SOUTH PARK: SEASON 13
Review by Michael Jacobson
Creators: Trey Parker,
Audio: Dolby TrueHD 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Stereo
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.78:1
Features: See Review
Length: 308 Minutes
Release Date: March 16, 2010
“Now get out there and make me some GOD D--M MONEY! ha ha”
As South Park wound down its thirteenth season on the air, I couldn't help but marvel. I've been a huge fan of the show since it's inception, but even then, I figure the show had two, maybe three years of staying power. I never would have believed I would be sitting here writing about lucky year number 13, or that if I was, it would even be something worth writing about.
Maybe co-creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone have a bottomless well. Or maybe it's just because our society, our values, and our ways in general never stop lobbing softballs their way. But the thirteenth year started and ended with two episodes that immediately landed on my list of all time favorites.
"The Ring" has poor Kenny with a girlfriend at last, only to be pressured into wearing purity rings with her because of a Jonas Brothers concert. But the Jo-Bros have their own issues with their public persona, and it takes a little visit from...well, someone up high in the Disney Company to straighten them out. Will the boss's nefarious plans wreak havoc all over the world? Will the Jonas Brothers ever do a song I can actually remember two minutes after hearing it? Will Kenny finally make it to the parking lot of a TGI Friday's with his new girl?
The final episode, "Pee", takes a common swimming pool phenomenon to ridiculously hilarious heights. And Cartman has a new song that will bring tears of laughter to your eyes.
Other episodes were instant classics as well..."Dead Celebrities" puts Kyle's brother Ike in a Sixth Sense mode, as a certain beloved television pitchman is still hawking bizarre products from beyond the grave, and one beloved King of Pop's denial of his demise is causing everyone to remain in limbo! And speaking of pop stars, the loudmouthed and eternally ignorant Kanye West gets his comeuppance as the only person in America not to get the "Fishsticks" joke!
My favorite kid Cartman has a few shining moments. In "Fatbeard", the stories of Somali pirates inspire him and his friends to take to the high seas for a life of looting and plundering...but yo, ho, ho and a bottle of rum is not exactly where he ends up. And he also gets his turn as the new superhero "The Coon", until a much better rival shows up on his beat, leading to one of the funniest unmaskings imaginable. But perhaps his finest turn came from doing the school's morning announcements in "Dances With Smurfs", where his style becomes increasingly akin to Glenn Beck (who apparently appreciated the joke, making a comment that James Cameron's Avatar was a "smurf-murdering" movie). I love Beck, but if he ever retires, give Cartman his time slot, stat!
For a little TV fun, the boys take to professional wrestling in "WTF", and if you're a WWE fan like me, you'll get even bigger laughs at the obvious spoofs of real stars the kids undertake (no pun intended). And preachy environmental action series get their day in "Whale Whores", as the Japanese, long criticized for their whaling practices, finally go on offense. And everyone's favorite flatulent Canadians Terrance and Phillip meet their match in two ladies with air-passing powers of their own in "Eat, Pray, Queef".
One last episode that deserves special mention: even the economy gets the Trey and Matt treatment in "Margaritaville", where Kyle, a Jew alone, preaches the words of wisdom in how to handle the crisis, and even takes paying the debt of the world on himself. The obvious religious overtones are unmistakable and funny, as is who ends up getting the credit for Kyle's selfless deeds.
I was a little surprised that South Park hasn't found more to spoof in the Obama presidency...seems like a million comically rich premises abound there...but I guess fair is fair. They only took mild jabs at Clinton and Bush, and so far, Obama isn't being treated any differently.
All in all, there is much to love about this 13th year...and given the first two episodes of year fourteen, South Park shows no signs of slowing down or weakening. I hope it continues to stay with us for a long time to come! ha ha
I'm still so happy to see these shows on Blu-ray...not only do you get a full season on only two discs, but high definition brings out the real color, clarity and crispness of this program and all other animated offerings. It's actually become hard for me to go back and look at earlier seasons on DVD...I hope those will be coming to Blu-ray soon!
The TrueHD audio remains strong and dynamic, delivering a perfectly sharp and clean blend of dialogue and music, and occasionally some big action. The boys have gotten better and better with audio mixes over the years, and the improvements are noteworthy and appreciated!
There is no mention of episode "mini-commentaries" from Trey and Matt on the packaging, but fear not, they're there, and as fun and succinct as ever. Apart from that, there are seven deleted scenes from the season (in HD), and the Inside Xbox special that toured the South Park Studios.
South Park has maintained a sublime comic edge, intelligence, and joyful obliteration of all sacred cows for 13 years now, and I couldn't be happier. Season 13 shows Trey and Matt aren't anywhere near the bottom of their idea tank! ha ha