Comedy Central // 2009 // 308 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Gordon Sullivan // March 10th, 2009
"I see you're enticed my daughter's awesome, rocking tits."
I still vividly recall the furor that South Park initially unleashed over a decade ago. My house didn't have cable at the time, so I only heard about the shows secondhand for a few seasons. When I finally had the opportunity to sit down and catch up on all the pop-culture hilarity Trey Parker and Matt Stone had to offer, I was amazed because despite my familiarity with most of the material through repeated quotation, the guys' writing was so strong that I found myself laughing at jokes where I already knew the punch line. I've been away from the South Park fold for several seasons, but luckily this twelfth season keeps the quality high, offering a number of quotable episodes and pop-culture jibes against everyone from President Obama to Britney Spears.
The 14 episodes of South Park: The Complete Twelfth Season are presented on three Blu-ray discs:
* "Tonsil Trouble"
* "Britney's New Look"
* "Major Boobage"
* "Canada on Strike"
* "EEk, A Penis!"
* "Over Logging"
* "Super Fun Time"
* "The China Problem"
* "Breast Cancer Show Ever"
* "Pandemic 2: The Startling"
* "About Last Night..."
* "Elementary School Musical"
* "The Ungroundable"
I love Trey Parker and Matt Stone because they will make fun of absolutely everything. Many writers restrict themselves to material about a particular group they dislike. Usually Conservatives skewer Liberals, and vice versa. It gets old after a while. Luckily, we have Trey Parker and Matt Stone to show both sides as a bit ridiculous, as they do in "About Last Night," where Obama supporters are shown as frat-like party hounds and McCain supports as suicidal zealots after the election. In the same way, they obviously have little respect for Britney Spears and her madcap antics, but they also make fun of the media that fuel the frenzy surrounding her image. It's a wonderfully balanced approach that finds the funny in all the random detritus of popular culture.
Like most seasons of South Park, Season Twelve contains some stand-outs and some middling episodes, and is blessedly free of any real duds. The real top episode for me is "Major Boobage," which manages to poke fun at drug hysteria while paying homage to the Heavy Metal style of animation. In this episode the kids of South Park learn that huffing cat urine can get you high, resulting in a cosmic Heavy Metal trip to a land populated by fantastic creatures and large-breasted women. Kenny, along with other kids, gets addicted to this activity and the government decides to ban the ownership of cats. In a surprising move, Cartman ends up taking in cats and keeping them safe in his attic. When the main crusader for a cat-free America is outed as a clandestine cat-sniffer, the citizens realize their anti-cat policy is insane and Kenny is cured of his addiction to cat pee. In a single episode, the show manages to lampoon drug culture, the Drug War, Heavy Metal, and Schindler's List. It's both dizzying and terribly impressive. Other impressive episodes including "The China Problem," where Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is shown as the rape of Harrison Ford by George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, and "About Last Night..." is an Ocean's Eleven-style caper where Obama's presidency is revealed as an elaborate ruse to steal the Hope Diamond. Even the more so-so episodes like "The Ungroundable" are filled with enough funny moments to make the show worth watching.
I must admit I was skeptical of South Park on Blu-ray, since the show's animation technique isn't exactly Pixar-like in quality. The DVDs have always looked fine, but I was totally impressed with the hi-def presentation on these discs. The show's use of bold color is rendered in eye-popping fashion, and while I always knew that there was some texture to the animated cutouts, I never realized before this disc how detailed those textures could be. I can't say that the visual upgrade adds a whole lot to the show (I'm usually too busy laughing to notice much of the fine detail), but it is nice to know it's there for returning viewers. The Dolby TrueHD is a bit of a waste for many of the episodes, but for cases like "Major Boobage" and the "Pandemic" episodes, it's nice to have the extra bottom end and directionality.
Extras seem to be on par with previous seasons. The ubiquitous mini-commentaries from Parker and Stone are back and as funny/informative as ever. We also get a making-of featurette called "Six Days to South Park: A Day-by-Day Making of South Park" that covers the creation of an episode. There are also behind the scenes peeks at both the "Major Boobage" and "About Last Night" episodes. Considering how fast they churn these shows out and how busy the creative team must be, this is a decent amount of extras.
I also want to commend Comedy Central for the wonderful lack of loud, obnoxious commercials on these discs. Too many of their previous releases contained annoying pre-menu trailers for their shows, but they're absent on this release.
South Park is still as filthy as ever. The boys still curse, make fun of the less fortunate, and this season features a penis being genetically engineered on the back of a mouse. If any of that sounds objectionable, then South Park is not the show for you. Also, zealots from either side of the Obama/McCain divide are urged to stay away from "About Last Night" because it is relentless in making fun of both sides of the political fence.
Season Twelve of South Park shows no signs of slowing down, and I'm thankful we have Trey Parker and Matt Stone to bring a little humor to the bizarre antics we see regularly on the news and in theaters. These guys are like the jesters of old, bringing us wisdom out of their insanity. This Blu-ray version of the show provides strong audio and video with a definite improvement over the standard definition version. The extras are informative and funny in equal measure. Fans of the show should certainly pick this one up.
South Park is not guilty, and everyone involved is free to bathe in the Fountains of Varnoth.
Review content copyright © 2009 Gordon Sullivan; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Comedy Central
* Full Frame (1080i)
* TrueHD 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 308 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Not Rated