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Virtual 'South Park' gets real

Season 18 | Episode 7 | “Grounded Vindaloop” | Aired Nov 12, 2014

Brace yourself, folks, this was a weird one. Seriously, if Rod Serling had been in the business of making animated comedy for adults, this would have been his product. “Grounded Vindaloop” is more mind-bending than Inception was in 2010. 1807_grounded-vindaloop_cartman

“Whoah!” Butters roams the halls of school in a virtual-reality headset labeled “Oculus,” shouting about how real everything looks. It looks real because it is. As you probably already guessed, Cartman is behind this latest plan to torture Butters.

Cartman sends Butters out to clear the “virtual snow.”  200 (19)

“It’s so realistic. The snow looks kind of fake though,” Butters shouts into his headset, completely oblivious to Cartman’s ruse.

Then Butters goes off the grid and runs to his own house, where he attacks his father. On the virtual headset, Cartman hears glass breaking, car wheels screeching, and Butters declaring he’s a “bad man” as he steals a car. 200 (22)

“This is like like Grand Theft Auto,” Butters says. Do people even still play that game? Apparently Butters does, as he drives a stolen car to the “bad part of town” to reenact the game. He meets a prostitute and plans to beat her up and take her money, but she stabs him. And he is taken to the hospital.

“I didn’t know a knife could actually hurt me. I thought I was in a virtual reality,” a confused Butters says in the hospital. Cartman appears in the window to tell Butters that he has become “trapped in a simulation” and that he is still wearing the headset in his house. 200 (14)

Steve from Oculus’ customer service calls Cartman and reveals that there has been a malfunction. Cartman is actually in his room wearing the headset. Cartman doesn’t believe him, asking, “You really think I’m that stupid? That I believe all of this, all along, has been me living out some kind of virtual-reality fantasy?”

Cut to Cartman’s mom bringing him food, of course. But Eric remains motionless with his headset, which he’s now been wearing for 19 hours.

Meanwhile, Butters is still convinced he’s in a virtual reality … and he’s grounded! Kenny finds Cartman in his headset and figures out that he’s trapped in a virtual reality. Kyle calls Steve at Oculus, who says they’re doing a product recall. Someone will have to put on the headset and convince Cartman to go to an “access point” so he can escape. 200 (20)

Kyle visits his archrival to convince him that he is stuck in a virtual reality.

But Cartman asks,”And why did the guys send you, Kyle?”—revealing that Kyle is the one actually trapped in his room with a VR headset on, and he has been sent to try and help him find his way out. I’m dizzy.

Kyle goes back to Cartman’s house, where Kenny is wearing the headset. Stan says they’ve been there the whole time, and this is all real. But Cartman insists that he is a computer program. We’re not sure what to believe anymore.

Steve in customer service tells Stan that Butters was the first to call support and that they are stuck in a paradox. There are three things you cannot do in virtual reality, and if they happen to you in VR, they happen to you IRL:

  1. Die
  2. Be grounded
  3. Call customer service

“Have I answered all your questions and provided good customer service?” Steve asks. Stan confirms that he has (even though he hasn’t exactly done so), and everyone around him vanishes. He returns to the access point and removes the headset to reveal four live-action boys.

A real-live Kyle asks a real-live Stan, “So aside from all the bullcrap, what’d you think of the Oculus?”

“It was pretty cool, but the graphics suck,” Stan answers.

You can close your mouth now.

The Rundown:

Why You Gotta Be So Mean, Mr. Stotch? “Butters, while you’re grounded, you can just go to bed hungry!”

Cartman Outdumbs Himself: “What’s a 911 area code?”

We’ll All Be Quoting This Tomorrow: “Hello, this is Steve with customer service.”

Ms. Cartman, We’ve Missed You: “Eric, poopsikins.”

Cartman’s Truth: “I’m a computer program. I’m not real.”

Cartman Said What We Were Thinking: “Dude, this is getting weird.”


 South Park airs Wednesdays at 10/9C on Comedy Central.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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