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Case Number 09924

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South Park: The Complete Eighth Season

Comedy Central // 2004 // 308 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Ryan Keefer (Retired) // August 29th, 2006

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All Rise...

Judge Ryan Keefer would like a little boy to put on a cardboard box and be his best friend. Wait, that was worded wrong...

Editor's Note

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 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 Cult Of Cartman: Revelations (published October 1st, 2008), 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.

The Charge

"See you don't understand what Mel Gibson was trying to do. He was trying to express, through cinema, the horror and filthiness of the common Jew. It has made people the world over open their eyes."—Eric Cartman, president of the Mel Gibson fan club in "Passion of the Jew."

"Dude, this guy is freaking daffy!"—Stan's obvious observation to Gibson's behavior later in the same episode.

Opening Statement

We're long past "Oh my god, they killed Kenny!" or "Respect my authoritah!" in terms of sayings from Kyle Broslofski, Stan Marsh, Kenny McCormick, and Eric Cartman. Now in the 4th grade (and have been for a little while), the boys' antics have been delegated to other kids, mainly the somewhat ostracized (yet oddly adored) Butters. So even though Kenny doesn't die as much as he used to, does South Park still bring the funny?

Facts of the Case

All jokes aside, what episodes make up the Season Eight run? Look on dear reader, fourteen blocks of 22 minute comedy await thee on three silver discs. They are:

Disc One:

• "Good Times with Weapons"
The boys travel to a fair in town where (using a 4th grader's emotional manipulation skills to their fullest) they're able to buy some ninja weapons from a booth and play with the weapons. When Butters' alter ego Professor Chaos comes by to confront the kids, things take a dramatic turn.
Grade: A

• "Up the Down Steroid"
Cartman decides to pretend he's handicapped in order to secure the $1,000 cash prize offered at the Special Olympics. In the meantime, Jimmy doubts his abilities in the games, and results to cheating. Expect Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, and Jason Giambi to make appearances near the end.
Grade: B

• "The Passion of the Jew"
Done during the fever of the Gibson film on the crucifixion, it becomes a way of life for Cartman as he revels in all things Mel. Stan and Kenny aren't so impressed, and decide to confront the mouth of the horse, as it were.
Grade: A

• "You Got F'd in the A"
Remember when You Got Served was big in theaters for a minute? Well I barely do, but this is a parody of that, with Stan's dad Randy confronting some old demons of dance.
Grade: C+

• "AWESOM-O"
Cartman decides to put together a shabby cardboard robot costume and name himself AWESOM-O, a robot companion for Butters. However, when AWESOM-O starts to develop ideas for motion picture studios (most of which involving Adam Sandler), he gets the attention of the United States military for employment in the war on terror.
Grade: B+

Disc Two

• "The Jeffersons"
The town is surprised to see a man who bears no resemblance to Michael Jackson whatsoever come to South Park and win the kids over. In the meantime, "Mr. Jefferson" is having problems taking care of his own kid while he repeatedly fawns over Cartman.
Grade: C-

• "Goobacks"
Some citizens from the 41st century have traveled back in time and come to South Park, looking for a comfortable place to work. The common refrain of "they took our jobs" follows, as the town resists this takeover of sorts.
Grade: B

• "Douche and Turd"
This episode aired right around the 2004 US Presidential Election (you can assume which is which), but the larger theme was whether or not Stan should vote, despite what Kyle and P. Diddy were telling him to do.
Grade: A

• "Something Wall Mart This Way Comes"
The town welcomes its first Wal-Mart, er, Wall Mart, to town, and the citizens are soon consumed with the 24 hours business and the low prices. The store grows beyond the grasp of any large retail space into a vibrant creature, one that Kyle and Stan have to stop before it destroys the town.
Grade: B+

• "Pre School"
Anyone ever wonder how the boys met and became friends? Well, wonder no more, as a flashback covers this, along with a crime the boys committed and sent someone to juvenile hall for. This all comes back to roost when the boy is released and looks for revenge.
Grade: B-

Disc Three

• "Quest for Ratings"
The boys are dressed up as reporters for the South Park Elementary News Channel, and find themselves in a chase to get more viewers than Craig and his closeups of dogs and cats.
Grade: D+

