Something Wall-Mart This Way Comes
The townspeople are delighted when a new Wall Mart opens in South Park. They're less delighted when the local retailers go out of business, leaving the stores on main street empty and deserted. They confront Wall Mart's manager and tell him they don't want the Wall Mart anymore. He explains that he's merely a prisoner of the store -- right before he crashes through a window at the end of a rope, hanging himself.
The townspeople decide to boycott the store, but find they can't resist the bargains. So instead, they burn it down. Miraculously, the next day it's completely rebuilt. Even worse, now Stan's dad works there so he can get the 10 percent employee discount. Infuriated, Stan, Kyle, and Kenny take the bus to the company's Bentonville, Arkansas headquarters to speak to the management. Cartman tags along, but only because the Wall Mart has started "speaking" to him, and he wants to defend it against whatever the other boys are planning.
They meet with company president Harvey Brown, who tells them that ever since the first Super Center opened in 1987, the stores have multiplied across the nation, crushing all opposition. All their competitors eventually succumbed to the temptation of low, low prices and started shopping there too. The only way to destroy a store, he asserts, is to strike at its "heart," which is usually located near the television department. As the boys leave, Brown shoots himself.
They return to South Park and mount a nighttime raid on the store. Cartman of course attempts to betray them, but Kenny distracts him with a sound beating. Stan and Kyle enter the store and run into Stan's dad, whom they enlist because they need his keys. The store tries to stop them by tempting them with ever-more-outrageous bargains on their way to the TV department. The boys are strong, but Stan's dad is not Randy eventually succumbs to the allure of a $9.98 screwdriver set, but not before he tosses the store keys to his son.
At the TV department, they find every screen occupied by a humanoid entity which claims it is Wall Mart. The being says the store's heart is located in a small room with a sign reading "Employees Only." Stan and Kyle look inside and find only a mirror. The heart of Wall Mart, they soon realize, is them -- or rather, their desires.
They smash the mirror and flee the store as it implodes. The townspeople, humbled by their experience, decide to shop local.
What I Learned Today
"I think I understand the symbolism of the mirror. The Wall Mart . . . is us."
- "I'll bet you five bucks that when you die you crap your pants, asshole!" Cartman
- "Dude, check it out! Time Cop on DVD. Three copies for eighteen bucks!" Cartman
- "It's simple economics, son. I don't understand it at all, but God I love it." Randy
- "Don't look! Don't look at its bargains!" Randy
- "It's like we're a real town now." Mr. Garrison
- "Just look at the Marsh family, huh? Brand new television. New plastic dishware and cups. And enough bulk-buy ramen to last us a thousand winters." Randy
- "Where else was I going to get a napkin dispenser at nine thirty at night?!" Gerald Broflovski
- "No matter what the Wall Mart does to try to stop us, we have to be strong!" Kyle
- "Very well, Kenny! Let us battle!" Cartman
- "It's too late for me, son! I have to buy this stuff!" Randy
Mr. Grey, manager of the South Park Wall Mart. Also, Mr. Jim Farkel, owner of Jim's Drugs.
Harvey Brown (the Wall Mart executive), Mr. Grey (the manager of the South Park Wall Mart), and the store itself. In a running gag, all three crap themselves during their death throes, much to Cartman's delight. Also, Stark's Pond and South Park Avenue bite the dust in this episode. Both locations, however, will return later this season.
Behind The Scenes
Where Did The Idea Come From
At the time, tons of people seemed angry about Wal-Marts coming to their towns. Yet none of these places, no matter how much they were vilified, ever lacked customers.
Pop Culture References
After Wall Mart implodes, Chef says, "We know how to destroy it now. Spread the word to all the towns." This is done via Morse code, just as in the movie Independence Day. The same exact scene was also referenced in Season 3's "Chinpoko Mon." Also, the episode's title is a play on the Ray Bradbury novel Something Wicked This Way Comes -- which was itself a line from Macbeth.
The scene in which the boys encounter the "Wall Mart being" in front of a wall of TV screens is an homage to "The Architect" from the film The Matrix 2.
The destruction of the heart of Wall Mart is very similar to the climax of 1979's The Amityville Horror. Likewise the death of the store manager is a parody of the nanny suicide in 1976's The Omen. Also, when Chef suggests that freezing the store might kill it, he's echoing the logic of the 1958 classic The Blob. Lastly, when Wall Mart is finally destroyed, it's sucked into the earth just like the house in 1982's Poltergeist. Except for the part where it poops itself. That didn't happen in Poltergeist.
Sam Walton, the real founder of Wal-Mart, is portrayed at the end of this episode as an ethereal, shape-shifting humanoid responsible for the evils of this superstore.
South Park's Wall Mart was built on what was formerly Stark's Pond. Cartman plays violin here; it's the first time he's displayed this ability. Kyle, Kenny, and Stan all displayed their ability to play violin in Season 2's "Summer Sucks." Cartman has also shown his skills on guitar in Season 3's "Chinpoko Mon," although he will later decry the instrument because of hippies.
The townspeople all get together and sing "Koom By Ya" as the Wall Mart burns down. Ned also croons this tune around the campire in "Volcano." We learn at the end of this episode that all retail megastores -- "Wall Mart, K-Mart, Target" -- are all built on one single entity: Desire.
- e1 Good Times With Weapons
- e2 AWESOM-O
- e3 Up the Down Steroid
- e4 The Passion of the Jew
- e5 You Got F'd in the A
- e6 Goobacks
- e7 The Jeffersons
- e8 Douche and Turd
- e9 Something Wall Mart This Way Comes
- e10 Pre-School
- e11 Quest for Ratings
- e12 Stupid Spoiled Whore Video Playset
- e13 Cartman's Incredible Gift
- e14 Woodland Critter Christmas