A lot of people are going to be thinking twice before they update their Facebook status after last night’s "South Park."
The half-hour, called “You Have Zero Friends,” slammed social networking with joke-packed glee, and included a brisk slap at Chatroulette. While Cartman and Kyle were happy Facebook fans, friending lots of people and tending virtual farms, Stan wanted nothing to do with the site. Everyone was on his case about this, including his mopey, wheedling dad. (“So… we’re not friends?”) “Dude, f— Facebook, seriously,” said Stan with nice curtness.
But his buddies set up a page for him anyway, and Stan’s hell began. He had to friend everyone from his dad to his grandmother (“Stan, poke your grandma!” commanded his father). Stan wanted out of the whole thing, but when he tried to delete his account, he found himself zapped into a "Tron"-like Facebook world where he had to play Yahtzee with his own gigantic profile in a nicely surreal moment.
"South Park’s" subplot was about a lonely kid, Kip Drordy, who had no friends, either in the real or online world. When Kyle befriends him, it means everything to the little fella. (Of course, in the Facebook era we live in, Kip now has his own Facebook page, for “real.”)
This was a strong Cartman episode, with the rotund wonder parodying Jim Cramer on Mad Money, and trolling Chatroulette only to encounter a ceaseless stream of, um, men abusing themselves. Cartman’s sage advice? “If you want to find some quality friends, you have to wade through all the dicks.”
The episode even ventured a semi-serious point, excoriating “friendship as a commodity for a person’s status.” The half-hour was shrewdly precise in its targets: The older audience that communes on Facebook (such as parents and grandparents) as well as lonely kids; as usual, "South Park" is merciless when it smells a baby-boomer-adopted trend.