Judge Victor Valdivia already belongs to too many other cults to join one more. He's only one man!
Our reviews of Christmas Time In South Park (published November 28th, 2007), South Park: The Complete First Season (published April 7th, 2003), South Park: The Complete Second Season (published March 8th, 2004), South Park: The Complete Third Season (published January 14th, 2004), South Park: The Complete Fourth Season (published July 19th, 2004), South Park: The Complete Fifth Season (published February 23rd, 2005), South Park: The Complete Sixth Season (published October 11th, 2005), South Park: The Complete Seventh Season (published March 21st, 2006), South Park: The Complete Eighth Season (published August 29th, 2006), South Park: The Complete Ninth Season (published February 28th, 2007), South Park: The Complete Tenth Season (published August 21st, 2007), South Park: The Complete Eleventh Season (published August 12th, 2008), South Park: The Complete Fourteenth Season (Blu-ray) (published May 1st, 2011), South Park: The Complete Fifteenth Season (Blu-ray) (published March 23rd, 2012), South Park: A Little Box Of Butters (published October 13th, 2010), South Park: Imaginationland (published March 24th, 2008), South Park: The Complete Twelfth Season (published March 9th, 2009), South Park: The Complete Twelfth Season (Blu-Ray) (published March 10th, 2009), South Park: The Hits, Volume 1 (published November 8th, 2006), South Park: The Passion Of The Jew (published September 13th, 2004), South Park, Volume 2 (published January 21st, 2000), and South Park, Volume 5 (published January 21st, 2000) are also available.
"Some call me a wunderkind. Many wish to be like me. So here are my life lessons for all to follow."—Eric Cartman
It's hard to understand the purpose of this release. As a collection of South Park episodes, South Park: The Cult of Cartman: Revelations does get the job done. Here are 12 episodes in which Cartman acts as only Cartman can: selfish, greedy, bigoted, and thoughtless. It's why South Park fans know and love him. But still, why now? All but three of these episodes have already been released on DVD (some more than once), and the new extras are meager. Barring the need for Paramount to fatten up its DVD bottom line for fiscal '08, this is not exactly an essential collection.
Here are the 12 episodes on the set's two discs:
• "Awesome-O": Cartman attempts to play a practical joke on Butters, but is trapped when he is forced to carry the joke much farther than he originally planned.
• "The Death of Eric Cartman": The other boys finally decide to ignore Cartman after he goes too far, and he mistakenly believes that he has died and has become invisible.
• "Cartoon Wars Part I": Family Guy is planning to air an episode featuring an image of Mohammed, setting off an international controversy.
• "Cartoon Wars Part II": As the world waits to see what Family Guy will do, Cartman and Kyle travel to Los Angeles to battle for the future of television comedy.
• "La Petit Tourette": Cartman pretends to have Tourette's Syndrome to insult Kyle with impunity, but quickly gets more than he bargained for.
• "Eek, a Penis!": Mr. Garrison finally decides to undo his sex-change operation, but learns he may not have much choice. Cartman becomes a substitute teacher in a tough inner-city school.
• "Cartmanland": When Cartman inherits a sizable pot of money, he decides to buy an amusement park that only he can enjoy, but quickly learns that his plans may be impossible.
• "Up the Down Steroid": Jimmy and Timmy train for the Special Olympics, but are torn apart as Jimmy is tempted by steroids. Cartman plans to enter by pretending to be disabled.
• "Super Fun Time": The class takes a field trip to a frontier theme park for a field trip, but is taken hostage by a group of dangerous criminals. Cartman and Butters sneak out together, and must find a way to avoid getting in trouble.
• "Ginger Kids": Cartman ridicules and insults freckle-faced red-haired kids, but wakes up one morning and discovers he has somehow become one himself.
Only "Tonsil Trouble," "Eek, a Penis!" and "Super Fun Time" are not currently unavailable on DVD, and they'll appear when the Season 12 collection comes out next year. None of the commentaries from the season sets are included, and the only new extras are the "Life Lessons," little 15-second intros to each episode in which Cartman cracks a few new jokes. Oh, and a sticker and a "membership" card in the "Cult of Cartman." Whoopee.
In fact, even taking the set's supposed theme for granted, some of the selections are ill-chosen. True, "Awesome-O," "Le Petit Tourette," and "Cartmanland" are bona fide classics, and definitely belong on any best-of collection. Some of the other episodes, though, are dubious. For instance, "Super Fun Time" is a funny episode, and was clearly chosen to entice fans, but it doesn't really fit the theme. The Cartman/Butters subplot isn't prominent, and as a Cartman/Butters episode, it isn't even in the same league as "Casa Bonita," "Christian Rock Hard," or "Cartman Sucks," none of which are included ("Cartman Sucks" is not only funnier, but also has yet to be released on DVD). Similarly, the "Cartoon Wars" episodes are widely acknowledged as maybe the high point of Season 10 and were hugely popular and controversial. However, they're not really known as Cartman episodes. He plays an important role, but he's not the star, and the story doesn't really revolve around him. If the compilers wanted to include a multi-part story, why didn't they choose "Do the Handicapped Go to Hell?" and "Probably," the two-parter where Cartman became a fundamentalist preacher? These actually would have fit the theme of the set better. Or, for that matter, they could have included the "Go God Go" episodes where he wound up in the future so that he could get a Nintendo Wii. That's not even to mention other episodes, like "TSST" or "Cartman's Incredible Gift," that would have made more sense than less Cartman-centric episodes like "Super Fun Time" or "Up the Down Steroid."
Ultimately, it's hard to understand the target audience for this collection. It could presumably be intended for newcomers, as it does have some of the series' best episodes, but the elaborate packaging and steep list price ($26.98) will scare them off. If you're going to make a sampler to entice new viewers, the trick is to make it cheap and simple. South Park fans, ironically enough, will have even less use for it. They'll already have most of the episodes, they'll notice, more than anyone, the flaws in selection and the new extras are not at all worth the cost. At least the Imaginationland and Hits DVDs had significant content unavailable elsewhere. Even though it has some very good episodes (and the full-screen transfer and Dolby stereo mix are both as solid as on any of the regular season sets), South Park: The Cult of Cartman is guilty of being pointlessly redundant.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Comedy Central
• Original Life Lessons Introduced by Eric Cartman
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