..

SOUTH PARK
Season Six

Review by Michael Jacobson

Creators:  Trey Parker, Matt Stone
Audio:  Dolby Stereo
Video:  Full Frame 1.33:1
Studio:  Paramount
Features:  Mini-Commentaries, Sneak Previews
Length:  374 Minutes
Release Date:  October 11, 2005

"The polls right now show that 51% of Americans think that Saddam has to be dealt with, while 49% are wimpy tree hugging pussies."

Shows ***1/2

Each season of South Park is a pleasant surprise to me.  I always finish one thinking that Trey Parker and Matt Stone have gone as far as they could with their comic creation, only to find that I'm quite wrong.  There are always more sensibilities to offend, more sacred cows to deflate, and more issues to run roughshod over.  And if you're like me and love to laugh, you'll thank God for that.

Season Six is a fascinating package in that it seems to finally come full circle with the changes Trey and Matt had been implementing over the course of a couple of seasons.  By the end of this year, the now openly gay Mr. Garrison is back teaching the boys, and Kenny, who had been killed off seemingly for good the previous year, strolls nonchalantly back into play at the very end of the season.

But how we get there is more than just a strategic juggling of puzzle pieces.  Season Six has many fall down funny escapades for our favorite foul-mouthed fourth graders Stan, Kyle and Cartman (as well as a kind of revolving door as to who gets to replace Kenny as the fourth friend).  However far you think South Park had pushed the envelope before, the show always seems to find space to push it a little farther.

It starts with a hysterical misunderstanding involving Jared, the Subway guy, when he confesses that his tremendous weight loss actually came from him having...well, you should probably see that for yourself.  Explaining the gag won't be as funny as experiencing it first hand.  There's also a Maury Povich spoof where the boys try and get their reluctant pal Butters to pose as a freak by...well, again, it's funnier if you just see what they do.

There's also the running gag where the rejected Butters dons the evil persona of Professor Chaos, whose schemes to destroy the world come across as very Butters-like.  In one episode, plan after plan is thwarted because he realizes they'd all been done on The Simpsons, which eventually leads to some strange hallucinations for the kid!

I also howled when Cartman became possessed by Kenny (you won't believe HOW), which lead to some running complications throughout the season.  At one point, the boys try to build a ladder to heaven to reach Kenny, which moves the entire world...no one is aware that they're trying to get a winning ticket back from their deceased friend's clutches!

There's also a twisted bit where Stan meets himself from the future, one where the boys try to save some Bambi-eyed veal cows from certain doom, and one where a sea-people experiment gets strangely out of hand.  A Lord of the Rings spoof has the group trying to return an accidentally switched porn flick back to the video store before its evil power can destroy them.

Two of the best episodes of the year will keep you in stitches...one where little Bebe starts to...um, blossom, turning all the fourth grade boys into ape-like buffoons, and the usual Christmas escapade.  In this one, Santa tries to bring Christmas joy to Iraq only to be shot down by insurgents, forcing a rescue by our boys led by none other than...Jesus!

Nothing is too sacred for Trey and Matt's razorlike wit.  Even the Catholic Church gets a comeuppance, when the town priest has to take matters into his own hands to solve the organization's image problems.  Russell Crowe practically gets his own episode as host of a TV show where he goes to the most cultural places in the world to pick fights with the natives.  And Lemmiwinks the gerbil is introduced.  I won't say for what purpose, but I will say I got his damn theme song stuck in my head for hours.

The genius of South Park is that it finds comedy in places most would never think to look for it.  They may title an episode "Child Abduction is Not Funny", but in the hands of Trey and Matt, it actually can be.  The writing remained as strong as ever in the sixth year, and of course, the characters have become part of our everyday lives.  Especially Cartman.  Selfish, crude, immature...no wonder we love him.

Video ***

The animation translates well to DVD, with these digital transfer bringing out the most in the color and the definition. 

Audio ***

Though simple stereo mixes, the audio on these sets continues to impress, with a good wide front stage presentation, better-than-average dynamic range, and spoken words and music sounding clean and clear throughout.

Features **

The only extras are some previews and the famous "mini-commentaries" by Trey and Matt, which run for a minute or so on each episode...many of them are still quite informative and funny, despite their brevity.  Did their take on Steven Spielberg and George Lucas actually stop them from going back and re-editing Raiders of the Lost Ark with updated special effects?  Listen to the track, and you be the judge!

Summary:

Heading on up to South Park is always a guaranteed good time, provided you're willing to laugh at anything and don't have too delicate a constitution.  The sixth season brought many of the show's story points full circle, and did so with a string of episodes that attack the funny bone with relentless ferocity.

FREE hit counter and Internet traffic statistics from freestats.com