, he attempts to sell another piece of jewelry, however, Stan calls them, claiming that he should kill himself, as what he is doing is unjustifiable and the very definition of evil. Deans tells him he shouldn't say these things, because if he actually did it, Stan would feel guilty for having indirectly caused his death. Stan responds, saying that he would not feel bad, and he should still kill himself. Dean threatens him with a lawsuit, however, Stan proclaims that he does not care, that he only cares about his grandfather. After Dean attempts to lower the price of the threatened lawsuit, Stan says that the price does not matter, that the only way Dean can right his wrongs is to kill himself. Dean responds that saying such things are not funny. Stan says he was not trying to be funny, telling Dean to "do it", then hanging up.
Cartman is shown, having started his own shopping network, the Old People's Shopping Network. After selling a ring, he asks the buyer if she likes to "fuck little boys" as she is getting such a good deal, that it is akin "fucking" him.
Stan, Kyle, and Kenny are seen at a gold refining factory. Stan is angrily criticizing a man who appears to be a higher up in the company. The man proclaims that it is not his fault, but the people that advertise the Cash For Gold services. Afterwards, they are seen criticizing the employees who flip signs advertising the Cash For Gold services. After calling them fat cats who take advantage of the elderly, Butters interjects, revealing that they do not make that much money. Another employees claims they should yell at those who melt down the gold, however, Kyle interjects, saying that it is in fact their fault. Yet another employees proclaims that they are both wrong, that it is in fact the fault of the Indians who manufacture the jewelry. The others agree to this.
Meanwhile, Cartman is attempting to buy jewelry from a discount jewelry store to sell on his network. Three stereotypical Asian employees are seen congratulating him on buying the jewelry. A employee states that he is taking advantage of their low prices, even "fucking" them. Cartman angrily states that he is not.
Cartman and Butters are seen in India, attempting to make a deal with India Manufacturing Inc. to "cut out the middle man" and buy jewelry directly from them. Cartman then notices Stan, Kyle, and Kenny yelling at one of the child employees about scamming Stan's grandfather. Cartman angrily confronts them, saying that they are trying to steal his idea. Stan claims that he simply wants retribution for his grandfather. The employee offers him a gold necklace, however he rejects it. The employee then puts the necklace into a bag, and drops the bag into a box. The endless loop of selling, melting down, being made into jewelry, and sold once again is then documented, ending with the employee giving Stan a jewel-encrusted, gold picture frame.
Stan is seen in the park with his grandfather, Marvin, telling him about what happened. Stan then gives a present to Marvin, who opens it, revealing it to be the gold picture frame with a picture of his beloved dog, Patches, in it. This makes Marvin extremely happy. Marvin, seemingly have forgotten he was the one who bought him the tie, tells Stan that the tie is "fucking gay as fuck". Stan says that he will no longer wear it. Marvin proclaims that that is a good idea.
Dean is once again seen selling overpriced jewelry, however, three different elderly people call him, saying that Stan was right, he should kill himself. This results in him saying that this incident is "the straw that broke the camel's back". A gunshot is then heard, while blood splatters across the jewelry carousel.
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