South Park: Freemium Isn’t Free Review

The Terrance and Phillip mobile game is the latest vice as South Park struggles with the topic of addiction in "Freemium Isn't Free."

Everyone has a vice. Be it gambling, drinking, smoking, drugs, cockfighting, grand theft auto, shouting lines from Planet of the Apes at the foot of the Statue of Liberty or whatever, sooner or later it needs to be dealt with or it will consume you.

In the context of South Park, sticking with an easy and addictive way to pass the time has some people shouting fraud while others are mindlessly enjoying what’s before them. As Matt Stone and Trey Parker’s latest effort, “Freemium Isn’t Free,” shows us, no one is really wrong here. That is unless you’re Canada.

If Stan wants to spend his time building hospitals and theme parks for Canada through the Terrance and Phillip mobile app, who are we to deny Stan his peace? The problem is someone in South Park always thinks they know better. Even if the app hawking resembles a highly publicized pyramid scheme that young people continue to get sucked into, Jimmy and Stan can’t help but comply for dreams of riches or entertainment.

[Related: The Complete Guide to South Park movie references and parodies]

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The simple idea of a mobile app tricking Americans to micropay Canada is great, because we get to spend time with some buddies and pals and guys, but it eventually goes down South Park’s rabbit hole, playing into a troubling vice that has lost me on more than a handful of episodes in recent years. It starts with a mystery, leads to some big mythical journey surpassing the simple place it started, and ends in disappointment. I can point to any number of episodes where the wheels fell off and they were forced to stray into the ridiculous to get something out of it — the latter parts of the Coon series comes to mind, as does “Pandemic,” the Jersey Shore episode, and “You Have Zero Friends.” Not that those are terrible episodes, but they all follow a similar format that gets little mileage out of going too far out into left field.

Here, Satan and the fire-farting Canadian Satan, normally two characters that should rescue an episode, are punchless, leaving Randy’s binge-drinking to close out the third act. “Freemium Isn’t Free” equaled last week’s effort (which fellow DoG writer Daniel Kurland reviewed and liked), which for me are the two weakest episodes of the season, unfortunately squandering two commanding topics.


  • Micropay mobile games
  • Pyramid schemes
  • The Terrance and Phillip game looks to be loosely based on Clash of Clans
  • The Canadians are NOT our buddies or pals and they know we have a weakness for shitty mobile games so shame on you, Canada!

Prediction for Next Week:

The boys once launched a whale into space and successful returned it to the moon. The time is right for South Park to embark on a new space odyssey, given Christopher Nolan’s highly anticipated Interstellar dropping this week. The ongoing use of recurring themes during this season will make it easy to bring back Matthew McConaughey and we can’t ever get enough of those. “I was flying spaceships way before I was getting paid to fly spaceships.”

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2 out of 5