I often have trouble believing that South Park has been around for as long as it has. It’s not just the passing of 12 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 12 years now, and it just doesn’t get old. One of the reasons the show doesn’t grow stale is their ability to make such a quick turnaround on current events. Because the show takes literally days to write and produce, they are quite often always the first to address an issue. They had an election night episode on literally the next day in this season. That means the ideas stay as fresh as the headlines. Finally, you have to credit the expanding universe of good characters. The core group of Cartman, Stan, Kyle, and Kenny were great for a lot of years. But, watching this 12th season you have to admire how much Butters has infused himself into that core. We also have such great semi-regulars as Timmy, Jimmy, Token, and lately the Goth kids. These characters allow the stories to expand in ways the core group could not. I’ve honestly come to think of Butters as one of the core now.
So what about the episodes themselves? Let’s play a little game called: The Good The Bad, and The Ugly, shall we?
Canada On Strike: This one is obviously aimed at the writer’s strike. Plus it’s always fun to see the guys rip on Canada (all in good fun, of course).
Over Logging: WOW! Is this one dead on. I lost internet for nearly a day just last Friday. Do we panic, or what? In such a short time we’ve come to expect it’s there just like we do telephone and electricity, or even our water. This Grapes Of Wrath comparison is one of the best the show’s done.
Super Fun Time: Any time Cartman tries to sneak away for his own good time, you know it’s going to be funny. I can’t deny I’m a Cartman fan. Here it’s Cartman and Butters sneaking away from one of those historical villages to a nearby amusement park. Meanwhile crooks invade the village and take hostages. It’s certainly a super fun time.
Breast Cancer Show Ever: Okay, no one thinks that breast cancer is funny. But, that’s not what this one’s about. It’s about Cartman putting his foot in his mouth (again) and now he has to fight Wendy. It’s a Kobiyashi Maru scenario for Cartman. If he wins, he gets it for beating up a girl. If he loses, he’s a wimp for getting beat up by a girl. Watching Cartman squirm is always fun.
The Ungroundable: Hey, a Butters episode! Butters thinks he’s a vampire when he joins the latest vampire craze at school.
Tonsil Trouble: Cartman getting AIDS? ‘nuff said.
Major Boobage: The guys try to do Heavy Metal. Sorry, the looks don’t work, and Kenny was the wrong character to take on this trip.
Elementary School Musical: This High School Musical stuff is bad as it is. What makes these guys think watching it on South Park would be any better?
Pandemic: Did this one need to be a two part episode? Guinea pigs running around with costumes. Who thinks this crap up?
Britney’s New Look: I’m all for making fun of Spears, but the top of her head blown off gag doesn’t work. It’s just butt ugly.
The China Problem: No one thought that The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull was another Raiders Of The Lost Ark, but it wasn’t another Temple Of Doom either. Watching Indy getting raped every 3 minutes I didn’t need to see. Guys, the movie was simply okay. Get over it.
EEK A Penis: While the Cartman Stand and Deliver stuff is great and the Patriot’s cheating lesson is classic Cartman, there’s a mouse with a penis running around.
About Last Night: If you think politics is ugly. The idea was clever enough but…………
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”.
Six Days To South Park: This piece runs nearly an hour an a half. It features comments from members of the show’s production staff over episode clips and storyboards. They take you on a day to day countdown of how an episode is created. While I loved the idea of taking us through a production schedule, this presentation is too tedious. I’d have much preferred real life looks behind the scenes. While it’s nice to finally get some solid extras, this one is a bust for me. There are also half hour versions that cover the specifics of two of the season’s episodes.
We’re finally catching up to the show’s Comedy Central release schedule. This is last season’s episodes. That means two things. First, the episodes are more topical than ever on the DVD. Second, there’s going to be a longer wait for the next set. I suspect that there will be some specialty releases in the year before season 13 becomes available. I’m looking for another Cartman set. Until then you’ll have to settle for what you’ve got here. Go out and buy it, because you’ll be sorry when “it’s gone”.