Directed by Trey Parker
Studio: Paramount/Comedy Central
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Running Time: 304 minutes
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo English
MSRP: $ 49.99
Release Date: August 12, 2008
Review Date: August 2, 2008
Eleven seasons of South Park? No! Really? It’s impossible to believe that these irascible little characters have been practicing their own brand of mini-anarchy for eleven years now, but it‘s true. And season eleven finds the inhabitants of South Park, Colorado, no less outrageous and no less funny than they’ve ever been. As always with the series, some episodes work their magic more than others, but almost all of them have at least one or two gut-busting gags, and some are riots from beginning to end.
Eric Cartman (Trey Parker) certainly gets some prime moments in the spotlight during this season. He’s frantic about trying to squelch a picture that he thinks suggests he’s gay. He discovers a way to say all the offensive things he wants, a plan which completely backfires on him. He’s adamant about Kyle (Matt Stone) attending to his genitals after Kyle loses a certain bet concerning a leprechaun. Additionally, Randy Marsh (Trey Parker) gets two episodes in the humiliation limelight: one involving the use of the invective for African-Americans and the other, lesser episode involving the world’s biggest turd.
The writers this season spend the usual amount of time riffing on movies or television programs they either admire greatly or wish to lampoon unmercifully. Among the shows that get the South Park treatment this year are ‘300,’ Night of the Living Dead/Dawn of the Dead, ‘24,’ The Da Vinci Code, Stargate, and Dateline: To Catch a Predator. Among the famous who find themselves on the receiving end of the South Park skewers include Jesse Jackson, Hillary Clinton, Jesus, Bono, Al Gore, Abraham Lincoln, M. Night Shyamalan, Michael Bay, Kurt Russell, and Mel Gibson. There are some serious satirical points made about such topics as camps to de-gay youngsters, the mixing of secular and religious imagery in certain sacred holidays, taking legal matters into one’s hands without proper authority, and the addictive nature of video games, among others. The show has never been simply about raucous shenanigans and bathroom humor, and this is the key to its greatness.
Yes, the marvelous “Imaginationland” three part story arc is here (released separately and in nonanamorphic 16:9 back in March), and the “uncensored” label on the box means there isn’t a bleep to be heard anywhere and nothing is pixilated. Everyone is free to curse their little hearts out without any censoring at all. Here is the rundown of the fourteen episodes on three discs that make up the season eleven box set:
1 - With Apologies to Jesse Jackson
2 - Cartman Sucks
3 - Lice Capades
4 - The Snuke (the most hilarious of the season’s episodes)
5 - Fantastic Easter Special
6 - D-Yikes
7 - Night of the Living Homeless
8 - Le Petit Tourette
9 - More Crap
10 - Imaginationland
11 - Imaginationland, Episode II
12 - Imaginationland, Episode III
13 - Guitar Queer-O
14 - The List
The 1.33:1 aspect ratio of the broadcast episodes is reproduced faithfully in these DVD transfers. The colors are strong and the focus is sharp, but without anamorphic enhancement, there are the usual problems with some thin line pixilation and slight color banding in some of episodes. Each episode has been divided into 5 chapters.
Though the audio mix on each episode is only Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo, Prologic IIx does marvelous things with the brash music and effects often giving the show an almost cinematic soundfield. Yet, the loud music in the surrounds never overpowers the dialog which is strongly rooted to the center channel, and those listening only through their TV speakers will likely have a pleasant experience and still understand everything that‘s being said.
Trey Parker and Matt Stone contribute short audio commentaries for every episode. One lasts 9 minutes, but most are in the 5-minute range. They talk about their inspirations for the show’s plots and often riff on aspects of the TV and movie business that rile them. The commentaries recorded for the three “Imaginationland” episodes are not the same as the 47 minutes they spent talking about the shows in the March DVD release of that story arc, so completists may want both.
Comedy Central quickies offered on this disc include very brief excerpts from their hit shows: Lil’ Bush, The Daily Show, Reno 911, and The Colbert Report.
There are previews for the DVD releases of Kenny Vs. Spenny, Drawn Together - Season 3, and TV Funhouse.
Unless you’re easily offended, South Park offers a lot of laughs and some fascinating food for thought in its 14 season eleven episodes. They are highly recommended for fans of the show.