• "Stupid Spoiled Whore Video Playset"
Trey Parker and Matt Stone devote an episode to the antics and behavior of Paris Hilton, along with those who idolize it and her. That's all you need to know.
Grade: A-

• "Cartman's Incredible Gift"
Cartman has the ability (so he thinks) to foresee future events. Unlike Christopher Walken in The Dead Zone, his ability is largely made up, despite what South Park law enforcement thinks.
Grade: B

• "Woodland Critter Christmas"
A bit of a South Park meets Dr. Seuss story of sorts, Stan finds some cute woodland creatures and agrees to help them reunite with their savior. When the fuzzy bunny and tiny chipmunk's savior is Satan, Stan is more than a little surprised.
Grade: B+

The Evidence

Putting Season Eight of South Park within the context of an extremely busy production schedule for Matt and Trey (in the span of a year, the had to do Season Seven of the show, followed by work on Team America: World Police, then going back into doing most of Season Eight), becomes readily apparent that the boys were either tired and didn't care if a gimmick was reused (hence a lot of songs in these episodes, including a funny Japanese one in "Good Times with Weapons"), or if an episode would reach for too many straws (like "Quest for Ratings").

But it's all about context, and within that context, Trey and Matt were putting out so many consistently funny episodes (not to mention the movie, which was hilarious) on a wide variety of topics, so many that we still view in the pop culture (or news) prism today. "Up the Down Steroid," "The Passion of the Jew," "Something Wall Mart This Way Comes," and "Goobacks" all feature people, subjects, or topics that have been heavily covered this year, and these episodes aired in the spring of 2004.

And then there's a few different animation styles the show toyed with at random points during the season. "Good Times With Weapons" is clearly a nod to anime, but what it also helps to do is differentiate the kids' point of view from the adults, or from other kids, when playtime is over. Watch how Professor Chaos morphs into Butters after he is hit by a ninja star. No more fun and games there. Then you have the manipulation of still photos (like Gibson) or incorporating real footage into a show (like in "Quest for Ratings"), and if there was a drop in overall quality of the work, not that many people caught on. That should be a testament to the excellent comedy that Parker and Stone have provided over the course of their careers, proving themselves to be the best satirical writing team over the last decade, with or without the scatological references.

How can such a great show, with great writers get such a shabby DVD treatment? Parker and Stone return for more "commentary minis," which were apparently recorded earlier in 2006 during the airing of Season Ten's episodes. The commentaries are pretty quick, as they say up front that they don't have "that much to say" before following things up over the rest of the episodes with thoughts of the controversy surrounding "Up the Down Steroid" and how similar it is to The Ringer, while they show incredible foresight on tackling the baseball/steroid controversy and illegal alien debate head on, before talking about the hypocrisy of some of the anti-globalization demonstrators. They freely admit that "Quest for Ratings" was when they were officially "out of ideas" and "Cartman's Incredible Gift" was one that they "pulled out of their ass." More supplements with Matt and Trey, and produce them forthwith!

The Rebuttal Witnesses

This isn't really something against South Park, but just as a reminder, this is the second season released in 2006 on the show and the eighth so far, and The Simpsons had a head start if I recall. Just loosely wondering why Matt Groening hasn't knocked out more of these, that's all.

Closing Statement

Absolutely still a funny show and a satirical touchstone far beyond us mortals can grasp. If this is how Trey and Matt write when they're drained, when they're on their game (as Season Ten just proved), they are appointment television, even after all these years.

The Verdict

Not guilty. Parker and Stone prove themselves ahead of the comedic curve on so many episodes in this season (even during a self-admitted down year creatively) that it's not funny. Wait, it is, which is the point. Court adjourned.

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Scales of Justice

Video: 88
Audio: 84
Extras: 14
Acting: 88
Story: 92
Judgment: 89

Perp Profile

Studio: Comedy Central
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Subtitles:
• None
Running Time: 308 Minutes
Release Year: 2004
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Genres:
• Animation
• Comedy
• Television

Distinguishing Marks

• Mini-Commentaries with Trey Parker and Matt Stone








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