Warner Bros. // 1998 // 100 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Chief Justice Mike Jackson (Retired) // January 21st, 2000
Friendly faces everywhere, humble folks without temptation.
Comedy Central and Rhino expend little effort to bring four episodes of the South Park show on DVD.
For those unfamiliar with South Park, it is an adult cartoon about the lives and times of four third-graders in South Park, Colorado. Stan is pretty much the leader of the group. Kyle is the persecuted Jewish boy. Kenny is the poor kid, and invariably dies in each episode. Eric Cartman is the big-boned, antagonistic boy. Their exploits push the boundaries of what can be shown on network or cable television. Each episode has earned the TV-MA rating, the television equivalent of an R rating.
Rhino, to date, has published six DVDs with four South Park episodes apiece. The episodes are presented in their original 4:3 aspect ratio. The video is crisp and clear, only marred by occasional edge enhancement and color bleeding. Audio is presented in Dolby Digital Surround. No extras are included, unless you count the advertisement for other Comedy Central shows. Creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone introduce each episode. The episodes occupy one chapter on separate titles, so there is no opportunity to skip the intros (which can be pretty lame) or to any point in the episode.
South Park Volume 2 includes the following episodes from the first season:
* "An Elephant Makes Love to a Pig"
This episode introduced Dr. Mephisto, the eccentric scientist who specializes in cloning monkeys with four butts. The kids want to mate Kyle's pet elephant with Cartman's pet pig. They go to Mephisto for assistance, but he makes a clone of Stan. The mutated clone escapes and wreaks havoc.
Stan's grandfather is celebrating a very, very old birthday. He wants to die, but unfortunately Dr. Kevorkian isn't available so he tries to enlist the kids. Their brilliant idea is to drop a cow on his head and make it look like an accident. In a subplot that foreshadows the movie, the kids' parents boycott the network that broadcasts "Terrance and Phillip."
This was the first Halloween episode. The Mir space station falls on Kenny. He dies and is turned into a zombie when worcestershire sauce is used as an embalming fluid. He eats the brains of several people. The town's doctors misdiagnose the resulting zombieriffic symptoms as pink eye. Can the boys save the day without decapitating the entire populace? Is there any costume more popular than Chewbacca? Will Stan kiss his girlfriend without vomiting?
This is the episode that makes the DVD worth purchasing. There's a new kid in school: Damien, the son of Satan. His dad comes to town to challenge South Park's resident talk show host, Jesus Christ (yes, THAT Jesus Christ) to a boxing match. Will the kids watch the pay-per-event of the millennium, or will they attend Cartman's killer birthday party? More importantly, who will win the fight?
Compared to the debauchery of more recent episodes, this batch from the first season is comparatively tame. "Pinkeye" and "Damien" are the highlights here. Both episodes are milk-out-of-the-nose funny. The elephant episode is pretty forgettable, except for a shot at the end that hints at Mr. Garrison's (the kids' teacher) sexual predilections. The exploding diarrhea running gag in "Death" exemplifies the show's disposition to drive a joke into the ground (but the "green apple splatters" line is pretty funny).
If you like this set of episodes, the DVD beats the pants off of buying the VHS tapes or waiting to tape them during a marathon. For the same price as a two-episode cassette, you get four episodes in digital brilliance.
Trey Parker and Matt Stone continue to earn the court's good graces for their daring and willingness to define the bleeding edge. Comedy Central and Rhino garner stern glares for cutting corners during DVD production, but the judge is too busy laughing to care. Case dismissed.
Review content copyright © 2000 Mike Jackson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Warner Bros.
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 100 Minutes
Release Year: 1998
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Official Site
* Matt Heffernan's "South Park" Page
* Nick's Complete "South Park" Character List
* Mr. Hat's Hell Hole