“South Park” returned for its 21st(!) season premiere Wednesday night, carrying on creators Trey Stone’s and Matt Parker’s irreverent skewering of American culture.
But Wednesday night’s episode, featuring a storyline about automation and Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Google Home devices, caused real-life Alexa and Google Home devices to go off all across America.
Millions of people are unplugging Alexa across America right now. #SouthPark— Brian Brennan (@bbri1991) September 14, 2017
“White People Renovating Houses” is mostly about the white nationalist movement, but a subplot involving the rise of digital assistants in the home and the effect that automation has had on human jobs plays a big part. In one scene, Cartman is looking for his home’s Alexa device before his mother informs him that they got rid of it in favor of Jim Bob, a real-life human who is loaded down with gadgets equipped to do everything Alexa does.
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Cartman also naturally delights in getting Alexa to say some pretty NSFW insults and phrases. (Really though, let he who is without sin cast the first stone and all that...) This resulted in viewers’ real-life devices being activated, with many people’s shopping lists now featuring items like “t---y chips” and “big hairy b---s.”
Twitter was amused, kind of. (WARNING: Some of the videos in the tweets below contain coarse language.)
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We have an Alexa and a Google Home and South Park repeatedly screwed with both of them tonight.— Jeff S. (@tinmanic) September 14, 2017
This episode of South Park drove my Alexa crazy. I never knew my Alexa had such a potty mouth. pic.twitter.com/lWIHySClRd— Tony French (@TonyLFrench) September 14, 2017
South Park showed how silly all this tech change is. The character kept asking Alexa for stuff and people's home Alexa reacted.— Eva Working CLASS (@EvaSoumble) September 14, 2017
South Park's Cartman setting off Alexa is wonderful illustration that real intelligence (compared to artificial) goes beyond the cognitive.— Bill Buxton (@wasbuxton) September 14, 2017
Guess it’s time to unplug those devices next time those foul-mouthed Coloradoans take the screen, just in case the Alexa bit becomes a recurring gag. Oh also, the episode also features a country music rendition of Kendrick Lamar’s “Humble,” courtesy of Jim Bob. You’re welcome.