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South Park does drones, #TheFappening, and Ferguson all in one episode

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What happens if a drone enthusiast leaves his quadcopter unattended and his son's friends use it to spy on the neighbors? Many big, sweeping issues have been addressed as the popularity of personal drones has skyrocketed in the last year, but more specific ones like this have so far gone largely unexplored. Leave it to South Park take up the call.

Last night's episode begins with Butters filming birds using the "Specter 2.0" quadcopter — South Park's version of the DJI Phantom 2. Cartman excitedly convinces him ("We could spy on everyone!") that they should use it to poke around the private lives of their neighbors — because, according to him, "that's all drones are for." Eventually the kids post a video to the internet of their friends' mom undressing, which serves as a jumping off point for the writers to use the episode to comment on the latest massive celebrity nude photo hack.

"We could spy on everyone!"

The response to the boys' violation of privacy is that the parents flood the town with "Neighborhood Watch" drones. They swarm the skies until the parents abandon their vigilance in favor of doing their own spying, which causes the local police and National Guard to begin flying their own quadcopters and creates a Ferguson-style standoff that ends in predictably absurd South Park style.

The full episode is well worth a watch for all the little things, too (like the subplot of Butters' dad being accused of spying while he swears he's just an 'enthusiast'), and is in line with how sharp the show has been since it returned a few weeks ago. But while some of the ideas behind the controversies at hand are related — the issues surrounding the impact drones have on privacy and the celebrity hack play nicely when juxtaposed — it would have been great to see each get more attention in its own episode, especially Ferguson. Because even when South Park centers an episode's humor around pubic hair jokes, it can still rattle off blunt criticisms like the one Cartman monologued at Butters about privacy:

"We live in a world where privacy is gone, okay? It's just gone, bud. Your weiner, my balls — they're public domain."

Watch the full episode over at South Park Studios