'South Park' Season 16, Episode 12 Recap - 'A Nightmare on Facetime'

'South Park' Season 16, Episode 12 Recap - 'A Nightmare on Facetime' Could it be that "South Park" has really never done a Netflix-themed episode before? Have they really gone this long without commenting on the streaming video phenomenon? Apparently so.

So, this week's Halloween episode made up for that. Randy comes in with a big surprise for the family: they're all now the proud owners of a Blockbuster Video that Randy bought for a steal at just $10,000. In typical Randy style, he's the only one who is unaware of how terrible an idea this is, and his eternal optimism and laser focus makes him far too invested in the idea that some people out there would rather rent than stream.

The result is a really terrific homage to "The Shining," in which Randy slowly loses his sanity due to the lack of customers coming to the Blockbuster. We also get a few good "Blockbuster is old" jokes out of it: for example, Blockbuster is so old that ghosts haunt it. Or, as Stan puts it, Blockbuster is older than Madonna's boobs.

It ends even more brilliantly, with Randy being frozen outside in the iconic Nicholson pose, but the scene gets turned on its head when Sharon asks frozen Randy if he wants anything from McDonalds. This is "South Park" parody at its finest.

The rest of the episode, which follows the boys, is not quite so brilliant and provides an odd contrast in tone. The boys want to go trick-or-treating together as the Avengers... Stan is Captain America, Kyle is Thor, Kenny is Iron Man (the mask still covers his voice, but we can at least understand him now), and Cartman is the Hulk, though he gets mistaken for Bruce Vilanch, Chaz Bono, Harvey Fierstein and a green Honey Boo Boo.

But Stan can't go with them, because Randy is making him stay at the Blockbuster and help with the holiday rush. The solution is a fairly tough to believe (even for this show, oddly enough) scenario in which the boys put an iPad on a skateboard so that Stan can FaceTime through Halloween with them.

This leads to increasingly weird scenarios in which the boys witness a robbery and murder and the criminals kidnap Stan (via iPad) and end up throwing the iPad in a ditch, and then later Stan (still via iPad) has to be the head of a Gangnam Style/Frankenstein (Gangnamstein) costume with a cop in the bottom half so they can catch the criminals. It makes little sense, but it's just silly enough to work.

You have to wonder why they bothered when they had a perfectly good Blockbuster satire and "The Shining" parody going. Perhaps they felt it didn't hold up for a whole episode, or maybe they felt that Shining parodies have been done, so they shouldn't give it a whole half hour. I sort of wish they had, though.

What They're Trying to Tell Us: Nobody rents videos anymore, but everyone will dress up as Gangnam Style for Halloween this year.