Taxi drivers nationwide have a justified gripe with Silicon Valley.
“Those damn apps took errr jobs!” I imagine them yelling that at annual taxi cab driver conventions.
If there was a 2014 version of the classic sitcom Taxi, Danny DeVito’s Louie De Palma would pop like a red balloon if he knew the tech industry was undermining the most convenient, yet utterly frustrating mode of public transportation.
The future of the taxi industry is in question because of companies such as Lyft and Uber, among other popular ride apps. Essentially you use the app to find a random driver willing to use his or her own car to pick you up and give you a ride. Lyft in particular is noticeably visible. Much like the idea of the iconic yellow New York taxi, Lyft puts a big pink mustache on the front of the driver’s car so you know who to look for. My original thought was it’s a subtle way to say ‘mustache rides for all!’ Creeps.
Turns out Lyft isn’t so creepy. When I was visiting Nashville this past year, a friend suggested we try it out since the first ride is free. After fiddling with the app, our driver called, and she happened to live right next door. In a flash we were driving with Julie, a 60-something-year old Lyft veteran. She couldn’t be a murderous psycho if she’s the wholesome old lady from next door, right?
Right! Julie’s car didn’t have the leathery stink of a New York taxi. Julie kept us warm and safe and gave us tips on how to navigate the city. As we left the vehicle, she gave us three free Lyft cards assuring that I could spend the rest of my time in Nashville drunkenly cruising around in strangers cars at all hours of the night for free. It was beautiful.
Even with customer service like Julie’s, Lyft can’t keep up. The app world changes before our eyes and the next big transportation godsend is just a tap away. Handicar, my friends, is the future.
South Park has long been ahead of its time when it comes to the future of transportation. “It,” Mr. Garrison’s alternative to post-9/11 airport travel, managed to get you home fast, if you didn’t mind getting fucked right in your ass and mouth simultaneously. Other real-life cars, Hybrids and Hummers, didn’t fare well on the show. They were the ass and mouth-fucking equivalent of a George Clooney Oscar acceptance speech,with Hybrids specifically turning you into a fart-sniffing smugmaker, thus endangering your entire town.
Regular cars are bad for the environment too, as Hybrid owners rightfully like to point in our faces with a smug smile. So the new trend, as tonight’s episode, “Handicar,” shows us, cuts down on car usage, gas emissions, and provides financially stability for handicap kids’ favorite summer camp.
Timmy returns to a place where he rarely disappoints, center stage. Tonight was no different as he turned an episode with no help from the boys, Randy or any other major players, into the season’s best 30 minutes. Where South Park’s all out attack on the NFL found pockets of success only when it hit the hardest, “Handicar” squeezed in old characters—Nathan, Mimsy, and the Hummer salesman—a slew of great cameos and an superb ode to the death of Saturday morning cartoons by using a late 1960s classic, “Wacky Races,” to tie it all together.
Of the four episodes, tonight’s plot stayed the most consistent and some great tongue in cheek humor to provid enough pop to make “Handicar” the real standout entry of the season to date. The callback of Nathan and Mimsy, who were great in one of my favorite episodes, “Crippled Summer,” worked exceptionally well here. Mimsy being Mimsy was perfect. He gives great advice—cleaning up taxis and providing better service—only to be silenced as Nathan drops one of the quotes of the night: “Just ignore my friend he’s mentally disabled.” At first I was a little weary they’d be played out like the Goth kids, but their cartoonish follies carried over nicely for characters who haven’t gotten any screen time for a number of years.
Our world changes so fast and South Park showed last week that its immediacy allows for jokes that no one else can do. This week was about homage, it was about a deep bench of bankable characters, it was about fun references, but most of all it had character.
Like every pissed-off Russian cab driver knows, it takes street-hardened years of experience to know that new routes work from time to time, but you always have the tried and true path to fall back on.
Those foul-mouthed, shameless characters are the big reason why I’ll take my taxi over any plesant app. Sorry, Julie. Your Lyft ride was exceptional and I’ll never forget the time we spent roaming East Nashville together.
I’ll take my chatty cab driver from a country far away working long shifts to turn the American dream or something close to it into a manageable reality. I’ll take my cabbies because they’ll do anything for you. They’ll curse off pedestrians, asshole bikers veering out of their lane, cops trying to direct traffic, small children goofing off in the middle of the street. They’ll swerve and cut other cars off, even run a red light if they have to.
The sole purpose of a taxi driver—at least the good ones who don’t try to take the longer route for a bigger fare—is to get you where you need to be and they could give a fuck how it’s done as long as they deliver. When we part ways everyone feels dirty for a few minutes and then we forget about it in an instant. Then it’s on to the next destination.
That’s the way I like it!
I don’t need a gourmet meal or a sparkling clean backseat or even Matthew McConaughey to tell me he’s been driving Handicar’s long before he was cashing True Detective checks.
The open road is a dangerous and dirty place to navigate. I need a true character of the lost highways, the cabbie, to get me where I belong. Handicar may be the future, but I’ll take a good old fashion any day.
Mimsy and Nathan are back to cause Timmy trouble. Nathan was first introduced in “Up the Down Steroid.” Mimsy made his debut in “Crippled Summer.”
The Hummer dealer guy from “Obama Wins!” returns.
Randy as Lorde from the last three weeks.
The only thing missing here was an ode to Taxi.
- Matthew McConaughey’s ridiculous commercials that run non-stop throughout NFL games
- Being forced to watch Jimmy Fallon
- Canadian Actress Neve Campbell riding her queef-powered vehicle.
Prediction for Next Week:
So no there was no True Detective parody as we had hoped, but at least South Park got into the McConaissance. We’re still waiting on the celebrity nude photo scandal to hit the town and stiffen Butters’ tiny weiner.
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