You ever have those television series that you watched religiously for the first couple seasons and then slowly began to wonder how they could continue to stay on the air? That is sort of the boat I’m in when it comes to South Park and maybe I haven’t been entirely fair about it either. When it first came on the air a little over twelve years ago, it was the hottest thing since The Simpsons. The humor was lewd, crude, disgusting, offensive, repulsive, and it still is that way to this very day. My biggest issue is that all of that stuff got old really fast and I haven’t been an avid viewer for at least eight or nine years. Maybe this chance to review the twelfth season will be a way to get me back on the bandwagon. Or then again, maybe not.
Everyone should know the four kids by now. Cartman, Kenny, Stan, and Kyle live in the city of South Park, Colorado. They deal with school and everything that comes along with childhood – including pop culture, Warcraft, religion, porn, and situations that most adults deal with on a daily basis. Season twelve kind of starts off with a bang after Cartman goes to get his tonsil removed in what should be a simple procedure but ends up contracting the HIV virus as a result. As if that subject isn’t touchy enough, things get taken to a brand new heights when portrayed in such a light-hearted and comedic manner. I’ll admit, though, that there are a ton of funny moments in that episode that kept me cracking up for some time.
The episodes included in season twelve are going to get under the skin of many people, but there seems to be almost a tad bit of a drop-off as to the really controversial topics. I’m not trying to make light of HIV or breast cancer or anything like that, but the series appeared to go off in a different direction this time. Not one that takes it from the edge it is dangling off of or from going just a step too far, but one that took different topics you wouldn’t really expect South Park to settle for so to speak. Our season finale “Ungroundable” shows a truly funny jab at the vampire craze that has been regenerated thanks to Twilight. Considering that film isn’t exactly my cup of tea because I find the vampires in it to be nothing but annoying and whiny, this pleased me and made me laugh even harder. Then you get an episode like “The China Probrem” that just breaks off into many different directions and sort of bored me. It was not one of the finer efforts put forth by Trey Parker, Matt Stone, and company.
I don’t think this season necessarily rekindled the love I once had for South Park, but it certainly showed me that my assumption was dead wrong about it. Not everything that hits the screen or comes out of the mouths of Cartman, Butters, and the gang is looking to stab into the hearts and souls of everyone around the world. A lot of the time they are merely trying to get a good strong laugh out of everyone and then when they’ve got you sucked in with fun humor…the offensive and off the wall stuff comes into play. You’ve got to really have a thick skin or let things roll off your back easily in order to really appreciate the show or you won’t make it long. I happen to have both of those qualities and am also incredibly childish when you come to think of it, but there is such a thing as too much South Park. Season twelve gave me a taste of nostalgia along with a bunch of great new laughs, but all they’ve won here is the occasional fan and not a hardcore lover of the series.
Britney’s New Look
Canada On Strike
EEK, A Penis
Super Fun Time
The China Probrem
Breast Cancer Show Ever
Pandemic 2: The Startling
About Last Night…
Elementary School Musical
Each over-the-top episode is shown in 1.78:1 format and for a series that has some of the crappiest animation in history, things look beautiful. All colors are vibrant and burst through the screen with great clarity. It is simply amazing how South park can be made to look so great.
The episodes are heard in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound and all things sound clear and loud but the surrounding speakers are not used for much whatsoever except the occasional bit of music trickling out of them.
Audio Commentaries – Creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker sit down for each episode and give what can only be looked at as baby or mini-commentaries. The guys simply talk for about five minutes as to how they came up with the idea for the episode and reveal a few more things they feel are important for the fans to know. Each one is light-hearted, enjoyable, and rather hilarious and short enough so you’ll never get bored.
Six Days To South Park – Each episode must be started and completed in a week in order for it to get on the air. This featurette takes viewers into the week that is the making of an episode of South Park which in this case is “Super Fun Time.” There is a lot to take in here because we pretty much get to check out things from scratch and all the way up to a completed episode. Sadly we don’t get to see what happens with the comedy team of Parker and Stone all that much, but there’s still plenty going on. Since we aren’t actually a part of the creative team and the two big wigs are not there the whole time, things tend to drag on a bit but it’s still worth the watch. (82:26)
Making Boobage – While the main featurette gives a look at everything that goes into making an episode; this feature gives us a view of the animation that went into the episode “Major Boobage.” Nothing much more then watching the animation come to life from storyboard to screen. (13:17)
Behind The Scenes – Another sort of “making of” featurette and this time it is for the episode entitled “About Last Night.” Considering much of this episode was going to come from the presidential election and also that it aired the day after, things had to be completed in a hurry. Comments from the cast and crew along with tons of scrambling by the staff make for a pretty hectic twenty-two minutes. Not too bad. (22:01)
Digital Copy – You know the drill with these things by now, but I am confused how this particular digital copy isn’t available for people to put on their IPODs. That sort of defeats the main purpose of digital copies now doesn’t it?
Alright people. I’m willing to go against my personal views here and say that this journey back to South Park was a rather enjoyable one and something that every fan out there will salivate over. The episodes aren’t all that great, but there are plenty of laughs to go around with the incredibly offensive and “crossing-the-line” moments. It’s not that I got offended at all or ever have been actually because it takes an awful lot to get under my skin and truly bother me. My problem with the series is that they take the most controversial (or any) topics and put them out there thinking they’ll be funny when in reality they just fall flat and are more stupid. Still, the twelfth season was a good bit of fun and comes with some enjoyable, although repetitive, special features all packed on some gorgeous looking Blu-ray discs. Fans are going to nab this no matter what, but I’m going to urge non-fans or those that turned their backs on South Park at some point to give it another chance. What have you got to lose but some time spent making fun of the election and Britney Spears?
Comedy Central presents South Park: The Complete Twelfth Season. Created by: Trey Parker & Matt Stone. Starring (voices): Trey Parker, Matt Stone, and many more. Running time: 308 minutes on 3 discs. Rating: Not Rated. Released on Blu-ray: March 10, 2009. Available at Amazon.com