South Park takes some hard shots at Amazon in a surprisingly anti-capitalist episode

South Park takes some hard shots at Amazon in a surprisingly anti-capitalist episode

A little less than 20 years ago, a still-finding-its-legs South Park aired a memorable episode called “Gnomes,” which focused both on the omnipresence of Starbucks Coffee (named Harbucks in the episode), as well as little gnomes that steal your underpants in the night, with their ultimate goal being “profit.” That episode is likely best-known for the scene in which Cartman whacks a gnome in the head with a baseball bat, to which the gnome replies “is that all you got, pussy.” That being said, what made “Gnomes” truly important in terms of understanding the show’s beliefs was its main thesis statement, “big corporations are good.” The show argued that Starbucks coffee was successful because it had a good product.

The frightening working conditions at Amazon factories have been talked about quite a bit lately, and they don’t sugarcoat things here, as a worker named Josh is quickly maimed by a robot, which the company attributes to human error.

A few weeks ago, Saturday Night Live defended Amazon in multiple capacities, with Bezos being portrayed as in heroic opposition to President Trump, while Colin Jost argued that New York had “won the lottery” when Amazon decided to come there.

South Park takes a wider, much more informed view, showing both how the jobs they would “create” would only take away other existing jobs, and that they would involve workers facing unspeakably cruel conditions.

As we might guess from the second-to-last episode of the season, things end on a cliffhanger, as the striking workers prepare to face the mall mutants in what should be quite a battle.


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