Pinewood Derby (South Park)
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Randy forces Stan to cheat in the father-son Pinewood Derby race and steals a superconducting magnet for their car, which leads to them discovering alien life, hiding stolen space cash from intergalactic authorities, and needing to tell more lies to cover up their original lie of only using approved derby car parts.
Why It Sucks
- Randy is extremely out of character, and much more unlikable than usual.
- Despite being the show's comic relief, he is only funny in one scene at the beginning.
- In just this episode he steals a superconducting magnet from the Large Hadron Collider, makes Stan lie to the Pinewood Derby judges about not using anything not included in his kit and stab an alien robber to death, convinces the town of South Park to keep the alien's stolen space cash for themselves instead of returning it, leads an international conspiracy where he gives every world leader space cash in exchange for their silence on the matter, persuades the other countries' leaders to wipe out Finland with nuclear missiles when they want to come clean, and continues to refuse to tell the truth no matter what else happens just over a trophy.
- The alien robber's name, Baby Fark McGee-zax, is a case-in-point example of random not equaling funny.
- The show got some of the world leaders at the time wrong. For instance, they depicted John Howard as still being the Prime Minister of Australia, even though he had been out of office for a year and a half before the episode was made.
- The anti-climactic ending with the entire ordeal turning out to have been staged to test humanity and the Earth after Stan tells the truth on his own is a heavily cliched cop-out.
- Although its message that cheating and lying are wrong is good, it is a very simplistic and unoriginal one that virtually any other show could espouse.
The Only Redeeming Quality
- Randy disguised as Princess Leia early on in the episode is hilarious.
- Kyle is absent from this episode.
Pinewood Derby received mixed-to-negative reviews. Writing for If Magazine, Carlos Delgado said, "All in all, I was left feeling a little cheated. Pinewood Derby wasn't funny, it was just weird." Meanwhile, The A.V. Club's Josh Modell claimed that "South Park episodes don't get much lazier or uninspired than this one. It was like half an idea stretched out forever and ever, and with very little payoff." In a more mixed review for IGN, Travis Fickett wrote, "This isn't a great episode but its fast-paced lunacy in the South Park tradition and most of the genre tropes it riffs on are dead on."
Pinewood Derby came under fire in Mexico after its original airing in the United States over its portrayal of Mexican President Felipe Calderón, in which he risks blowing Randy's cover by frivolously spending his space cash on seven water parks. South Park also did not have a permit required in Mexico to depict the country's flag, and MTV Latin America feared they would offend fans if they censored it. For these two reasons, even though the Spanish dub was scheduled to air in Latin American countries on February 8, 2010 and heavily advertised, it was pulled nearly last-minute before airing and replaced with a rerun of The Ring, another Season 13 episode. However, the Spanish dub eventually made it to air on April 4, 2010, after the Mexican Minister of Interior had okayed it.
- "TV Review: South Park – Season 13 – Pinewood Derby". If Magazine.
- "MTV will air South Park with Mexican president". Associated Press.