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"Freemium Isn't Free"
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Episode no. Season 18
Episode 6
Production no. 1806
Original airdate November 5, 2014
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"Freemium Isn't Free" is the sixth episode of Season Eighteen, and the 253rd overall episode of South Park. It first aired on November 5, 2014.[1]


Stan is addicted to the new Terrance and Phillip mobile game.[1]


SPW pic -- Spoiler Spoiler warning!
Plot details follow.

At South Park Elementary, Jimmy Valmer tries to get Kyle Broflovski to play the new Terrance and Phillip freemium game. Kyle takes his advice and later, with Butters Stotch, plays the game. They find it to be rather boring. Eric Cartman and Kenny McCormick find and agree with them.

In Canada, Terrance and Phillip barge into the Canadian Department of Mobile Games, confronting the Canadian Minister of Mobile Gaming and Prince of Canada over creating the game without consulting them about using their likenesses. The Prince and Minister of Mobile Gaming try to pass off a charade but Terrance and Phillip see through it. They explain that they can make low quality games and use micro-transactions to make money and that it is all harmless fun.

At the Marsh Residence, Stan is being punished and grounded by his parents for spending $489 on the Terrance and Phillip mobile game. Randy Marsh blames his father's "demons" from his gambling addiction. Sharon Marsh says that maybe Randy also inherited those traits with alcohol. Randy denies it because he quit and only drinks Pabst Blue Ribbon and wine.

Back in Canada, The Minister of Mobile Gaming explains to Terrance and Phillip that the mobile game has to be barely fun so that the players micropay to make it more fun. He also entices Terrance and Phillip with money and the simple idea that everyone is doing it.

Later, Stan is confronted by Kyle, Cartman, and Kenny because his addiction to the Terrance and Phillip mobile game caused him to skip school. Stan inadvertently reveals that Jimmy told him about the game. Kyle, Cartman, and Kenny figure out that Jimmy has been telling everyone about the game.

In town, Kyle and the others confront Jimmy about pushing the game on people. He reveals that he has never played the game and is simply paid to push it to people.

In Canada, once again, Terrance and Phillip decide that they do not want to put out a freemium game because they are afraid people will spend too much money on the game. The Minister of Mobile Gaming presents the idea of using some of the money they are making in order to teach people to be responsible, citing the alcohol industry having done so prior. An advertisement for alcohol then plays, showing people having a great time while drinking and showing sexual imagery, only to be followed by the statement "Drink Responsibly".

At the Three Feathers Indian Casino, Randy is showing Stan Marvin Marsh's terrible gambling addiction. He then takes Stan and Marvin home to scold them some more. Marvin brings up Randy's alcoholism but Randy denies it. Stan and Marvin agree to quit together.

At the Valmer Residence, Jimmy explains to Kyle, Cartman, and Kenny that he needed the money to play another freemium game and that the companies make you pay on purpose.

That night, Stan is trying to sleep, but the Terrance and Phillip game keeps taunting him with prompt notifications and he eventually obliges. He spends $26,000. Randy scolds him yet again, citing that just because he is Lorde and can easilky make the money back by putting out another song does not mean that Stan can spend this money. Stan goes to Kyle's house for help and Cartman, Kenny and Jimmy come over. Jimmy, while alone with Stan, tells him to ask a higher power for help. Meanwhile, Kyle, Kenny, and Cartman are trying to figure out how to get the word out about Canada using pushers. Cartman simply tweets it and it starts to trend.

In Canada, Terrance and Phillip, having seen the tweet and understandably livid, confront the Minister of Mobile Gaming about the pushers in order to take advantage of addicts. The Minister of Mobile Gaming explains the real reason for freemium games. He explains that a small percentage of people pay for freemium games and it is those people who have problems with addictions. Terrance and Phillip would not stand for this.

Later, Stan starts praying to a higher power. Suddenly, Satan appears to tell him all about addiction. He explains that Dopamine is released when doing something pleasurable. In nature, this happens when one survives and have sex, but since humans 'have evolved to the point where they now have access to whatever they want', they get their Dopamine from addictions. If one gets addicted and use too much, they would need more and more to get Dopamine, meaning that Stan is just a normal human being.

The Minister of Mobile Games continues to explain that they are building a new Canada with micro-payments, finally revealing his true form as Beelzaboot, the Canadian Devil.

Satan is explaining that Stan's genetics, from his father, are also a factor in his addictive personality when Stan's iPhone goes off. Satan checks out the Terrance and Phillip mobile game and points out an obvious problem with Stan's 'addiction': addictive substances have to appear fun in order to get someone to be a repeat user, and Stan's issue is nothing more than 'blatant skinnerbox manipulation'. Stan tells him that Canada put the game out and Satan immediately knows the Canadian Devil made the game due to its 'lack of nuance'. Satan asks to borrow Stan's soul and Stan allows him to. He possesses Stan's body and makes his way towards Canada.

In Canada, the Canadian Devil now has complete control over the souls of every Canadian. However, Satan in Stan's body fights with the Canadian Devil. The fight leads to the entire area being blown up by Satan and sucked into Hell.

Kyle, Cartman, and Kenny are playing basketball when Stan rises back from Hell. Kyle asks Stan if he's okay, and Stan assures him he is and walks off without issues.

Terrance, Phillip, and the Prince of Canada hold a press conference and declare that Canada will not make freemium games and will not use the money from addicts to help themselves. Canada will still be an ethical, respected, "shitty" tundra.

Later, Stan and Marvin are playing board games in order to keep themselves clean. Randy shows up and decides to join them. He asks them if they want to put money on it much to their annoyiance.

Critical Reception[]

AV Club gave "Freemium Isn't Free" a "B-" rating saying: "And yes, I get that the episode was trying to draw a line between freemium games, gambling, and alcohol addiction, but that all seemed like a bit of a stretch. I’d rather South Park get to the business of making me laugh rather than teaching me about the ins-and-outs of mobile-gaming’s nefarious moneymaking strategy. Which isn’t to say this episode didn’t make me laugh at all—it definitely had some funny moments. I’m a sucker for any appearance by Canadians and Satan, so it’s nice to get an episode with solid moments from each."[2]

IGN gave "Freemium Isn't Free" a "7.5" rating saying: "This week's South Park featured a clever setup, with Canada exploiting the freemium game phenomenon in order to renovate their own country. However, much of this episode was wasted on longwinded explanations of freemium games and how they worked. (A largely unnecessary subplot involving Jimmy didn't help matters.) That said, the episode picked up steam when Satan arrived to help Stan and later do battle with the Canadian Devil himself: Beelzeboot!"[3]


  1806: "Freemium Isn't Free" edit
Story Elements

The Canadian Department of Mobile Gaming • Canadian SatanTerrance and Phillip Give Us Your Money Mobile Game SatanTerrance and Phillip • Drink Responsibly PSA • Possessed Stan Marsh • Smorgasvein


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