By in Personal Finance | 18 comments


In this brilliant Margaritaville Episode of Southpark Cartoon the entire MORTGAGE MELTDOWN AND DERIVITAVES DEBAUCLE  is clarified. Easy enough for a grade schooler to grasp!

In sum, here are the main points:

  • The Central Bank kept interest rates artificially low.
  • The banks and mortgage companies made unwise loans to people who couldn’t afford to pay them back.
  • The investment bankers sliced, diced and packaged all of these risky mortgages into  investment products and sold them to the uninformed public.
  • As was bound to happen, thousands of people defaulted on their mortgages causing a ripple effect across the economy.
  • The result: foreclosures, economic turmoil, slowing growth, widespread financial problems, insurance and bank problems leading to bailouts.
  • In the end: more borrowing and stupid ideas such as using your 401(k) to pay off credit card debt


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  1. South Park oddly enough has some intelligent episodes. I dont watch as often as I used to, but they have a way of putting a funny spin on most serious issues.


    March 25, 2011

  2. @Ricky and @ Money- I was introduced to Southpark after seeing the awesome musical, The Book of Mormon on Broadway, written by the Southpark creators. I’m not offended by the language or raunchy themes. The writers are incredibly smart with creative approaches current issues.


    March 25, 2011

  3. While their humor can be crude, the writers of SouthPark do have an excellent skill of conveying difficult issues with ease and humor.

  4. Hi Barb!

    I blogged about that same South Park TV show last year!

    Wasn’t it brilliant! They have the actually video online, I included the youtube hooks in my post “The Great Recession, Explained South Park Style“.

    South Park seems to push the envelope with some of their cartoon scenes with over the top porn and gross scenes, so I wasn’t sure how it would be received, but nobody blasted me… Even the episode that I linked to starts out with a suicide… But it was still worth including even with the negative pieces in it.

    Thanks for post about it too, now I don’t feel so alone on my viewpoint that South Park has some great takes on things!

    I feel much better knowing that you too feel that it was a great piece that they did too!

    Money Reasons

    March 26, 2011

    • @Roger and Money-I try to be really open minded and look behind the surface. There are important messages out there if you can get beyond the “messenger.” Although I”m not easily offended, I understand that others have a different take on foul language and crude themes. @Money, I’m glad this article left you feeling less “alone” on the the “southpark” stage! I appreciate intelligent expression in many forms.


      March 27, 2011

  5. Now there’s one I hadn’t heard about, using your 401K to pay off credit card debt…. if one could justify that, one could justify anything.

    101 Centavos

    March 26, 2011

  6. South Park is crude and pushes the envelope, but the writers are pretty intelligent. That looks like the real estate bubble in a nutshell. If only they could make an episode for how not to create another bubble. We can only dream. Is that part of life, cycles and bubbles?

    Buck Inspire

    March 26, 2011

  7. I’m a Christian, and even I have the guts to say that South Park is truly pure genius. They have a point in every episode and definitely not stupid humor. A little too vulgar for me though, this is funny.

    Jon | Free Money Wisdom

    March 26, 2011

  8. I don’t know about SouthPark, but you made it even simpler to understand the crisis! Once again, great job Barb!


    March 26, 2011

  9. How can you not love a lesson taught by South Park? Yes, they may be ridiculous and crude, but there quite often is some truth in their storylines, just like what you posted here.

    Everyday Tips

    March 26, 2011

  10. @101 centavos- Yea, one of the all time stupid financial moves.
    @Buck- Agreed. Boom and bust cycles are inevitable-just like fear and greed.
    @Jon-I really appreciate your comment. One of my favorite parts of blogging is the joining together of a variety of viewponts, religions, and attitudes. Thanks for weighing in!
    @Moneycone-You are so kind-it’s comments like this that keep me going!
    @Everyday-Yes, the South Park writers are brilliant! And the certainly do “push the envelope.”


    March 27, 2011

  11. I love, love, love the Margaritaville episode — it’s absolutely my favorite episode of South Park, ever. How funny that you just wrote this post; I recently did a guest post for Financial Uproar on the money lessons I’ve learned from Homer Simpson. I suppose cartoons ARE educational, after all!! Ah, my six-year-old self was right all along 🙂

    Paula @ AffordAnything.org

    March 28, 2011

  12. This episode is brilliant. How did I miss this last year?

    First Gen American

    March 29, 2011

  13. Leave it to South Park to explain the financial crisis. I wonder if they have an episode where they explain how to solve our economic problems.:)

    Alan @ Moneysanity

    March 30, 2011

  14. @JT-I started watching because of the writers awesome job on the new Broadway Play, The Book of Mormon!
    @Paula-If we can open our minds a bit to a variety of contexts-it’s amazing what’s out there. The writers of some of the “non pc” are brilliant.
    @First Gen-Gotta watch more TV 🙂
    @Don’t know, we’ll just have to watch more shows to find out. Not too difficult an assignment 🙂


    March 31, 2011

  15. I laughed my ass off when Kyle tried to return the maker and they said it was on wall street now…and then the federal bakers just cutting a chicken’s head off to figure out what to do next hahah


    April 1, 2011

  16. It kind of makes you wonder just how do they make decisions in Washington. Maybe cutting off a chickens head would yield better results 🙂


    April 1, 2011


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