I often have trouble believing that South Park has been around for as long as it has. It’s not just the passing of 11 years but the sheer brilliance in the face of an increasingly politically correct society. It’s like watching old episodes of All In The Family. Who believes that Archie Bunker would have any chance of survival in the 21st Century? It’s no wonder that Norman Lear has become involved in the series. It’s the last remaining vestige of a once great freedom to be ridiculous and offend. Eric Cartman’s a lot worse than Archie ever was. We always knew that, in his heart, Archie had a soul. Cartman’s a psychopath without a conscience, and in a civilized society we would be terrified of the existence of such a demon spawn…except he’s just so dang funny. Trey Parker and Matt Stone have been walking a tightrope for over 11 years now, and it just doesn’t get old.
In its 11th year it can be argued that South Park experienced a renaissance, of sorts. There were moments in the previous couple of seasons where the show was appearing to run out of steam, and it just wasn’t quite as good as it had once been. Many critics, myself included, began to ask the question: Is the show finally just running out of creative steam? I can’t tell you exactly where, or even why, for that matter, but South Park rediscovered itself in year 11, and it might just be its best year to date. Kenny has pretty much returned to the fold, and the daily killings have pretty much stopped. In Kenny’s absence characters like Timmy, Jimmy, and particularly Butters were given a tremendous opportunity to grow and develop. Now with the original quartet firmly back in place, these extra characters provide a much greater variety of laughs and situations. I’ve always been a huge closet Butters fan, and I’m glad to see he wasn’t merely pushed to the side with the full time return of Kenny. While South Park might not have “jumped the shark” in its 11th season, it did “jump the homeless”. My favorite moment is to be found when Cartman decides to see how man homeless people he can jump over with his skateboard. Rack it. It’s classic Cartman.
Like the previous sets, this collection contains all 14 episodes over three discs.
The set also includes the three-part Imaginationland epic that was already released a couple of months back. Highlights include:
With Apologies To Jesse Jackson: Stan’s dad is in a heap of trouble when he uses the N word on Wheel Of Fortune. Token doesn’t really get what the big deal is, but the citizens of South Park begin to treat Stan’s dad as an outsider, discriminating against him for his indiscretion.
The Snuke: Hillary Clinton’s coming to South Park, and Cartman has outed a young Muslim kid as a terrorist, which he’s not. If you love classic Cartman, you’re just going to die laughing as Cartman decides to put the kid under his own third degree interrogation.
Night Of The Living Homeless: This is the one where Cartman jumps over homeless guys. It becomes a great George Romero zombie takeoff as the town folk hole up at the mall to escape the menacing homeless.
Guitar Queer-O: Stan and Kyle compete at Guitar Hero, which leads to bad dreams of stardom and betrayal. It’s about time someone took on this fad.
The List: It’s the girls messing with the boys in this rather silly episode. Cartman and Butters get their hand on a girls’ secret list ranking the boys by “hotness”.
Le Petite Tourette: This is just a recycle of when Cartman pretended to be handicapped. This time The C Man pretends to have Tourette’s because he thinks it will allow him to curse without anyone complaining.
More Crap: Just what we need, another episode dealing with bowel movements. Been there fellas. Done that. Move along please.
Cartman Sucks: Do we really need to see Cartman’s penis in Butters’ pants? I didn’t think so.
D-Yikes: The most unfortunate turn of events in season 11 is Mr. Garrison becoming Ms. Garrison. Now that’s what I call UGLY!
Each South Park episode is presented in its original television full frame format. Expect pretty much the same as previous seasons. This stuff is pretty much created in a digital environment, and it shows. Colors are bright, or at least as bright as simulated construction paper gets.
Don’t expect much from this simple Dolby Digital 2.0 track. Still, what the heck do we need fancy surrounds for on South Park. As long as I can hear Cartman, life is good. I do wish that they would avoid the bleep noises on home releases. We’re fair warned about language, so what’s the point?
Stone and Parker are back with their “commentary minis”.
I so much look forward to the South Park DVD collections. I don’t really get much time to watch the show on Comedy Central. The schedule is so erratic any more, it’s so hard to know when the show’s going to feature new episodes. This way suits me just fine. It’s another fine addition to your collection. I’ve heard from folks who hide their DVD’s and consider the show a guilty pleasure. When people enter my theatre they are almost always surprised to see all of the South Park on the shelves. I could just say they were unwanted but sent for my review. I could get away with it, after all I do have The Divine something or another of the YoYo sisters up there because of just that situation. Instead I simply smile and invite them to “gather around and witness the glory”.