For the sake of keeping this below thesis length, I will point you to my reviews of SOUTH PARK: BIGGER LONGER AND UNCUT or the 11th Season DVD for my detailed thoughts on the show. Suffice to say, I think South Park is a brilliant, constantly evolving social satire and creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone should be elected to public office.
As with most seasons since Parker and Stone adopted the ridiculous 6-day turnaround per episode, there are a couple weird misfires within the 14 episodes (“Pinewood Derby” and “Pee” come to mind), but overall this was a stellar stretch, including these highlights:
- The Coon: A superhero parody may be a few years too late, but seeing Cartman as a Christian Bale/Rorschach-voiced vigilante is good enough for laughs. Plus the added bonus of Mysterion and a self-referential joke about the show’s crude animation style end things on a high note.
- Margaritaville: This Emmy-winning ep tackles America’s declining economy, its underlying causes and some radical solutions. The Jesus parallel (and ensuing Jew jokes), the Treasury’s literal method for bailouts, and the jabs at exaggerated consumerism (and Sur La Table) are all great examples of what Parker and Stone do best.
- Eat Pray Queef: While Margaritaville may be smart and timely societal criticism, this ep reverts back to what the show does best: bodily functions! Fart jokes are old hat, but queef jokes? Now that’s the forefront of comedy. But hidden amongst the toots and poots is still an intriguing study on gender roles and gas etiquette. No, I’m serious.
- Fishsticks: Aired well before the Kanye West-Taylor Swift debacle, Fishsticks goes for the jugular with the world’s biggest douchebag (and bonus defamation of Carlos Mencia as well) and it’s completely and utterly correct. The last 30 seconds is probably one of the better endings they’ve ever done.
- Dead Celebrities: Worth it for the Chipotleway gag.
- Whale Whores: I was a fan of Animal Planet’s “Whale Wars” beforehand (only for how consistently the hippies fail), but even if you’re not this ep still manages to entertain while also calling out a specific group on their shit. It also gives us the glorious Japanese cry of “F*ck you whale! F*ck you dolphin!”
- The F Word: I can’t do justice for the subtle, thoughtful and poignant ways in which Parker and Stone discuss the modern use of the word “fag” in this episode (in relation to Harley riders no less), but I will say that it’s another case of the show making you laugh and think at the same time. Hilarious and dare I say important?
Mini Commentaries by Trey Parker and Matt Stone: As always, Parker and Stone are honest, blunt and funny about their intentions and their methods even though they only speak for about 3 minutes per episode. They’re the first to admit when things don’t work (and they do explain “Pinewood Derby,” which is totally worth a listen). This is also the first year in which they’re doing a DVD for a current season, and you can hear their thought process for an episode they’re in the middle of making.
Deleted Scenes: For the first time ever…deleted scenes! The show is so tightly made that there’s not much room for waste, so there’s only quick scenes for 5 episodes, but they’re fully animated and most are just as hilarious. You get another clue to the identity of Mysterion , an amazing alternate ending to “Fishsticks,” and Randy taking advantage of the show’s uncensored nature.
Inside X-Box: Behind the Scenes: This quick tour of the studios doesn’t go too in depth, but it gives you a cursory glance at the quick pace at which they work. And sadly, Trey and Matt are nowhere to be found.
Previews including one for a “Drawn Together” movie?!
Extra Tidbit: The 14th season starts March 17, 2010!