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HTF Mini Review: South Park: The Complete Seventh Season

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#1 of 4 OFFLINE   PatWahlquist

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Posted March 10 2006 - 02:04 PM

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South Park: The Complete Seventh Season

Studio: Paramount Home Video
Year: 2006 (Original episodes aired 2003)
Rated: Parental Advisory: Explicit content, this program is recommended for mature audiences only. It contains adult language and situations.
Aspect Ratio: 4X3
Audio:English Dolby Digital stereo
Subtitles: None
Time: 330 minutes.
Disc Format: 3 DVD-9’s
Case Style: Fold out digipak


Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s seventh season of “South Park” picks up where previous episodes left off. By this, I don’t mean there were any major cliff hangers from previous seasons, I simply mean the same attitude of those little foul mouthed lads persists. The show does what it usually does: comments on the hot button topics of today with wit and sarcasm, with some swearing and fart jokes to make it seem all okay.

Rather than outlining each episode, I will give you a rundown of what is covered during this season on “South Park”: “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy”, gay culture, metrosexuals, SARS, Native Americans, inner-city gang problems, handicaps, alien invasion, masturbation, reality TV, Christopher Reeve, stem cell research, “Superman II”, “Silence of the Lambs”, cop shows, slow-mo gun battles, the elderly, Christian rock, music downloads and the usual racial, political and religious insensitivity.

“South Park” is often compared to “The Simpsons” because they are two of the most popular cartoons in production at this time. I haven’t watched “South Park” religiously in the past couple of years, so this set was a welcome reminder for me as to how funny it really is. I have found “The Simpsons” to be less and less funny as the years go on although the show maintains a high level of quality, if that makes sense. “South Park” makes me laugh out loud like a ten year old when the kids swear or make fart jokes, whereas “The Simpsons” has a more cerebral humor that barely makes me chuckle. Parker and Stone find humor in the most serious of topics (fetal stem cell research, for example), leaving you to wonder if you should laugh. In the commentary for that episode, they explain why it’s alright to laugh at such things while saying, “Oh, my God” in the next breath. “South Park” is not for everyone, but if you can stand it, you will be rewarded with numerous laughs.

I watched about 2/3 of the episodes in their entirety, and I watched segments of the rest for video and audio quality. Comedy Central apparently aired some of the episodes out of order, which is not uncommon. Paramount chose to sequence the set in the same way, although the episodes have numerical assignments. The episodes included in this set are:


Disc 1 (Episodes 701-705): On this disc, the episodes go 704, 702, 703, 701 and 705. Parker and Stone note in the commentary for 704 (“Cancelled”) they were having issues coming up with their 100th episode, and they wanted to redo the first episode. 704 shares a storyline with the premier episode, so it appears this was done at Parker and Stone’s request. See my notes with the other two discs regarding their sequencing.
“Cancelled”, “Krazy Kripples”, “Toilet Paper”, “I’m A Little Bit Country”, and “Fat Butt and Pancake Head”.


Disc 2 (Episodes 706-710): The episodes are in production and airdate order, but you’ll notice a gap in the airdates since Comedy Central splits the seasons over the year.
“Lil’ Crime Stoppers”, “Red Man’s Greed”, “South Park is Gay”, “Christian Rock Hard”, “Grey Dawn”.


Disc 3 (Episodes 711-715): The episodes are also in production and airdate order.
“Casa Bonita”, “All About Mormons”, “Butt Out”, “Raisins”, “It’s Christmas in Canada”.



Video:
The episodes are presented in their original 4x3 format. Since this is a crudely animated show, it is not a very visually exciting presentation. The colors are accurate, bright and dynamic and they retain their construction paper appearance. There was no dirt or noise visible on the transfers, and I did not notice any excessive edge enhancement. Blacks are deep as well.


Audio:
All of the episodes are in Dolby Digital Stereo, but it is used to minimal effect. The audio is very clear and the voices are accurate. Since the audio is all recorded in the studio, I noticed a small amount of echo, but it is not distracting to the overall presentation.


Bonus Features:
Nothing, except for “mini commentaries” from Parker and Stone. These mini-commentaries run for about five minutes at the beginning of each episode. The boys note their thoughts on the episodes and they point out any highlights of the production. Parker and Stone are very funny in each of these, and I recommend you take a listen to them. I do wish they would do full commentaries, but Parker and Stone compress a lot of information in five minutes. Beware: there are spoilers in the commentaries, so I suggest you listen to them after you view the episodes.

Conclusions:
Overall, this is a nice presentation that is representative of the original airings. As with previous “South Park” sets, I would like Parker and Stone to be more involved in the discs, and there should be more extras. For a show that has been around for seven seasons, you would think there would be some type of archiving of production that DVD viewers would like to see. Then again, based on the laid back attitude of Parker and Stone, this may not be the case.
ISO "Lost" ARG prints from Kevin Tong, Olly Moss, Eric Tan and Methane Studios.  PM me if you want to sell!

All reviews done on a Marantz VP11S1 1080p DLP projector.

Displays professionally calibrated by Gregg Loewen of Lion AV.

#2 of 4 OFFLINE   Andrew Radke

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Posted March 10 2006 - 04:23 PM

I really need to catch up on this series. I only have the first three seasons. I guess what irks me about these sets is that they consist of fewer episodes than your ordianry television season. This season for instance contains 15 episodes whereas a season for most shows consists of 23-24.

Now it's not the number of episodes in these 'South Park' sets that bothers me, it's the fact that the prices for these sets are equal to (or greater than) the price for a season set consisting of 24 episodes. In my opinion, the 'South Park' sets should cost less. I think this contributes to why I haven't bothered 'catching up' with the series.

Regardless of my little gripe, excellent review Pat. Posted Image
My DVD / Blu-ray collection:
 

 


#3 of 4 OFFLINE   PatWahlquist

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Posted March 10 2006 - 04:35 PM

Thanks, Andrew. I share the same complaint on the pricing. I usually wait for the Deep Discount DVD sales to pick up the sets. Not only do you get fewer episodes, you get little to no extras.
ISO "Lost" ARG prints from Kevin Tong, Olly Moss, Eric Tan and Methane Studios.  PM me if you want to sell!

All reviews done on a Marantz VP11S1 1080p DLP projector.

Displays professionally calibrated by Gregg Loewen of Lion AV.

#4 of 4 OFFLINE   Aaron Silverman

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Posted March 13 2006 - 02:49 AM

Craaaaaaab people!

Looking at the episode list, this was a very good season. Thanks for the review!
"How wonderful it will be to have a leader unburdened by the twin horrors of knowledge and experience." -- Mr. Wick