most of you animation nuts out there, I'm a huge Simpsons
fan. But like it our not, the show has seen its best days pass it
by. Try as it might, the writers of the show can't seem to blow our
minds anymore. Sure, there are a couple of good episodes each year,
but there have not been any great ones in my mind. That's why I love
it when Comedy Central announces a new season of South
Park. This show seemingly gets better and better each
year. The animation is nowhere near the quality of Simpsons,
but the writing is so much better that it's not even fair to compare
So in honor if the eleventh season premiering this week, over then
next few days I'll be looking back at the eight DVD sets of South
Park released so far, in reverse order. Rather than
recapping every single episode, I'll be spotlighting what I feel are
the top 5 per season and then citing a "Doogan's fave"
sixth for the fun of it.
Let's start off with the last set that came out: numero ocho (we'll
add number nine soon).
Park: The Complete Eight Season
2004 (2006) - Comedy Central (Paramount)
Good Times with Weapons,
Up the Down Steroid, The
Passion of the Jew, You
Got F'd in the A, AWESOM-O,
The Jeffersons, Goobacks,
Douche and Turd, Something
Wall-Mart This Way Comes, Pre-School,
Quest for Ratings, Stupid
Spoiled Whore Video Playset, Cartman's
Incredible Gift, Woodland
The Top Five
Good Times with Weapons:
The first episode of the season made me laugh harder than I'd
laughed in a long time. It's not as gut-ripping now, because
we've seen the effect done so much since 2004. But when South
Park turned into an anime for the first time, it was
huge. Trey and Matt tapped into the mind of a child and a genre
so well; you can't help but be in awe of them. Here, the kids
trick a carnival vendor into selling them cheap martial arts
weapons and they go on a journey.
Oh, and Butters shows up as Professor Chaos. What seals this episode
as genius though is the end, when you realize that the WHOLE show
was just a joke set-up for a comment about the media's take on
nudity being worse than violence in terms of acceptance. Utterly
Up the Down Steroid: What came
first The Ringer or this
episode? My guess is The Ringer.
I'd heard about that script long before this episode. But no one can
own the idea of fixing the Special Olympics. I mean, everyone with a
sense of humor has thought about that at some point. I know I have.
Anyway, here two storylines converge. In the first, Cartman decides
to fix the Special Olympics only to learn that these kids, no matter
what their disability, have more athleticism and heart than he could
ever hope of summoning. The second follows Jimmy as he bulks up
using steroids. Everyone around him, from his long suffering
girlfriend to best friend Timmy, feel his wrath. Again, the payoff
comes at the end with Timmy's speech about the cheapening of sports
by legends that juice up, juxtaposed with famous baseball figures
that may or may not have used. And again, brilliant.
The Passion of the Jew: This
is an episode so good, it received its own separate DVD release last
year. It's the idea of two great things coming together. Take the
anti-Semitism of Cartman and add to it the over saturation (at the
time) of Mel Gibson's Passion
play, and you get this goober of an episode. Cartman, having seen
the film 34 times and fueled by what he feels to be an anti-Semitic
view point of Gibson's work, guilts Kyle into seeing the film. He
also organizes South Park residents to join his Mel Gibson Fan Club
and march into downtown chanting "Wir müssen die Juden
ausrotten!" (or "We must exterminate the Jews!" for
you non-German speaking folks out there). Meanwhile, Kenny and Stan
catch the flick and, deciding it's nothing more than a snuff film,
head to Malibu to get their money back. The rest is nothing short of
slapstick comedy genius, as Gibson himself literally shows his ass
to the people of South Park.
Douche and Turd: So many
people get satirized in this episode. PeTA criticizes South Park
Elementary for having cows as their mascot, so it's up to the school
to vote a new mascot in. The boys decide to put a joke in, but can't
decide between a Giant Douche or a Turd Sandwich. Cartman and
Butters support the turd and Kenny and Kyle rally behind the douche.
But Stan doesn't like either candidate and refuses to vote. Enter
Puff Daddy (or whatever he's calling himself these days) with his
Vote or Die campaign, where we learn he really means what he says:
Vote OR Die. The town is so disgusted with Stan's view of politics
that they banish him Beyond Thunderdome
style, where he finds himself at PeTA headquarters and he learns the
horrible truth about how much they love animals. And then Piddy
shows up again. Stan learns an import lesson in the end: Your vote
always counts; but not if everyone dies.
Stupid Spoiled Whore Video Playset:
Paris Hilton shows up in South Park and all the little girls go
crazy, emulating her to the highest extent. That's just the tip of
the iceberg, really. The best part is Butters being pursued by Paris
to be her new pet, after puppy purse pal Tinkerbell offs himself
with the driver's gun. Dressed in a bear costume and renamed Mr.
Biggles, Butters has to come up with 250 million dollars to counter
Paris' offer. The whole thing ends with Mr. Slave challenging Paris
to a Whore-Off, where Paris ends up deep inside Slave's ass (a la
Lemmiwinks in Death Camp of Tolerance
from Season Six). This is celebrity demolishment as only South
Park can do it.
Woodland Critter Christmas:
Before this season came out on DVD, I kept this episode on my DVR. I
watched it at least once a month. I don't know why I love it, but I
do. Maybe it reminds me of one of my favorite lowbrow art pieces,
Hexagram by Andrew Brandou aka
Howdy Pardner (look it up, you'll find it online). Maybe it's
because of the pay-off at the end. Either way, this story about Stan
helping a clan of woodland creatures usher in the birth of their
savior is genius. I won't spoil it for you, but if you're not
familiar with this one... you should be.
The fact that this season was created while Trey and Matt were knee
deep in production on Team America
is really impressive. Not every episode knocked it out of the part,
but the ones that did hit hit hard. Season Eight isn't my favorite
season of the show, but there is a lot of great stuff here.
The video on DVD is presented full frame with nice color
representation. Audio is Dolby Digital 2.0 and does its job. The
extras are typically light, with nothing but the mini-commentaries
from Trey and Matt that fans have come to expect since Season Two.
There are a lot of funny moments in the commentaries (their comments
on Stupid Spoiled Whore are
priceless), but you're not missing much if you don't listen to them.
Trey and Matt let their work speak for them... and it speaks loads
in Season Eight.
Program Rating: B
Disc Rating (Video/Audio/Extras): B+/B-/D
Atlanta, GA 3/5/07